#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!

 

No mo Jawbone. :( Hello Fitbit. :)

I have been a dedicated fan of the Jawbone Up24 and Up2 fitness trackers for the last few years, but NO LONGER! I lost my first one, because there’s no clasp on an UP24 so I looped it around the top of my pants because I wanted stroller steps to count, and it fell off. D’oh!

Then I bought an Up2. And they had to replace it because the strap tore. AND, they didn’t have a black one to replace it with so I had to accept a light grey one, which I knew would look filthy and gross and cheap like a sad dead rubber band, and it did. But I had no choice, so I wore it until…

The band on that third one, the replacement for the second one, JUST TORE!  I emailed Jawbone’s customer service and they sent me a “we got your email” email, but nothing after that. It’s been weeks. So I called, and their message is basically a half-step better than dealing with Comcast—which means getting slapped with a glove filled with rocks instead of slapped with a glove filled with rocks with spikes on it…the message basically says “We really suck, you will not reach a person, you can try emailing. Cheers!”

So, fuck that shit. I’m done. Also, Fitbit finally makes bands that aren’t giant and ugly and hideous, so that worked out well for me, timing-wise.

Meet my new jam! Fitbit Alta.

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And yes, of course I got the special edition gold one. And yes, of course I already have a pink leather strap for it. Obviously. Come on.

Fitbit Alta Super Brief Review:

So far, so good. The straps are very easy to switch out. The bracelet has a very secure clasping system. The Fitbit Alta does seem a little more rugged than the UP2 was, so hopefully it won’t tear like those jokers did. It’s super easy to use. The app is fine. And it lets me know when I’m getting a call or a text, which is a little bit “Hey, calm down, you’re just a pretty pedometer OK? Stay in your lane.” But you can’t blame a bracelet for trying.

 

 

NEW NIKE FREES!

Ohhhhh SNNNAAAAAP! Nike’s got some new additions to the Nike Free fam. They’re called the Nike Free RN Distance (RN = Running) and Nike Free RN Commuter. (I am a huge fan of Nike Frees. They’re like wearing slippers, they’re one of the few Nikes that don’t have a pointy narrow toe box, and I wear them all day, every day. I only take them off when I have to wear “real” shoes or when I run or train. And when I train, I usually wear Nike Free TRs, WHICH ARE ALSO GREAT!)

Nike Free RN Distance Distance! So, probably cushioning that doesn’t break down as quickly as the typical Nike Frees. And probably a wee bit of support. SOLD! Oh wait. There’s no solid black. UNSOLD! Bummer.  Screen Shot 2016-06-15 at 9.36.59 AMScreen Shot 2016-06-15 at 9.35.53 AMScreen Shot 2016-06-15 at 9.36.16 AM

Nike Free RN CMTR What does “commuter” mean? It means that the upper is totally flat-packable so you can throw it in your work bag when you need to switch to your office-appropriates. Which in itself is kind of sad, right? Dudes wear sneakers to work all the time and it is not seen as sloppy at all. I’m going to make an effort to make sneakers work with my work clothes. #genderequality y’all. Oh, they do have CMTRs for men, too. I guess the other benefit is not taking up as much space in your gym bag. Sigh. Schlepping a gym bag. That makes me sad too. I love having a home gym.

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So, after all that, what did I buy?

My 8th? 9th? 10th? I lost count pair of Nike Free Runs. Mostly because they come in BLACK ON BLACK!!! right now. I love black soles. I love black laces. I love Nike Frees.

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Side note: What the fuck with the rest of the colors, Nike? The white on white is cool if you’re into white shoes. But the rest of them…Are you purposely making ugly basic colorways so we have to pay more to Nike ID a pair that actually looks cool? Not cool, bro. But thank you for finally making black on black! I’ll buy 1-2 pairs a year, forever.

 

Pretend Shopping Trip: Cute Winter Workout Wear from Sweaty Betty

Heyo. I haven’t been posting a ton of pictures lately because, well, I’m pregnant! Which also means I’m working out less, gaining baby and burrito weight, and can’t buy all the cute new things that are out in the land of fitness fashion this fall. But you can! Here are some fun things I’m noticing. Happy shopping!

SWEATY BETTY: They’re British, but have a few stores in the US. Because they’re British, they use funny words. Jumper = Sweater. Vest = Sleeveless Tank. Stuff like that. Silly British. Also, their catalog features a “40% off introductory offer.” I’m not sure how to get it through their website, but maybe if you call they can hook you up.

SWEATY BETTY : Optimal Training Hoodie $190

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SWEATY BETTY: Allegro Knit Dance Jumper $155 : dig the mesh raglan sleeves

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SWEATY BETTY: Coupe Layered Dance Vest $85

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SWEATY BETTY: Dance Workout Capri $110 : How comfortable do these look?

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SWEATY BETTY: Yama Knit Jumper : $155 : love the different shapes and layers and cut outs

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SWEATY BETTY: Bakasana Yoga Vest : $95 : This is my favorite. Drapey 2 in 1 with an open back? Yes.

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Pants that last? Kyodan. (and are they secretly lulu?)

Had somebody ask recently about durable leggings:

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Good question, CJ!

I personally haven’t had any durability issues with any pants except the cotton ones form Old Navy Active. (They fade and look pretty homeless pretty fast.) Everything else seems to last a reasonable amount of time. (Grain of salt: I am a workout leggings hoarder and many pairs in rotation, so each pair gets rest.) So I’m not an expert in durability. BUT I do have an outdoor roller-blade hockey playing friend who took a pretty gnarly knees first-spill on asphalt in a pair of capris by Kyodan and she swears they didn’t suffer a bit. Pretty impressive. I mean, if they can stand up to asphalt I would think they can handle a year of thighs rubbing together? (That’s where my stuff wears out first. I think I patched a pair of favorite jeans like 7 times in the crotchular area. #pearshapedproblems.) Anyway. Kyodan.

What is Kyodan? It’s a more affordable fitness wear brand that’s carried at T.J. Maxx. People really like them, and they even have a Facebook fan page. That says something.

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These running capris from Kyodan cost $25

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These guys are $20. And they look a lot like the Chaturanga from Athleta. 

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Hell, as long as I’m looking around for Kyodan on TJMaxx.com, here are some more things from them:

Kyodan Open Back Burnout “long bra” tank $17

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Kyodan Aztek Mesh Back Athletic Shirt $20

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Now, there are some rumors going around the interwebs that Kyodan might be manufactured in the same facility as LuluLemon, and might be a way to get Lulu without paying out the lulu for it. But there are also a lot of people who say that’s bunk and the quality is not the same. I don’t know. I have a hard time shopping in T.J. Maxx for non-home stuff. (I can’t stand digging through sloppy unorganized racks. It feels like a garage sale.) BUT, they have a website, so you don’t have to work too hard to buy some Kyodan and find out for yourself. If you do, let me know the verdict!

Commuter Jackets Worth Checking Out – Title Nine

Title Nine: Like I’ve said,  I have a ton of respect for them, their message, and their sports bra expertise. But their clothes just aren’t quite my style. So I was surprised and stoked to see some pretty slick commuter jackets in their fall catalog. (Commuter means biking, but they work for any kind of schlepping outside of a car.) And they’ve got some good looking leggings too. TitleNine.com

Trinity Jacket from Title Nine

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Accelerator Trench from Title Nine

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Peacekeeper Trench by Title Nine

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Master Trench by Title Nine

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And you can’t be mad at the founder of Title Nine or her message. Go Missy Go.

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Why so ‘spensive? (The rise of $100 yoga pants.)

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Oh, workout clothes. You so silly. The really good pants can cost $100. And the nice tops can cost $70ish. You only wear the stuff for an hour at a time. And then it’s going to smell like butt. Literally. Where do they get off charging that much for smell-like-butt clothes?

Well. Back in the day I would have thought it was just branding and luxury marketing and all that seventh grade stuff. Charge more and people will think it’s better. Then every yoga mom has to have a Lulu logo on her butt.  But now that I actually design and manufacture stuff myself (paper goods, not clothes. bsandrs.com) and have a friend who designs and manufactures jeans (tallwaterjeans.com), I understand the work that goes into production and development and how much quality costs. And also, the more workouts I try, and the more laundry I do, the more I appreciate high-functioning stuff.

So. Why do they charge that much for smell-like-butt clothes? I’ll tell ya.

1. Quality of fabric. The fabric matters a ton. The fabric is what determines sheerness, wicking, longevity, fit, whether or not your cellulite shows, whether or not they keep their shape or stretch out, how easy they are to get in and out of, and whether or not the pants will slide down when you get sweaty. That’s why LuluLemon got big. Not just because they were design leaders, but also because of Luon fabric.

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LuluLemon

 

2. Technology. Not only do they have to be the right thickness and all of that, these fabrics have to breathe and wick and stretch both ways.  They have breathable panels in body-mapped places. And those silver seams? Those actually cool you down and don’t absorb your stink. (I worked on adidas for years. Trust me. I know things.) F-yeah, science.

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Athleta

3. Design. Designing fitted things is hard. Designing fitted things that stay in place while flexing to and fro is hard. Figuring out how wide to make a waist band and how tight or high it needs to be to keep your poppin fresh dough from spilling out is hard. Placing the seams in a way that draws the eye around your leg, cutting the strap so you don’t get armpit boob, adding a key pocket without actually adding a pocket is hard. (It adds material, complicates pattern, takes longer to manufacture…) These are the things that make good pieces good. And they’re what make you keep on choosing to wear that one top or those certain pants instead of all the others.

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Splits59 Spinning Crops

 

 

4. Engineering. If you have more than a B cup you know you need a real jog bra, and you understand what a feat of engineering that those suckers are. (Bounce. Moving Comfort.) And some workout pants even have built in spanx-y panels and butt lifters and stuff (Lucy). Compression patterns support your muscles and help you work longer. It’s way more complex then sewing two halves of a pattern together.

Moving Comfort Rebound Racer

Moving Comfort

 

So you see, a quality piece of fitness apparel takes a lot of work and design and R&D. It’s made with stuff that costs a lot more than cotton because it has to do a lot more than cotton. And the benefit you get out of that piece (comfort, support, confidence, performance) is directly related to how much work went into creating it.

I still have my first pairs of Athleta and LuluLemon capris. They’re at least 5 years old. And I still pick those guys from my drawer before all of the rest. Meanwhile, the Old Navy Active yoga crops I just bought for less than the cost of my lunch are thin and scratchy, don’t have stretchy thread, and will be busted in a matter of months. There’s cost per wear. And there’s just wasting time churning through cheap stuff when one great piece will remove “shop for gym pants” from your to-do list for years.

I am absolutely not trying to peer pressure you into buying something you can’t afford. (Hello, I wear old navy tank tops 90% of the time.)  But I am for sure telling you that there IS a difference and you will get A LOT of use out of the good stuff for a LONG time.

And yeah. It’s way cuter.

LuLuLemon

 

New Brands and wanty wants: Nancy Rose, T&F Store, Splits 59

Good News: I’ve been working out a lot latey, loving boot camp and P90X3 and love/hating Dailey Method. Starting to see some results. So obviously I’m like “I want a new fancy cute top. I deserve it.”

Bad News: At this moment, budget says NO, STUPID!

That’s why I’ve been doing all the DIY shirt stuff lately. Also: I haven’t been using all of the (bright, cheap) ribbed tanks I have. They’re right there. As long as I do a little something something with my hair and a headband, I can still make a WorkOutFit out of them…But you know how it is. Women be shopping.

So let’s pretend for a minute. Gotta get it out of my system. Here are some new (to me) brands and some stuff I’m trying not to by. 🙂 Obviously first thought is LuluLemon. But, eh. Any rich housewife can get that. Athleta, I’ve got that covered. IF I were to go shopping right now, I’d try to find some less common stuff. And let me tell you, it’s totally out there!

T&F Store. (Track and Field Store) TFStore.us

Ever wonder what the epically lovely looking Brazilians wear when they work out? You know, if they choose to, because they don’t have to because of their ridiculous genetics? Prolly this stuff. T&F store liked some of my Fitstagram Pics, so I checked them out. Super cute! Unfortunately, the only US store is in NYC. But I’ll bet there will be more soon. And THEY’RE WELCOME TO SEND ME GORGEOUS WORK OUT WEAR IF THEY’RE READING THIS…;)

T&F Store Run Mist Leggings: panels. Moving lines. Pleathery shiny calves. Yes.

T&F run mist back T&F Run Mist

T&F Store Sky Fitness Shorts: GOLD. SHORTS. GOLD! Somebody with the legs to pull these off please, please get them. How can you not be happy wearing or seeing these? They’re gooooolllld.

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SPLITS 59

I’m still irrationally in love with these Raquel Classic Flared pants from Splits 59. Probably because they’re the exact opposite of what would look good on my body type. And the colors are great, uncommon, primary colors. The green online isn’t accurate. They’re a great kelly green in real life. All of my Daily Method instructors rock these and they look so strong and lean and dancer-y. Good for them. And for you if you can pull these off. Get it.

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The other brand I learned about through the shopping rack at Dailey Method is Nancy Rose Performance. I have a pair of capris: they’re cute, high quality fabric, and fit well. They’re a little lower cut than I like, but thanks to all of the functional strength training I’ve been doing, I can wear them now. With a baggy tunic, of course, let’s not get crazy. But at least it’s not muffin top town. ANYWAY: I finally looked them up and WOW.

Nancy Rose Performance = Flattering, ballet inspired design and high quality materials. You want a nice top? Mostly you can get a tight-ass tank that shows the rolls or (like me) a tunic that flips up in boot camp. Enter Nancy Rose: Tons of different shapes and cuts with flattering lines and wraps and peplums oh my! Form fitting, without being too form revealing. PERFECT.

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WHATTTT???? Stuff for apples and pears and beanpoles, not just instructor-shaped fitness professionals! So good. So easy to wear. Thank you for existing, Nancy Rose!

 

 

Gym Shirt DIY

Old Navy T-shirts make me sad. Real sad. I bought these V-necks a while back because I thought they’d be a cheaper version of my favorite American Apparel V-neck that doesn’t seem to exist anymore. But no. It’s all about the fit, and these fit as basic and sad as can be. So they deserve to die.

First I hit them with bleach and RIT dye. Then I took my Nike tank, which has a nice loose-ish long-ish fit, and used it as a template, and turned those stupid shirts that made me feel sad into easy to grab no-brainer, I know that will work gym tanks. I mean, why not? Nothing to lose.

I also tank-ified a Nike men’s T-shirt so now I might actually wear it. I just can’t do sleeves when I work out. Why?

1. I feel all constrained and claustrophobic and sweaty.

2.  I have pretty broad shoulders, so tanks help me look more balanced.

3. I’m not going to show my legs (like ever) and I like my arms, so bare arms, covered legs is my gig. Again. Balance.