Monday, December 13, 2010

Shakeology, From The Fields

Here is a pretty cool video that shows you some of the fantastic ingredients in Shakeology. Follow the ingredients hunter has he takes you from the highest cliffs and densest jungles of Peru.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Ask The Experts: Can P90X Work For Runners?

Updated: Oct 26th 2010 9:27 AM EDT by Matt Fitzgerald



You recently mentioned that strength training and focusing on plyometrics, stretching, and mobility work are important as you age. Curious as to your opinion of P90X if implemented into a running program?

Tim S.



An interesting and timely question. Who is the cover boy of the forthcoming November issue of Competitor? Tony Horton!

Apparently you’re not the only runner who is curious about Horton’s workout craze. In the cover story written by Jeff Banowetz, Horton says, “I can’t tell you how many marathoners I know who stopped their training—and started using us.” The article also includes the story of a once-overweight triathlete who gave P90X a try and set a PR in his next 5K. If you snoop around on internet running forums you’ll find lots of sunny testimonials from runners who have benefited from P90X.

The reasons it’s helpful to runners are pretty clear. First of all, the program is high-volume—you’re working out an hour a day, on average. Second, most of the workouts are high heart-rate. Even the strength workouts are uptempo and allow little rest, so you’re getting a good cardiovascular boost even as you gain strength. And third, P90X addresses some key weaknesses that many runners have: namely, strength, flexibility, mobility, power, and anaerobic endurance. So even though the typical runner who tries P90X runs less for 90 days, he gains more than he loses.

There’s obviously more than one way a runner can incorporate P90X into his training, and the best way depends on individual considerations. One good way to use it is as an off-season cross-training program. Stop or curtail your running and switch your focus to P90X over the winter, then ramp up your running in the spring and retain two or three mini P90X-style workouts in your weekly regimen to maintain the well-rounded fitness you’ve earned.

Completing the full P90X program as designed is not the most efficient way to improve your running through cross-training. The program was not specifically designed for runners, after all. You’ll probably get the greatest possible boost in your running performance if you maintain a fairly high running volume and cherry pick parts of the P90X program to add to your routine. Research shows that a modest amount of strength and power training gives runners as much performance benefit as they can possibly get from these types of training (provided they also run a lot). Any additional time spent in the gym would be better spent running. P90X definitely prescribes more strength, power, and flexibility and mobility training, too, for that matter, than any runner needs.

Put another way, suppose you cloned yourself twice. One you continued running and avoiding cross-training. Another you quit running and switched to P90X. A third you cut back modestly on his running and made up the difference with an equal volume of strength, power, flexibility and mobility training pulled out of P90X. After 90 days, this third you would show the biggest improvement in a running performance test.

The thing I like most about P90X is that it makes people work really hard, and the marketing is very up-front about that. Most runners really don’t work very hard. They are willing to spend a lot of time training, but they resist the pain of high intensities. That’s too bad, because high-intensity exercise has magical effects on fitness that no amount of moderate-intensity running can replicate. I believe that the high-intensity element of P90X is probably the primary factor behind the performance benefits that many runners seem to get from it—an even more important factor than strength and power improvements. You don’t need to do P90X to get the benefits of high-intensity training, and every runner—whether he uses P90X in whole, in part, or not at all—should do some high-intensity running, but for those runners who are not on intimate terms with the scorched-esophagus feeling that comes at the end of a set of hard intervals on the track, P90X represents a good way to learn to love—or at least tolerate—that sort of training.


Friday, December 3, 2010

Stay Fit This Holiday Season!

By Ben Kallen

The holidays shouldn't leave you looking like a bowlful of jelly. As fun as the holiday season is, it can be rough on your fitness program. Bad weather, stress, and lack of time can sap your motivation, while parties, visitors, and vacations can distract you from your workouts. It's no wonder so many people gain weight in November and December, only to regret it on January 2nd.
Young Woman is Exercising in Autumn Park
But it doesn't have to be that way. You can keep up or even improve your fitness level, stave off weight gain, and enjoy the holidays as much as ever. Just stick with the following guidelines.
  1. Alarm Clock, Apple, and Maple LeavesManage your time. Scheduling your workouts in advance, either with a printed workout calendar or online with WOWY Supergym®, is always a good idea. But it's especially important over the holidays, when just saying "I'll do it when I have time" can be a recipe for failure. Your free time is sure to get filled up with other activities, and it's easier than ever to forget about working out. On the other hand, if you schedule your workouts just like any appointments, you're much more likely to do them when the time comes. (Better still, invite some Workout Buddies to join you for extra motivation.)
    If you absolutely can't find time on a particular day, mark it as a recovery period, and make sure you have a workout scheduled for the day afterward. It'll prevent you from losing the fitness gains you've built, and ensure that you keep your exercise habit intact.
  2. Keep up your energy. If your holiday period is marked by flurries of frantic activity followed by a worn-out feeling, you're not alone. But you can shorten those "dragging" periods with these healthy habits:
    • Stick to your food plan. Loading up on high-carb holiday treats can cause blood sugar fluctuations that leave you feeling tired, while subsisting on rushed snacks or skipping meals entirely prevents you from getting the fuel you need. But regular, high-quality meals and snacks will keep you running at top speed, whether you're working out or fighting over the last Dora the Explorer doll in the toy store.
    • Take time to relax. A meditation session, a round of yoga, or just a few minutes sitting with a hot drink or your favorite music will go a long way toward recharging your batteries.
    • See the light. If your energy takes a nosedive in the wintertime, you may be suffering from seasonal affective disorder, a mood-dampening condition caused by too little light exposure. See if you perk up after getting more rays (either by spending more time outside on sunny days, or by using a full-spectrum light box). If that doesn't help, see your doctor.
    • No skipping. If you feel a little tired before a planned workout, don't take that as a signal to skip it. Chances are your energy levels will pick up once you start moving. And when you exercise regularly, you're much less likely to experience those lulls during the rest of the day.
  3. SaladTravel right. This is a great time of year to take a vacation or visit family—but without advance planning, those trips can bring your fitness program to a screeching halt. Here's how to avoid that:
    • Protect yourself on the plane. Since there's no guarantee that an airline will have healthy food on hand, pack a meal or snack in advance, and make sure you drink plenty of liquids. If you're worried about catching something on the flight, boost your disease-fighting ability with Herbal Immune Boost.
    • Watch out when eating out. Travel often means a lot of restaurant meals, and that can derail your food plan in a hurry. Try to find restaurants that serve high-quality meals, or, if that's not possible, order the best of what is on the menu. (Even the IHOP® has some healthful, high-protein selections these days.) But if you eat in a chain restaurant, check out the nutrition ratings just to make sure you're not getting one of those 2,000-calorie salads.
    • Organize healthy activities. When you go to a warm beach or on a ski vacation, this is a no-brainer. But if you're traveling to an unfamiliar city, you should find out in advance what you can do that requires a little movement. And if you're staying with family members who prefer life on the couch, suggest some outdoor games—or, if the weather isn't cooperative, healthy indoor activities. Even a post-meal walk will get everyone's blood pumping and prevent total lethargy from setting in.
    • Take your workout with you. One of the many benefits of a DVD workout program is that it's portable. Decide which workouts you'll want to do during your trip, and pack those DVDs, along with a resistance band. If you don't have one, see if the place you're staying has basic gym equipment, or stick to exercises that don't require any.
  4. Woman Holding SoapTake care of your health. Nothing can derail a workout program like getting sick. And you may be extra-vulnerable to illness at this time of year, when stress and bad weather collide with cold and flu season. But a few basic precautions can improve your odds:
    • Wash your hands frequently, especially before touching your nose or mouth. (A recent study found that it doesn't matter how hot the water is, but for maximum benefit, you need to lather with soap for at least 20 seconds.)
    • Avoid germs. If you work out in a gym, clean the equipment with antibacterial spray, or at least cover it with a towel. Warm, moist surfaces are an ideal place for germs to live and grow.
    • Get plenty of sleep—less than 7 or 8 hours per night can compromise your immune system. (It can also slow your exercise recovery.) Try to save the late-night carousing for times when you can sleep late or take a nap the next day.
    • Drink plenty of water. It's easy to forget when it's cold outside, but staying hydrated helps keep your immune system in top working order.
    • Get a flu shot. Remember, there are different strains of the flu virus every year, so last year's shot won't keep you protected.
    • INSANITY®Maintain your healthy eating habits, and get a complete supply of vitamins every day. (To make sure, supplement with ActiVit® Multivitamins or Shakeology®.)
If you do come down with a mild cold, it's okay to keep working out—moderate exercise can actually boost your immunity. (Though if you're following a high-powered program such as P90X® or INSANITY®, you should ramp down the intensity for a while.) But if you have a fever, chest congestion, or can barely get out of bed, that's a sign that you need to rest up and recover. When in doubt, ask your doctor.

The 4-Hour Body, Timothy Ferriss

Timothy Ferriss is an accomplished writer, his last book, 4 Hour Work Week, made it as the #1 best seller on the New York Times business list.  His newest book, The 4 Hour Body, looks to be another winner.

"The 4-Hour Body is the result of an obsessive quest, spanning more than a decade, to hack the human body. It contains the collective wisdom of hundreds of elite athletes, dozens of MDs, and thousands of hours of jaw-dropping personal experimentation. From Olympic training centers to black-market laboratories, from Silicon Valley to South Africa.

For all things physical, what are the tiniest changes that produce the biggest results? Thousands of tests later, this book contains the answers for both men and women.  From the gym to the bedroom, it's all here, and it all works."

Eating Clean!

5 Things to Cut Out of Your Diet

By Tony Horton, creator of P90X
When I begin training new clients, the first thing I do is ask them about their diets. Because if you want to get major results, you have to cut out what I call "food porn"—food that's doing nothing to fuel your body, and in some cases is actually doing more harm than good. To keep things simple, I tell them there are 5 things that they absolutely, positively, MUST stop eating and drinking if they want to achieve their fitness goals:
Sugar, Beer, Coffee, and Meat

  1. Processed sugars. I'm talking about white sugar, high fructose corn syrup, sucrose, or pretty much any kind of sugar that came from a factory instead of a piece of fruit. Processed sugar negatively affects your metabolism, your insulin response, even your mood—and all for totally empty calories. Cutting sugar out of your diet means you're going to have to read some labels, because it is by far the most common food additive in the U.S.
  2. Alcohol. Calories that are as empty as sugar, and at 7 calories a gram, booze can really pack it on. Alcohol also dehydrates your body, which compromises muscle growth. Plus it slows your metabolism, so you burn fewer calories. In short, drinking gives you less muscle and more fat—you're just undoing everything you're trying to achieve with your workout.
  3. Caffeine. I know there are a lot of people out there who say caffeine can give your workout a little extra "oomph." Obviously, it can give you some extra energy to make you push harder, but the cost is that it increases cortisol levels in your body, which inhibits lean muscle growth. Plus, it can negatively affect your sleep patterns, and you're better off working out when you're rested than when you're juiced.
  4. Anything with a face. It used to be that you could find some decent lean meat sources, but in the last few decades, the hormones, antibiotics, and chemicals that have been used to process meat and fish make them pretty worthless as a source of protein. There are plenty of excellent vegetarian protein sources, like beans, tofu, and nuts, so you can eat clean while you get lean.
  5. Gluten-Containing FoodsGluten. Gluten is a grain-derived protein found in lots of different foods, mostly wheat, rye, and barley products. The name comes from the Latin word for "glue." You don't need to eat glue. Even if you're not one of the millions who are sensitive or allergic to gluten, you'll be operating a much cleaner machine if you cut it out of your diet. There are plenty of other healthier gluten-free alternatives, like millet, amaranth, quinoa, and oats.
By eliminating these empty or harmful "foods" from your diet, you can start turning your body into the well-oiled machine nature intended it to be. By eating a diet rich in fruits, vegetables, and whole grains, you can give yourself the premium fuel to get into the best shape of your life.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

9 Foods That Can Fool You

By Denis Faye

During my South Dakota, 1970s childhood, my mom used to order something called the "Diet Plate." Common in most Sioux Falls-area and greater-Minnesota region restaurants, it consisted of a scoop of cottage cheese; a couple canned peach halves, still dripping syrup; a hamburger patty; iceberg lettuce; and a sprig of parsley.
Chicken Thigh, Peanut Butter, and Yogurt
While delicious by mid-20th-century, Midwestern standards, it was about as calorie restrictive as the chicken-fried steak and baked potato my dad was eating across the table. Still, the perception was that this was diet food, most likely because each element in the "Diet Plate" had a vague resemblance to another, healthier, foodstuff—except the hamburger, that is. But that had to be there because this was South Dakota and any other meat would be deemed un-American.
It'd be nice to think that we've transcended the Diet Plate. Sadly, this isn't the case. Even today, there are dozens of foods we fool ourselves into thinking are healthful when, in truth, they do nothing but pad our hips and arteries. Here are nine of the worst offenders on your grocery store shelves.
  1. Yogurt. It starts out as good stuff. Fat aside, there's the calcium and protein you find in all milk products, along with probiotics, which make it easier to digest for those with lactose issues. The only problem is, straight yogurt can be pretty bitter, so manufacturers load the stuff with sugar to make it more palatable and masquerade those carbs as fruit. Have a look at most flavored yogurt, and you'll find the second ingredient to be sugar or high fructose corn syrup. One container of Yoplait® Original Strawberry is 170 calories with 5 grams of protein and 33 grams of carbohydrates, 27 of which are sugar. Oddly enough, these are the exact same nutrition facts for Yoplait's other, less healthy-sounding flavors, including Key Lime Pie and White Chocolate Raspberry. Solution: Buy plain yogurt and flavor it yourself. You'd be amazed at how far a handful of raspberries or a tablespoon of honey will go to cut the bitter taste. And while you're at it, choose the low-fat or fat-free stuff. You'll still get all the nutritional benefits.
  2. Wheat BreadWheat Bread. If you're reading this, you probably know enough about nutrition to understand that whole-grain wheat is better for you than refined wheat. By keeping the bran and germ, you maintain the naturally occurring nutrients and fiber. But for some reason, manufacturers constantly come up with new chicanery to lead you back to the refined stuff. One of their latest tricks is to refer to refined flour as "wheat flour" because, obviously, it's made of wheat. But just because it's wheat-based doesn't mean it's not refined. The distracted shopper can mistake this label for "whole wheat flour" and throw it in his cart. Another loaf of cruddy, refined, fiberless bread has a new home.
    Solution: Slow down when you read the label. That word "whole" is an important one.
  3. Chicken. Just because you made the switch from red meat doesn't mean you're in the clear. If you opt for dark meat—the wings, thighs, and legs—you're losing protein and gaining fat. Three ounces of raw chicken breast, meat only, is 93 calories, 19.5 grams of protein, and 1.2 grams of fat. Three ounces of dark meat, meat only, is 105 calories, 18 grams of protein, and 3.6 grams of fat. It doesn't seem like much, but it adds up. Solution: Go for the breast, and while you're at it, ditch the skin. It's nothing but fat.
  4. Frozen or canned fruit. Any food swimming in juice or "light syrup" isn't going to work in your favor on the scale. Furthermore, most canned fruit is peeled, meaning you're being robbed of a valuable source of fiber. Frozen fruit is a little trickier. While freezing preserves the fruit itself, adding sugar during the freezing process preserves color and taste; so many store-bought frozen fruits add it in.
    Solution: Read that ingredients list! You want it to say fruit, water—and that's it.
  5. Canned veggies. "What?" you declare. "There's light syrup in canned string beans, too?" No, actually, they add salt to preserve this produce. A half-cup serving of canned string beans has approximately 300 to 400 milligrams of sodium. Solution: Many companies offer "no salt added" options. If you can't find one to your liking, go frozen instead—no salt (or light syrup).
  6. Peanut butter. Squish up peanuts, maybe add a little salt. How hard is it to make that taste good? Apparently, it's so incredibly difficult that many companies feel compelled to add sugar or high fructose corn syrup into the mix. Why? I do not know. Some manufacturers, such as Skippy®, are up front enough to admit this and call their product "Peanut Butter Spread," but many others still refer to their sugary concoction as good old "peanut butter."
    Solution: Read the label. (There's a theme emerging here.) Considering real peanut butter has one ingredient, two ingredients max, it shouldn't be too hard to figure it out.
  7. JuiceJuice. The range in the nutritional value of store-bought juices is massive. On one end, you have "fruit drinks" with just a modicum of actual juice in them. On the other end, you have fresh-squeezed, 100% preservative-free juice such as Odwalla® and Naked Juice®. But no matter which one you choose, it's important to remember that it's never going to be as healthy as whole fruit. And if you're trying to lose weight, it's a flat-out bad idea. First off, it's been stripped of fiber, so you absorb it faster, which makes it more likely to induce blood-sugar spikes. Secondly, you consume it faster and it's less filling, so you're more likely to drink more. Solution: If you must buy it, go fresh squeezed, but you're usually better off just skipping it entirely.
  8. Canned soup. As is also the case with canned veggies, you're entering a sodium minefield. Half a cup of Campbell's® Chicken Noodle Soup has 890 milligrams of sodium. That's 37 percent of the recommended daily allowance (RDA)*—and who eats half a cup? Solution: Read those labels carefully. Most companies make low-sodium versions.
  9. Salad DressingFat-free salad dressing: Dressing, by definition, is supposed to be fatty, thus highly caloric. You use a little bit of it and in doing so, you get a healthy hit of the fats you need for a nutritionally balanced diet. Unfortunately, people prefer to buy fat-free versions so that they can drown their greens yet avoid excess fat. Nothing's for free. All this stuff does is replace the fat with carbs and salt, so you've basically gone from pouring a little healthy, unsaturated fat on your salad to dumping on a pile of sugar. For example, Wish-Bone® Fat Free Chunky Blue Cheese is 7 grams of pure carbs and 270 milligrams of sodium for 2 tablespoons, which you'll never stop at anyway. Also, given that there's no fat or protein in this particular dressing, one can only imagine what makes it "chunky."
    Solution: Make your own salad dressing. One part vinegar and one part olive oil with a blob of Dijon mustard makes an awesome vinaigrette. And here's another trick: Make your salad in a sealable container, add a tiny bit of dressing, and shake it up. It'll coat so much more than tossing will.
    And finally, make that salad with romaine or spinach or some other nutrient-rich leafy green. As far as we're concerned, nutrient-poor iceberg lettuce should have gone the way of the South Dakota Diet Plate.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

4 Supplements to Watch Out For!

A phenomenal article by a very smart guy! Beachbody’s own Steve Edwards on what the do’s and dont’s are when it comes to supplements.

4 Supplements to Watch Out For

Steve Edwards

This month, four of the major weight loss supplement manufacturers were fined 25 million dollars because science does not support their statements about the supplements. We’ve been warning our customers about false claims for years and, basically, these are just the tip of the BS iceberg. Let’s take a look at the major offenders and what to look for when evaluating a supplement.

It’s important to keep yourself informed because these supplements will still be on the market. The Federal Trade Commission, who handed down the verdict, has only stated that the manufacturers need to change the product claims, not the products. And, well, since the FTC cited that a placebo had outperformed one of the offenders, it will be interesting to see what the manufacturers come up with. If we don’t buy the supplements, then, of course, they won’t be on the market, but these folks can be very clever.

Let’s use Bob as an example. He’s that guy on TV who’s thrilled over his "male enhancement." However, when analyzing the product he’s used, we see that it’s little more than what’s normally sold as a mild stimulant. Yet Bob seems to be insinuating far greater lifestyle enhancements than a cup o’ joe will ever provide. This little exaggeration has allowed his marketing team to spend 181 million advertising dollars since 2003, according to Nielson Monitor-Plus, so we may assume that Bob’s become a wealthy man. Last year, however, 112 charges of fraud, money laundering, and mislabeling of product were brought against six executives at Berkeley Premium Nutraceuticals, marketer of Enzyte, Bob’s key to newfound self-esteem. In spite of this, the company took out a full-page ad in The Cincinnati Enquirer on September 5th that read, in part, "The future of Berkeley looks bright as we hope to work through our setbacks and continue providing great brands to the world . . ."

So let’s take a look at those recently fined and learn how to protect ourselves.

  • CortiSlim. These marketers were fined 12 million bucks and I’m using them first because I had a personal run-in with ‘em at the Natural Products show a few years back. A guy essentially accosted me in the aisles, handing me a pamphlet of information that informed me of dangers of chronic inflammation and how this product would reduce it, leading to massive weight loss. Being familiar with the product, since we get plenty of questions on the Message Boards, I fired a few stats at him about studies involving CortiSlim’s ingredients. The guy looks at my identifying badge, turns away from me like a dog being submissive, and looks for someone else to engage. I throw one more tidbit his way and he refuses to even acknowledge me with a glance, keeping his eyes averted even though we were a foot apart. I didn’t find this to be a particularly strong endorsement of faith in their products.
  • Xenadrine EFX. The two companies that market this will pay between 8 and 12.8 million dollars. Xenadrine has been in the industry spotlight for a long time, at least since a popular fitness model, and one of their "success stories," was caught trying to gain weight for her "before" picture after she had shot her "after." In this case, the studies they provided showed that their product did nothing that it claimed. In fact, in one of the studies they provided, the group taking a placebo actually lost more weight than those using the product.

    One-A-Day WeightSmart. The Bayer Corporation will pay 3.2 million dollars for claiming that their multivitamin can increase your metabolism.
  • TRIMSPA. They will pony up 1.5 million dollars for their unsubstantiated claims. There was no word on whether Anna Nicole Smith would have to pay the money herself.

Click here to read what the FTC had to say about these products.

While we’re getting smarter—since sales of weight loss supplements have dropped half a billion in the last three years—we’re still being duped regularly. I was recently talking shop with a graphic designer whose job is to Photoshop "before" and "after" pics for an unnamed supplement that you’ve heard of. I’m not telling which, because she didn’t inform me on the record and also because I’m going to tell you how to not buy useless supplements anyway. If you read below, I assure you that you’ll never buy the unmentioned or any other highly hyped placebo.

Rule 1: Never buy a supplement that promises body transformation without lifestyle transformation.
No supplement can offset your lifestyle. If you eat poorly and don’t exercise, you will not look good. Supplements can’t build muscle and they can’t make you lose fat. All they can do is assist with this process. Some initiative must come from you.
Rule 2: Read the fine print.
Many of these companies write "legal" with fine print saying something along the lines of, "Will work if you follow a healthy lifestyle" or something similar that gets them off the hook when studies show their supp isn’t as advertised. Generally, if you lived the healthy lifestyle they’re describing, you wouldn’t need the supplement anyway. I analyzed a carb-blocker supplement that had a tiny insert, with, like, size-4 font, that was an exercise program and low-carb diet that you needed to follow to get the claimed results. The obvious question then was, "Why do I need a carb-blocker if I don’t eat carbs?" And, of course, the answer is that you don’t.
Rule 3: Read the ingredients.
Most of these use the same ingredients and these will be listed on their Web site. They have to by law. They may try and hide them—they almost always do—but click around and you’ll find them. If you don’t, then you’re dealing with a company that’s completely under the radar and you should not trust them. If you do, then do a quick Internet search on the ingredients or ask us on the Message Boards. There are many watchdog agencies that test everything. Bogus supplements are pretty easy to identify.
Rule 4: Use common sense about how the supplement actually works.
Hoodia, the main ingredient of TRIMSPA is one of my favorites. The TRIMSPA Web site tells you that you need it because African tribesmen would use the stuff on long hunts to keep thin and alert, as if anyone walking through the savanna hunting large dangerous animals with a spear needs any help in this department. Most of us would be so wide-eyed we’d be burning a thousand calories an hour with fear alone. Sure, those guys were probably fit. But before you go looking for some dietary secret, you might want to consider the fact that they were hunting large animals, on foot, using spears! Don’t you think that there might be another reason for those ripped bodies?

Another good example is the study that used displaced cultures in an attempt to show how something from their prior diet was the key to their former state of health. They never mention the fact that, using one common example, these people used to live on an island where they ate fruits, veggies, and fish and exercised daily to gather these things, and now they’re poverty-stricken factory workers who smoke, drink, and eat junk food in a polluted city. You don’t need to be a scientist to see that somebody besides those factory workers is blowing smoke.

Supplements are nothing more than a piece of the puzzle of creating a healthy lifestyle. Used correctly, they can aid with diet and exercise and greatly enhance results and performance. But they are not magical cures. They’re just targeted nutritional products, like a dense food, which is why they’re called nutritional supplements and not drugs.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

VitaMix 5200

The Vitamix 5200 is the new standard for high performance blending.  This model is perfect for those who want an awesome blender for dong shakes.  The tough, durable, state-of-the-art 64-oz. container made from Eastman Tritan™ copolyester is designed to deliver consistent results every time.   The Vitamix comes in 4 different color schemes (white, red, black and stainless).  You can buy it direct from Vitamix for $449.00.  Now that price tag might seem a ton for a blender, but if you want a quality blender and you're going to be using it a lot, the Vitamix is a great choice.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Nathan, Booster Belt

Just finished a race today in the Nathan Booster Belt.  The Booster Belt is Nathan's answer to a race performance belt.  What makes this belt absolutely a must have is the innovative movable clips.  Most race belts have race number holders that never seem to accommodate the actual race number.   Either the number is too big or too small for the belt, usually resulting in a torn race number.  Nathan fixes this by having movable clips, that can size to whatever number is used.  The clips also don't require the race numbers to have holes. 

The race belt also includes 2 gel holders.  I didn't try these out, so I am not sure how good they hold the gels in.  I think I would have preferred a little pouch to carry a key or something.  Maybe on the next go around.  The belt retails for $16.00

Booster Belt Data
  • Non-chafing elastic
  • Movable clips hold any size of race number securely
  • One size fits all

Wednesday, November 24, 2010


Here is another really good massage stick called the Muscletrac.  What I really like about it is the little grey tracks seem to dig into the muscles without having to apply force.  The Muscletrac Performance Therapy Device unites the benefits of both a muscle probe and roller, allowing for quick navigation of the entire muscle length to address myofascial restrictions and to accelerate muscle regeneration from training and competition.  
*Available in blue handles with light grey wheels and spacers-same as photo.

The Muscletrac retails for $44.95, which puts it in a little higher price range than many of its competitors.  I have found the Muscletrac seems to deliver a great muscle massage without much effort.  The contoured handles are easy on the hands and its small profile makes it a perfect choice to take when traveling.

  • The Muscletrac was developed by Sports Physician, Dr. David J. Fitzmaurice, with over 30 years experience treating Olympic, Hall-of-Fame, Professional, College and Amateur athletes across sports.
  • The Muscletrac is used and preferred by top physicians, therapists, trainers and coaches for promoting muscle regeneration and treating myofascial restrictions.
  • The unique design of the Muscletrac wheels allows for superficial and deep penetration and stretching of the fascia and muscle tissue. This two-part action improves tissue elasticity and pliability for optimal muscle performance and force generation.
  • The Muscletrac allows quick scanning of the entire body to identify and eliminate muscular and fascial restrictions such as muscle tightness, trigger points and adhesions-which improves tissue compliance, reduces the risk of injury and improves biomechanics.
  • Effective for addressing common issues such as IT Band Tendonitis, Plantar Fasciitis, Calf, Lower Back, Hamstring Tightness and other issues.
  • Allows targeted self-myofascial release-users can hold a wheel and apply sustained pressure to release dense tissues.
  • The treads of the Muscletrac wheels provide neural stimulation for pre-training/competition applications. 
  • The Muscletrac enhances pre-training warm-up and post-training recovery by creating a dramatic hyperemic response increasing blood flow, enhancing oxygen and nutrient delivery to the muscle tissue while encouraging lactic acid removal.
  • The handles are ergonomically designed for maximal comfort of the user.
  • The Muscletrac is compact and portable, accommodating the traveling athlete.

Polar Fusion, Tiger Tail

Looking for a good massage stick?  The Tiger Tail by Polar Fusion, might be what your looking for.  I have quite a few massage sticks and this one I immediately liked.  It is the right size and the cushioned foam seems to lift your skin while rolling it, creating a pleasurable feel.

Here are some of the advantages:
  • Muscle Friendly!
  • Cushioned, foam covered center
  • Even, consistent distribution of pressure
  • Controlled muscle manipulation
  • Saves fingers and hands from fatigue
  • Long lasting
  • Easy to clean
  • Made in USA!
The Tiger Tail comes in two sizes and retails for $24.99 (18") & $29.99 (22").  Here is a good overview of how to use the Tiger Tail.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Bex Runner, Cooling System

Here is a product I picked up a running convention in Austin, Texas.  bex Runner, by Cool Palms LLC, is the first wearable core cooling device that works before, during and after exercise.  The device really intrigued me because I am one of those people who has a really high sweat rate.  Anything to cool the body during exercise could help reduce my sweat rate, which in turn would hopefully allow me to retain  more fluids.  This could be very beneficial during longer bouts of exercise or races. 

The bex Runner is a wearable strap that wraps around your hand with a cooling pouch that stays next to the palm.  I haven't had a chance to actually put it through its paces, but it certainly looks legit.

The key to this phenomenon is that heat dissipation is NOT equal to all parts of the body.   By cooling the palm of one hand, the BEX Runner enhances the body’s natural cooling process and effectively extracts heat.  The intent is not to feel cold.  Instead, the objective is to minimize the effects of heat stress and sustain strength and focus during exercise.  The benefits are a longer workout, a heavier workload, and a shorter recovery.

Here is the science behind the bex Runner.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Tarma, Earth Friendly Jewelry

Tarma is a company that designs, manufactures and sells unique, high quality, personal art/jewelry that celebrates the spirit of adventure and a love of the outdoors. Guiding their enterprise is a commitment to meaningful social and environmental issues.

Tarma Designs and manufactures a variety of unique, hand-crafted, earth-friendly and fair trade jewelry that celebrates the spirit of life and a love of the outdoors. From our Active line of sustainable, recycled 316L stainless steel jewelry to our fairly traded, hand-made Artisan collection, there are many styles including pendants, necklaces, earrings, bracelets, wristbands, and bottle openers to choose from.
Tarma's Active Line for women and men includes jewelry for: climbing, hiking, kayaking, running, mountain biking, cycling, yoga, surfing, snow boarding, and skiing.

Tarma is a beautiful Peruvian town surrounded by majestic fields of flowers. Located at 10,000 feet at the base of the highest Andes peaks and close to the jungle covered mountains of the Amazon basin, Tarma is known for it's textile and leather industries and renowned flower trade.

For many, Tarma represents the spirit of travel and adventure. Located in a region of the world with a wide variety of outdoor pursuits -- ranging from extreme alpine ascents to jungle and river adventure -- all are accessible for the modern nomad traveling to and from Chile and Machu Picchu.

Sauce Headwear

Now that the temps are starting to drop, it is nice to have some good cold weather gear.  Sauce Headware is a company that produces head gear for athletes. 

Sauce Headwear, formerly called SOS Headwear, was started in 2003 by four Canadian cross country ski racers as a method to raise money to support their Olympic dreams. Shayla Swanson, Kim McMurtry, Jacqui Benson and Rhonda Jewett came up with the unique fundraising idea of producing stylish yet functional toques. After a very sucessful first year, their fundraising scheme developed into a small business. Now in their sixth year, Shayla and Rhonda continue to manage the production, marketing and sales of Sauce Headwear products.

Sauce Headware has a lineup of 4 different types of headwear including Swift Toque, Chill Toque Swift Headband, Ventilator Headband.  Prices range from $15 - $30.  For those who would like to put their own twist on the products, Sauce Headware does custom designs.
Chill Toque
Swift Toque

Friday, November 19, 2010

Altra, Zero Drop, Running Shoes

This week I got to meet the owners of Altra, a new running company with Zero Drop footwear.  Zero Drop simply means that the shoes are the same distance off the ground at both the heel and ball of the foot.  Since traditional shoes typically employ a 12mm ‘drop’, a shoe with no differential is called a Zero Drop shoe.

The shoes are quite unique in appearance and feel.  When you put them on they feel extremely comfortable and conform to your foot.   The design reminds me of my favorite Birkenstock shoes.  There is a wide toe box, allowing total freedom for your toes, with a snug, yet not too tight encasing for your heal.

Altra has both men and women specif shoes.  I tried on the Adam (a minimalist shoe that would be perfect for working out), the Instinct (a quite comfortable running shoe) and the Lone Peak (an off road running shoe that looks like it can take a beating).

The shoes are slated for release April 2011.

The Adam - $89.99 retail
The Instinct - $94.99 retail
The Lone Peak - $99.99 retail

Zeal, Slingshot PPX

There is a great company in Boulder Colorado called Zeal.  "Zeal" is Greek in origin meaning an extreme passion in the pursuit of what you do.  Zeal produces optical eye wear for athletes.  One of their flag ship glasses is called the Slingshot PPX.  The glasses are extremely light and perfect for those who enjoy running and cycling and are looking for sun protection.

The Photochromatic NXT lenses provide the latest in lens performance and technology.  The glasses retail for $150.00.  Zeal has many other frames to choose from, so definitely check them out.  If your a skier, you should also check out their Transcend GPS.  The Transcend is the worlds 1st GPS enabled goggle.

Slingshot PPX

Thursday, November 18, 2010


Michael Huebner has developed a fantastic product called Stuffitts.   Stuffitts are shoe savers, which absorb moisture & eliminate shoe odor.  Here in Texas, the summers get pretty hot and that means your shoes can get pretty wet and smelly.  Previously my only choice was to throw my shoes in the washer every month after the odor got too intense.  With Stuffitts, you simply insert them into your workout or running shoes and let Stuffitts do the drying and smell management for you.  Not only will these dry your shoes and eliminate order, they will make your shoes last much longer.

Stuffitts retail for $24.95 and replaceable inserts are priced at $9.95.  Stuffitts come in 5 colors with a very convenient carrying strap.

I am half joking here, but another possible advantage to stuffitts is they may actually keep scorpions out of your shoes.  That might not be an advantage outside of say Texas or Arizona, but it is certainly something to think about.

Monday, November 15, 2010

thinksport, Workout Bottles

thinksport, a local company right here in Austin Texas has some great workout bottles. 

thinksport bottles provide an alternative to bottles containing Bisphenol-A (BPA).   They are elegantly designed with a double-walled, vacuum sealed construction.  The bottles do not sweat, and keep contents hot or cold for hours.  They are available in either 12oz (350ml) - $15.99 or 25oz (750ml) - $19.99.

thinksport™ 25oz & 12oz bottles

Friday, November 12, 2010

Standing Quadriceps Stretch

Here is a great stretch for the quadriceps called the Standing Quadriceps Stretch.

How to perform the stretch: 
Stand upright on one foot (either left or right).  Bend the other leg and grab the foot with the hand that is closest.   Try to bend the leg so that the heel of the lifted foot comes close to the bum. If you can't touch your butt, get as close as you comfortably can without causing pain. Keep your body upright throughout the stretch. Hold for 20- 30 seconds. Repeat using the other leg.
** Beginners  may want to use a wall for balance. 

When to perform the stretch:
Stretching should never be done without a good warm-up.  I typically will use this stretch after running.

If done properly the stretch will improve your balance, stretch your quadriceps and add strength to your core.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Injinji, Toe Socks

When you're looking for your next pair of running socks, you might want to check out Injinji.  A lot of runners have found running in toe socks can prevent blister issues.  Injinji makes a wide selection of Toe and Split Toe socks.   I haven't tried these yet, but I am very intrigued.

Their Yoga Toesock™ is perfect for doing mat workouts.  It comes with little grippers on the bottom and open toes for better traction.

Shakeology, Antioxidants and Phytonutrients

Antioxidants and Phytonutrients*

  • Get rid of harmful free radicals
  • Help decrease inflammation
  • Help boost your immune system
  • Potentially decrease the risk of degenerative diseases
  • May even increase longevity
Many of Shakeology's fruit and vegetable sources have been chosen for their high concentration of healthy natural substances known as phytonutrients, including flavonoids, polyphenols, anthocyanins, and catechins. These substances have antioxidant properties, meaning they help get rid of molecules known as free radicals, which damage cells and may be a key component of the aging process. In laboratory tests, phytonutrients have shown promise in helping prevent a wide variety of degenerative conditions. What's more, studies suggest that the natural mix of phytochemicals you get from whole-plant sources is more effective than taking them individually as nutritional supplements.

Shakeolgy, Prebiotics and Digestive Enzymes

Prebiotics and Digestive Enzymes*

  • Aid digestion
  • Help boost the immune system
  • Increase absorption of nutrients
  • Help keep you "regular"
Shakeology contains many ingredients that are beneficial to the digestive system. Prebiotics, natural components of certain plants, help support the "friendly" bacteria in your digestive tract. They may also help with the absorption of minerals such as calcium. Digestive enzymes, from plant sources such as pineapples and papayas, help your body break down food into its individual components, making the nutrients easier to absorb. Cooking can destroy food's natural digestive enzymes, so there's a good chance that you don't get enough of them in your diet.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Barefoot Running, Invisible Shoes

I was graciously sent a pair of the Invisible Shoes to test out.  In general I think these are a blast to run in. 

Barefoot running you ask?  Well I started barefoot running last year after competing in the Leadville Trail 100 mile running race in Leadville Colorado.  There are a few products currently available that allow you to run almost barefoot, while still providing some protection.  The Invisible Shoes are one of those products.

Observations for dry warm conditions
  • When running in Invisible Shoes it is like the world has been carpeted with rubber.
  • The shoes give you the ability to run on roads like chip-seal, that you could never run barefoot on.
  • When running in these, you get a sense of freedom, that covered shoes simply don't provide.
  • You will still need to watch your step, because the occasional rock will still hurt if stepped on (I know this from experience).
Observations for wet conditions.
  • I don't think these are the best solution when the weather is rainy and wet. Your foot tends to slip (at least mine do) within the sandal.  I do wonder if the soles were reverse if this might help with the inner traction issue. 
  • Running on morning grass also seems to be a problem if there is a lot of moisture. 
  • I did notice that tightening the rope more than normal helps keep the foot secure during wet conditions.  I will probably have to try this a few more times to see if I can find the optimal lace-up.  
Observations for cold conditions.
  • I don't have any data to go on right now.  It is still quite warm here in Austin, Texas.  Oh yea.
  • Invisible Shoe are a fantastic deal.
  • Definitely get the custom kit.   It is actually quite fun designing your own shoe.  
  • You will most likely need thicker soles if you're going on rough terrain.  
  • Another neat factor is the minimalist look you have when running in these sandals.  Observant people will often stare wondering what the heck you're running in.  
  • Invisible shoes also give you plenty of options on how to lace up the sandals.  If something feels a little weird, you have many other options to choose from.

Bowflex SelectTech 552 Dumbbells

I bought the Bowflex 552 Dumbbells when I started my P90X program. I knew I wanted a wide rage of weights but did not want to spend a lot of money on a whole set of dumbbells. (around $1500 for a good set) So I found these and read a bunch of reviews before purchasing. I have used them for 3 months a love them.

One set of the 552 dumbbells replace the following standard dumbbells sizes. 5lbs, 7.5lbs, 10lbs, 12.5lbs, 15lbs, 17.5lbs, 20lbs, 22.5lbs, 25lbs, 30lbs, 35lbs, 40lbs, 45lbs, 50lbs, and 52,5lbs. This will save space and time when trying to switch weights in between sets in P90X. If you think 52.5lbs is not enough for you, they have the Bowflex SelectTech 1090 which has a range from 10lbs to 90lbs.

The price of these are not cheap, $399.00 for the 552's and $599.00 for the 1090's, but when you compare them to an entire set of standard dumbbells that cover the same amount of sizes then they are by far cheaper. You can find them a little bit cheaper on Amazon as well. Also Bowflex offers 0% financing.

The one negative I would say about these, is that they are a little bulky and the take some getting use to if you have been using standard dumbbells. But after a few workouts that becomes a non issue.

As far as deciding which set to get to go with P90x, 552 or 1090, I would say if you are a woman definitely get the 552. I have the 552 and there is only one excersie that I feel I need more the 52.5lbs. (bent over rows). I would say 85% of the guys out there will probably be fine with the 552's as well. I am thinking about getting a pair of 70lbs just for that one exercise in P90X. Every other exercise in P90x I don't go over 30-35lbs.

So, in conclusion, I would definitly recommend these dumbbells. They are great! Two recommendations if and when you purchase. 1. Try to buy them from a place that gives you free shipping. 104lbs in the mail is going to cost you a lot of money, so if you can find free shipping, like I did, it will save you a ton! 2. Think about purchasing the stand that Bowflex makes for them. It will take a lot of stress off of your back and makes it quicker to change the weights. Hope this helps out in your decision! Enjoy!

Rich Gizzie

Kahuna Creations, Land Paddles

If you're looking to do something that is sort of a twist, you should check out Kahuna Creations Land Paddles.  The Land Paddles allow you to propel a skateboard like you're on a Paddle Board.

The benefits include a core muscle stabilization workout, upper body strengthening and balance.

I haven't tried this, but it looks like a blast.