Reviews

Fall 2014 Fitness Favorites

by agirlandhermutt on November 24, 2014

Hi friends! It is Thanksgiving week and the number on thing on my mind this week is…fitness. HA! Thanksgiving is all about good eats and tons of treats. I’m totally on board with that, but just not to the stretchy pants extreme. If I’m not careful I can inhale some mashed potatoes and cranberry sauce without even blinking an eye. I’ve worked so hard to lose weight that I don’t want to put myself in to a spiral over the holidays that ends up with me on New Years Eve making some resolution AGAIN to lose weight.

So instead, I focus on my fitness.

Rather than share my favorite Thanksgiving recipes (which I get from other bloggers anyway), I’m going to share my recent Fitness Faves! Enjoy!

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Your Trainer Paige’s Boot Camp

*Fun Fact: I consistently call her website “MY Trainer Paige” instead of Your. I can’t get it straight. Ever.*

I’ve followed Paige’s blog for a while now. Then a few years ago I roomed with her at the Blend Retreat and was totally impressed. She is not only gorgeous and totally fit, but she is well educated about her profession, full of opinions (and research to back those opinions!) and just a really wonderful person to know. Yet another great introduction from my buddy, Lauren!

A few months back she put on her first online boot camp but I was in the thick of triathlon training and wasn’t able to participate. Then came her Glute Camp and I was all in. Holy crap it was hard.

When she announced her second round of boot camp I signed right up. <—I paid fair and square to be a part of her program!

The boot camp included 8 weeks of:
-a Facebook group for support
-weekly emails
-conditioning and strength workouts with videos on how to properly perform each move
-nutrition guidelines and challenges

The first six weeks of the challenge I was on point. The workouts were ROUGH but successful. Unfortunately the last two weeks fell right around the same time as my wedding and well…you know how that goes. I’d definitely like to give her bootcamp a go again when I know I can dedicate myself to the whole 8-weeks.

I’ve participated in a few online challenges/boot camps that were great. BUT! Paige’s bootcamp was fantastic. She not only tells you what to do each day, but she also tells you WHY you are doing that particular workout.

If you get a chance to check out her site or one of her challenges, you MUST.

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Fabletics

Before we start, I have to tell you that I was sent these items were sent to me to try out for free. However, I’ve never ever told you about a product that I wouldn’t purchase again with my own money. Almost 98% of the items I tell you about on the blog are bought with my own $$$ but every now and then I come across something I really like that I want to share.

When they first contacted me I had heard about Fabletics a few times, but hadn’t really looked at the site. I thought their name was a bit hokey. Sorry!

Their description of Fabletics was “co-founder Kate Hudson designed Fabletics activewear to be stylish, comfortable and a little bit sexy, with designs that fit perfectly into your everyday lifestyle. Fabletics is also incredibly affordable!”

So I checked out the lookbook and was surprised to find that I liked many of the outfits. It is a subscription service that sends outfits monthly that are typically 2-3 pieces for around $49-59. Similar to StitchFix but for athletic clothing!

The outfit that I picked to try out were:

-The Switchback Tee

-Sevan II Sports Bra (Black)

-Salar Legging (Black/Charcoal Stripe)

I was a bit concerned about the sizing for the leggings. I like my pants to be tight but not so tight that they become see-through. You know what I’m talking about. Based on their recommendations, I went with the size L.

So here I am in all my selfie glory. 😉

My thoughts:

-The top was too big. I got the large and it just wouldn’t stay on. The fabric was also a bit sheer for my taste. I don’t mind sheer, but this was just see-through. It was a super comfortable fabric though and I would definitely try this again in not only a smaller size, but also in a different color.

-The sports bra is PERFECTION. It is comfortable and super stylish. If you are blessed in the chest area, this might not be for you. I’m gifted with smaller boobs and I found this sports bra to be just enough. I also found myself wearing it out and about in place of a regular bra. I want this in every color possible!

-The pants are fantastic. But I wish I had read the reviews a bit more and gone for the larger size. The fabric is super thick (LOVE, LOVE, LOVE!) and tight. This is my style of legging. I think sizing up just one size would have given me a bit more give in the leggings that would make them that much more comfortable. However, the quality of these pants was great. I’ve worn them several times (with a long tunic style top) with no pilling, tearing, falling down, etc.

Big butts need bigger sizes. Fact. And this has to be one of the least flattering photos of me recently. Awesome! 😉

This is the outfit on its way to me now! I love the solid colors with the print pants and that off the shoulder sweatshirt just screams “ERIN!”. I will let you know if I have more success with the pants!

If you are comfortable with purchasing activewear online, then give Fabletics a try. <—Yes, that is an affiliate link. It costs nothing for you, but I make a few Fabletics bucks!

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ClassPass

I think I might be dating my ClassPass! I joined up the Monday after the wedding and I’ve been to 4 different studios and about 8 different classes. I’ve tried a few barre classes, yoga studios and of course, spinning.

Just in case you aren’t familiar with ClassPass…

ClassPass is an alternative to a gym membership. With ClassPass, you get access to the best boutique fitness classes in your city. There are over 1,000 classes available to ClassPass members, including cycling, pilates, yoga, strength training, dance, martial arts, and more.

For $99 a month, ClassPass members get unlimited classes to use at studios in the ClassPass network. While a member can take as many classes per month as they’d like, they can only visit the same studio 3 times per monthly membership cycle.

I tried ClassPass for free back in May of this year, but didn’t sign up right away for a variety of reasons all dealing with my schedule and knee issues. Then a few weeks ago they announced that PureBarre Brookline had joined in as one of the studios and I decided to join back immediately. I was surprised to find that they had added TONS of new studios to the mix. I can pretty much find a class to go to in any part of the city at any time of the day. Rumor has it that a mobile app is coming soon. BOOM!

The ONLY thing that drives me nuts is that in order to cancel a class with no penalty, you have to do it 24 hours in advance. I understand putting a time limit on this, but 12 hours seems much more reasonable, right?!

For those of you who get bored of your workouts or studios easily, check out ClassPass!

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Let me know if you give any of these a try!

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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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