Stink like a girl / Vapor Fresh sports laundry detergent review.

 

#FitGirlProblem: The stinky jacket.

The stinky jacket is the jacket you wear to and from the gym, or put on after your workout before you take a shower. The stinky jacket could also be the layer you start your run in, but eventually peel off, about three minutes after you’ve sweat into it. I have 1.5 stinky jackets. I wear them because they’re my coolest, longest, best jackets. They make me feel like a superhero badass person. They’re the ones that made me say “really? over $100 for a hoodie?” when I bought them, but I reach for them every single day and they make me realize how absolutely unflattering and shitty the cheap ones are.

But I also hate wearing them as stinky jackets because they’re the kind of jacket/hoodie things that I like to wear in athleisure situations, too. (This is where the .5 comes in. One of my stinky jackets I very rarely use as a stinky jacket, mostly as a running around jacket, but all it takes is one time and…yeah. I think it’s probably a stinky jacket.) It would be nice if stinky jackets didn’t have to be stinky jackets only, and I didn’t feel like I had to buy yet ANOTHER expensive fancy hoodie jacket thingie for everyday use because the other one and a half fucking reek. And they do. They fucking reek. I don’t think other people can necessarily smell them, but I sure can. Because they get jammed up in the armpits after workouts when I’m wearing sleeveless tops, grinding stinky deodorant wax and weight training funk all up in that fabric…not their fault. They’re armpit thongs, basically. How could I expect them to not fucking reek?

And yes, of course I wash them. I wash them all the time. And yes I use my special detergents. But that’s not cutting it. Them shits still stink.

MEANWHILE, as I was pouting about my 1.5 stinky jackets and trying not to buy another expensive workout jacket…Vapor Fresh sent me a new sample of their detergent! So I thought I’d tackle two birds with one post.
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What’s this Vapor Fresh you speak of?

Vapor Fresh by Raw Athletics (rawathletics.com, vaporfresh.com) is a sports laundry detergent that says it has stain and odor lifting technology and is designed to clean sports apparel and everyday laundry. Perfect, because that’s how I roll. I wash everything together and just use my fancy delicate detergent for the whole lot. Which I shouldn’t. See my earlier post about washing your workout wear here.

FYI: liquid detergent = usually bad for stinky and/or sweat-wicking things. Why? Fragrances, dyes, softeners and brighteners can clog fabric, trap the stink, and jam the wicking fibers so they can’t wick anymore. (Read more about it in the drop-downs here.)

What’s good about Vapor Fresh Sports Laundry Detergent:

  • not liquid
  • fragrance and dye-free, hypoallergenic
  • eco-friendly, biodegradable
  • no harsh chemicals
  • uses cold water compatible surfactants (soapy sudsy things that break down oils)
  • a lot smaller than a box of Tide or a jug of Cheer or whatever
  • can be used with regular and HE washing machines
  • made in Illinois!

Did it make your stinky jackets not stink anymore?

No, and then yes.

First pass: no. They still stunk. Then I read the directions on the package of Vapor Fresh, and it said “for heavily soiled laundry, allow laundry to soak with detergent for at least 10 minutes prior to washing.” And the website says to do it for “at least 30 minutes (!)” So technically, I didn’t give the stuff a chance to do its job on those deodorant-filled stinky jacket armpits.

So I dug out my washing machine manual, learned that I have, of course, been using it incorrectly for years, and figured out which settings have extra long soak times. Alternatively, you could just pre-soak the items in question Woolite-style in the sink like this.

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Pre-soaking is a bit of a pain in the ass, but it’s worth it to save an expensive jacket from stinky jacket doom, right? Now we know.

DID IT WORK, THEN?

YES. They came out…NOT-STINKY JACKETS!

Shit. Now I don’t get to go buy a new fancy workout jacket. 😦

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VAPOR FRESH: THE VERDICT

I know that Vapor Fresh won’t harm the performance (wicking, stretching, compression) of my workout clothes, and I am happy to report that does remove B.O. when you follow the directions. Which you think would be, like, the definition of any laundry detergent’s job, but you tell me. How many of your workout shirt and jacket armpits can you stick your nose into? Go ahead. I’ll wait.

Available on Amazon , $22 for a 5lb tub, which is good for 36 regular/ 72 HE loads of laundry.

 

 

 

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Quest bar dominance continues.

Um. Quest bar has some new flavors out this year. The two best are Oatmeal Chocolate Chip and Chocolate Cereal Bar. Don’t buy them unless you want to have to buy them every day forever because THEY ARE TOO DELICIOUS TO BE TRUE.

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#2017GoalsAF

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This is a running calendar I bought last year, by I Love To Run. You’re supposed to just X off each day that you ran. And right in the middle it says “You either ran today or you didn’t.” Super simple. Love the idea. Just like Seinfeld and his red Xs on writing days. You either did the thing that gets you what you said you want or you didn’t. You’re either moving towards what you want or you’re not. Do or do not. There is no try.

And there’s nothing like seeing the entire year laid out for you, with the evidence of your effort or lack thereof, for some honesty.

My calendar from last year is pretty pathetic. 55 runs. And it’s filled with many, MANY blank weeks. Vast stretches of nothingness. Now, I didn’t record every workout. Towards the end of the year I started to use a horizontal mark to indicate that I had done some kind of strength training or barre workout. But even if I had been recording those the whole year, it wouldn’t have changed the truth of the year.

The truth of the year was that I didn’t run much. The truth of the year is that there were huge expanses of time when I wasn’t doing anything to work toward my fitness and body goals. The truth of the year was my body was still recovering from carrying a child: my hip hurt, and my lower back got fatigued really quickly, even from walking. I had no core strength anymore to support that back or those hips. And it still felt like all of my organs were going to fall out of my body when I ran or tried to do a jumping jack. And I also had a 1 year old in day care, getting all of the day care colds, which I got, and then combined with allergies to form chronic sinus infections (yay! so cool! you should totally try them!) which meant I was sick for half the year, too.

So I had to take a step back (from where my ego thought I should be) and start where I actually was. Which is completely unAmerican and blows, and was NOT “run most of the days!” I had to do short, easy workouts, and focus on consistency instead of intensity. I did Betty Rocker’s MakeFat Cry challenge, which is all 15 minute workouts. I did the 21 Day Fix workouts, which are around 30 minutes long. (And they were really hard for me! And that made me super sad!) I did one or two segments of barre videos instead of hour long classes. I walked the dog because I couldn’t really run. It was a year of being a beginner even though I’ve been working out for almost 30 years. ARGH! SUCKS!

But you know what? It’s a year later. And now I can run. And now I can go back to bootcamp. And now I can really start building back up to where I was. It’s possible now. And now I can do jumping jacks without feeling like my organs are going to fall out onto the floor. (At least not, like, ALL of them.) And even though I didn’t lose “the baby weight” and actually gained ten pounds on the keto diet (what in the ever loving fuck, right?), I learned from that too. And I’ve pivoted, and I’m losing weight, and I’m probably pretty damn close to knowing exactly how to eat (for me) because now I’ve officially Tried All Of The Things.

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This is my calendar for 2017. It’s blank and I’m excited. I know it’s going to be “better” than last year. And I also know last year WASN’T a failure, because despite the lack of running days, I really did make progress. Invisible, annoying, base-level building progress, but progress nonetheless. And you have to go through progress before you can get to fitness, and you have to go through fitness before you can get to buffness. Which totally sucks and if I was in charge, you would lose 30 pounds every time you ran 3 miles. But I’m not in charge, so 1. progress 2. fitness 3. buffness is the only path there is. ONWARD!

I hope you have a big goal. And have figured out the exact things you need to do to get there. And I hope you get a big calendar. And use it. But I also hope you are kind to yourself, and acknowledge all of the work that happens along the way, you BADASS MOTHER BITCHES!

HAPPY NEW YEAR!

 

Aaptiv App Review (aka Skyfit)

Over the last year, you probably saw ads on your socials for a running app called Skyfit that touted itself as “SoulCycle for running.” Well, I tried it out for you and you’re welcome.

What is Aaptiv?

A crappy new name for Skyfit. It’s supposed to be a combination of the words app, adaptive, and active, which it is, but that doesn’t make it a good name. Maybe there was a trademark issue. Maybe they got bought and had to change it. I don’t know, but I mourn their loss. Anyway.

AAPTIV/ The App Formerly Known As Skyfit is an app that gives you a list of running (treadmill and outdoor), strength, eliptical, cycling, and yoga audio workouts. You can filter the workouts by difficulty (Beginner, Intermediate, Advanced) and duration, which is great.

They call(ed) themselves “SoulCycle for running” because the workouts are a music bed/ playlist and a trainer narrating the workout, guiding you throughout (form notes, motivation, form tips, etc.) and sometimes giving you extra motivation tidbits like cueing you to think about a word of the workout or a specific goal. I’m sure SoulCycle is more woo woo / intense than that, but whatever. Great elevator pitch. I bought it.

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Is it just audio, then?

Yep. Just audio. No video of the moves or even photos. Which is fine if you know basic moves (Have you done a burpee? You’re good.) and also takes up less space on your phone and less data on your plan.

Does that work?

Yeah. For the most part. HOWEVER, in the strength training workouts, some of the trainers are not very good at describing moves, and some (the same ones) are not good at setting up the workout in a brief, clear way. At all. It gets really verbose, and then annoying, because this person is still talking and stumbling over her words and the warm up is over and you still don’t know what you’re supposed to be doing. It might actually only be one trainer who’s not so great at the talky talk…I should pay attention to who she is so I stop doing her workouts…

The rest of the trainers are fine. Clear. Fairly motivating. Completely adequate.

One weird thing is once you do one of the workouts, you can’t access it again for a week. I guess that’s to make it feel like studio classes or something? Fleeting? In-the moment? Ever-changing? There are plenty of workouts, though, so it’s not a big deal. And they change them out and add new ones.

They also have monthly challenges and 10k, 1/2 marathon, etc. training programs. For example, in December they had a challenge that was a list of mini strength training workouts (about 13 minutes long) you could squeeze in say, in your in-law’s basement between coffee and the beginning of the day’s activities. Some days I did one. Some days I did three back to back. It was just nice to have something to follow so I felt like I got at least a little bit of a real workout in.

What’s good about it?

I like Aaaptiv because I want to run more often, and it makes going for runs easier and more enjoyable. I like that there’s someone telling me what to do, because usually a run (or any unguided workout) is just 20-40 minutes of me fighting the voice in my head that says  “meh…I feel heavy…meh…I don’t wanna…meh…let’s go eat Quest Bars and stare at a wall instead.” With Aaptiv, there’s a trainer’s voice blocking out the bad voice-in-my-head-voice. And I mostly obey the trainer, because even though it’s a pretend recording, I’m a nice midwestern girl, and I don’t want to disappoint the nice lady or man who’s just trying to help me have a good run.

And am I going to maintain a faster-than-jog pace for three minutes (or ever) without a trainer telling me to do it? Hell no.

It also makes just the idea of going for a run less of a THING, because I just press a button and the decisions are made for me. And it makes me feel like I’m running with someone. It even feels a little bit like running with a group. It’s nice. It works. I like it.

Here are three sweaty, red-faced pics from right after Aaaptiv runs that show how I felt after doing them: Alive, sweaty, and somewhat accomplished.

Do the treadmill workouts suck?

Nope. I did one on a treadmill in a basement, with nothing to look at but a shelf full of books and knickknacks, and I felt plenty engaged. Probably because it was all Britney and Xtina songs on that workout, and I love terrible music, but still. Words and music fill your brain hole just as well as, if not better than TV while you’re running.

How are the other ones? The strength and yoga and whatnot?

AAPTIV’S STRENGTH TRAINING WORKOUTS are body weight workouts. So basically circuits of lunges, squats, planks, sit-ups, push-ups, burpees…stuff like that. They’re all simple. And some of them are SUPER simple. Like, so simple that I say out loud, repeatedly, “I fucking paid you to tell me to alternate squats and lunges for 20 minutes?” But, you know what? I’m not going to spend 20 minutes doing just squats and lunges WITHOUT someone telling me to do them, so yeah, I guess I do have to pay for exactly that.

AAPTIV’S YOGA WORKOUTS: I’ve only done one yoga workout, but it was fine. I think I might like audio only even better than yoga videos. Maybe.

ELIPTICAL and CYCLE:  Can’t speak to those. I don’t have an eliptical machine, stationary bike, or a gym membership, and spin is not something I enjoy a ton. I may have said I like it in the past, but if I did, I was lying to myself and the world. It’s awkward and uncomfortable in most of the ways and people just need to admit that already.

How much?

Free 7 day trial, then $10 a month, $35 for 3 months, or $50 for a year. When I signed up a few months back, I got a year for $40. Current plans are here:  https://www.aaptiv.com/signup

So, yes or no?

Yes. It’s a step above “just going out for a run” or “just doing some planks and push ups for a minute.” You’ll get a better workout in, even if it’s a 15 minute one. And having someone with you, even if it’s a recording of a trainer with one of those annoying sexy baby raspy voices, gives you a little bit of the peer pressure/ class effect: you’ll push yourself a little bit harder than if you were completely on your own.