Finance: Sarah’s Shopping Tips – Going Online for Sport/Fitness Gear!

Sport and fitness apparel and items like shoes can be SO expensive! Now with so much information available online, I thought to come up with some resources or ideas to help get a good bargain. (Based in Auckland, New Zealand.)

Some of these points may seem more tedious than others, and even I don’t necessarily do ALL of these in one go, so you can just pick and choose what might suit your purpose and time-frame!

 

List – Have a list of what you are looking for. You can base it on what is worn out from the previous year, or what you might need for the new season, i.e.winter. This is helpful so you can filter products when searching online, as it can be overwhelming with not knowing where to start.

 

Sign-Up– If you have your eye on something or have a preferred store, sign upto their ‘newsletter’ or mail-outs. Many stores now have an email sign-up optionwhere you will be sent information on upcoming sales or member specials.

 

Catalogues– Many stores now put their catalogues online, so if you have time you can go online and check them out before you go into the store, so you know if your item is on sale or not.

 

Sale Patterns– Many stores like Rebel Sport  (http://www.rebelsport.co.nz/) and Kathmandu (www.kathmandu.co.nz ) regularly have sales at certain times.

For example:

  • At the end of the season. There will often be a sale or clearance section when the store gets their new shipment in!
  • On or around public holidays, like Easter, etc. (And go on the first day because then you are more likely to get things in your size/colour!)

 

One Day Sales– Currently, ‘one-day sale’ or ‘daily-deal’ websites are very popular. (Sites like www.onedaydeals.co.nz have a list of many of thesewebsites.) You sign up to them and they email you a daily list of deals on items you order online. These tend to be specific or random items, depending on the website, so if you want you can look for sale websites that are only focused on sport or outdoor gear.

 

Online Shopping– You’ll be surprised how competitive prices can be even if the company is based overseas. Just look out for shipping costs! For example:

  • Ebay (www.ebay.com ) can contain good bargains if shipping fees are not too costly.
  • Fashion website ASOS (www.asos.com ) is based in the U.K. but has free shipping worldwide and has sporting brands like Puma, Adidas and Nike. They also have good end-of-season sales, which can work well for us in NZ because the end of their cool weather means the start of ours!
  • If you have friends/relatives living overseas and someone visiting them like in the US, UK or Canada, etc. you can use websites like Amazon (www.amazon.com), or the respective Amazon UK or Amazon Canada versions as they are different, and choose local shipping to their postal address, then have the ‘someone’ bring the item back to you.

 

Shoes– They can cost so much! Running shoes can cost about $250 a pair and don’t always last that long if you are running a lot. To avoid paying full price, it is firstly helpful to know what shoes work for you. You can be fit with proper shoes at many specialty shoe stores like The Athelete’s Foot, etc. Then when sales come along, you know what brand and make of shoe you are looking for immediately.

  • Smith Sports Shoes (http://www.sportshoes.co.nz/ ) often lists what specificmodels are on sale in the newspaper and online, so you can look out for yours to go on sale! They often are discounted at a decent price.
  • Another alternative is buying sport shoes overseas. If someone who loves you is going to the U.S. or Hong Kong or Singapore , maybe they’ll shop for you. These places can often carry the same big brands for half the price, though the shoes may just be from ‘last season’.
  • If you know what you’re after you can request them be bought for you. Shoes keep fine so you can even buy multiple pairs if you are an avid walker/runner.)

 

TradeMe– TradeMe (www.trademe.co.nz ) is probably one of the most common ways to buy things in NZ these days! It is always a good place to try too, as theylist both second-hand and brand new stuff. It may not be the best for sports clothing and shoes, but you never know. It is definitely useful if you are looking for a wetsuit, a used set of golf clubs, hand-weights or things like that!

Hope this was helpful!

Sarah – Fit 4 Life Staff


Fitness – Round the Bays 2011

When we opened Fit 4 Life in February 2010, I had this great idea for submitting a team for Round the Bays. It didn’t happen in 2010, but in 2011 we were organised and went for it. I signed up along with my 15 year old daughter and paid. I was committed and suddenly regretting my great idea!! 🙂

I hadn’t been doing a whole lot of walking for awhile and all of sudden about two weeks out from Round the Bays, I panicked….will I be able to finish 8.4km? My hubby and I began to walk three times a week for the two weeks leading up to the fun run, but I was super nervous. To be honest, I am not really that fit, though I am trying and I was pretty scared that I would be suffering for the whole time. My thoughts went to blisters, chafing, sore feet, wrong shoes, sunburn, dehydration and the list went on especially since I had developed a small infection in my big toe. Yuck!!

Well, Sunday morning, March 13th dawned and it was a gorgeous day. We headed down to Fit 4 Life where we met the rest of the team. Our manager, Sarah, had us all organised and we had people driving us in and dropping us off which made a HUGE difference. We headed into Auckland City and the excitement started to build. Once I was downtown and saw all the people, I began to realise that it was going to be a great day.

Our support crew - Bryce , Jason and Marlon

Before I knew it we were walking and for the next 2 hours and 11 minutes I had a great time. Our big group split up into three/four groups as we had some runners and faster walkers. I ended up at the back with a group of about five of us. It was nice being back there because it wasn’t too crowded and we could just talk and enjoy the sunshine, the ocean and the gorgeous day. Mission Bay was super fun as our “support crew” was there to greet us and encourage us to finish.

Kirstie and Lanny at the Finish Line

The last time I had walked Round the Bays in 2007 the last few kilometres seemed to take FOREVER!!! This time we reached St Heliers in a blink of an eye it felt. Guess it helped to have a group of friends to talk with. I felt so proud as I crossed the finish line and even more proud that I felt really great and could have walked further. So fun to do it as a Fit 4 Life Team and I can’t wait to do it again next year.

So, if you’re like me, Round the Bays is a great place to get your feet wet in the art of “long distance” walking or running plus proceeds go towards a charity as well. Helping yourself and others at the same time. Plan on joining the Fit 4 Life Team in 2012. We’d love to double the numbers in our team next year!!!

We all made it and look pretty good for having walked or run 8.4 km.

I can’t wait!

Christy – Fit 4 Life Staff 

Friendship – Five Quotes on Friendship

I have to admit that I am more comfortable writing about Fit 4 Life’s other three topics – fitness, finances and faith – than I am writing about the topic of friendship!

It’s not that I am a bad friend… on the contrary I believe that I am a good friend to my close friends! It’s more that – for me – friendship is a very personal thing, and so writing about friendship forces me to ‘bare my soul’ in a way which the other three topics don’t.

Anyway, since it’s my turn to blog this week on the topic of Friendship, I thought I would share five of my favourite quotes related to Friendship and give a little commentary about why I like each one.

 

1. “The only way to have a friend is to be one”. – Ralph Waldo Emerson

I think many times we expect our friends to do certain things for us like calling us to say, ‘Hi’, or really listening to us when we are speaking; yet we (or maybe me!) often don’t do it to them! So this quote always reminds me that I need to continually be working on myself to be a better friend to my friends.

 

2. “A friend to all is a friend to none”. – Aristotle

An ancient piece of advice states, ‘A man of many friends comes to ruin’ (Proverbs 18:24). While Aristotle’s quote has similar implications in that you can’t be friends with everybody (Mark Zuckerberg aside!) the quote also speaks to me that true friends will pick sides and choose to rally around me. In other words, they will choose to support me when push comes to shove and even become enemies of my enemies if it is called for. Politicians and businesses might have to make strategic alliances to get along, but it doesn’t always work with friendships. A friend to all is a friend to none. I remember this and seek to be loyal to my friends at all times.

 

3. “Love is blind; friendship closes its eyes”. – Friedrich Nietzsche

Following point two above, nobody is perfect. We all make mistakes and everybody has their ‘stuff’. A good friend is not someone who is blind to, or duped by, the flaws which their friends may possess in their character and personality. However, genuine friendships overlook the shortcomings and ‘warts’ which they see in their friends. Nietzsche’s quote is a constant reminder to me to overlook the foibles and failings I see in my friends at times, because I care about them and value their friendship – and I expect the same from them too.

 

4. “True friends stab you in the front”. – Oscar Wilde

This might seem contradictory to my point about needing to overlook the foibles I see in my friends and which my friends see in me; but sometimes we have such large blind spots in our behavior that, unless they are addressed and dealt with appropriately, these blinds spots can seriously set us back in our life and in our relationships with other people.

I have a close circle of friends who aren’t afraid to point out areas in my life which they feel I need to work on – and I have the same right to speak into their lives as well. Hopefully your friends won’t be giving you a list of things that you need to be working on every week(!), but once or twice every few years my friends tell me that I am off base on some point, or that I am getting too worked up about something, or that I have misunderstood somebody and need to give them more grace, or that I failed to do something and so someone got hurt by my omission and I need to go and make restitution. Real friends are not afraid to come at you ‘from the front’ with a proverbial scalpel to help cut out from your life and character some of your bad ‘stuff’.

Oscar Wilde’s quote reminds me that true friends will address my serious character failures head-on, and they won’t whisper in the darkness with others about my failings and never come in a spirit of love to show me where I need to change. This is a great test of true friendship.

 

5. “When we honestly ask ourselves which person in our lives means the most to us, we often find that it is those who, instead of giving advice, solutions, or cures, have chosen rather to share our pain and touch our wounds with a warm and tender hand”. – Henri Nouwen

I remember one time when I happened to be on the spot in a particularly intense meeting and the object of much accusation, a person (who wasn’t even my friend!) touched my shoulder to let me know that they cared for me. That one simple act of kindness meant more to me in that meeting than any words of advice fired at me during the two hours which the meeting lasted. Being a natural advice giver, I find it very easy to start telling my friends what to do when they share a problem with me, or when they find themselves in a difficult situation. Henri Nowen’s quote is a good reminder to me that, as a friend, sometimes the greatest thing that I can do for my friends when they are in need and hurting is not to be giving them advice, but rather just to shut-up and show them love and empathy! A hug often communicates more than the most eloquent sermon…

 

Bryce – Fit 4 Life Staff


 

Faith – Practising the Presence of God in Thailand

Over the summer break I was very blessed to have had an amazing holiday in
Thailand with some of my extended family.  I experienced and saw many things, and thought I would share a couple of things I learned while being in the humbling and slower paced culture in Thailand.

  • Practising the Presence of God
  • “Jai Yen”

G (my uncle) and I went for bike rides throughChiang Mai (Northern Thailand).  Up and down the back roads along the rivers and rice fields.  As we were peddling away one day, G reminded me about intentionally practising the presence of God.  What he meant was to take the time to savour the quiet moments with God while being there. I’ll never forget the many moments as I stood mute, walked, ran or rode in silence, taking in God and the scenes around me and loving Him more.

Now that I have come back to the reality of our busy Auckland city-lifestyle, where it’s so easy to get caught up in doing “stuff”- like being with people, (which is not always bad) letting my mind wonder about the problems of the world and the suffering and pain we feel at times, etc. The idea of ‘practising the presence of God’ is a real challenge for me.  Honestly, I still end up having full days with work and meeting up with people but I’m consciously making the time now to soak in and dwell in silence with God as it’s important to me, not just when I’m driving from one place to the next or at the end of the day before I sleep.  I have a renewed awe of God, a quiet peace and inner strength to face whatever is ahead of me knowing that He is right with me.

My friend ironically gave me his book recently called “The Practice of the Presence of God” by Brother Lawrence.  It’s an easy little book to read or you can download it too which I encourage you to do.  Through a series of conversations and letters, he talks more in depth about what it looks like to be in the presence of God and the blessings of doing this all the time in daily life.

This brings me to the second thing I learned which really ties in with the first one… the phrase, “Jai Yen” (in Thai) which means, “calm heart”.   I saw Thai children in orphanages, teenagers, adults in tuk tuks (taxi trucks) or working in markets and malls, and no matter what the hardships, abuse or poverty they had experienced, it seemed they still had this joy – “Jai Yen”.  I don’t see much of this attitude in our Kiwi culture, yet we have so much more than a lot of them.

Often you will hear in the streets passing by “mai bpen rai” which means no worries/take it easy.  I love this attitude and want to have more of it!

A lovely Thai lady shared her story with me over a meal.  She told me after I shared with her this observation of the Thai culture, “We don’t let things that are beyond our control get us upset.  We just have to focus on the things we have control over and let the rest take care of itself.  We don’t worry… Jai Yen is the Thai way to get through life and it makes you happier and live longer.”

I believe that this is a great attitude to take on board but even better, is to have a gentle calm spirit of the Lord.  For where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is true freedom and contentment.

Our nation is hurting from the earthquake disaster in Christchurch at the moment.  You may also be personally hurting or struggling with other burdens right now too.   It’s my prayer that you will practise the presence of God wherever you’re at and experience “Jai Yen” and His love and freedom which we find in Him.  From this, may confidence and acts of love flow in and through you to those around you.  God has promised that as we draw near to Him, He will draw near to us and we will experience Him with us.  His perfect love drives outall fear.  You are not alone on your journey.

God loves you.

Kirstie – Fit 4 Life Staff and Group Fitness Instructor