3 Spring Must-Haves!

It’s that time of year again, the geese are confused and back early here up in Canada, the trees are budding and the snow is pretty much gone in most areas!

I’m not going to miss the cold that much, but as we ease into this lovely new Equinox, I want to tell you about 3 Spring Must-Haves that should be in your outdoor running toolkit!

Nike Running Club:  Ask your friends to add you, stay accountable to yourself, get reminders sent directly to your phone! This app keeps me in check.  I love sneaking a peek at the weekly leader board to see where I am ranking against my friends – a little good healthy competition never hurts your motivation to lace on up, and head on out for one of those 5 am 5Ks I’ve been telling you about! 😉  

Deep Blue Rub: I recently discovered this product and I’ve switched from Deep Relief/A535 as this dōTERRA cream/rub is infused with the Deep Blue Soothing Blend of  CPTG Certified Pure Therapeutic Grade® essential oils and gives you a cooling and warmth sensation that helps problem areas!  Getting back into outdoor running can be a challenge, but Deep Blue is your buddy that helps those achy muscles you feel when you’re getting old ;))  

10% Happier by Dan Harris: I picked this book up as a reco from my buddy Doug Foley over at The Happiness of Pursuit.  Dan Harris in this well-written book, makes fun of himself in ways that I connected with, pointed out similarities that I never thought him and I would have, and makes you realize that meditation, self-awareness and reflection are easily able to help us become that much happier (at least 10% ;)).  His journey through to meditation and self-realization are inspiring and attainable!

The running app keeps me accountable, the Deep Blue keeps my tired muscles happy and on point, and 10% Happier keeps me in-check to mentally re-set when I need it, and power through those tough moments when you’d rather turn around and go home to sleep in your gym clothes!  *Maybe that’s only me? 😉

Happy Training, lovely people!
-Bexx

REVIEW: LANEIGE Water Bank Gel Cream

IMG_7136As part of an Influenster campaign, I recently got sent free product to review for LANEIGE.  I was sent the Water Bank Gel Cream to test out.   (You’ll have to excuse my less than stellar product photography skills – A for effort for sure ;))

What I enjoy in order of awesomeness:

  • Cooling effect on your face – Once you apply the gel cream to your face you can feel the tingling sensation and cooling that the product boasts right away. It’s refreshing and this is great both in the morning or when going to bed.  Freshhhhhhh!
  • Fragrance – In a lot of instances you get a product that works well but doesn’t smell the part.  It can be a huge turn-off for me, and I am happy to report this cream smells great. Slightly floral, yet fresh.  I love this smell!
  • Texture – This is for normal to combination skin.  I have the latter.  This cream is thin enough for my skin and it doesn’t feel like it’s bogging it down.  Because of it’s lighter texture, it doesn’t clog my pores and I still feel like my skin is getting the moisture that it needs.

What could be improved:

  • Shiny skin post-application – This could be just be me and my skin, but I found that my skin IMG_7147was shinier than normal.  This can be the case with a new product, given that I have only been using it for two weeks.  Sometimes it takes time for your skin to get accustomed to a new product in your beauty regime, and may not even be something that can be improved.
  • Whole line exposure – I would have personally liked to test the full regimen of products (they also offer a cleaner, serum and mask).  I do understand sending a whole line of the products probably wasn’t in the marketing budget of the company when launching these products, but it would be useful to test the whole line.  I’d ideally like to see how all steps of the products work on my skin and how they work  together.

If you’ve tried any of the other products in the line, feel free to comment and let us know what you thought!

-Bexx

*Please note: This product was sent to me by Influenster for reviewing purposes.  This post was not sponsored, nor was I compensated for this post.  Opinions are all my own.  If you’re interested in testing products like these check them out and sign up here*

REVIEW: Manitoba Harvest Hemp Hearts

hempA few weeks ago I received the opportunity to review Manitoba Harvest Hemp Hearts through being a #sweatpink ambassador with Fit Approach.

I had heard about Hemp Hearts, but I hadn’t really tried any, nor was I really sure what I was supposed to do with them.

Luckily the Manitoba Harvest website features a whole bunch of awesome recipes and ideas that you can use to get you started!

A few quick facts about Hemp Hearts that I didn’t know:

i) Hemp Hearts contain 10 grams of plant-based protein per 30g serving and 10 grams of Omegas.
ii) They taste great on a salad, in oatmeal, in a shake or smoothie and also add extra awesome to your baking.  They also taste great straight out of the bag (I did try this…..then tried again, because they actually tasted so great!)
iii) Hemp hearts have more protein and omegas than the same serving of chia or flax, and less carbs (bonus!!)

I tried them on my salads, in my shakes, and in some of my baking.  In each instance, they actually added a great nutty flavour that I thoroughly enjoyed. (They’re often compared to a pine nut, or sunflower seed in taste.)  They’re great for vegetarians who want to add more protein to their diet.  I love the idea of a plant-based protein as an alternative to meat choices.  I still love meat and the protein that it gives me, but it’s important to have a variety of protein types in your diet.

I would recommend that you check out the Hemp Hearts for sure!

For one lucky reader out there, you have a chance to win yourself your very own bag of Hemp Hearts.  Simply, follow Manitoba Harvest on Instagram and Twitter,  and RT/reply to one of my tweets about this blog post using the hashtag #HempHearts telling me why you want some Hemp Hearts from Manitoba Harvest for your chance to win or leave a comment on this post of why you think you should win!

Good luck!

-Bexx

(Although asked to do this review, this is my honest opinion. Winner of the giveaway must be a resident of the US or Canada.)

 

 

My *high-yah* Ninja Professional Blender!

So as I am sure some of you remember I went on a juicing cleanse awhile back, and drank juice for 7 days straight.  Not only was I tired and down 11 lbs at the end, but I hated juice for the longest time.  Along with that awesomely non-positive attitude toward juice, was a great disdain for the smoothie as well.  I liked my food in solid form, and wasn’t interested in pureeing ‘my anything’, unless it was a nice little steaming butternut squash soup.

ninja blender I got the  Ninja Professional Blender BL660 Series, mostly because I’m a total pro…. at blending…. (a self-proclaimed professional with limited skills, but the ‘want’ to be the best.  Consider me the ‘wax on, wax off’ upcoming master blender of my generation.)  Now, sometimes I get motivated to get certain gadgets, and am not really sure why.  I wanted to like smoothies, and to make protein shakes ‘a thing’ in my morning routine. Enter: The Ninja.

I have to admit, I got this one because it has the capabilities of making a huge batch of something, but also has two individual cups you can blend in, like a Magic Bullet.  I love this blender, and would recommend it to anyone who asked me my opinion about blenders.  I’m not sure when a conversation like this would take place, but just know that if it did – I would not falter from my love of my Ninja.

I like knowing what is going into my smoothies, and the fact that I can make them at home makes me really happy about it! It takes pumpkina quick second for me to blend my morning smoothies, and the noise isn’t overly loud.  The other day a friend and I made some pumpkin spiced lattes in my Ninja, and they were amazing and frothy – so that’s just another idea for you to try.

I’ve blended soups, dips, and fruit with this blender. All results have been amazing.  The soup despite starting off really chunky, pureed really well when Ninja’d for less than a few minutes.

If you’re considering a new blender, this would be my go-to.  I have no affiliation with Ninja Blenders and they haven’t asked me to do this post, I just love it!

I had a few issues of my own following instructions at first when using the large 72 oz pitcher, but I was just putting the lid on wrong. (I felt like less than a professional at that point in my blending career, but it’s only upward and onward from this incident.)  It won’t let you blend until all the pieces are locked into the right spots – which is great for the accident prone like me!  The instructions are great, you just have to follow them.  There are also great online forums for you to Google and hit up if you have any issues 🙂

Happy blending, folks!

-Bexx

 

Review: Fitbit vs Nike Fuel

fbnfseBexx Note (03/19/14):  Since posting this review I have stopped using my Fitbit, as it has burned my wrists and left permanent scarring.  Reports are saying it is a chemical burn or skin reaction.  I am not currently allergic to anything at all, and from the looks of the burn it appears to be chemical.  The fitbit Flex is still fine according to reports, but the Force should be recalled.  I still saw it in stores last week in Ontario, Canada, so be careful.

My friend Hilary got a Fitbit and when I was working out with her one Friday she told me all about it.  I went out the very next day and purchased one myself.  I had heard about the Fitbit before, but I was curious, and intrigued.  I also wanted to see if something like this could help me be more conscious of my every day activity levels, and overall fitness.  Her husband had the regular Fitbit Flex, which offers more colour options, but less in terms of display.  This ultimately made my decision easier – I’m all about the visual so I went with the Fitbit Force.

That week my friend Lawrence who works with Nike provided me with a Nike FuelBand SE so that I could test it out.  He swore it was better than the Fitbit.  I must admit that for my purposes, I am still in love with the Fitbit Force.

FitBitForceFitbit Force $130 CAD
Pros:
i)  Clear display.  Measures daily steps, miles, stair flights climbed, active minutes, calories burned, allows you to input weight changes, track sleep patterns, and allows you to track your calories and water intake.
ii)  If you are a fan and user of MyFitnessPal, it links with the Fitbit allowing you to track calories in and calories out, along with all your activity.
iii) Vibrates and lights up once you’ve hit your step goal for the day.
iv) Has a great application for iPhone users and also a great Dashboard for PCs.  You can add your friends to it, and have them cheer you on, or taunt you for fun!

Cons:
i)  Limited wrist bands colours available.  Currently available in grey and black.
ii)  The community for Fitbit is not as large as the Nike community.  If you are big into community engagement, you may want to wait a little longer until this community is built up…or maybe get one and join me!
iii)  If you are into cycling, it doesn’t accurately count your activity.  I’ve heard of people attaching the Fitbit to their shoes to account for their activity, but I haven’t tried that yet myself 😉

Overall: Comfortable wristband,  no flashy branding,  and can blend in with other jewelry accessories.  I love that is links with MyFitnessPal and I find myself making sure that I get my steps in even if that requires that I do some ‘foot-fire’ football running drills to hit my steps in my room before bed.  *Note: My neighbours may not be a fan of this as much as I am haha.   I’m a bit crazy like that.  By far my favourite fitness related tracker thus far.  I usually quit or stop tracking with technological devices like this, but with Fitbit Force I am going on strong  – a month and a half now and down 15 lbs! Fitbit and MyFitnessPal combined really make you aware of what you are  doing and what  you’re not.  Awareness has also been an issue for me, so this is absolutely wonderful.

NikeFuelSENike FuelBand SE Retail: $150 CAD

Pros:
i) Uses motion-sensing technology to capture your movements during the day and converts it to NikeFuel. Tracks the intensity of your workouts, sleep, counts yours steps  and tells time.
ii) Strong community is what Nike is known for – this aspect does not disappoint. You can compete against your friends in some ‘friendly’ competition to see who has earned the most NikeFuel.
ii)  NikeFuel SE  has a coloured meter which allows you to see where you are at in terms of activity for the day.  Also allows you the opportunity to track which hours you have ‘won’ for the day.  (An hour ‘won’ is an hour where you have been active and earned NikeFuel for 6 minutes consecutively within an hour.)  It reminds you to get up and get active, which is especially helpful when you have an office job where you sit a lot.  It sends you a personalized (essentially a Go, Rebecca, Go!) message of encouragement.  If this isn’t for you, you can also shut this option off.

Cons:
i) Heavily branded, and is not as comfortable on the wrist despite having adjustment pieces available.
ii) Display is not as clear as the Fitbit, and it is a little less clear what exactly you’re seeing when you hit the button.
iii)  Battery lasted approximately from Sunday to Wednesday evening vs the Fitbit week-long battery life.

Overall:  I think this is a good option for someone who is heavily into training and measuring the intensity of their training.  Ultimately it depends what you’re trying to track, and what is important to you.  With its sporty sleek look and great community, this device is awesome if you are competitive and want to have that community engagement and support.  It has come a long way from the original NikeFuel that first came out years ago.  The sleep tracker is also an added bonus that a lot of other devices don’t have.  Nike has done a great job in improving this device and I’m interested to see the next model and how they adapt to the needs of the user.

It really depends on you.  I’m a bit biased because I tried my Fitbit first and I think it’s really hard to change my mind when I love something.  Different strokes for different folks.  I think when purchasing you need to keep in mind what exactly you’re wanting the device for.   Overall, these types of devices shine a light on your habits and actual activity level.  I think a lot can be said for something that allows you to see what you’re really up to in a day.  It makes you accountable, aware and allows you to really gauge whether or not you actually want to do something with the results you find.  Maybe you’re a lot more active than you thought, or maybe it’s the opposite.  Either way, knowledge is power, as they say! 😉

Feel free to leave comments below on your experience with Fitbit or NikeFuel.  I’d love to hear your opinions!

Happy Training!
xo
-Bexx

REVIEW: Medi-Dyne Original ProStretch & RangeRoller

medi-dyneThe lovely folks at Medi-Dyne, after hearing about my Achilles issues on Twitter (at least I think that is how they found me), asked if I would be interested in reviewing a product of theirs.

I was asked to take a look at the products, and choose one.  They ended up sending me both the Original  ProStretch and the RangeRoller!  Please see my thoughts on the products below:

TheOriginalProStretchSingle-500x500Product: Original ProStretch
Price: $30.00 USD
Product Description:  Patented rocker that holds your foot in place to facilitate proper stretching.  Can be used to provide relief for heel pain, plantar fasciitis, shin splits, Achilles tendonitis, ankle weakness, and strained calves.
Pros: The simplistic design of the ProStretch makes using this tool simple too.  It’s great for beginners, and for those who are more experienced with stretching and using stretching aids, when looking for a deeper stretch.  It elevates you off of the ground to really get a deep stretch.  Works with all sizes of feet, and is made of very durable plastic.
Cons: The website claims that this stretching tool is portable and easy to use.  I find the stretching aid useful for facilitating proper stretching, but I don’t feel like the portability is there for me.  I don’t think I would leave room for this item in my suitcase if I were going on a trip or traveling to a race, as it is quite big.  This is pretty much the only thing that I find ‘wrong’ with this product and I use ‘wrong’ loosely, because I would still use this at home.
Overall: I think that the ProStretch is a very useful tool for stretching.  I used it quite a bit when my Achilles was still acting up and it really did provide a stretch that wasn’t attainable on my own with a step-back calf/Achilles stretch.  You are elevated off of the ground and as your foot rocks backward and forward you really begin to feel the deep stretch that you need.  If you suffer from any of the issues above or are prone to these injuries, this is a great tool.  I would combine the use of this tool with other stretches that you can do without equipment to really make sure you have options when traveling or when you are not at home.

RangeRollerProduct: RangeRoller XL
Price: $40.00 USD
Product Description: The XL can be used on your back and legs.  It is a massage therapy tool that gives you an effective deep tissue massage.  It is designed to simulate the effects of a personal massage, but without the high cost.
Pros: I have used many foam rollers before.  This one is my favourite for really honing in on certain trouble areas – like the hamstrings, calves and quads. I also used this tool on my lower back. With a traditional roller it would take a long time to get the results that I did with this product.  I had the RangeRoller at work for awhile, and it peaked interest there.  Some of my co-workers tried it out and were shocked/impressed with how well this product worked.  I also enjoy that it can be used by anyone regardless of size or shape, which is great!
Cons:  To be honest, I can’t think of any.  I would still go for a deep tissue massage on occasion, even when using this.  Nothing wrong with treating yourself sometimes 🙂
Overall:  I love the RangeRoller.  I’d recommend to anyone who’s looking for a tool that really helps deliver a deep tissue massage on your legs or lower back!

Thanks to Medi-Dyne for sending me these great products to try out! I will most definitely put these two products to great use 🙂

You can follow Medi-Dyne on Twitter, or visit their website at www.medi-dyne.com

Happy Training!

-Bexx

*I was not financially compensated for this post. I received a sample for review purposes. The opinions are completely my own based on my experience.*

REVIEW: Equinox on Bay

A couple of weeks ago I had the chance to check out the opening of the brand new Equinox gym on Bay Street.

Equinox on Bay

I’d never been to an Equinox gym before, but I was pretty excited to check it out.  The night was obviously not a regular every day gym-tour given the fact that drinks were flowing and food was being passed around by wait-staff, but I was impressed by the demos that took place that evening and how spacious the gym was.

Yoga Demonstrationat Equinox Grand Opening
Yoga demonstration at Equinox Grand Opening (Photo credit: Andrea Vendittelli)

PROS:

->The gym is conveniently located downtown at Bay and Wellington.
->No need to clean your own equipment, someone will do that for you!
->Special features: eucalyptus steam, Kiehl’s amenities in the locker room,
eucalyptus towels available across the fitness floors, The Shop (a
place where you can purchase the latest fitness gear), Spa on-site, laundry
service, coat check and on-site Cafe.
->Many different types of classes available:  yoga (12 types of classes),
cycling, personal training, boxing, cardio and strength training.

CONS:

->There is currently only one Canadian location at this time.
->If you’re a gym beginner, this gym is a bit intimidating.
->$$$ membership:   Regular membership is roughly $160 a month, and if you want access to the other clubs in the US it’s about $188.  A typical Goodlife membership goes for about $65  dollars a month.

OVERALL:  I think Equinox is definitely a good investment for those who spend a lot of time at the gym.  It has a spa-like feel, and is very clean and fresh for a gym.  I am not sure if I would want to pay the $165 monthly fee, as I find it a bit too high for my gym taste, but you truly do get catered to at a gym like this.  From the scented towels to the souped-up steam room, luxury is definitely something that this gym does offer.  If you’re looking for an upscale gym that is not just another Goodlife around the corner ,this is most definitely a gym for you!

Happy Training,

-Bexx

This review was unsolicited 🙂