08-05-2015

Reebok All Terrain Thunder 2.0 Review – Best Sneakers For Mud Runs!

Disclaimer: ShoeBuy.com provided me with product in exchange for this post. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

As you may recall, I ran the Rugged Maniac 5k last month, which was a mud run/obstacle course race (and really fun!). I never wrote a full recap of it but basically, my sister and I had a lot of fun doing it, although for next time I need to figure out a solution to muddy water getting into my eyes because of my contacts.

ShoeBuy was kind enough to send me a pair of trail running shoes by Reebok to test out during my race. The shoes are the Reebok All Terrain Thunder 2.0. I was really excited to try them out but also nervous because 1) I was wearing a brand new sneaker without breaking them in and 2) I wouldn’t be wearing my SuperFeet inserts so I didn’t know how my shins would fare.

Reebok All Terrain Shoes
The ShoeBuy website describes them as such:

Conquer obstacles with the shoe designed and engineered with enhanced support and cushioning to get you over the wall and through the elements with added stability and comfort.

The shoes are definitely sturdy and have good stability. No shin issues here. I mean, I suppose they would have to be stable to handle a rugged obstacle course!

They aren’t lightweight shoes, which is something to keep in mind. Since the shoes need to be sturdy and have bigger treads, it will make for a somewhat heavier shoe.

I talk about the things I loved about the shoe in my video below, but here are the highlights:

  • The water-resistant outer. Your socks will obviously still get wet, but the shoe quickly dries off afterwards and repels water throughout. The shoe has drain holes on the side so water is being squeezed out with every step.
  • The treads. These suckers got me through a lot of mud! I had no problem running through thick mud while everyone else was falling or having their shoes come off in the mud. It felt pretty cool to just be running through mud and passing people no problem ;)

Reebok All Terrain Shoes

  • The laces. I did not think about this at all beforehand but I imagine having to untie muddy, wet laces after the race would have been awful! Undoing the lace locks was super easy…now taking off my compression socks afterwards was a different story…
  • How easy it was to wash them. I didn’t talk about this in the video but you can clearly see that they look pretty much brand new in the video right?? How awesome is that. I soaked them in a bucket of water then scrubbed the mud off and voila. Imagine getting mud off a normal running shoe. Here are some “before” washing pics:

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If you regularly run mud runs or obstacle course races, these are the shoes for you. Or even if you just love trail running; these are perfect for rougher trails or rainy trail runs. Also, these shoes are true to size in my opinion. I’m a size 8.5 in normal running shoes and these shoes fit like my other shoes do.

For more information, check out my video review:

Like I said, ShoeBuy.com is more than just running shoes or shoes in general. You can find clothing, handbags, accessories, and much more. If you love online shopping, this is definitely a great website to check out. You can find everything you might need in one place, as opposed to having to go to different websites for different items.

Oh one last thing, they offer free shipping and free exchanges. So if you’re unsure about a size or whether something will fit right, you don’t have to worry about it.

I saw Rugged Maniac already posted their NJ dates for next summer (July 9 and 10th) so I guess I should pencil that into my calendar! I don’t know if I could ever do a Tough Mudder or Spartan…that might be too intense for me. Maybe one day ;)

Do you trail run or do mud runs and have special shoes for those specific runs?

Do you prefer online shopping or shopping in person?

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03-18-2015

The Plight Of The Honey Bee + Nektar Honey Crystals Review

Disclaimer: Nektar Naturals provided me with product. All opinions are my own.

Did you know the honey bee population in the US is declining? I didn’t know until I started working with Nektar Naturals, who makes Nektar Honey Crystals. I’ll give you more info on that in a minute.

The plight of the honey bee...do you know how it affects you?

According to the US Department of Agriculture:

The honey bee population in the United States has been declining for decades. The number of managed U.S. honey bee colonies dropped from 6 million in 1947, to just 2.5 million today.

Last summer, the USDA provided $8 million as “incentives for Michigan, Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota and Wisconsin farmers and ranchers who establish new habitats for declining honey bee populations.”

So why should we care?

When you think of honey bees, you might only be thinking of them pollinating flowers, etc. But bees are responsible for a lot of the crops we might be eating on a daily basis. The USDA Agricultural Research Service states:

Commercial production of many specialty crops like almonds and other tree nuts, berries, fruits and vegetables depend on pollination by honey bees.

I really never even thought of those things in relation to bees. In California, approximately 60 percent of all manage honey bee colonies (1.4 million colonies) are used for the almond industry.

Colony losses can be linked to pathogens, colony collapse disorder (where beekeepers just find dead colonies with no bees), weather (like unusually hot or cold), and more. The USDA is still researching factors and what might be causing this vast decline.

A tip they give to the public is to not use pesticides during the day, when bees might be out looking for nectar or pollinating plants. 

Again, I had never even thought of any of this! So what does this have to do with Nektar Honey Crystals?

Well, I first heard of the plight of the honey bee through working with them. On their website they talk about using eco-friendly materials for all phases of production whenever possible. The company states they support the efforts of the research being done in this field to stop this decline.

So what are Nektar Honey Crystals?

They’re exactly that. Honey crystals! Jeremy Edelman, founder, was tired of the sticky mess of honey bottles and jars. As a tea drinker myself (and someone who eats oatmeal on the go regularly), I can relate. I don’t take my honey bottle with me because it’s just a mess. 

Anyway, that’s how the honey crystals were born! 

Nektar Naturals
The honey crystals are all natural granulated honey. 1 packet is equivalent to 1 teaspoon of honey. They are naturally gluten-free, GMO free, Made in the USA (!), and Kosher.

I’ve tried it in my oatmeal and teas, and have spread the word to my best friend and my family…who also love it. Here’s an oatmeal shot from my friend:

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You can use them for a lot of things, such as baking (protein pancakes anyone?)

pancakes
Or a myriad of other recipes. Here are a few actually from fellow bloggers:

All great ideas I would have never thought of…and that’s why I’m not a food blogger ;)

Nektar also provides recipe ideas on their website, from sweet potato fries to an apple honey cocktail (yum). They also mention using it as a sports drink. Add in honey crystals to your water, add lemon, and you’ve got home made Gatorade. Honey contains natural electrolytes and sugar for that boost you need. I haven’t tried this but will once I start doing longer runs…stay tuned for my review on that!

You can find Nektar at most grocery stores, such as Whole Foods, Earth Fare and Shop Rite (for my NJ peeps). Use their store locator to find a store near you.

Giveaway

Lastly, they are hosting a giveaway that ends March 20. You can win 3 different cannisters of tea from Bare Tea, which makes organic whole leaf teas, 2 boxes of Nektar Honey Crystals and 2 mugs. Want to win? Enter below!
a Rafflecopter giveaway

I’m going to keep doing research on the honey bees because now I’m intrigued. I really had no idea. It’s funny how we can take simple things, like honey and honey bees, for granted and not even give them a second thought. 

Did you know about the honey bee decline?

What is one environmental issue you feel strongly about? For me it’s deforrestation. Sigh.

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03-10-2015

Compression Socks vs. Sleeves + Tiux Compression Socks Review

Disclaimer: I received compression socks from Tiux in exchange for this post. All opinions are my own.

In my search for running gear, I was searching for the perfect compression sock…and I might have found it, but more on that in a bit.

Through my searches, I couldn’t decide which is better: compression socks or sleeves? An issue I had with socks were that they would end up being too thin and I like to run in thicker socks. I didn’t think sleeves provided the same “squeeze” as full socks did. I had a pair of calf sleeves and after a few wears they were sliding off my calf mid-run. So I went to good ol’ trusty Google for the answer.

Tiux Compression Sock Review

Compression Socks

Do they even really work? Well, the jury’s out on that but everything I read says that while studies might not be conclusive, many runners believe compression socks help with recovery…so if you feel that it helps, why not wear them? I definitely feel like after long runs they help with blood flow and recovery, and I like to wear them for long runs sometimes too because of my shin issues. How can socks help during a run? Here’s a quote from Science of Running:

When we run, and strike the ground, those impact forces cause the muscle/tendon/lower leg to vibrate. It’s thought that this vibration could be one cause of the delayed muscle soreness that we’ve all experienced.

Again, this is still theory. But the article goes on to say this:

First, the idea that compression socks improve venous blood flow at rest has been substantiated (Byrne et al., 2001)…During exercise, the research is mixed. Ali et al. (2007) found that no performance or changes in physiological parameters occurred during or after a 10k run. However, they did find a reduction in muscle soreness, pointing to the muscle vibration and recovery aspects of socks. Contrasting these results, Kremmier et al. (2009) found improved performance and an improved lactate threshold when wearing compression socks while running. Similarly, two separate studies found improved 5k performance and improved running economy (Chatard et al., 1998 & Bringard et al., 2006). The study by Bringard et al. (2006) is particularly interesting. They found improved economy at 3 different speeds, but it was most substantial at the middle speed (12km/hr).

So, who knows, but hey, if Shalane Flanagan and Meb are wearing it then it must make you super fast right? ;)

Shalane Flanagan
Compression socks (obviously) cover your feet too as opposed to just your calves. The benefit is that you’re getting full leg + foot compression which keeps blood from pooling in your lower extremities and helps blood flow throughout. Compression technology has been proven to limit swelling.

Here’s a tip from Fleet Feet:

If you are going to be using the product exclusively for recovery, we recommend going with a sock. The sock will apply graduated pressure to the foot and ankle to pump blood back towards the heart.

Compression Sleeves

What about the benefits of sleeves? Well here are a few:

  • You can wear your own socks for a race.
  • If you have shin splints and want to wear compression during warm weather you can wear sleeves and sandals.
  • Easier to put on and take off.

One thing that kind of made me nervous about sleeves is this article I found by someone who owns a running store. He discusses why he won’t sell sleeves in his store, because of the dangers of deep vein thrombosis (DVT). He basically says that since the sleeve cuts off at the ankle, your ankles and feet will end up swelling, which could lead to a DVT, especially if you’re at risk for clot issues to begin with. Here’s what he says:

For a period of time, maybe up to a day after a long, hard workout, runners are at greater risk of DVT than the general population – maybe as high as the elderly population.  When combined with other DVT risk factors such flying in a plane, dehydration, using birth control pills, or an injury that causes swelling or internal bleeding, the risk for DVT multiplies.

I don’t mean to scare anyone but just putting out all the information I found. After I read that I decided to stick to full socks…plus, like I mentioned above, sleeves just didn’t feel as tight to me.

Whether or not compression socks are effective for some because of the placebo effect…who knows…but I love my compression socks! Here’s one last tip from Competitor: 

For athletes to get the full benefit, the compression needs to be graduated (tighter at the ankle and decreasing to the hip), fit the individual, and have 22 – 32 mmHg of pressure.”

So with that, let’s jump into my review!

Tiux Compression Socks

Tiux was kind enough to send me their socks to try out. Once I opened the package I knew I’d love them. A bit thicker than others and so soft!

Here are some features of these socks:

tiux socks
So how are they different than other companies? They’re a start-up that will focus on selling their product solely online, as opposed to brick and mortar stores. They “break away from the traditional retail model by eliminating wholesalers and distributors” which allows them to sell their socks at a fair price. Here’s how they explain it (better than I can):

tiux socks2
Pretty awesome right? Although they’re not available yet, you can pre-order them now and I believe they will be up and running in April. I really want their hot pink socks!

Verdict

So let’s get into my thoughts. As I mentioned, I liked that these were thicker socks. I also felt like they were a bit easier to put on and take off. They’re also labeled LEFT and RIGHT, which I like because it means each sock is specifically tailored to each foot/leg as opposed to a generic sock, if that makes sense.

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Here’s how they stack up against other compression socks:

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I have never tried any of those, but I will say this – I have a couple pairs of PRO Compression I have not been a fan. I know this might go against the popular belief and I WANTED to like them because I love their patterns and colors, but they were just too thin for me. Also, for all your short peeps like me, Tiux’s socks are the perfect length. With other socks I’ve had to roll them down because they’d go over my knee. #shortpeopleproblems

I believe Tiux will be a big competitor in the compression sock industry for runners. They might be a start-up but their socks are high quality and comfortable. 

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Their Tiux rep told me they are working on an ambassador program, which I’m very interested in. I’m not lying when I say I love these socks and I’m glad I stumbled across them through a fellow Fitfluential member.

tiux compression socks

Oh and they also match my shoes so that’s pretty cool ;)

One last thing – who doesn’t love a company that gives back? Tiux has partnered with Mines Advisory Group and makes this promise:

We will donate 1% of our revenue to help save lives and protect communities from landmines, unexploded ordnance (UXO) and other weapons remaining after conflict. This means that 1% of every purchase will go towards providing a safe and secure future for men, women and children affected by violence and conflict.

Please head over to their website and learn more about them! If you wear compression socks, I highly suggest you try these out. If you don’t wear compression socks, try a pair and see how you like them during a run or after. 

Do you wear compression socks? During or after a run?

Do you have a favorite brand?

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09-22-2014

What’s In My Gym Bag?

Disclaimer: This post was sponsored by HerCampus and Affinitas. All opinions are my own.

Now that I work two shifts, one in the office and one as a cross country coach, I need to get all my gym stuff ready in the morning and bring it with me. I go directly to the gym or for a run after work.

Here’s a peek into what I have in my gym bag at the moment:

gym bag

 

Side note: I love my hair brush that says “Is it Friday yet?” No really….is it? :-P

Anyway, here are the items that are always in my bag starting from top left:

  • Sports bra
  • Small towel 
  • Workout top
  • Workout shorts
  • FlipBelt for my runs
  • Hair brush
  • Deodorant
  • Change of clothes for after my shower

I can’t even begin to tell you how many times I’ve meant to shower at the gym and forget something, like my towel or underwear…ugh the worst.

Well, that’s where Cupcake Panties come in handy!

What? Cupcake Panties? Yes you heard me right. Now, if you’re like me, you may have immediately thought these were some sort of edible underwear or something. They’re not. They’re underwear that come in a little cupcake packaging, which makes it the perfect on-the-go item to carry in your gym bag or purses!

It’s discreet and you’ll never have that embarrassing moment of grabbing something out of your bag and accidentally pulling your underwear out as well.

cupcake panties

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I really do love the packaging, and the underwear is super cute too! Cupcake Panties come in lacy hipster and lacy thongs, so you can keep them in your bag and always be prepared.

cupcake panties

cupcake panties

I personally love these because, as I mentioned above, I have pulled stuff out of my bag before and had my underwear come out too. This also happens probably because sometimes I pack my gym clothes in my normal bag, but still. The cupcake packaging is cute and very useful! I plan on keeping these in my gym bag so I’m prepared next time I need to shower at the gym.

Hey College Students!! Win a $1,000 scholarship. Find the full instructions here. It’s super easy to enter:

Cupcake Panty $1000 Scholarship and “Super Bakers Dozen”

Prize is $1000, plus a “Super Bakers Dozen” (16) Cupcake Panty

Only three steps to enter:

1) Follow Affinitas on social media: FB, Twitter, Instagram

  • FB: facebook.com/AffinitasIntimates
  • Twitter: @AffinitasIntima
  • Instagram: @Affinitas

2) Post a pic of your acceptance letter next to your congratulatory cupcake

3) Tag Affinitas and hashtag #wearacupcake

Good luck if you decide to enter!

Have you ever had any embarrassing gym moments or forgotten things in your gym bag? I seem to always forget my towel!

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09-19-2014

Art Of Strength New Jersey Class Review

Disclaimer: I was provided a free class through Sweat Pink. All opinions are my own.

Earlier this month, I took a class at a fitness studio called Art of Strength in Warren, NJ. So fellow New Jersey-ans…take note!

Someone from Sweat Pink reached out to me to see if I’d want to review a class here. It was funny and coincidental because the owners actually live in my home town. I agreed and was excited for a bootcamp/interval type workout, since I haven’t done one in a long time.

I honestly had no idea what to expect. But I kinda like going into classes and not knowing what we’ll be doing. Once I got there I found out the class I was taking was called ROPA, which stands for Be Resilient, Outstanding & Always Perform with Attitude. Love it! Here’s a description of the class from their website:

The R.O.P.A. Fusion experience consists of a 45 minute workout and is comprised of three vital pieces of equipment that make up the core of the program – ropes, bandits loops (also known as the “Suspension Training System”) and body weight drills.

I really liked the open layout and feel of the studio. I’ve been to studios where you just feel cramped or there is equipment everywhere. You could tell we would have room to move around and not get in anyone’s way.

Art Of Strength NJ

Art of Strength NJ
Check out all those ropes! When I saw those I was super excited to use them. I used to do rope workouts when I worked at my old personal training studio – such a great cardio and strength exercise.

The workout itself was tough!! I figured I’d be in decent enough cardio shape from running but I was wrong. I was sweating bullets.

We would do 20 seconds of an exercises followed by 10 seconds of rest, then repeat that 4 times before switching to a new exercise.

Exercises included burpees (where 20 seconds seemed like an ETERNITY), squats and lunges with the ropes, cardio with the ropes, pushups, core work and more. Did I mention I really liked the ropes exercises? ;)

Some of the rope exercises we did were:

  • Rope slams
  • Rope rainbows (I’m making names up because no clue what they’re actually called): You swing the ropes up and over your head and down.
  • Rope rainbows with a punch. Same as above but you add in a punch (similar to a row motion).
  • Squat jumps holding the ropes that were hanging from the ceiling. We used the rope to support ourselves.
  • Bulgarian split squats with our foot in the rope. This was really hard, I have awful balance.
  • Mountain climbers either supported by the rope or with your feet in rope loops.

I was SO SORE the next day. My glutes were on fire. Those split squats with your foot in the rope loop were no joke.

Valerie, the owner, explained to me the logic behind rope workouts. Basically, you’re doing movements that you do in every day life, also called “functional movement.” You’re lifting the rope up over head, slamming it down, twisting your core…all things you probably experience on a daily basis somehow. You’re moving your body in all different planes of motion as opposed to just one. This is what made me so sore!

I really loved this workout and will be back again. I think that a class like this will definitely benefit runners. As runners, we only really move in one plane of motion (forward), so adding in a ROPA class will help you train a different way, and also help keep you from hitting the dreaded plateau.

For more information about Art of Strength and the various classes they have, visit their website. And let me know if you decide to try it out! Here’s a group pic of us after the class (thank goodness I brought a towel for all that sweat!) :

ropa class nj

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09-01-2014

Philly Half Marathon Training Week 5 + FlipBelt Review

I actually completed all my runs this week! I had been slacking the previous weeks and set a goal to get serious this past week. I missed 1 XT and 1 lifting session, but the runs are the most important right now.

Monday: 3 mile easy run. This was tough. It was so hot and I haven’t been running at all in the heat. At mile 2 I was walking and told my mom we should just do fartleks to finish up, that way we could take walk breaks.

Tuesday: 3 mile run. Still hot out but felt better on this run. We ran 3 miles to the gym and did some lifting afterwards which consisted of:

  • Leg press
  • Leg curl
  • Dumbbell bench press
  • Single arm row
  • Bicep curls
  • Tricep extensions
  • Back extensions

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Wednesday: Rest day!

Thursday: 3 mile run. Felt awesome! First time we’ve ran an easy run in the 10s. It was also cooler out which got me so excited for fall.

Friday: Was supposed to run but moved it to Saturday. So technically should have done XT today but was out all day running errands with my mom so it didn’t happen.

Saturday: Sigh…shins were hurting. Ran in the morning, but only did 2.5 miles which felt like a struggle. At least I had a great view!

lake

Sunday: THE FIRST TIME I HAVE EVER FALLEN WHILE RUNNING. Which is why I only did 4.5 miles instead of 5. We decided to do our run on a local trail. At mile 4.5 I tripped over some rock or something and ate it. It’s so weird because the whole way I was watching my footing. I was honestly a little scared because I looked at my elbow and it had a huge bump on it immediately. Thankfully just a few cuts and bruises which are now pretty sore but it’s fine. Besides that it was a pretty scenic (and tough) run!

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Overall a good week of training and getting back into the swing of things. Shins are a bit sore but that’s expected. Ready to crush this upcoming week!

One last thing…you need to read this review of the FlipBelt. People…if you run, you need this. I love it.

I actually have been wanting to try FlipBelt for a while, but since I already had a SPIbelt, I was waiting until that broke or something to buy another type of belt. I was asked to review FlipBelt and of course said yes!

Not gonna lie – I like FlipBelt better than SPIbelt (and so did my mom who also tried it on a run). The only downside (if you can even call it that), is that you don’t clip it on like a belt, you have to step into it and pull it up (like pants). That’s really the only thing I can think of. I ordered the Aqua FlipBelt in a size Medium.

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It has pockets all around the belt which means it can hold a bunch of stuff. I ran with my phone (Galaxy S4 which is huge) and key. You could easily fit more in it, like ID, money, gels, etc.

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Took pictures with my phone, so the iPhone is shown here in the pocket. All the pockets are connected too, so if you put it in one pocket, you are able to reach in from the other side to get it out too (like a hoodie/sweatshirt pocket).

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Obviously didn’t run with my key hanging out like that but wanted to show the pocket ;) There is also a key hook inside if you want to hook your key onto something.

I also really liked that my phone didn’t bounce around while I was running. That happens sometimes with the SPIbelt, mainly because my phone is too big for it.

This is great for things besides running too. I fully intend to take it to the gym so I can have my music while lifting. No more bulky arm bands or putting your phone into your sweaty waistband (or is that just me?). I’m sure this would be convenient for traveling as well. I love the look of it and how it looks just like it could be your pants waistband. They come in all different colors too.

This is how much I loved FlipBelt!

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My mom is not the best at taking action photos so that’s the best we got…no really, look at how many takes this took:

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Anyway, if you want to order a FlipBelt, now’s your chance! They are offering my readers a 10% discount on purchases with the code Sweat33 until Sept. 7.

 
Tweet: Run, play, explore with #FlipBelt! Use the code sweat33 for 10% OFF your entire purchase! http://ctt.ec/9fPaF+ @flipbelt @fitapproach

Disclaimer: I was provided with a FlipBelt; all opinions are my own.

Do you use a belt or something similar while running?

What do you use to carry gels/water on long runs? I’m considering trying out a CamelBak eventually?

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06-24-2014

21 Day Fix Review

So a few weeks ago I posted about being unhappy with myself. I was not happy that I had gained weight, and even less happy that I seemingly lost all motivation to eat healthy or exercise at the intensity that I used to.

During this time, my mom and I had been seeing more and more about 21 Day Fix by BeachBody.

Autumn-Calabrese

I looked up reviews and others who had tried it had good things to say about the program. I wanted something to hold me accountable and get me back on track with my nutrition.

I’ve heard a lot of great things about BeachBody in general, so I was excited to try this. Of course, there were some nay sayers who said “Why don’t you just count your calories/macros” but this seemed much simpler especially for someone who hates counting calories.

I didn’t write about it, and specifically said I’d wait until after I finished the program to document my experience. I wanted to do it on my own and see whether I truly liked it or not before talking about it on here.

PROGRAM OUTLINE

So the program comes with several different containers as well as 2 workout DVDs with 4-5 workouts on each.

What are the containers for? For portioning out your food. I have had major issues with portion control in the past, even while trying to eat healthy. You can easily eat too much “good fat” in a day without even realizing (hello cheese and hummus).

21-day-fix-boxesSource

But you can easily NOT be eating enough veggies and protein as well. I noticed that once I started this program I was eating way more vegetables than I normally do.

In the handbook, there is a calorie calculator depending on how much you weigh. I know those aren’t the most accurate…so I was a bit skeptical of this, but ate in my calorie range (around 1,500 calories) to test it out. With each calorie range, you are given how many of each container you can eat. I was able to eat 3 veggies, 3 fruit, 4 proteins, 1 healthy fats/cheese, 1 seeds, 1 oil, and 2 carbs.

On days that I did two workouts (like running + one of the workout DVDs) I did let myself have another carb or some extra fruit. Occasionally I did eat extra fruit because I’d get hungry after dinner. Fruit won’t kill you ;)

I also love that 3 days a week you can swap out a carb container for something like a glass of wine, or a cookie. It’s not restrictive. And even though I have a MAJOR sweet tooth, I actually didn’t use up many of those days. The first week I didn’t use any!

The book also comes with a few recipes to make your own healthy sweet treats. Like oatmeal cookies or double chocolate brownies. I tried the oatmeal cookies and my whole family loved them.

THE WORKOUTS

The plan comes with a workout DVD. They are pretty good workouts. Here they are:

  • Upper fix
  • Lower fix
  • Cardio fix
  • Dirty 30
  • Pilates fix
  • Yoga fix
  • 10 min. abs

They are pretty good workouts and only 30 minutes. Perfect. I did like the videos but some of them were not challenging enough for me. Sure I was sweating but I felt like I could get a better workout in on my own at the gym. So some days that’s what I did. I think the DVDs are good for those who need accountability when it comes to working out. Plus, it’s only 30 minutes so what is your excuse??

I will say the pilates one is hard! Who know leg circles could burn so much?

You only take about 10-15 second breaks which is another thing I like. Sometimes you go to the gym and don’t realize you’re taking way longer breaks than you should be if your goal is to burn calories. That definitely made it a tougher workout. My first workout was cardio fix and my mom and I were sore for days after that!

RESULTS

Okay so I have never posted progress pictures but wanted to show what you can do in 21 days with eating pretty clean. I’m too embarrassed to show my front view (maybe one day when my “after” pic is a 6 pack lol). Before starting this, I really did feel so bloated and heavy. Weeks of unhealthy eating/eating whatever you please will do that to you. Here’s my back progress pic:

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I’m not proud of this picture, and I have a long way to go to get back to where I used to be, but it’s progress!

I have felt more in control recently with food than in the past couple of months. This program really helped put me back on track, and control my portions better. It also helped that my mom did it with me, as well as my best friend. Accountability and a support group really help!

Speaking of support groups, if you’re planning on trying 21 Day Fix, definitely join a Facebook support group. I’ve found great recipes and tips through them. These are 2 groups that I am a part of.

FINAL THOUGHTS

I really liked this program. I’ll admit I was skeptical at first – especially because the containers look so small when you first get the program.

Pros:

  • Helps with portion control. You may be surprised by how much or how little you are eating of certain types of foods!
  • No calorie counting or macro counting.
  • A lot of freedom with what types of food to eat/recipes to create.
  • Not ridiculously strict – you’re allowed 3 “cheats” per week in exchange for a carb container.
  • Surprisingly fills you up (the amount of food you eat).
  • 30 minute workouts are perfect for busy people.
  • At-home workouts that only require a pair of weights or resistance band.
  • Helps with accountability with your food intake.

Cons

  • Workout DVDs may be less challenging for those who are experienced lifters.
  • Booklet does not say how many calories you should eat if you are running AND doing a workout DVD (or other type of workout).

And that’s really all I’ve got in terms of cons. I really loved it. One tip would be to not actually eat out of the containers. They’re not the sturdiest things in the world, so I’d just use them to measure and put my food in other containers if I needed to pack a lunch bag.

So there you have it folks…my 21 Day Fix review. I would definitely suggest it to anyone who is looking to get back on track with nutrition and also does not enjoy calorie counting/tracking. I really do hate that. Once the 21 days are up, they offer a maintenance calorie calculator so you can alter your intake (for maintenance) or you can continue if you still want to lose some weight/bodyfat.

I think that once the 21 days are up, you’ll also have a better idea of how to eat on your own. You won’t need to rely on the containers as much. That’s where I’m at right now! I’m still continuing the plan even though I’ve had a few treats since then. I’m traveling to Paraguay on Thursday so my goal is to eat healthy until then!

Okay, my long @$$ post is over now ;)

Please let me know if you have any questions at all! I’ll be happy to give you my thoughts on my experience.

Have you tried any BeachBody programs?

Do you count/track calories?

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06-03-2014

Raw Athletics: Natural Sports Cleaning Spray & Detergent

Disclaimer: I was provided with free product from Raw Athletics. All opinions are 100% my own. This post contains affiliate links.

I connected with Steve, the founder of Raw Athletics, last year and immediately knew he was onto something really awesome. Raw Athletics produces Vapor Fresh sports cleaning spray and laundry detergent. He came up with the idea while in college. He played hockey and couldn’t take the smelliness of his gear anymore. Has anyone ever smelled hockey gear? Let me tell you, it doesn’t smell pretty ;)

RAproducts

Let’s start with the sports detergent…

“But wait, doesn’t that already exist?”

Yeah sure it does, but let me tell you why this stuff is different:

  • Free of chemicals that will destroy your performance fabrics.
  • Free of chemicals that will destroy the environment.
  • Powdered detergent instead of a liquid detergent.
  • Strong concentration of specific cleaning enzymes.
  • Formulated for a cold-water wash.

Their detergent is not scented, which means the smell in your laundry isn’t just being covered up, it’s actually being taken out. Many performance apparel companies, like Nike, even recommend you wash your workout clothes with powdered detergent as opposed to liquid. If you’re interested in reading more about how to wash specific brands, Raw Athletics has listed how the popular brands, such as Nike and lululemon, recommend you wash their clothes (scroll to FAQ section).

They recently re-designed their product labels!

They recently re-designed their product labels!

Also, if you notice your clothes are still stinky no matter how many times you’ve washed them, it could be because you’re using regular detergent. From the Raw Athletics website:

Fabric softeners, optical brighteners and fragrances can leave a fine film on your fabrics which can trap odor-causing bacteria and body oils, causing those lingering odors and the diminished wicking capabilities.

I totally had this problem before I started using their products. Some of my workout tops smelled awful even after washing them. I had to throw a few out due to the smell.

Here’s a handy chart comparing Vapor Fresh to other competitors:

rawathletics

 SPORTS SPRAY

The sports cleaning spray helps to eliminate odors from sports gear such as pads, equipment and sneakers. It has no artificial fragrances, no chlorine, no ammonia, and it’s non-irritating/non-toxic. So what’s the difference with this and Febreze?

Here’s what Raw Athletics has to say (they will do a better job of explaining than I will):

Other sports cleaning sprays either use harsh ammonia or chlorine-based disinfectants to clean the sports equipment, or they simply use artificial fragrances to attempt to cover up the nasty odors. Unfortunately both of these options have drawbacks– harsh disinfectants were not meant to come in contact with skin and typically cause some sort of skin discomfort when exposed, and artificial fragrances only mask the problem and wear off quickly. Vapor Fresh® Sports Cleaning Spray harnesses the power of essential oils — oil extracts from specific species of plants– which have been shown to have antimicrobial properties and also have a naturally-occuring refreshing scent.

Or if you’re more of a visual person:

RAspray

Again, you don’t want artificial fragrances just covering up the smell and making it worse! This stuff is great for when you need to deodorize on the go. I love using it on my gym bags because they obviously get a little dank from putting sweaty or wet clothes in there. You can find specific information on how to use the spray for different things (like pads, yoga mats, etc.) here.

Side note: Did you know “kids these days” use the word “dank” when describing things that are “cool?” Like, “that’s so dank!” Oh the things you learn with younger siblings…

Anyway, whether you get the spray or detergent, this stuff is great AND affordable. FYI, Vapor Fresh detergent yields 36 regular loads, or 72 HE loads.

The detergent is $21.99 and the spray is $11.99.

I have no problem investing in things that related to running or fitness, since it is something I’m doing on a daily basis. About 95% of my laundry is sports related…anyone else?

I love these products, and am excited to say that I will be helping them with their social media presence as well! So make sure to follow Raw Athletics on Twitter and Facebook for future contests and promotions :)

If you have any questions about the product please feel free to leave a comment below! I think these are both great products for those who are active and sometimes suffer from stinky gym clothes ;)

How often do you wash your gym clothes? Do you use special detergent?

What percentage of your laundry is gym/running related?

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05-29-2014

Interview With Dear Kate

I had the opportunity to review Dear Kate underwear a month or so ago, and I loved them. If you’re unfamiliar with Dear Kate, definitely check out my review! Dear Kate redefined underwear with their patent-pending Underlux blend of fabric that is wicking, stain-releasing, and leak-resistant.

Recently, I received an email from them inviting me to their Kickstarter launch party this week. Sadly, I can’t make it. Launch party for what you ask? Well, they are coming out with yoga pants!

The campaign revolves around #GOCOMMANDO since they are creating yoga pants using the same revolutionary material their underwear uses. Meaning, you don’t need to wear underwear under yoga pants and worry about panty lines. In my last Dear Kate post, a few readers told me they go commando in workout gear…so this is perfect for you!

Here is what the pants will look like:

dear kate yoga pants

 

I wanted to take the time to do a quick interview with Dear Kate’s marketing guru, Jenna Steckel. I think this is an amazing product, and they have had some great collaborations, such as one with Believe I Am. Keep your eye on them!

Can you give us a little background on Dear Kate and how you got started? What was your inspiration for creating this product for women?

Julie Sygiel, 26, had the idea for Dear Kate while in an entrepreneurship class in college. A chemical engineering student and mega feminist, she wanted to find a way to combine those interests. In her dorm’s bathroom, she’d see women scrubbing, then inevitably throwing out, their period-stained underwear every month, and she knew there had to be a better way. So for her final project for the course, she proposed a new type of underwear that would provide women with the support their bodies need. She spent the two years after graduation making that vision a reality. She worked with with fabric mills, asked everyone she knew to test out prototypes, and dove into the world of entrepreneurship. What she came up with is underwear that is silky soft and unbelievably comfortable, with a patent-pending blend of fabrics that is stain-releasing, machine washable, wicking, and protects like a pantiliner without plastic inserts or bulk, making them leak-proof for up to three teaspoons of liquid.

Who are the Dear Kate panties perfect for?

Dear Kates are perfect for every stage in a woman’s life cycle: from a girl’s first period when she wants to be completely secure, to every period after that when you just don’t want to deal with it, to new moms experiencing changes in their bodies, to working out, or any day you just want to feel invincible.

Can you tell us about your current Kickstarter campaign? Why did you decide to make yoga pants as well?

 The Kickstarter for our new yoga pants actually launched today!

Dear Kate has become a cult favorite among professional athletes and fitness-conscious women, who tell us how much they appreciate their ability to wick sweat and prevent workout leaks. It was a natural transition to create an expanded line of fitness apparel. When customers asked when Dear Kate would expand its line to include more fitness apparel, we asked what they most wanted. The response was an unequivocal “yoga pants!”

It makes perfect sense: comfortable, intimate, athletic, versatile, and stylish, yoga pants have become a staple of both performance and street wear. But they’re not quite perfect yet, so we set about to do for yoga pants what we had done to underwear. We began by asking our customers and friends what they hated, loved, and wished for in their yoga pants. Turns out we hit a nerve, because over 900 women responded. Many felt so passionately that an online survey wasn’t enough, so Julie took calls from and met up with women who saw the chance to finally get the pair they had always imagined. Meanwhile, Julie tried out 70 of the leading yoga pants on the market, experiencing firsthand the assets and woes of each style.

We took this input to the drawing board, designing a fit and style sure to fit and flatter the wide range of women’s real bodies. We tested fabrics until we found one that is solid yet light, soft, and guaranteed see-through proof. We even sent it to an industrial pilling machine to make sure it doesn’t pill.

Julie tried out each prototype on the yoga mat and in the streets until she found the pair she never wanted to take off. With a small inset of Dear Kate’s patent pending Underlux fabric, these pants offer the protection of Dear Kate’s underwear technology while allowing you to go commando. No VPL (Visible Panty Lines), no bunching or riding up, and no stress over winging it or feeling pressure to wear thongs. Just comfort and freedom of movement.

What else is in store for Dear Kate in the future?

We’re expanding more into athletic wear, as our Believe I Am collection with Olympic runner Ro McGettigan and our Hazel sport collection have become customer favorites. The yoga pants are the first step in this new direction! On the underwear front, we have an exciting guest artist designed collection coming up this summer, and a new line of lacy favorites launching soon as well. We definitely envision Dear Kate as a company that’s reimagining a woman’s entire wardrobe, piece by piece, and Julie is excited to hit the lab to get to focus more on new product development.

What do you think about water-resistant undies and pants?

Do you go commando during workouts & runs?

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04-03-2014

Dear Kate Underwear Review

Disclaimer: Dear Kate provided me with product to review for this post. All opinions are 100% my own.

Attention males: You probably will want to skip this post :) Or not, if you’re looking for a good gift for a lady friend…

I found Dear Kate through another blogger, and was instantly intrigued. I’m sure I can’t explain this as well as they can, so here is the description from their website:

Recognizing that most lingerie cannot keep up with a woman’s body, chemical engineer Julie Sygiel knew there had to be a better alternative to “period panties” and embarrassing mishaps.  So she hit the lab and developed the silky-soft, patent-pending fabric behind each pair of Dear Kates.  Made in NYC, each pair is wicking, stain releasing, and leak-resistant—preparing you for everything from cardio to just another day hanging out with aunt flo.

The founder, Julie, came up with this idea in a college entrepreneurship class. How awesome is that? As an entrepreneur myself, I love her story and think it’s amazing when someone has an idea and makes it happen.

dearkatelogo

What intrigued me about the underwear was that it was waterproof…which would be perfect for running and working out. As I have mentioned before, I sweat a ton. They actually also make a sports line of underwear for athletes as well.

DKxBIA_Fall_2013_Lookbook

Anyway, I wanted to try a pair because of how much I sweat. During workouts (and after obviously), my underwear is usually pretty sweaty…TMI I know, but I figure I need to write about this to properly explain why I love Dear Kates :)

As mentioned in the description, they are also great for that “time of the month” when you might have an accident. How many times has that happened to you? Blegh…the worst.

Dear Kate was generous enough to send me the “Amelia” and the “Ella.” They were out of the “hipster” style, so they sent me “full” and I was kind of nervous about that. I didn’t want to look like I was wearing granny panties or anything!

dear kate ella

The Ella

dearkateamelia

The Amelia

When I opened the package, I loved the silky feel of the underwear. Random side note: I’m calling it underwear because I hate the word panty….anyone else?

Anyway, here is their fabric content breakdown:

Body: 76% Nylon, 24% Lycra.  Lining: 100% Micropolyester. Lace: 81% Nylon, 19% Spandex

I decided to try them out at my most recent 5K. I wanted to test out the water resistance, but also whether they were comfortable or not. Sometimes underwear in tight, spandex shorts rides up or give you wedgies. No good.

dear kate ella

They felt silky smooth when I put them on, and when I put on my spandex shorts, they stayed put. My shorts rolled right on! Has anyone else had the experience of putting on spandex and your underwear rolling all up in a bunch? It happens to me more often than not because I don’t wear thongs, so I have to deal with all that material. But yeah, the Dear Kates stayed put!

As I said earlier, I was sent the “full” so it did have a higher waistband. But I actually liked it because it didn’t dig into your stomach.

dearkatecloseup

During the race, I didn’t even notice them. Not once did I have to pick a wedgie, like I have with certain underwear in the past. Sorry, I love Victoria’s Secret PINK underwear, but some are just not great for racing!

After my workouts, my underwear is usually pretty sweat…attractive I know. These really did do what they say they would, in terms of being leak resistant. They weren’t wet at all. After my race, I had to keep running to my car in order to drive 1.5 hours to my brother’s soccer game. I was totally comfortable sitting in the car, as opposed to what would have happened had I been wearing cotton underwear.

I really loved the Ella!

I really loved the Ella!

All in all, if you’re active and have my sweating issue, or if you have had your fair share of “leaks” during that time of the month, then you’d love these. They are stylish while also being extremely practical. Here are my pros and cons:

PROS

  • A lot of different styles and patterns
  • Leak resistant and stain releasing
  • Very comfortable and smooth material
  • No wedgies or riding up while you exercise
  • Full coverage (if you get the styles I got at least), so no panty lines in tight shorts or pants

CONS

  • The plain color, like the black one I pictured, can look kind of “granny panty-ish” but other styles such as the Ella are really cute.
  • More expensive than other underwear, but I think it’s worth it if you want a higher-end, comfortable panty (ugh, had to use it here), that is also extremely useful to have.

As you can see, I think the pros outweigh the cons here. Definitely check out their website to read more about the technology they use, and look through their styles!

And guess what? Thanks to Dear Kate, you all can get a 25% discount through April 30th! Just use the code ‘reachyourpeak’ upon checkout.

What do you think of leak resistant underwear? Which style do you like?

Do you sweat a ton like me?

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