All Entries For product review
Is it just us, or are workouts getting more and more intense lately? It seems like you can’t turn on the TV or open a magazine without hearing about the latest ''extreme'' workout fad that promises to get you six-pack abs and boundless energy. Although those type of workouts might appeal to some people, they’re definitely not for everyone. What ever happened to sane, safe exercise programs for the average person just trying to stay healthy and fit?
Enter Lisa Whelchel’s Everyday Workout for the Everyday Woman. Lisa Whelchel is a busy mom of three, an author, motivational speaker, and former TV star from The Facts of Life. As an average woman who struggles to fit exercise into her busy days, Lisa’s DVD is a breath of fresh air for any woman trying to start a reasonable and sustainable fitness routine—or for any woman who just wants to mix things up a bit! You can learn more about what to expect from the DVD in the YouTube video below:
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Is your fitness routine feeling a little "blah"? Are you looking for a customized full-body workout that incorporates both cardio and strength training in 20 minutes tops? Look no further than Escape Your Shape: 21-Day Body Makeover. This easy-to-follow DVD comes jam-packed with three different fun and encouraging workouts to try for every body type. Read More ›
I'm not much of a "gadgets" person, but I am a results person. While I don't go for every trend or spend a lot of money on the latest technology, I will invest in things that have a big benefit to me. If that means a premium iPhone app, an amazingly accurate GPS watch (love my Garmin Forerunner), or a simple activity tracker, I'm generally skeptical at first, but very loyal once I find something that works.
Many of you know that I've been a Fitbit fan for many years. I still love the Fitbit and think it's a great device. It happened to be the tracker that really resonated with me, but that's not necessarily because the Fitbit is better or more accurate than anything else. From my perspective, any activity tracker that has the basic features you need and is easy to use can work wonders even if it's not the best or the most impressive. Regardless of the brand or type of device, the biggest benefit you'll get from any activity tracker is that wearing it each day as motivation to set and reach new goals. For me, that's why I love certain gadgets and data.
I'm proud to have been involved in the testing and developing of the Spark Activity Tracker's online features. After years of using an activity tracker, I had more than a few ideas on how to make our tracker great. For people who don't already have an activity tracking device—or for those who simply want a more streamlined experience—the Spark is an affordable gadget worth checking out. I love it for all the reasons I fell in love with my Fitbit years ago—but as loyal as I've been to the Fitbit, I have to admit that The Spark has several more perks that you won't find in other activity trackers.
Here are six reasons why I think you'll love the Spark as much as I do. Read More ›
Everyone in the SparkPeople office has been wearing and using the Spark Activity Tracker during the beta testing phase so we were very excited for it to finally release on October 1. While we love its small size, fun light-up display and ease of use, we were anxious to hear what SparkPeople members would think about this tiny tool that tracks steps, miles and fitness minutes (and automatically syncs the data with your SparkPeople Fitness Tracker). We’re finding new reviews from members daily, and we're delighted to see how much they're enjoying the Spark! (Learn more about exactly what the Spark Activity Tracker can do for you.) Read More ›
Pregnancy can bring on all kinds of aches and pains in a woman's body. Exercising throughout pregnancy can help with some of these aches and pains, but sometimes it is hard to find a safe and effective pregnancy workout. Hilaria Baldwin, certified yoga instructor and wife of actor Alec Baldwin, has come out with one of the best prenatal yoga workouts that I have seen, so there is no need to keep looking! With this DVD, Hilaria guides you through a challenging series of yoga poses that provide a great yoga workout while also helping your body and mind feel better. Talk about a win-win situation!
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The summer heat is enough to keep even the most dedicated exercisers lying indoors with the lights off and the shades drawn. But if you want to make fitness a lifelong habit, that often means dealing with the changing seasons and temperature extremes without breaking stride.
I used to be much more of a "fair weather" exerciser. If it was raining, I'd skip my daily walk with the dog. If it was cold, I wouldn't leave the comfort of the indoors to walk to my car, let alone go out and run for an hour. But I can tell you that if you want to stick with a lifelong fitness plan—especially one that involves the highly accessible and inexpensive forms of exercise we know as running, walking or biking—changes in the weather are a fact you have to deal with. But I promise—no, really, I PROMISE—exercising in the summer heat (or even the dead of winter) is not as bad as you may think.
For me, exercising consistently in summer's hottest heat waves is dependent on four factors, all of which I have control over: Read More ›
Protein is an important part of any healthy diet and has been shown to help you feel full longer. But some of the best sources of protein like eggs, chicken and milk aren't easy to carry with you on the go. And having a healthy, protein-packed snack on hand for emergencies will prevent you from making bad food decisions out of hunger. I know that I've made some less-than-stellar snack choices when I've found myself at the gym a little longer than I planned and I start to feel shaky because it's been too long since my last meal.
Now, I always make sure I have a protein bar, nuts or beef jerky with me at all times. I just toss something in my purse every morning before I head out for the day and I never have to worry about getting caught without a great snack. So I was super excited when Pure Protein offered to send us some samples of their bars and powders to try. I've tasted many different types of protein products over the years and I admit that I'm a little picky. But I approached each of the Pure Protein products with an open mind and I'll share my thoughts about each one below.
Pure Protein Soft Baked Protein Bar—Double Chocolate Vanilla Crunch
This bar has a satisfying crunch when you bite into it and a balanced chocolate and vanilla flavor like cookies and cream. The texture is less chewy than a typical protein bar. This would be a great choice for a first-time protein bar user or someone who thinks they don't like protein bars. I'm planning to add this bar into my regular rotation! With its balanced ratio of protein to carbs, this is a great bar to eat either pre- or post-workout. If you eat it pre-workout, give yourself about an hour to digest the bar before you begin. (Find them on Amazon.com and other fine retailers.)
Nutrition Facts: 190 calories, 17 grams of protein, 8 grams of fat, 14 grams of carbohydrate (5 grams of sugar, 4 grams of sugar alcohol)
Pure Protein Protein Bar—Chocolate Peanut Butter
If you're expecting a chocolate peanut butter cup, you'll be out of luck. But the flavor is a light blend of chocolate and peanut butter that most people who are fans of protein bars will really enjoy. The texture is chewy and smooth, which forces you to slow down when noshing this snack (that's a good thing in my book). With it's extra protein content, this bar would be great after a strength-training workout to aid in muscle repair. (Find them on Amazon.com and at Target, Walmart.)
Nutrition Facts: 200 calories, 20 grams of protein, 6 grams of fat, 16 grams of carbohydrate (2 grams of sugar, 6 grams of sugar alcohol)
Pure Protein Whey Protein Powder—Vanilla Cream
The best thing about whey protein powder is how versatile it is. There are tons of great protein powder recipes that use vanilla protein powder to add a nutritional boost to things like pudding, yogurt and oatmeal. You can also mix it with water, milk, almond milk, coconut milk or soy milk to make a tasty protein drink. Add fruit to make a perfect pre-workout snack. Since I usually do a combination of strength training and cardio in my workouts, I prefer to fuel with a protein shake before each workout because it's easy to digest and doesn't upset my stomach, no matter how hard I exercise. (Find them on Amazon.com and at Target, Walmart.)
The ultimate test for protein powder is to mix it with only ice and water. If it's drinkable in that form, then it will work well in just about any recipe. Blended with 8 ounces of water and two ice ice cubes, the Pure Protein Vanilla Cream was totally drinkable, if a little plain. The texture is smooth, not at all chalky.
Blended with two ice cubes and 8 ounces of unsweetened coconut milk, the Pure Protein Vanilla Cream starts to shine. It's much thicker, more like a milkshake but not overly sweet. For a more dessert-like option that really takes it into milkshake territory, blend the powder with two ice cubes and 8 ounces of vanilla almond milk.
For my final test, I tried the powder in my regular pre-workout fruit protein shake. The Pure Protein Vanilla Cream paired nicely with the tart berries. The vanilla flavor gave the whole thing the taste of a fresh berry cupcake.
Nutrition Facts: 150 calories, 25 grams of protein, 2.5 grams of fat, 8 grams of carbohydrate (2 grams of sugar)
Megan's Pre-Workout Berry Protein Shake Recipe
8 ounces of unsweetened coconut milk
1 cup of frozen mixed berries (blueberries, raspberries, blackberries)
1 scoop of vanilla protein powder
Mix in a blender with one or two ice cubes. You'll need a straw for this super-thick shake!
Do you have a favorite protein shake recipe? Share it with us. Read More ›
For those of you avid gym-goers out there, you know how important it is to keep your gym bag stocked and ready to go! If you are anything like me, you also like to stay stylish, even while getting sweaty, which is why I designed my oGorgeous brand of bags, so that I can have a gym bag that is as pretty as a purse! I make sure to pack my bag full of the essentials so that I'm always ready for a workout, wherever I am. Let me share some of my gym bag must haves:
These really come in handy when you're lifting weights and want to avoid getting calluses. They're also great as you're developing grip strength.
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Can you believe that spring is finally here? (Officially, anyway.) Here in Cincinnati we've received a few little tastes of spring-like sunshine and temperatures over the past couple of weeks, but it's been enough to get all of us excited about the changing seasons. I can't wait to break out the grill, get my hands dirty with a new vegetable garden, and go for a run without wearing an extra 20 pounds of insulating gear. How about you?
To celebrate spring, I thought I'd share some of my favorite things right now, from new running shoes to my favorite protein powder to new apparel that supports your active, healthy lifestyle. Read More ›
I previously blogged about the importance of self-defense and I still feel very strongly about it being something that every person should know. Because of this, I was very excited that I had the chance to review "Stilettos and Self Defense with Jennifer Cassetta." While this isn't a fitness DVD, which is what we typically review, this DVD does have a lot of valuable information and can help prepare you for possible attacks.
Jennifer Cassetta, a third-degree black belt in HapKiDo and certified personal trainer, is the instructor in this DVD. According to Jennifer's profile information, her HapKiDo experience helped her early on in her training when she was "grabbed on a NYC street, dressed in her highest heels and used her martial arts training to scare off her attacker." So Jennifer has not only been trained in self-defense, but she has also experienced the need for it and is passing along her knowledge to other women on how to defend themselves.
From the DVD cover:
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Recently, I was asked if I wanted to try out a new pair of running shoes and blog about the experience. I usually hesitate with things like this (because I’m picky about my running shoes), but was very intrigued by this product. Maybe these shoes could give me the Olympic speed I’ve been dreaming of! Or, more realistically, perhaps they would feel good on my feet and give me a slightly different running experience. Read More ›
If you attend workout classes regularly, then you probably know how a good instructor can help you get a really great workout. One of the things I love about fitness classes is that I tend to work harder, try more things and get a better workout than I would if I was working out on my own. I've always thought that way about Spinning, for example. I love to teach it (and take it), but if I had to make myself exercise on a stationary bike in the middle of the gym for an hour, I'd lose interest and probably wouldn't push myself very hard. On top of that, I'd probably find a way to cut my workout short out of boredom.
But what if you can't always make it to a class? Or you just don't feel comfortable in that group environment? What about the times when you're in a rut with your elliptical or treadmill routine and just need a little boost?
That's where MotionTraxx comes in. What started as a free music podcast (available on iTunes) has expanded to feature some expert-created workouts that you can listen to while you work out. These trainers have created workouts for the treadmill, elliptical, bike—and even your own body (no equipment needed). MotionTraxx recently shared a few of these workouts with us. Find out what they're like—and whether they're right for you. Read More ›
I try a lot of workout DVDs. But few really meet my standards for delivering a good workout with good cueing that's easy to follow and safe. But every workout DVD I've ever tried by Amy Dixon has been a winner.
I was SO excited to receive her newest titles ("Breathless Body Volume 2: The Edge" and "Give Me 10: Core Cuts"), but my busy schedule prevented me from trying them sooner—which is too bad. Because when I made the time, I adored these workouts just like I had previous her previous titles. What's more, I think YOU will love them, too. Here's a rundown on what to expect in each one. Read More ›
You may have heard of Canyon Ranch, the popular destination for weight-loss and fitness, but perhaps you havenít been able to book a wellness vacation yet. Thatís OK because Canyon Ranch is now bringing their workouts to you! Canyon Ranch offers a very effective total-body workout with their new "Strong & Sculpted" DVD that wonít disappoint. It includes a variety exercises that arenít difficult for beginners, yet are still challenging for exercisers at an intermediate/advanced level. Learn more about what the DVD is like!
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I remember the first Zumba class I ever set foot in at my university's recreation center. The instructor was so full of energy that it made me a little uncomfortable, and the room was jam-packed with girls (and a few guys!) shaking their hips and laughing over pulsing Latin and hip-hop beats. When the first song started, I anxiously wondered what I had gotten myself into and thought about planning an exit strategy. But when the class ended, I was drenched in sweat and grinning like an idiot, in disbelief that an hour had just flown by. After years of being a slave to the elliptical machine, I walked out of that class feeling like I had just had a major fitness revelation: Working out could be both productive and fun! Some people feel this way about running, or lifting weights, or yoga. For me, at that time, Zumba was my thing. It was the spark that made me start to view exercise as a hobby rather than a chore, and I credit it for helping me to see the fun in other forms of fitness over time.
Since that class five years ago, I've taken Zumba more times than I can count, with about a dozen different instructors. I've taken some amazing classes, some sub-par classes, and some downright miserable classes (FYI: if you try Zumba for the first time and hate it, take it again with another instructor. It makes all the difference!). I thought I had experienced all of the possible facets of Zumba—until Zumba sent us a free Zumba Fitness Exhilarate DVD set to review and Coach Nicole let me do the honors.
The Zumba DVD experience is definitely a different animal. I was a little hesitant at first, unsure of how a live class would translate into a home DVD format. So did Zumba's at-home DVDs deliver the same fun and intensity as my classes? Did I really burn 1,000 calories per hour like their commercials claimed I could?
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