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.

Shakeology, Protein and Essential Amino Acids

Protein and Essential Amino Acids*

  • Help build and repair muscles
  • Reduce hunger and food cravings
  • Help keep blood sugar steady
  • Support brain function to help promote alert thinking and reduce anxiety
  • Promote healthy skin, hair, and nails
Shakeology includes whey protein isolate, an easily absorbable source of high-quality protein that's ideal for building and maintaining lean muscle mass. It also helps keep your blood sugar steady, reducing hunger and junk food cravings. Essential amino acids, found in protein, help the body repair muscle tissue and heal wounds; support the brain to promote calmness and alertness; and reduce hunger pangs. The whey protein in Shakeology provides a highly bioavailable source of essential amino acids.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

LeMond Revolution, Trainer

For those of you who cycle, there is a new type of bike trainer out there called the LeMond Revolution. One of the drawbacks to many of the traditional trainers is how the resistance works. In most cases the resistance is based on the rear wheel connecting to a fly wheel. This often results in wheel slippage and worn out tires.  

The LeMond Revolution eliminates this by using direct-drive, which integrates directly with your bike’s drive train.   I haven't tried this trainer out yet, but it looks really good.

If you live in Austin, Texas drop by Jack and Adams and ask for Jack or Thomas or any of the staff about it.  I don't believe it is in stock yet, but I am sure it will be.

Shakeology, 3 Day Cleanse

Beachbody has a great little cleanse program called the Shakeology 3 Day Cleanse. During the 3 day cleanse, you drink Shakeology 3 times a day, drink green tea and have a nice salad in the evening.

The Shakeology cleanse is not like a traditional cleans. Depending on your needs, you will be eating and consumping some where between 800 and 1,200 calories. The main goal of the cleanse is to rid your body of undigested foods and toxins. You will be bringing your body and fluids to homeostasis. The net result will be that your body will run more efficiently using less calories.

The Shakeology 3 day cleanse should only be done once a quarter. It should also not be performed during a week that will include intense workouts.

One of the fun aspects to a Shakeology 3 Day Cleans is you can get other people to join you. Having a Beachbody Coach lead the program is a great way to stay motivated.

CamelBak, Water Bottles

If you haven't tried CamelBak's new line of bottles with the Bite Valve™ technology, they are certainly worth a look.  It makes drinking out them really easy.   The Bite Valve™also keeps spillage to a minimum.

The CamelBak® Better Bottle™ goes stainless. With the Bite Valve™ in their revolutionary cap, CamelBak has re-energized the reusable bottle category, creating the ultimate spill-proof companion. Available in .5L Insulated Stainless and .75L Stainless.

Features for the Stainless Steel model include

  • Made from medical-grade stainless steel, with no inner liners or plastic coatings that aluminum bottles require.
  • STAINLESS: Single-walled .75L Bottles available in an assortment of colorful styles
  • Also available in INSULATED STAINLESS: Micro-welded, double-wall .5L Insulated Stainless bottles feature vacuum insulation to keep beverages cool for hours.
  • Naturally BPA-Free, stain resistant and taste-free

Monday, November 8, 2010

Nathan Sports HPL #020

Over the coming months the Austin Fit Club will post product reviews to enhance your exercising experience. Hydration systems are really vital when working out for extended periods. Hydration systems come in various forms such as water bottles, belt systems and backpacks.

Nathan Sports' HPL #020 is an amazing hydration vest. I say vest because it is worn more like a vest rather than a pack.  I had heard many great things about the Nathan HPL hydration vest, so I being new to Ultras, was ready to give it a go. The first run I did with the vest was a short, but hilly 10 miler. The vest felt great and seemed to move with me as I ran. When I needed some fluids I simply grabbed the bite valve and sucked some fluids in. One thing that stood out immediately for me, was how noisy the water was sloshing around. It became pretty annoying after a while, but at some point I tuned it out. The 2nd run I did using the Nathan vest (20 miles), I decided to swap out the Nathan badder for a Camelback one that I had laying around. This was an immediate improvement and drastically reduced the sloshing noise. Now on some of the other Nathan vests they have included pegs to hold the Nathan bladder more securely in the pack. I am not sure why this was omitted from the HLP, but it would be a welcome addition.

The Pros
  • Front pockets allow for easy access to GUs, Power bars or whatever nutrition you carry.
  • Shoulder straps really feel comfortable.
  • The shoulder straps are wide, but still lightweight and breathable.
  • Having bungee on the back of the vest allows for extra storage of cloths.
The Cons
  • The vest gets a little warm on the back.
  • The Nathan bladder makes a lot of noise when running. This could be reduced by including the bladder pegs.
  • The actual pack (not the vest) needs to be more durable. The pack materials seem cheap in comparison to a Camelback.
What I Would Change

  • Redesign the Badder to be more secure in the pack. This would reduce the sloshing. You could do this in two ways, either redesign the pack with some type of compression mechanism or redesign the bladder.
  • Raise the pack off the back to let air flow. Adding small ridges or some other design to allow airflow between the pack and a person's back would make using it cooler.
  • Add two more pockets to the front. Having additional pockets would allow for more food/trash.
My Modifications
  • Nixed the Nathan bladder and replaced it with Camelback bladder. Another option would be to go to Michael's and buy some bungee cord and some wooden pegs. The HPL bladder has holes where you can pass the pegs through to secure the bladder to the bag.

Useful Tips
  • Keeping a front pocket empty is perfect for holding trash, such as bar rappers and used GUs/Gels.
Overall Evaluation -
  • 9 out of 10

What is P90X?

The P90X® workout program is a revolutionary system of 12 sweat-inducing, muscle-pumping exercises designed to transform your body from regular to ripped in just 90 days.  The P90X program was designed by coach Tony Horton and Team Beachbody.

Why is P90X so effective?

The secret behind the P90X workout system is an advanced training technique called Muscle Confusion™, which accelerates the results process by constantly introducing new moves and routines so your body never plateaus, and you never get bored! Whether you want to get lean, bulk up, or just plain get ripped, there's an endless variety of ways to mix and match the routines to keep you motivated the full 90 days and beyond!

To get more information please ask Rich Gizzie, Tom Crandall or fill out our contact us form.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

What is Shakeology?

Shakeology is a meal replacement shake that comes in powder form and can be mixed with cold water, soy milk, rice milk, orange juice or whatever your taste buds crave.  Shakeology is an ultra-premium nutritional health shake.  It provides the widest array of nutrients from around the world in a nutrient-dense but low-calorie formula.

Shakeology currently comes in 2 flavors, Greenberry and Chocolate.   We really like the flavor of the Chocolate formula.  The Greenberry however, takes a little recipe experimentation to get the right taste.

To get more information please ask Rich Gizzie, Tom Crandall or fill out our contact us form.