All Entries For product review
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 ›
You may know Dr. Lisa Masterson from The Doctors TV show, and now she is coming to DVD with a fun and effective yoga-based workout DVD with her trainer, Elise Joan. This DVD is packed with three separate yoga workouts that are great for both beginner and intermediate exercisers. Both Dr. Lisa and Elise do an excellent job of providing a fun and entertaining way to work out!
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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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While I don't consider myself a "gadgets" person (I don't even have a single fitness app on my iPhone), there are a few gadgets I've loved over the years, such as my Garmin Forerunner, which is still going strong after many, many miles and half marathons. But I'm also a big fan of the Fitbit, which I started using a couple of years ago.
The Fitbit tracks some basic daily activity: how many steps you take, how far you've walked (in miles), how many flights of stairs you've climbed, your estimated calorie burn based on these stats, and how restful your sleep was (if you wear it overnight).
Compared to the Fitbit, which seems like a glorified pedometer, my GPS-enabled Garmin, which also has a heart rate monitor, real-time (and very precise) speed and distance tracking, pacing features and more seems like a sure winner. What would a runner like me—someone who is already active and motivated to stay that way—really get out of a Fitbit anyway?
Plenty. Truth is, I adore my Fitbit. I wear it daily, clipping it to my waistband the second I get out of bed. I check my step stats dozens of times throughout the day. And I use it more often than my Garmin since I only run a few days per week for a few total hours. I actually use my Fitbit even while using my Garmin (and every hour that I'm not using it). Here's why. Read More ›
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 haven’t been able to book a wellness vacation yet. That’s 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 won’t disappoint. It includes a variety exercises that aren’t 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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Here at dailySpark, we've talked a lot about the pitfalls of sitting. Whether you have a sedentary job, sit through lectures as a student, or do your share of commuting or couch surfing, the research is clear about spending too much time on your rear: It’s bad for your health, your back and your waistline. And while it may be surprising (even a little depressing), these facts hold true even if you are a consistent exerciser. (Boo!) After all, even an hour or two in the gym can still mean 22-23 hours a day that you're not active at all, and it's those long periods of inactivity that can increase your cholesterol, contribute to weight gain and contribute to chronic pain for many people.
I've previously blogged about my own attempts to counter the effects of my desk job, from creating a standing workstation to sitting on a ball to trying more back-friendly chairs. So when our friends at Best Buy offered to send us a treadmill desk to test, we jumped—er, walked—at the chance.
Best Buy sent us the LifeSpan TR 1200DT Desktop Treadmill, which we set up in an empty cube at the office so that all employees who wanted to try working from their feet instead of their butts would have an equal chance to use it. So what's it like to work while you walk? Check out our video review, then hear from our other testers and get more details on this walking station. Read More ›
Spring has officially sprung and it's time to celebrate by taking your workout outdoors! What better way to ring in the warmer weather than with a cute and comfortable workout outfit? We're giving away one outfit (top and bottom of your choice) from AdoraOm™, a clothing company that makes ''activewear for the full figured fashionista.''
AdoraOm™ was founded by three women who wanted to provide plus-size ladies with flattering, functional activewear. We love the fun vibe of the clothes as much as we love the philosophy of the company:
''Everybody needs encouragement to embark on a healthy track. What you wear, like a good hair day, can make a huge difference. We want to provide you with activewear that will make you look and feel special.
AdoraOm™ apparel is exclusively for the plus size gal. Our activewear is made with high quality fabrics that will smooth and flatter your curves. Our styles were designed and fitted on women just like you. Our Our logo, the "Triskillion," is an ancient symbol that represents our circle. Three women coming together to encourage, inspire and motivate you. We hope you will join our circle…There's Room for Every Body!™''
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I'm an avid reader of health, fitness and nutrition books, both for work and for pleasure. When author Robert J. Davis, PhD, asked me to review his book "Coffee Is Good For You" (Perigee, 2012), I was more than excited. You see, Davis is the founder and editor-in-chief of the website Everwell.com, a long-time partner of SparkPeople's. We have several of their informative videos on our website, and I've always been impressed with how well their messages align with our own. Davis is an award-winning health journalist, author and professor of public health. His videos, articles and books are always well researched, clearly explained, and entertaining to boot. The man knows his stuff.
This book in particular gives an overview of the science behind a lot of common diet, nutrition and health "facts" to decide whether there is any truth to these ideas or not. It covers a wide range of long-standing dietary questions (What's better: butter or margarine? Do low-carb diets aid weight loss? Are artificial sweeteners safe?) as well as recent hot topics such as the healthfulness of organic and local produce, whether grass-fed beef is better, the real facts behind the "caveman" (paleo) diet, whether microwaving food in plastic is safe, so much more. Davis' style is to examine all the research available behind such claims to help consumers find the real truth. In some cases, he debunks the myths. In other cases, the research may surprise you and change your mind on a certain issue. And in a few cases, there's a little truth on both sides. Read More ›
I heart Amy Dixon. She's a veteran fitness instructor, master trainer and creator of many wonderful workouts you've probably seen in fitness magazines and DVDs alike. I had the pleasure of meeting her last year at the IDEA World Fitness Convention and she is a real treat: super sweet, super fit and down to earth. It makes it hard for me to hate her when she kicks my booty in her DVDs, which she always does (in a good way).
Amy's latest DVD "Breathless Body: The Ultimate Calorie Burn" ($14.99, amazon.com) capitalizes off the trendy "Tabata" style interval training, which involves 20 seconds of intense effort followed by 10 seconds of rest, repeated for four minutes. Tabata training is touted as one of the most efficient ways to boost aerobic endurance and fat burning, and although I had read about it, but hadn't experienced it until I tried this DVD. I have to admit, I was a little scared. So how did I fare? And is this DVD right for you? Read More ›
Here at SparkPeople, we love the feeling of putting on brand new workout clothes. There's just something so empowering about a piece of clothing that makes you look and feel good while you get fit! Sometimes, all you need to re-ignite a dwindling workout spark is a good-quality exercise outfit.
Taffy specializes in stylish, functional, plus-size activewear. You asked for more plus-size giveaways, and we think Taffy fits the bill for high-quality products that will take your workouts to the next level.
Fitness trainer and longtime athlete Katie Kozloff is the Founder and CEO of Taffy, a line of stylish activewear made just for women size 14 – 24.
Katie came up with the idea for Taffy while she was working as a personal trainer at a local Philadelphia gym. She noticed some women who frequented the gym were bigger than size 10 or 12. She also noticed that these women tended to wear baggy t-shirts and unflattering sweatpants to work out. Katie did some research and found there are some options for workout clothing for plus-size women, but much of what was available was not stylish, flattering or attractive. Katie realized there was a need for stylish activewear for curvier women.
As a result, Katie created Taffy, a new line of yoga and activewear designed specifically for women size 14 – 24. Taffy is a line of stylish sweats, flattering tops and versatile yoga pants that women can wear to the gym or anytime. Jackets and tops are longer in length, and all pieces are cut to fit and flatter curvier shapes. Taffy features sweat suits with jackets and pants, yoga pants and several tops. Taffy activewear is offered in sizes 14/16, 18/20, and 22/24. Made of cotton and spandex blend, all pieces are comfortable yet hold their shape. The clothing coordinates, so women have lots of options to add to their workout wardrobe.
While developing the line, Katie realized a strong emotional connection between looking good, feeling comfortable, and actually being more motivated to be active and healthy. Katie’s goal is to help plus-size women feel confident about the way they look in activewear, so that whatever their goal, they will lead healthier, more active lives.
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