Sole F80 Treadmill Review

An ode to Sole.

(Specifically the Sole F80 Treadmill.)

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One of my favorite things.

In 2011 I broke up with the 24-7 full-time advertising life in San Francisco and moved back to the Midbest to live the dream. What is the dream? The dream keeps changing, but at the time of departure, the dream meant parking in a garage with a garage door opener (!) somewhere that didn’t involve getting out of my car to unlock a gate or run away from violent homeless guys and hurriedly, horror movie-style, try to unlock another gate without dropping my keys. (Only happened once, but it happened.) The dream meant not working every night and weekend. The dream meant buying a house. And having a yard. And some private outdoor space. And a dog. And not having to get on a freeway to go to Target. And most importantly, the dream included having a treadmill.

Living the dream included having a treadmill. 

When we bought a house, I bought a treadmill. I did my research and ordered a Sole F80. (Free shipping. No tax. 10 year warranty on motor.) They delivered and assembled it and I could run or walk inside, anytime I wanted to like friggin’ lottery millionaire. BAM, LIVING THE DREAM.

Then, there was a huge storm and our stupid house got two feet of stupid water in the stupid lower level where my brand new dream machine treadmill lived. Pro tips: don’t shop for homes in the winter, don’t buy a house at the bottom of a hill, and when the mailman says the property you just bought “gets water” he doesn’t mean the backyard gets puddle-y, he means it capital F floods in your house. Often.

Pro tip: When the mailman says the property you just bought “gets water” he doesn’t mean the backyard gets puddle-y, he means it capital F floods in your house. Often.

We trashed mostly everything in the basement, but crossed our fingers and let the treadmill dry out. And get this: it worked! I can’t remember if it worked and then something went wonky, or if it was wonky from the get-go after the flood and we had a repair person out, but whatever the order of events was, the treadmill was under warranty, a repair was made, and it worked.

AND IT HAS worked, since then. I do a little maintenance. And aside from being slow to get up to speed, it’s been kickin’.

Well, until last week. It stopped starting. No power. I checked all the things, and opened it up and checked all the things. Nothing. “Uh oh,” I thought  “Is this the big one? Is it over now?”

Well, I just had a technician out, and guess what. He didn’t replace the circuit board ($250 part). All he had to replace was a $15 on/off switch. HALLELUJAH!!!!

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Granted, the tread is wearing out ($175). And the deck will wear out ($250). And the hesitancy getting up to speed is probably the $250 circuit board. BUT.

As far as I’m concerned I’m running on a WALKING DEAD TREADMILL. A free treadmill. A magical ghost treadmill. Because we lost 1/3 of our HOUSE in the flood. And this thing SURVIVED. (OK, not 100%, but still.)

I could pay for the new parts. But it doesn’t make sense to invest in something that went through a flood. And I’ll have to buy a new one or give up that dream and run outside eventually. BUT FOR NOW, fuck yes.

And if you are shopping for treadmills, the Sole F80 is a survivor.

At least mine is.

For a little while longer…

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Me and my Sole F80 buddy.

 

 

 

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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.

 

 

 

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.

Workout pants: Will they stay up????

Pear-shaped problem:

Any pants that fit your ass are usually too big in the waist, and slide down as you work out.

OR, if you buy pants that are stretchy enough to fit your ass and not be baggy on your waist, that material is too stretchy to stay put during any kind of real workout, and they slide down. (Athleta Chaturanga and LuluLemon Wonder Unders are two examples of such pants.)

I recently convinced myself it was OK to get a few fresh pairs of workout capris and was picky about the stay-up factor. I bought three pairs from Athleta (currently not feeling LuluLemon at all) and get this: I KEPT ALL THREE. Whattttt?

Here are the three winners of WILL THEY STAY UP?

Athleta Shine Stripe Sonar Tight:

WILL THEY STAY UP? YES!

Higher waist. They have that double decker waist band thing that Athleta does on their training pants which does add a little bulk to the midsection but not THAT MUCH and if that’s what it takes to have pants that stay up, that’s fine. It’s not like I’m wearing crop tops for fuck’s sake AMIRIGHT? haha. Crop tops. BWAHAHAHAHHAHA. Those are for young people. Stupid stupid young people. Anyway, I ran in them. Outside. And YES! THEY WILL STAY UP! They will also look stupid with any shoe that’s not plain grey or black, but oh well. THEY WILL STAY UP.

Next up…

Athleta Laser Mesh Sonar Capri

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WILL THEY STAY UP??? YES! THEY WILL STAY UP!

The seams near the hips are a little weird, and I almost took them back because I thought they look a little bit like someone drawing circles around and pointing to my saddle bags, (Notice how the model has her hand in front of hers? Not an accident.) but…meh! Nobody in boot camp is looking at my shit, so fuck it. I like the polka dot cut-outs and I’m too lazy to find another type of pant that won’t fall down but has a modern detail on it so IMMA KEEP EM.

AND YES THEY WILL STAY UP!

last but not least:

Athleta Circuit Capri

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OK. These are the weird one-offs I was curious about a while back. (See post here.) They are less expensive than any other pant from Athleta, and aren’t a line like the Sonar or Chaturanga, but they’re high-waisted and their description said they were for high intensity training, so…I had to check them out.

What’s different about them is the fabric: it’s a little thicker than the normal Athleta fabric (which is good, because Athleta’s fabric is a little on the thin side) but it’s really slippery. Like, slipperier than a bathing suit-slippery. Slipperier than 80’s shiny purple spandex-slippery. I don’t know why. And I thought that would make them fall down, but…they didn’t, so I’m keeping these guys too. Who knew?

The only bad news is they only have them in pink, and in XS or XL now…so I’m sorry that I brought you late news on that. Maybe they’ll bring them back for the spring catalog.

But what have we learned? If you’re a pear and/or have trouble finding workout or running pants that stay up, try the Athleta Sonar line. And no, they’re not paying me. But seriously, they should probably start, right? AHEM.

Good luck getting your workouts in over the holidays! I’ll be using Aaptiv / The App Formerly Known as Skyfit. I’ll let you know how it goes. MERRY ALMOST CHRISTMAS!

 

 

Quest for the (padded) cup.

There are two kinds of sports bras: the kind with padded cups and the kind that are stupid.

If there’s no padding, then there’s nippage, and that’s not OK. I don’t think we need, like, Wonderbra-level padding, just something to smooth things out. That’s all I, on behalf of all humanity, ask for. Well, that and one more thing…

Almost every single top or sports bra I have that came with padding, came with REMOVABLE PADDING.

Why?

No seriously, I’m asking.

Because I don’t know anyone who would want to

-be flatter

-choose to show their nips to their Crossfit class

-hand wash foam disks, separately from everything else, and then try do the magic origami trick that is necessary to get them back into those stupid little slits and back in the right position.

WHY ARE THEY REMOVABLE? WHAT IN THE EVER LOVING FUCK WITH THAT?

They’re pressed against the sweatiest stinkiest part of your body. They need to be washed. Why not just make them part of the bra, SO WE CAN WASH THEM, without having to search for rogue foam cups beneath the washing machine agitator like they’re rare artifacts in Egypt and we are Indiana Jones in the mother fucking temple of mother fucking doom?

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I’m talking about these mother fuckers.

Putting on a jog bra sucks. Taking one off sucks even more. Washing them sucks because you have to use cold water, and special detergent in order to not destroy the spandex, and air dry them, and then when you go to put them on again THOSE STUPID PADS ARE EITHER MISSING, OR THEY’RE FOLDED IN HALF AND HAVE SOMEHOW MIGRATED THROUGH A SECRET INTERNAL TUNNEL IN THE BRA AND ARE NOW IN THE BACK STRAP BY THE CLASP. BY THE CLASP!!!! That’s enough to make me say screw it and not work out, right there.

Then you have to spend ten minutes swearing, and moving them half inch by half inch back into their place, and then unfold them THROUGH THE FABRIC, blindly trying to figure out if the three points are in the the right three corners of the bra.

FOR FUCK’S SAKE. It sucks enough being a woman. SPORTSWEAR COMPANIES, PLEASE. SEW THE CUPS INTO THE BRAS.

JUST SEW THE DAMN CUPS INTO THE BRAS. Removable cups are stupid and pointless.

Just sew the damn cups into the bras. Please.

So I can stop doing this. This is just sad. Fix it.

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Can we talk about strappy bras? / The Sports Bra Report

2014 was all about the pants. (Patterns! Colors! Laces! Mesh!)

2015 and and 2016 so far: it’s all about the bras.

What are my thoughts on sports bra fashion? This is a very important question in the world today. Obviously. Let’s dive in.

I like a deep arm hole, so I appreciate a cute sports bra.

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But I’ve learned from experience that the bolder the bra design, the less you can wear it with.

I don’t really understand why every bra isn’t made for high impact, and have lining or padding. Who wants saggy nipply sacks showing through their shirt during sweat yoga? I don’t want to see that shit. This is not NatGeo. Get a real bra.

I instantly don’t like anyone who doesn’t wear a top over her sports bra, either. I mean, come on. You know exactly what you’re doing and it’s not powerful or cool. Save it for Instagram.

Long bras or bralettes or short tanks or whatever Taylor Swift wears are somehow OK, though. There’s probably a formula.

APPROPRIATE AB EXPOSURE =

YOUR PALM WIDTH minus IF YOU EAT CARBS divided by IF YOU HAVE ANY SHAME

or something like that.

But the big trend in sports bras right now is the super strappy bra. I’m sure it was inspired by the cage/harness bra trend, which I find edgy, but generally kind of unflattering.

Oh, and skanky. That shit is skanky as HEY-ull. But I think that’s why it’s appealing. Everybody wants to skank it up sometimes and that is your goddess given right (in the bedroom or near water, and only if you’re young enough, for fuck’s sake, please) so whatever. Go get it.

Right now, every athletic wear site has a strappy bra for its main image when you click on “sports bras.” Don’t believe me? Try it. I’ll wait.

There are wide straps and skinny straps and rib cage straps and holy shit is that a spider web? straps. And that’s all good and fine, but I’m not buying any of them.

  1.  Because it’s hard to style that shit. You always end up with too much going on.
  2.  Because it just looks hard to get into. ANGTFT
  3.  Thin-strapped bras dig into my neck and give me a headache, so mo’ straps mo’ problems?
  4.  In my old age, I’m realizing how quickly things become dated. And I’d rather drop $65 on a super supportive black thing that I can wear until it falls apart than a cute strappy thing that’s only going to be on trend for a few months. But, hey, that’s just me and my mood. If you like it, rock it. I salute any effort put towards feeling good about yourself while you do the work.

BUT, big picture, it’s a little “lingerie,” and I prefer more warrior / less princess for my power outfits. Same goes for anything that looks like lace. Just doesn’t feel right.

But Aimee, do you like anything? At all? Why are you such a hater?

OK fine. There’s one thing in sports bra land that I really like right now. OK two.

First one is the leather look. Or lustrous look. Holy shit. This is edgy and cool and bad ass and a little sexy, but more in a “I will slap you” way and less of a “please think I’m pretty” way. You know what I’m saying? There’s a huge difference. And it’s all in who has the power. To me, this leather look is something you wear for you, it’s very superhero, very strong. And strappy is something you wear for others. Who have peens.

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Second thing I’m digging in the sports bra world is this new (to me) brand, Panache Sport. I saw them everywhere when I was on my tour of every athletic wear store last month. Panache is a lingerie brand from the UK, and Panache Sport is their athletic side. They only make one bra, with or without underwire. They’re pricey, but they’ve got pretty good design, major support, they’re flattering, they’re high enough so your bits don’t fall out, AND they’re cute/powerful looking. They’re kind of everything. I’m not in spend mode, but I did find one for cheaper on Zappos or Amazon or something. It was cheaper because it’s a weird color. There’s always a trade off. You get what you pay for. It’s hard to wear with a lot, because IT’S BLUE AND ORANGE!, but it is a really solid bra. I recommend.

And that’s what I have to say about that.

Oh, and and also, camo is huge right now.

Later.

 

EXP Core Review (Fitness fashion from Express)

Hey, guess who else has a new fitness wear line.  Express. Yep, that Express. It’s called EXP Core Performance, and they sent me an outfit to review, so I happily shall. Someone wants to send me clothes? YAASSS!

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Hello, EXP Core Performance.

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What they have: Workout Clothes for Women. A whole line of workout leggings,  workout tops, sports bras, and jackets.They say they’re “sexy, stylish, and built for maximum performance.” Oh. You wanna go after VSX Victoria’s Secret Sport? Ok. I hear you. Go for it.

They let me pick out from a selection of a few different pants and tops, and I chose these leggings because 1. I have too many crops right now and 2. HOLY SHIT CRAZY BUTTERFLY PATTERN I LOVE IT. And I chose the black top, obviously, because that’s what I wear. Black tops. And the lovely folks at EXP Core Performance sent me a sports bra to wear under it, too. Sweet!Outfit math expFullSizeRender

The workout leggings kind of rule. Ombre Animal Print EXP Core Compression Legging $69.90. And I’m not just saying that because I didn’t have to pay for them. The pattern is really fun, and it’s the first big, all-over pattern like this that has been flattering on my shape. ( Pear / T-Rex / Thunder-thighs.) The white at the bottom definitely helps because white looks bigger, so the effect is almost the same as if I were wearing bootcut/flared yoga pants. They balance out the thunder thighs. And the pattern at the top (read: the pattern across my ass) is dark and keeps the eye moving, so we’re good there, too. The only drawback is that this fabric is white with a print on it, so the inside of the pants are white, which means when the fabric stretches, it gets lighter because you’re seeing a little bit of that white come through. The black becomes dark grey when it is stretched across my thighs. So. Shopping tip: pay attention to the color of the inside of your workout pants. It’s not a deal breaker in this case, though. I think they still look good.FullSizeRender_2

But more importantly, they make me feel good. I feel like an olympic skier in them. They are edgy and obnoxious and you can’t really wear them and sit on the couch, because look at them! They are ACTION PANTS MADE FOR ACTION! Right?

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The tech and specs:

Fabric: They’re a slippery, almost bathing suit-type material, like Onzie leggings. Which means they wick well, and you could probably use them for bikram yoga or even swimming if you wanted to. Surfing? Maybe. But only if you get them really tight. There’s no drawstring. The fabric is not thick, and  that’s usually a deal breaker for me,  because: cellulite. But the pattern does the camouflaging that I usually count on a thicker fabric to do, so NBD.

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Fit: They have a high rise with a wide waistband, so that’s perfect. Everybody seems to be catching on to that now. As they should be. There’s no reason for anybody to have to have a muffin top. Hooray progress! Also, there’s a waistband key pocket, which is mandatory. I’m between sizes right now, so I ordered the higher size. So they’re not “performance” tight on me. (Except for on the thighs because everything is.)  But despite that, they didn’t slide down during a long walk, and they stayed in place pretty well during burpees and bouncing in a HIIT workout.

I’m impressed, Express. These are thoughtfully designed. Respect.

The workout top is a soft, drapey cotton.  Black EXP Core Strappy Tank $34.90. It’s loose enough and long enough, with some showy interest in the back. What more could you want? You might think “eh, it’s fine” when you look at it online, but it’s the kind of easy-to-wear piece you (I) will probably reach for first again and again. No brainer.

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The sports bra looks basic at first sight, too. (Mesh Back EXP Core Sports Bra $49) But the material actually has an almost shiny, leather-look, so it’s different and edgy, without being slutty.  The scoop of the neck and the width of the straps are flattering. It’s not too low cut,  and it covers the upper boob/ armpit fat. They know what they’re doing over there. And you know I don’t say that shit lightly. Of course, this is a “for looks” bra, not a “for running” bra. There’s no padding, and no special support structure. But it’s pretty slick looking. Oh yeah, and the back has mesh panels, too.FullSizeRender_3

EVERYTHING I got was thoughtfully designed. I’m pleasantly surprised, and actually pretty stoked. This EXP stuff is really flattering. For real.

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Seriously, you guys. When I saw Express in my email, I thought “I have not even looked in the window of that store since college.” And I’m 38. I shouldn’t be in there. But workout wear is for everybody, and EXP Core is a nice find. And you can order online so you don’t have to go in there and stand next to a size 00 seventeen year-old who hasn’t even put on her beer weight yet.

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Thumbs up for EXP Core.

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The Derek Lam 10C Athleta Collaboration is here!

Yes. Of course I know there’s a Derek Lam / Athleta collab. Of course I do!!!!

And I was super excited because I buy tons of Athleta. SUPER EXCITED I SAY!!!

Until I saw it.

WAH WAH.

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Here, you can judge for yourself: http://athleta.gap.com/browse/category.do?cid=1038258&mlink=46650,10188358,HP_DL_Main_9_9&clink=10188358

But I think it’s a little basic and boring. And it sometimes makes the model look like a court jester or a character on Star Trek or someone from a really old Old Navy shoot. Not simple and chic. Sigh. These here are the pieces I do like (below). But you’ve been able to find leather joggers (If you wanted to) for a few years now, so…*yawn*.  Maybe they’ll do it again and the next collection will be better. Sorry Derek Lam. Love you. But not this. 😦

This is the good….

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And this is the bad and the ugly…I mean, I get that the color blocking on the tanks is meant to follow that of a sports bra, and that’s good and flattering, and I get that the vertical stripe is there so it’s not just a baby doll color blocking situation. But something about it just falls really frat boy from the 80s-flat. I wish I didn’t feel that way. It’s much better on the tighter tops.(see below). Screen Shot 2015-09-11 at 9.28.48 AM Screen Shot 2015-09-11 at 9.28.31 AM

And I’m not sure how I feel about these. The location of the bust line feels fresher on these… And the cut is good ….

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But still,  grey and white are kind of the two worst colors to use for active wear because white will show your nip-nips and grey shows sweat in less than one second. Hey, Athleta! I know things! Maybe we should do a collab… 🙂

I’m never wearing a bathing suit again.

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from salt gypsy

Swim leggings. Wait, what? Yes. Swim leggings. Leggings you wear while swimming. AKA Swim Tights. AKA Surf Leggings. These are a thing. I guess surfers wear them (makes sense) and now you can get them at more and more places like Urban OutfittersAthleta, Prana, even Land’s EndNordstrom carries Onzie, which makes RIDICULOUSLY obnoxious-cute patterns and started as a bikram yoga brand. Their fabric is kind of slippery and weird, but that’s because its meant to get wet and also to dry quickly. Bikram. According to their website “Onzie yoga gear is perfect for hot yoga, but can also be used for pilates, spinning, swimming, surfing, running or hooping. Our clothes can be worn as everyday wear or into chlorine and salt water environments.”

What? Sweet. Because I just had a baby and I haven’t really been able to start working out for real yet and I’m NOT trying to wear a bathing suit. In fact, I’m NEVER trying to wear a bathing suit. Who is? Shit. Swim leggings? I’m fucking sold. I’m never wearing a stupid, make me feel terrible about myself and miserable while I should be enjoying playing in the water, bathing suit again! Score one for freedom!!!! FUCKING SWIM TIGHTS, MOTHER BITCHES!!! HOORAY!!!!

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(These are from Salt Gypsy, available through Without Walls/ Urban Outfitters.)

 

Also…If there’s ever a time to take a step back to a more modest approach to swimwear, maybe it’s now. For me, 100%. But also, maybe, for America. #justsayin #merica #hotdogpizza #highfructosecornsyrup #processedfood #healthcrisis #obesityepidemic

 

These three are all Onzie. Silly funs. I mean. There’s a tiger on your butt. A BUTT TIGER.

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This is how Atlhleta does it. Reviews make it sound like their swim tights are  muffin-toppy, though. But they’re only $22, so if you’re skinny, go for it!cn9161471

 

And Land’s End. Keeping it real. This is how most of us should probably dress for public swimming. Their shirts don’t go straight up and down as if they’re built for little boys. Crazy concept, huh?

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I ordered these two (Thank you, Nordstrom anniversary sale.) The city print ones are a fail because, yes, of course that print is not the best for the thighs. I knew that would happen but had to try anyway. Second pair’s not here yet. We’ll see. BTW, there are more sizes on the Onzie site than Nordstrom’s.

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