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Reviews

Five Fitness Faves & a Bondi Band Giveaway!

by agirlandhermutt on June 13, 2014

Hi there! Guess who doesn’t suck at swimming?! This girl! I finished up my 3rd week of classes last night and I’m pleased as punch at how well I am doing. I’m still swallowing a lot of water, but I’m getting better at not choking every single time I do that. Tips are welcome!

On the fitness front, I declared on Instagram earlier in the week that I would hit my goal of 150 miles for the Tone It Up #150bySummer BY THE END OF THE WEEK! I’m so close and only have 13 miles to go before Sunday night. Eek! I’ll let you know how it goes on Monday, but cheer me on virtually, ok?!

In other news, it is Friday and I love alliteration.

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Friday Faves: Five Fun Fitness Finds! <—That has to be a record of some sort. Right?!

1. MyBand iPhone Armband

I was looking for something to wear on my forearm when I’m at the gym so that I could look at whatever workout routine I had for that day. The typical armbands that go around your bicep bothered me and were too far up for me to look at repeatedly. While this sucker isn’t the prettiest, it works and allows me to just save whatever PDF, word document, etc in Dropbox and then access from my phone. Perfect for strength training workouts and Tone It Up workouts.

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2. FitPlusWear Sound Solution Capris

The folks at FitPlusWear sent me a pair of their capris to review. When I first put them on I was a bit skeptical because I typically only wear two different kinds of capris. Old Navy and Lululemon. Old Navy to workout in and Lululemon for yoga and everything else. I slipped on these capris and I my first impression was “whoa…these are tight”. Not gonna lie, my big butt could have used a XL. Typically I wear a L in almost everything.


(Cute puppy photo bomb!)

Despite my big butt problem, I really loved these capris! The “moisture wicking and antimicrobial slimming compression” fabric is nice, thick and sturdy. And it has a pocket! A POCKET! A “sweat-proof, bounce proof, fall proof pocket”!


(You are now looking at my whitest of white hip!)

When I’m running or on the elliptical, I hate wearing the above armband. I get way too sweaty to have things on my arms. These pants are perfect because I can just slip my phone in my pocket (with my ridiculous octopus case and all!) and not worry about it one bit. It doesn’t jiggle around and stays exactly where it should. Bonus…it doesn’t get all sweaty like it does when I hold it in my hand or in my bra. This pocket is the perfect workout pocket!

I haven’t worn these babies for long, but I have washed them a few times and the compression hasn’t faded. They kept their shape perfectly! I also really like that they are a bit higher waisted so I don’t feel like my butt is hanging out for everyone to see. Thankyouverymuch.

Definitely check out FitPlusWear and use the code 2HE90CGR5Y4U for 20% off any of the Fit Plus Wear clothing!

Oh, and here is an outtake photo. I have no idea what I was trying to do, but it cracks me up. Top Model here I come.

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3. Asics Gel-Kayano 19

If you see me doing any high-impact activity like running, intense cardio or you know, laid out in the airport reading a magazing…I’m wearing my Asics.

I am a little late to the sneaker game. I’ve been going on looks for just about forever. If they looked cute, I bought them. However, after my most recent bout of plantar fasciitis I knew I had to switch it up. After a lot of investigation and a visit to a running shoe store, I am an Asics fan. I would have NEVER thought to look at Asics but I can tell ya…these suckers are just perfect. Fun Fact: I have overpronation (rolling in of the foot). Always the over-achiever! ;)

I know the Asics Gel-Kayano 20s are out already, but I’m not sneaker savvy enough to know the difference just quiet yet. Anyone else a fan?!

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4. FitBit Zip

I’m a fan of fitness trackers. I used to wear my Nike FuelBand all of the time, but I can’t get it to keep a charge for longer than a few hours now. A few months back I decided to get a little FitBit Zip so I could have something that linked to MyFitnessPal and just give me the basics on how many steps I was doing.

I LOVE MY LITTLE ZIP!

I wear it all of the time! It is super discreet on the strap of my bra and I don’t have to worry about it matching my outfit like the armband. The minute I get home I take all my jewelry off and have made removing the FitBit part of that process. It is a little bitty guy so you can easily forget about it and just accidentally wash it. Don’t do that though. Ok?

I love to check in throughout the day to see how I am doing. I can also connect with friends who are also FitBit users on the FitBit site for some friendly competition. ;)

FitBit has a great app that shows all kinds of fun data and it links to MyFitnessPal seamlessly. Awesome little product for half of the price of the armband! If you aren’t into the wristbands, definitely give this little baby a look.

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5. Bondi Bands

We all know I love a good headband. This hair has to be tamed! I also have a huge head so a lot of bands really put way too much pressure on my head and give me a headache quickly. Bondi Bands are the perfect solution to that problem.

They have all kinds of great colors, styles, sayings, etc to fit any type of workout and personality. They also have a variety of products like arm bands, skinny headbands, hair ties and wristbands.

I like wearing mine under my bike helmet to keep my hair from freaking out from all the friction and it helps minimize the sweat on my forehead because of the wicking fabric.


(Seriously. How cute is that little headband?!)

I’ve been rockin’ the Bondi Band since 2010 (see my first post here!) and it is one of my go-to solutions for keeping my hair out of my face when I’m sweating. It is light-weight and is super easy to wash with my workout clothes.

Just in case a really non-sweaty head and non-helmet hair aren’t enough to convince you that Bondi Bands are worth a try, they also give to charity.

Each year they pick a charity to donate 10% of their pretax profits. This year they have chosen Dana-Farber Cancer Institute located right here in Boston. YAY!

When I got back from Florida I had a package from Bondi Band waiting for me. They sent me a few more headbands to try out and I’m still in LOVE. They also sent me a few to do a giveaway with too! Boom.

Here are the two bands I’m giving away:

I’m trying out the whole Rafflecopter thing for this giveaway for the very first time. Eek! If you have any problems, let me know. And also let me know how to fix it. ;) Kidding…kind of.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Want your BondiBand now?! Use coupon code SWEATPINK at check out through June 28th for 10% off all items. (Does not apply to Bargain Bin, Design Your Own, or Custom Items).

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Have a great Friday everyone! I’m looking forward to getting my miles in. See ya Monday for an update!

 

 

 

[Just a note: I was given three Bondi Bands to review through my Sweat Pink Ambassadorship. I was also given the FitPlusWear capris to try out. I only review items I think readers might be interested in and you can always expect that I will give my honest thoughts and opinions As always, those thoughts and opinions are all my own. Armband, sneakers and FitBit were all purchased with my hard earned money.]

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Review: The Handle Bar

by agirlandhermutt on June 3, 2014

I’m not a fan of going out of my way to work out. My gym is less than a mile down the street from my house. Pure Barre is LITERALLY on the way home from work. The pool for my swim lesson is even on the way home. When looking at various boutique fitness classes, this is one of my deciding factors in whether or not I will continue to go. I mean, I enjoy Soul Cycle, but it is out in the middle of nowhere. Yes, I consider Chestnut Hill the middle of nowhere. Heh. When The Handle Bar contacted me to see if I was interested in trying out their new location, I was curious. Then I realized that the new location was just down the street from where I work! Boom. I’m in!

My first visit was the second week they were open. They offered me a complimentary class for myself and a friend. Obviously, I brought along my spinning partner-in-crime, Megan.

The Handle Bar’s original location is down in South Boston, which is a bit of a hike for me. The new location though is smack dab in the center of Fenway, right on Boylston St.

The bright and welcoming check-in space of The Handle Bar offers hair ties, ear plugs, and a cute little retail area. I love those water bottles!

One thing I noticed about The Handle Bar right away. There are no lockers. Just cubbies. I’m really uncomfortable with this. Yes, there is someone at the desk, but Fenway is a super busy area and there are quite a few people congregating around the cubbies during class. Not a fan of this openness. And if you are thinking that I don’t trust my fellow spinners…you got that right! I should note that I expressed my dislike of no lockers to the BF and he just shrugged as he shoved his stuff into the cubby. Apparently this is not a big deal to everyone. I’ve seen an iphone be stolen right out of someone’s bag during Zumba. That just ain’t right folks! My suggestion…keep your valuables at home or near you.

No special gear is required for class except you must wear clip-in shoes. You can bring your own (SPD compatible) or rent a pair for $2.

Folks, if you have never clipped in for a spinning class, get on it. The experience is totally different and takes the workout to a new level.

I arrived just in time for class, which is super annoying. I prefer to give myself about 10-15 minutes to get to the studio, put my things away, adjust my seat, etc. Instead, I just ran in, threw my bag in the cubby and tried to get on a bike. I felt all kinds of flustered!

Whenever I have the option of sitting on the side of the instructor or in front of her, I opt for the front. Unfortunately, I was running late so I got a side seat in the 35 seat studio. It felt like the speaker was in my ear and I couldn’t hear a word the instructor said. I have had this same issue at other spinning studios so this is not unique to The Handle Bar.

Also, at The Handle Bar there are no reserved bikes. First come, first serve!

The class got started and the music was pumping! The Handle Bar is really into choreography. Each song was perfectly designed to have moves that matched with the beat perfectly. The instructor gave a quick little overview of what she was going to do for each song as it was getting started. I’ve never had that done before but with since there were quite a few moves ,I liked that they gave a heads up. I’ve now taken 4 different classes and I can tell you that they all pretty much work the same way. Lots of combos with tap backs, crunches and push-ups. I feel like there are people who either HATE all the different moves with a passion and just want to ride or those that really enjoy it in every class. I am definitely a choreography person. Well, except for crunches. I think those are dumb.

Near the end of the class, one song is reserved for arm weights. Attached to each bike is weighted bar to use. That bar is light but it can start to burn after holding it up for 4-5 minutes. Burn baby, burn!

After that initial class I went on my own 3 other times. Once for a “Bar Fight” which is when two instructors teach and trade-off with different types of music and 2 regular classes. I like that The Handle Bar often has these themed type of classes.

Every class had bangin’ music and the lights changed from blue to red for each song. It was like being in a club back in my college days! I was probably just as sweaty too. ;)

The Pros:
-Location, location, location! This is the perfect spot to get in a ride before, during or after work.

-Schedule. They have plenty of classes for those that are morning folks and those that prefer to workout in the afternoon. They even have a “Recess” ride at 10am on Tues & Thurs that is just $10! In addition to the regular 45 min class, they also offer a few 60 min classes on the weekend in case you wanted to get in a long ride.

-Price. Classes are priced reasonably at $20/class. I had to stop myself from laughing when I typed reasonable and $20, but compared to a $30 a class at other studios…well, reasonable is the right word.

Your first class is just $10. Monthly Unlimited is $175 and you can get your first month unlimited for just $100. Not too shabby!

-Instructors. I’ve tried several instructors and every single one of them has seemed to genuinely love teaching! I’ve tried a few but my fave so far has been Lena. Her energy could be felt throughout the whole class! The music they each picked complimented the classes perfectly too.

The Cons:
-No lockers. I don’t trust people.

-Shoe rental not included. Booooo. I know, I know. It is only $2. But still….

-Volume. The music speakers and the instructors mic are at the exact same level. It makes it really difficult to hear the instructor over the music sometimes. I loved the music, but I would have loved hearing the instructor more sometimes.

-Sometimes a bit too choreographed. For all 4 classes I was in hand position 3/standing almost the entire class. I really like jumps and sprints in the seat so I was definitely missing that from my class. Possibly other instructors have this approach?!

-Personal issue. Whatever cleaning solution they wipe down the bikes with makes the handlebars a little sticky or soapy feeling. I make sure to throw my towel over the whole situation because I can’t stand the feeling of something on my hands. This is definitely a personal issue, but Megan claimed to understand exactly what I was talking about. No one else seems to be bothered by this. Eh. Apparently I’m sensitive.

The Handle Bar is totally worth a try! You can get a great sweat going and an excellent workout in at almost any time of the day. Go take a class before you hit up a Red Sox game and earn that Tasty Burger dinner. <—-That is exactly what I did last week!

Welcome to the neighborhood The Handle Bar!

The Handle Bar
Fenway Studio
1336 Boylston Street
Boston, Ma 02215
857.239.9789

Be sure to check out their social media channels for updates on deals, challenges and other updates!
Twitter
Instagram

*Just a note:  The Handle Bar offered me a complimentary class. I paid for the other 3 classes with my own $$$. As always, opinions are my own. *

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Spoiling The Mutt: PetBox Review!

May 21, 2014

Korky and I have lived in 6 different apartments together. He also had a brief stint living with my parents when I moved to Connecticut. The last place we lived was our home. It felt right. It was just the two of us and we really became the best of roommates. As I was moving […]

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