Gear Review

Gear Review: Running and lifting in Swiftwick Socks

A few months ago, the nice people at Swiftwick sent me three pairs of their running socks to test out and review. Because you can only get a good feel for workout clothes — and socks in particular — by wearing them during all kinds of workouts in all kinds of weather and conditions, I took my time putting each pair through their paces. Also, I’ve only been running once or twice a week, so I wanted to make sure I got a good feel for each pair as they are all a bit different in terms of material, cushioning and compression.

Yes, socks can be as custom as running shoes are these days! (more…)

A runner’s review of the FitBit Charge 2 Heart Rate Plus

gear-review_-the-fitbit-charge-2-heart-rateAbout a month ago, my FitBit Charge HR got a random crack in the display so I contacted FitBit support to see if I could get a replacement as it was still under warranty. They offered to send me another one free of charge (which was awesome because I relied on it daily as a watch, silent alarm clock and easy way to track my workouts), but since the Fitbit Charge 2 Heart Rate Plus was coming out soon I asked if I could have a discount off a new purchase instead. They agreed, and I got my snazzy new FitBit several weeks later.

How the FitBit Charge 2 compares to the FitBit Charge

The display is bigger, but not too big. I love being able to see two activity stats (that you are able to choose) along with the time when I tilt my wrist up to check my FitBit. To see more stats, such as distance travelled, calories burner, steps taken and heart rate, you just have to tap the watch face to scroll through. I also love that it’s roughly the same size as the Charge, so it’s still very comfortable to sleep with.

fitbit charge 2

There are more ways to track workouts. When you press the single button on the side of your FitBit Charge 2, you can scroll through to the workout function that gives you several kinds of workouts to track by tapping the watch face. You can select a run, treadmill, elliptical, bike, weights, workout or interval workout, which actually has a built in timer to vibrate every 30 seconds so you know when to go hard and when to rest. The run function shows your time and distance on the main display, or you can tap through to get your pace, heart rate, average pace, steps and calorie burn. The only workout functions I haven’t tried yet are bike and elliptical, so I’m not sure if those have any unique features to them. I wish it had a yoga function!

FitBit Charge 2 vs. a Garmin 235

FitBit Charge 2 vs. a Garmin 235

You can see and do more things from your wrist. Since the display is bigger, you don’t have to tap through as much to see your stats. You are also able to set and turn off alarms from your wrist and check your pace, heart rate, resting heart rate and other stats while working out instead of relying on the FitBit phone app to see everything.

There’s a breathing tracker. The FitBit Charge 2 has a function that can track your breathing and guide you through a slow breathing exercise for two or five minutes. You can do it all from your wrist, which is handy.

The wrist bands are replaceable/interchangeable. I had to replace my previous FitBit Charge because the wrist band broke, so I was super happy to find out the FitBit Charge 2 bands are replaceable and interchangeable. Finally, no more plain boring black all the time!

Things I don’t like about the FitBit Charge 2

The breathing tracker isn’t very helpful. I tried the breathing exercise a few times but didn’t find it very relaxing to hold up my wrist to stare at it to follow along. What would be really helpful is an alert that tells you when you’re breathing too shallow and remind you to stop and take a deep breath. I feel like I need that!

It still doesn’t track runs as well as a Garmin, even when using the GPS on your phone. The FitBit Charge without the GPS is still slightly off when it comes to tracking runs. It’s good for a generally distance, but if you’re training for a race I’d suggest using something more accurate.

Verdict: Overall, I love the Fitbit Charge 2 even more than the original and it’s totally worth the $200 price tag if you’re a regular fitness tracker wearer.

Do you wear an activity tracker? What’s your favourite type?
What are your “must-haves” for a fitness tracker?
What features do you like/dislike most about the FitBit?

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Disclaimer: This post contain Amazon affiliate links. Thank you for your support!

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Linking up with the lovely:

Annmarie at The Fit Foodie Mama, Nicole at Fitful Focus, Michelle at Fruition Fitness and Jen at Pretty Little Grub

Want to get better at backbends in yoga? Try a Yoga Wheel!

backbends yoga wheelRemember in January of 2015 when I set a goal to hold a scorpion pose by the end of the year?

Yeah… that didn’t happen. Although I improved my headstand and could get into scorpion position propped up against a wall, I definitely didn’t achieve the forearm-balancing, back-bending badassery I had hoped to by the end of the year.

After the marathon on October 9, my post-race plan is to focus on strength and flexibility again until I inevitably start training for my next race (and who knows when that will be). So I was stoked when YogDev, a Vancouver-based yoga prop company, asked if I would like to try their Yoga Wheel and write a review for my blog. The timing couldn’t have been more perfect, as I’ve been incorporating more yoga and stretching into my training plan and have been using a big foam roller for releasing lower back tension at the end of the day. (more…)

Product Review: Magnaphones Wireless Yoga and Running Headphones

magnaphones reviewI didn’t think I needed wireless earbuds until the folks at Magnaphones were kind enough to send me their new sweat proof, weatherproof wireless Bluetooth earphones to try out to see what I thought about them.

And… I’m never going back to corded earbuds again. I seriously love them.

Although I only listen to music occasionally when I run, I definitely listen to it when I race. And I don’t know how many minutes I’ve lost during a race frigging around with an earbud that popped out because a) I’m sweating a lot, or b) I accidentally snag the cord with my swinging arm and rip it out of my ear. Never. Again. (more…)

The RAD Roller – My review of RAD Roller’s 3 unique self-massage tools

Foam rolling is one of those things I know is beneficial (especially during marathon training) and often recommend to my strength and conditioning clients, but struggle to do myself. Yes it can hurt sometimes, but so can running intervals. And so can injuring yourself because you failed to work out those knots and kinks that caused your running form to break down over time.

rad roller review

That’s why when professional triathlete Dan McIntosh reached out to me to review his RAD Roller system, I jumped at the chance. I have one of those big foam rollers with the dense foam wrapped around PVC pipe, but hardly use it because a) it doesn’t really get into the spots I need it to get into, b) it’s not very portable, and c) I’m too lazy to prop myself up on it after a long run. After a full week of workouts, I want the foam rolling part to be easy, not challenging. And since you often need to use your upper body and core strength to foam roll properly, sometimes I avoid it just because I’m too tired to do it. (more…)

Warm gifts for cold people

Winter is coming. And I’m feeling just as miserable as Jon Snow is about it.

sad-jon-snow

I’m one of those people who is always cold. And not just cold feeling, but actually cold in body temperature. Even in the summer I need to wear layers and can’t hold an icy drink for too long. I may as well be Elsa from Frozen by the way people recoil when I touch their arm or when I “accidentally” place my feet near their bare skin in bed (sorry Matt).

I always joke that I may have been a reptile in a past life due to my desire/need for warmth, but all kidding aside I do actually have a condition where my body can’t regulate cold very well; even the slightest drop in temperature leaves me reaching for a sweater.   (more…)

{Friday Favourites} Cozy winter running gear, natural make-up & more

Life In Leggings

Happy Friday and almost American Thanksgiving, friends! How was your week?

Mine was pretty great, because I found out I get to attend IDEA World Fitness BlogFest for FREE! You have NO idea how excited I am to meet some of my fellow Sweat Pink Ambassadors and IDEA Inspired Bloggers in person, hang out for the weekend in LA, network, earn some CEUs for my strength coach certification and learn all about how to create a better blog/coaching business. The conference is in July, so I’ve got lots of time to save up for my plane ticket. Fellow SPAs: Who wants to share a room???

Thank you all for sharing my first attempt at a “podcast” this week and my post yesterday about why I’m not spending money on small gifts and holiday treats this year. I’m sure I’ll be doing some holiday baking because I love to do it, but diverting some of the funds I would have spent on such things to charity causes instead.

I haven’t done a favourites post in awhile, so I’m linking up with Heather of Life in Leggings and Nicole of Fitful Focus to share are some of the things I’m loving lately from my Instagram feed! (more…)

West coast fall and winter workout gear essentials

wcwwgeLiving on an island off the west coast of beautiful British Columbia definitely has its perks. The ocean surrounds us, the wilderness here is beautiful, there are plenty of places to explore for hours on end without seeing another human being, and the weather here is never too extreme. That means year-round outdoor adventures and not having to spend the winter cooped up in a gym to stay fit and healthy.

Even though we hardly get any snow here at sea level and the temperature rarely drops below -1°C, outdoor enthusiasts still have to consider the elements when exercising outside during the winter months. Here are a few key pieces of apparel us northern west-coasters should add to our workout wardrobe for winter: (more…)

Join the #7daystretch challenge with Sweat Pink and prAna for a chance to win some workout gear

p1Are you on Instagram? Do you practice yoga — or would you like to start?

Then join the #7daystretch challenge with Sweat Pink and prAna for a chance to win some workout gear!

I’m joining prAna and Sweat Pink for a super fun, #7daystretch #liveinprana challenge – it starts today (Monday, August 24th) and ends at the end of the week (Sunday, August 30th). Join in on the fun – answering daily prompts (see below) – or if you’d prefer to lurk, you can follow along on FitApproach or through the hashtags: #liveinprana #7daystretch #sweatpink!

We’ll be talking about how we (the community) embrace a prAna lifestyle (#liveinprana) and are challenging ourselves to stretch a little deeper, farther and more mindfully for 7 whole days (the #7daystretch). And we’re not just stretching our bodies so you don’t have to be pretzel to join in, we’re also stretching our minds and souls!

I’d love for Debbie, Susie, Katie and Jill to join me for this fun challenge. Complete the fun mad-lib below on your blog or Instagram account and let’s get stretching! (more…)

Activity tracker preview: The LEAF by Bellabeat review

IMG_6353(Heads up! This post contains referral links.)

In May of this year, I was lucky enough to snag one of the latest fitness trackers available on the market in a presale batch: the LEAF activity and lifestyle tracker by wellness tech company Bellabeat. The LEAF, designed as the first activity tracker made specifically for women, not only tracks your daily step count and sleep duration and quality, but also your stress levels through breathing exercises and your menstrual cycle. Although the stress-reducing and female-specific features had me intrigued, I was even more excited about the fact that it doesn’t LOOK like a bulky, plastic activity tracker. The LEAF is made of sustainable wood and hypoallergenic stainless steel, and the design is something I actually wouldn’t mind wearing every day as a piece of jewelry.

I’ve had my LEAF since late July, and have been wearing it every day for the last three weeks. I’ve worn it for long runs, intense strength training sessions, out to dinner with friends, to the office, camping, hiking and even to a country music festival. I was going to wait to do a review until more features are available and more bugs are fixed in the app, but I thought I would give you all a gear “preview” in case you were considering signing up for the next available batch.

Here’s a breakdown of my thoughts so far about the LEAF’s design, wearability, tech, app and tracking capabilities, and what I hope Bellabeat will make available in the next product batches and app updates. (more…)

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