A Love Story

Don’t worry, I’m not going to get all lovey dovey and sentimental on you guys. This love story isn’t about two people. It’s the simple tale of a girl (me, #duh) and her running shoes (Newton Running).

In the Beginning – High school was all about New Balance and Asics. In college, Nike staged an invasion, first with the LunarGlide, then with the Nike Free. I have no complaints about any of my past shoes, in fact, I still prefer the dynamic movement of the Free for the gym.

The Great Awakening – A friend (we’ll call him Princess) took me to Newton Running in Boulder, CO and I was fit to a shoe based on my gait. I struggled a bit because the shoe was light and airy and felt so natural. But it was… ummmmm…. freakin’ ugly, to put it nicely. But I gave it a try (luckily, Newton has put a little more effort into the aesthetic of their newer shoes).

You Complete Me – Six years, 1,817 miles, and eight shoes later and I am as in love today as I ever have been. My preferred shoe is the Distance Elite, which is minimalist and best for me because I pronate and run very high on the balls of my feet.

QUIZ: Find your Newton Running Shoe

Lug Life: The Science Behind the World’s Most Responsive Running Shoe – The true secret behind Newtons are the four to five lugs under the balls of your feet. These lugs do two things:

  • Action/Reaction™ Technology – Creates a responsive cushioning for quicker bounce-back. With a standard running shoe, your power is absorbed by the foam-core sole, but with Newtons you are boosted with each step.
  • % Grade – Many popular running shoes have a heel-to-toe drop of  12mm, which is an 8% grade (for reference, 8% is the grade at which truckers are given a warning about steep roads ahead). That’s crazy talk! This slope changes your running gait and puts added pressure on unnecessary parts of your leg and foot. Newton lugs help to level you out, creating a more natural gait with anywhere from a 1.3% to 3.3% grade. Much better! See below for reference of popular “flat” or minimalist running shoes that are anything but.

Happily Ever After – Wether you’re a heel-to-toe runner, or naturally stay on the balls of your feet, Newton Running shoes will help improve and power your stride. No more calf tightness, no more achilles pain, just a boost of energy with every step and a whole new view on running. Woo hoo!

READ: Taking my Newtons on the Road

How Do Others Stack Up, Literally – Here is the heel-to-toe drop and grade of some top runners in the market (I specifically looked at women’s, but typically men’s are the same or similar).

  • Newton Distance Elite – 2mm/1.3%
  • Hoka One One Clayton – 4mm/2.6%
  • Topo Athletic Ultrafly – 5mm/3.3%
  • New Balance Vazee Pace v2 – 6mm/4%
  • Asics FuzeX Lyte – 8mm/5.3%
  • Nike Lunarglide 8 – 9.5mm/6.3%
  • Brooks Ghost 9 – 12mm/8%

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Apple Watch & Nike+

bpwatchFor those of you who have spoken to me recently, you probably know that I have been exercising an incredible amount of control on NOT buying an Apple Watch. I’ve mostly been holding off because I have no REAL need for a $300 tether to my iPhone. But…I caved.

The fitness-focused aspects of the Apple Watch coupled with a seamless connection to my iPhone were enough to sway me. I’ll admit, however, that running with the Apple Watch and my preferred app (Nike+ Running) was not as perfect as I had hoped. But I’ll share the good, the bad and the settings for success that I found while using Nike+ with the Apple Watch.

bpwatch2.JPGThe Bad
You still need to take your iPhone with you. Wearing the watch does not free you from the phone because it is not a GPS device and it relies entirely on the iPhone for pace, distance and route.

The Good
It did allow me to put the phone in my FlipBelt for the duration of my run while giving me a quicker way to glance at my stats. The app interface on the watch allows you to see your distance, pace, route and music.

Settings for Success

  • On the Phone – Make sure you’ve enabled Nike+ to be visible on the watch
  • On the Phone – Set the watch’s Wake Screen as “resume last activity.” This will ensure you do not have to push any buttons on the watch, while running, to check the stats
  • On the Phone – Set your preferred Nike+ settings through the app on your phone, not on the watch
  • On the Phone – Set the Nike+ app to start and stop runs automatically so that you do not need to push buttons on either the watch or phone during your runs
  • On the Watch – Pair bluetooth headphones with your watch in order to listen to music on your runs

While it is not perfect, I am very happy with my watch thus far, and look forward to having two free hands on all of my runs from now on.

Happy training, beautiful people.

loveB

Gear Review: Nike Epic Lux Tights

ryan-goslingYou’ve all heard the jokes about women and their “yoga pants as real pants.” Well, I am a culprit of wearing my running tights even when I am not running. Currently, I am sitting in the middle seat of a four-hour flight, and the one thing that isn’t driving me completely insane…my running tights.

So I figured this was a good time to write a quick review about a new line of Nike tights that I found in the past year. The Nike Epic Lux are miracle pants in more ways than one:

  • Muffin top, be gone! – Because of the thick waistband, these pants never cause any muffin top.
  • Nobody needs to see your ASSets! – The thick and quality material means that these pants are never see-through.
  • So many options! – The pants come in tights, crops and capris. In addition to three lengths, they also come out with TONS of awesome designs and colors (see pic below) to spruce up your workout wardrobe.
  • One size always fits! – One of my biggest pet peeves is when you buy multiple colors of the same article of clothing and each fits different. I’ve got 2 capris, 1 crop and 2 full-length tights in the Epic Lux and each fits PERFECTLY.
  • You move, they don’t! – No matter what activity I am doing, running, lunges, planks, dead lifts. These tights stay in place. They don’t twist, or droop down. I’m never at risk for plumber crack or even worse, the ol’ camel toe.

EpicLuxLeapAs with all Nike products, the Epic Lux can be a bit pricey. They range from $95 to $110. Nike’s running tight range is $50 to $150. Although, if you’re a savvy bargain shopper, they’re occasionally on sale at places like Nordstrom Rack, TJ Maxx and even right on nike.com. But let’s compare them to a few other pricey alternatives:

  • Lululemon Running Tights – $98 to $298. $298?!?! You kidding me??
  • Under Armour Running Tights – $45 to $180.
  • Brooks Running Tights – $85 and $165
  • Pearl Izumi Running Tights – $65 and $145.
  • CW-X Running Tights – $65 to $200.

What it comes down to is loving what you’re wearing. The comfort, the performance and of course, the way it hugs your curves. Happy shopping, y’all!

loveB

Review: Nike Women’s 21 Days of Better For It

Hi friends (and total strangers)! About 21 days ago, I told you that I was going to take on Nike Women’s 21 Days of #BetterForIt. Now, I’ve gotta be honest here, I did most of the workouts but during that 21 day period I went on a five day vacation and we had a three-foot blizzard that isolated me in my home for four days. Needless to say, there were some interruptions, but I am here to report back to you all now that I’m finished!

BIG PICTURE:

Each morning, I awoke to reminder message in my iPhone. The reminder took me directly to that day’s workout plan. So seamless! The program gave me a balanced workout that was thoughtfully prepared and included stretching and rest days. Those Nike folks must know a thing or two about fitness.

THESE ARE A FEW OF MY FAVORITE THINGS:

200m sprints: It’s been years since I had a proper track workout and it felt amazing to stretch out my legs with these 200 meter sprints.

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Stretching before sprinting = smart.

Drop Squats: Start in the standing position, drop down to a squat touching one hand to the floor while the other stretches out behind you. Jump back up. I love squats, nuff said.

Lateral bear crawls: This exercise isn’t as difficult, coordination-wise, as it sounds. But it kicks your butt (and back, and core, and hips)!

FullBearCrawls
Bear crawls are the bees’ knees. Or something like that.

Chest press with dead bug: The dead bug may make you look silly in the gym. But combine it with a couple dumbbells and you’ve got yourself a hard-working move.chestpressdeadbug.png

Rear foot elevated single leg squat: Put your back leg up on a box or curb, it doesn’t need to be high. Squat down, similar to a lunge and feel the burrnnnnn!

Diagonal bounds: I’ve said it before, I’ll say it again. These little jumps (or slides, if you have the proper equipment) are a daily must.

diagonalbounds
Leaps and bounds!

AND YET:

As with any workout, there were a few things I avoided. Burpees, for instance. I fail to see the true benefit of burpees. Without perfect form, you’re much more likely to hurt yourself than do any real good. Burpees = the plague. Keep back! Another activity that I was cautious with was sprinting at the track (surprisingly, this was also my favorite activity). But I am 31, and about 12 years past my last track workout, so in the early morning cold temps, I was pretty nervous about pulling something while trying to prove that I was once a good sprinter.

All in all, I’d say that Nike’s 21 Days of #BetterForIt was a success. I learned a ton of new activities to add to my workout regime, and there was something motivating and exciting about having a little personal trainer in your phone that wakes you up with new workouts each day.

If anybody is interested in doing the 21 day routine, I’ve got all of the workouts saved and would more than happy to send you the details. Comment below if you would like me to share them!

LOVE YOU ALL!
loveB

 

 

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Nike Women’s 21 Days of Better For It

If you do not follow Nike or Nike Women on social media, then you may not be aware of 21 Days of Better For It. I stumbled upon it on Nike Women’s Instagram yesterday, and started my workout plan this morning! There are a few things that make this effort truly awesome:

MirrorSelfie_NikeLogo
First day of 21 Days of Better For It
  • No Purchase Necessary: You may complain that Nike prices break the bank, but their series of workout apps and programs like this one are 100% free!
  • Tailored for a Better Fit: The initiative, which lives on nike.com, asks users a series of questions which lead them to the best workout plan for their fitness level.
  • Seamless Integration to Your Smartphone: Once your plan is selected, 21 days of workouts are loaded to your calendar with reminders for you. The workouts range from sprints to yoga to weight circuits and, when necessary, links you to Nike Training Club and Nike+ Running apps. It also helps design workout playlists through Spotify. The entire process is quick, simple, and leaves little room for excuses.
  • A Learning Process: I think the part about this program that I am most excited about is that I will learn a few new workouts or movements. For those who are new to regular workouts, you will learn so much in 21 days and be able to build off of those workouts once the program is over.

I am off to take on the plan that Nike built for me, and I encourage you to do it too. I’ll follow up with a blog post at the end of the 21 days and let you know just how much better I am for it!
loveB

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Nike21DaysOfBetterForIt

7 Holiday Workouts

If you’re anything like me, the holidays are a time to eat as if the calories don’t count. Another serving of cheesy rolls? Yes, please! More wine? Duh! Donuts or cinnamon rolls? Both, por favor! But that sort of carefree eating can start to bring you down, so here is the secret to enjoying the holiday feasts without regretting it later.

The Holidays are not an excuse to stop working out!

That’s right. You heard me. Holiday vacation is a vacation from work or school… not from your health and wellness. But this is part of a larger shift in your attitude toward exercise. It’s time to stop thinking of it as “work,” and start to think of it as “me time” or “play time” or “the best damn 30 minutes of my day!” Ok, that last one might be pushing it.

Once you make this shift, you’ll find yourself looking forward to working out, even when you’re on vacation. So, this holiday season, maybe try one of these fun ways to keep yourself and your family members active in between feasting!

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Snowshoeing at Beaver Creek in Avon, CO
  1. Take a hike!: Hiking is an activity that all family members can enjoy, including our furry friends. Depending on the hike you choose, it can be a quiet nature walk, or it can be more rigorous, like mountain climbing. Get the family outside to enjoy a healthy activity together! Tip: If it’s really snowy, find someplace to rent snowshoes!
  2. Make a cameo!: Visiting a relative who has a membership to a gym? Find out their policy on guests and have a gym-date. One of my favorite things to do when I visit my mom, is to go to the gym with her. We take turns picking a workout or weight machine and we both come away with new activities to try and very sore muscles!
  3. 15-minute jam!: Busy holiday schedule? Lazy family members? Not a problem. The Nike Training Club app has tons of 15-minute workouts that are perfect for getting in a quick, but effective workout without needing any equipment. Tell mom to stop complaining about her knees; tell your sister so stop worrying about her kids’ meal schedule. All you need is 15-minutes and a good attitude. More on Nike Training Club.
  4. Run like the wind!: Gather up
    IMG_3754
    Snowshoeing at Beaver Creek in Avon, CO

    your fitness-minded friends and family and take them on a group run. One of my favorite, recent Christmas memories is of running around my boyfriend’s hometown when we were visiting his family. We ended up at his high school and spent a while roaming the halls while he shared some pretty cool memories with me. Check out my post about running while on the road.

  5. Grab and go!: If you’re road-tripping to your holiday destination, there is no excuse not to bring some exercise equipment with you. A couple of easy-to-pack items include TRX gear, a jump rope, resistance bands, a yoga mat, or P90X dvds. In addition, you could always pack a set up dumbbells, a medicine ball or a kettlebell.
  6. Lend a helping hand!: What if you could win Daughter/Son-of-the-Year status AND get in a great workout? All you’ve gotta do is offer to help rake leaves or shovel for your parents, grandparents or their neighbors. Seriously, put in 1 good hour of raking leaves and then try to tell me your obliques aren’t on fire.
  7. Go sledding!: If you’re going sledding with friends and family, try running up the hill after each turn. The snow, coupled with heavy boots and bulky layers will prove to be a great leg workout. You’ll quickly feel it in your calves and quads. For an EXTRA good workout, take a lazy friend or a young kid with you and PULL them up the hill. I did this with my nephew last year and let’s just say that I was pretty embarrassed how sore I was the next day. But he had a blast and so did I!

So there you have it. Don’t stop enjoying the home-cooked goodness of a holiday meal. Don’t turn down a refill of a great Malbec. Just find some time to enjoy a bit of exercise while on break, and avoid having to play catch-up when you’re back to reality.
loveB

Run with Hart

That is my hand, overly excited and ready for a high 5 with Hart at the finish line.
That is my hand, overly excited and ready for a high 5 with Hart at the finish line.

You know who kicks ass? Kevin Hart. Not only is he absolutely hilarious, but he’s a workout enthusiast who preaches a healthy lifestyle to his fans. My kinda guy! The comedian-currently out on his “What Now” tour-teamed up with Nike’s Run Club to host 5K’s across the US and Canada. And today, Hart made a few hundred people in the DMV VERY VERY happy, and hopefully a little more healthy!

”What I saw today were people who have never ran come out, and have the will to finish, simply to become the best version of themselves,” said Hart. “For me, you guys don’t understand how refreshing that is. I honestly believe that being great is a mindset. People, don’t let today be the last day of your start. Continue this with or without me.”

He’s awesome, right?

Loving this free t-shirt. Thanks Nike & Kevin Hart!
Loving this free t-shirt. Thanks Nike & Kevin Hart!

Events like this are not only fun and full of awesome gifts and prizes, but they represent the strength and excitement of the fitness community. They’re happening everyday, in cities all across America. If you aren’t sure where to look for these events, check out local running shops and Nike stores. Here’s a list of upcoming running events in the DC area. In some cases, like today, registration is free. Some races may cost something, but the money is usually to benefit a non-profit. Go find yourself a race or a fun run, and get moving because today is as good a day as any to make your start.

One of the best parts of these races, free schwag!

  • Nuun – Paige has talked about Nuun before, but I finally got to taste it today. Mmm! The hydration tabs, which are enhanced with electrolytes, dissolve in water and taste amazing.
  • Kind Snacks – A friend in Colorado introduced me to Kind years ago and I’ve been a longtime fan of their products and their movement. It’s not everyday that you find a company who stands for something. But aside from their social responsibility awesomeness, Kind products also boast ingredient lists that you can actually read. They’re made from simply whole and raw ingredients like quinoa, chia seeds, various nuts, various dried fruits, salt, honey. So tasty.
  • Nike – See pic of free shirt above. I love it!

More pictures, because pictures are fun. You’ll start to see that I really love pictures.

The whole gang, minus Tricia. (Photo Credit: Nike)
The whole gang, minus Tricia. (Photo Credit: Nike)
James and Paige (Photo Credit: me, over my head, while running)
James and Paige (Photo Credit: me, over my head, while running)
This is how running makes me feel on good days. On bad days, not so much. (Photo Credit: Nike)
This is how running makes me feel on good days. On bad days, not so much. (Photo Credit: Nike)
Hi Kevin Hart! (Photo Credit: Me)
Hi Kevin Hart! (Photo Credit: Me)
Yes! Finally a picture of Paige, Molly and I. (Photo Credit: Ella Rash)
Yes! Finally a picture of Paige, Molly and I. (Photo Credit: Ella Rash)
Found Mickey in the crowd! Mickey and I ran high school track together. By that, I mean we found clever ways to skip practices. (Photo Credit: James Armold)
Found Mickey in the crowd! Mickey and I ran high school track together. By that, I mean we found clever ways to skip practices. (Photo Credit: James Armold)

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