Lululemon Align Pants Review

Dude.

Lululemon has a new (to me) pair of all-purpose/ yoga leggings. And they are uh-maze-balls.

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Don’t ask me why they styled them with these hideous slides. There are many mysteries in this life.

They’re called the Align Pant. And they’re made out of clouds and dreams.

They’re so stretchy you can put them on on a fat day and not hate yourself.

And so buttery soft and pliable, you put them on and feel like you are instantly as flexible as a pretzel. *high kick*

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Why is this awesome? Well, I’m a little heavier after a summer of work (read: not working out) and wine (because summer), so my workout pants all shame me every time I rally hard enough to put them on…

So I’ve been looking for a pair of “throw on, feel ok, even on not-skinny days, but don’t have to size up” magic pants, totally did not expect for them to come from Lululemon, but here they are.

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I mean seriously, I’ve tried on probably every style of legging that Athleta has, which is saying something, but couldn’t find what I was looking for. No, not even the Powervita line (which is supposed to be their soft and supportive but not too-compressive fabric).  Powervita was soft, but not like these puppies. MAN. They are soft. The fabric is called Nulu.

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Lululemon Align Pants

+super soft-feeling Nulu fabric

+mega stretchy, not compressive at all

+high waist

+flattering heart-shaped seam above your butt that makes you look like you have glute muscles

+double seam on the inner thigh, so there’s no seam right in the middle, I’m assuming so there’s less chafing

+leggings you can still wear on fat days

+they come in dark, creamy fall colors

+f yeah

I’m really excited to have something that doesn’t make me feel like shit when I put it on, which is how all clothes make me feel right now. So I’m really excited for these kind, soft pants. Maybe I’ll take a picture one day, but not today, because like I said, I feel like shit in my own skin. I’m sure you understand. Sad trombone high five, sister. Whatever. #Fitfall?

Anyway, look, they have a pocket too.

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Pure Barre On Demand Workout Review

I’m a freelance writer. Which means sometimes I’m commuting to the city and sometimes I’m working at home. When I commute to the city, I spend 3.5 hours a day commuting. And when I work from home, I basically wake up, maybe walk the dog, and start working right away because I can. I never know what type of work situation I’ll be in, so a gym membership is dumb and so is committing to any kind of studio unless I only want to go on Saturdays. Also, my super-affordable, on-the-way-to-daycare bootcamp has moved and become a less-affordable F45 on the other side of town, so… I’ve been classless for a bit.

I needed a new home workout. Yes, I still like the Aaptive training app and my treadmill. But I was hungry for something new, and something that didn’t make me feel like a prisoner sweating alone in my basement. And I need to build strength and get results fast, so I researched on-demand barre classes.

Now, a good little blogger would re-do the research for you and post the costs of different on-demand barre classes here, but I threw away my notes over a month ago and I don’t feel like looking all that shit up again.

All you need to know is the best deal is Pure Barre on demand.

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What you need to know about Pure Barre On Demand:

  • $30/ month
  • Access classes on any device
  • A really good amount of classes in any length you could possibly want: 5 minute, 10-15 minute, 30-40 minute, 40-50 minute and full length 50-60 minute lengths
  • They add new classes all the time

And the classes are taught by a mix of instructors, so if you think one is annoying, you can avoid her. What you can’t avoid is stupid pretzel position, which is incredibly awkward and I really, really, really hate it. But they’re videos, so if you’re a lazy piece of shit like me, you can just say “nope” and skip to a less ridiculous part of the workout.

A lot of the classes are “live” which means recorded live in one of the Pure Barre studios. They look like they’re shot with a nest security cam, which is totally fine by me. I like how it feels like I’m in a real class. There are also more “workout video”-type professionally staged and shot workouts. There’s really a lot of content. It’s pretty great.

Here’s what the two kinds of classes look like:

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A “live” Pure Barre on demand class

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A “legacy DVD” Pure Barre class, available on demand.

 

 

About Barre

Not gonna lie. Barre sucks. It’s painful, awkward, and uncomfortable. And super hard. BUT, I’ve found that it is a really fast way to change your shape and get strong. And that’s what I need right now. I think of it more as physical therapy than a fun workout. Wow, that’s depressing, isn’t it? OK. It’s not that bad. It’s a CHALLENGE. Is that more positive? And I get to do different video every time (so far) so that makes it feel a little more special.

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All barre workouts are based on the same principles from The Lotte Burke Method: proper alignment, a large number of small movements done to failure, then you stretch that muscle group. “Failure” means your legs will not only burn, but they will literally quiver and shake, and that’s the goal. Yup. (“Shake to change” is the mantra in Barre Amped.) And all barre workouts use similar exercises and follow the same patterns (core, arms, legs, butt, abs).

 

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Look at my arm! A result! 

The vibe is a little different from brand to brand, and Pure Barre has the vibe that I like the best, but it’s up to you to see what you like. Pure Barre, for example is a little more casual/city and they work out to a beat. Dailey Method feels slightly more formal, closer to a ballet or yoga studio vibe.

They all have a little bit of equipment involved: light weights, a small inflatable ball, something to use as a “support” (barre substitute), sometimes tubing. Overall, I like doing barre at home better than in the studio because I don’t feel looked at, and most importantly, I don’t have to wear those stupid barre socks that lose their grip and become useless the first time you wash them. I hate working out in socks.

For home workouts you really only need the light weights. A ball is a bonus. I have a barre, which I ordered from Amazon, and it’s fine. But there are some moves where they hold on to the barre and lean back, and for that type of stuff you actually need a counter, so don’t feel like you have to buy a barre. But if you want one, this one’s the one I have. It’s pretty cool except you get a big box on your doorstep that says VITA VIBE. Oh hey neighbors! I promise it’s not a four-foot dildo! Link here, too: https://amzn.to/2qazoQ7

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Vita Vibe 4 foot portable barre

 

Oh, and Pure Barre sells apparel with a lot of good cuts (meaning: long, not skin-tight tanks). I would totally order some if they didn’t have Pure Barre logos on them.

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Lululemon Jacket Round Up

I had a “treat yo self” moment this week and an hour to kill, so I went in to Lululemon to buy me a jacket. (Because Athleta has shit for jackets right now. Waiting for some new options for spring, but…right now there’s nada.) So for your virtual shopping pleasure, here are some Lululemon Jacket Reviews.

First I tried the Define Jacket, which is super popular. (Don’t judge my footwear, I was heading to a meeting after this. And yes I have giant water-ski clown shoes for feet.)

Here’s what you need to know about the Lululemon Define Jacket:

  • it’s tight AF
  • it doesn’t cover your ass
  • but it comes in the best patterns they have in the store

 

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Lululemon Define Jacket

 

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Lululemon Define Jacket

 

Then I tried the Round Trip Jacket. I was curious about this one because of the almost empire waist detail, hour-glass friendly cut, and interesting gathered material panel in the back. But…

Here’s what you need to know about the Lululemon Round Trip Jacket:

  • The material is really thin
  • The front seems kind of blah
  • But the back is as cute as it looks in pictures
  • It covers your ass
  • Yes I’m cross-eyed and have a double chin, apparently

 

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Lululemon Round Trip Jacket

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Lululemon Round Trip Jacket

 

Then I tried the Stride Jacket II. Which is what I was really there for, because I own three jackets in the same shape/ length, and that’s what I’m most comfortable in.

Here’s what you need to know about the Lululemon Stride Jacket II:

  • The fabric is thinner than past versions
  • (most lulu reviews, for all products, bitch about the declining quality of all of their fabrics)
  • The colors are super boring and limited and I’m mad about it
  • I mean, can we be done with this heathered burn-out thing already? Can we do something else please? Does spandex only come in heathered basicness? C’mon.
  • But it covers your ass the most
  • It’s the longest jacket you can get at Lulu
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Lululemon Stride II Jacket

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Lululemon Stride II Jacket

 

I also tried the Sleek Essentials Jacket. It seemed…simpler and thinner than most Lulu jackets. It’s a more affordable Lulu jacket. But I didn’t like it more because it was tight and short.

Lululemon Sleek Essentials Jacket

  • cheaper
  • feels and looks cheaper
  • short and tight-ish
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Lululemon Sleek Essentials Jacket

 

 

I also tried the Gait Keeper Jacket. Which you would think I would like because it’s basically got a peplum (read: pear and hour-glass friendly). It really sticks out in the back, almost like a bustle, which makes it pretty unique and interesting and style-y. But the cut is higher in the front. And the front’s a little plain. So…meh. Not good enough.

Lululemon Gait Keeper Jacket

  • Cool peplum detail in the back
  • Covers your ass
  • Short and plain in the front

 

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Lululemon Gait Keeper Jacket

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Lululemon Gait Keeper Jacket

 

So I ended up with…what I already have, what I know I’m comfortable in: a really long, looser-cut jacket. But now I have a lighter-weight one for running and spring time running around. Now…if they had the Stride II in the cool black and white blizzardy pattern that the Define jacket comes in…then I’d be really stoked! HEAR ME LULU? Y’ALL SHOULD MAKE LONGER JACKETS IN COOLER PATTERNS. WE WILL BUY THEM SHITS.

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Public service announcement: The Contour Jacket looks like another pretty long option. I didn’t get to try that one. It’s online only and sold out in my size in black, because of course. Maybe if I can’t bring myself to settle for the boring ass color of the Stride Jacket, I’ll return it and order a blue Contour Jacket. Maybe. But you know how I feel about color…so probably not.

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Lululemon Contour Jacket

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Lululemon Contour Jacket

 

And if you’re into long jackets like I am, I’m still liking my Stronger Hoodie from Athleta. Although I think mine might be a CYA (cover your assets) length, which they don’t seem to have right now. Mine’s pretty damn long. But at any rate, it’s a warmer, cozier, fleece-lined option.

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Stronger Hoodie from Athleta

 

 

Outside Lands is nigh! Get festival fashion ready with a free HIIT workout from Beach Body

Lalapalooza was last weekend. Outside Lands is this week. It’s a busy time for music festival-goers. And Beach Body and Stub Hub put together a HIIT bodyweight work out you can do anywhere with no equipment to get in “butt cheeks hanging out of your cut-offs” shape. Because apparently, that’s the only thing you’re allowed to wear to festivals this year. No I’m not kidding. About either of those things.

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Yes, ass cheeks out is a thing. And so is a pre-festival workout. I know because I participated in one last week with Beach Body Master Trainers Joel and Jericho. If you’re a Beach Body fan, they’re the ones who did Core de Force, and they’re friggin’ adorable IRL. And totally diesel. And friendly and nice.

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The workout is called Ready Set Live, and it was created by Beach Body and Stubhub. It had a not-too-serious festival prep-theme: each move was picked to help you get better at something that would be useful at a show like: pop up to your feet quickly if you trip, jump up to see your friends in a crowd, hover squat in a port-o-let…you get it. Cute.  Fun.

But it was a good workout, too. Simple, nine exercises, three rounds, 25 minutes, and I had quivering jelly legs by the end. Ass totally kicked. Also, it was on a rooftop. In the city. At sunset. Which is kind of the best.

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Also the best? The workout is available for free, for you and all the world, here.

And if you want to go to the live event in SF TONIGHT, go to the StubHub and Beachbody socials, you might still be able to get in. Woo hoo!

So if you’re going to Outside Lands, tell the bay I miss it, and give the Ready Set Live workout a shot. I love HIIT body weight workouts, and this one is great.

Post-workout Pretty-Sweaty

Red-Faced Super Sweaty Proof

Those fucking festival shorts, though…not a fan.

Pretty-Sweaty.com Lolla Shorts

 

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.