Psst: Athleta Sale!

Athleta has a ton of stuff on sale, my pretties. Right here.

Scoop up some sweet clothes to sweat in for your New Year’s New You resolutions.

Please. Somebody buy cute things, because I’m 30 weeks pregnant and I can’t.. Waaaaaaah. Do it for me!

If I could fit into real clothes, here’s what I’d get: Plie Tights, Embodiment Tights, Stripe Crop Tee, Shanti Tie-Dye Tank, Bhakta Sweater, Cashmere Crave Sweater, Some grey Plattan Headphones by Urbanears, and yeah, sure, a Rope Belt for the fuck of it.

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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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Workout Review: The Dailey Method

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I’m going to review the three workouts I’ve been doing the most this year. Starting today with The Dailey Method. First, here’s a little bit of my history with going to fitness classes. If you don’t give a rat, just skip down to the review I won’t hate you. 🙂 Long story short: I used to hate classes, but now I dig ’em. Note: being a bit pre-fit makes a huge difference in how pleasant or un- they can be.

MY HISTORY WITH TAKING FITNESS CLASSES: 

In the past I’ve been pretty anti-class. I tried some at Crunch in San Francisco, and they just made me feel fat and gross because everyone else was all skinny and fit and rocking full WorkOutFits. This was ten years ago, when I was still wearing mesh basketball shorts and before I ran a marathon. Before then, I was very into home workout videos/DVDs. And before that I did home workouts that were on TV, like Body By Gilad. I was an original Firm believer. Knew about Beach Body back when they sent out a paper catalog, did Tae Bo, all of that jazz. Then I went to the gym to do the stairmaster, treadmill, elipser, and use the weight machines. A little Body for Life. Then I got more into running. Then P90X and then I tried classes again: some spin and some yoga and some Zumba.

Spin was tolerable because it was dark so it was easier to block out the skinny bitches and avoid comparison. Zumba I started doing when I moved out to the burbs, and it was full of old biddies so I felt like a rockstar. Yoga usually draws all types so it’s generally non-threatening. FYI, the spin class I used to take in the burbs was in glaring full yellow light, with a boom box of country music, and it took place literally on a basketball court, during a basketball skills clinic for five year olds. For real. Not quite the same as the dark, cool, techno experience at Crunch in San Francisco. But highly entertaining nonetheless. Anyway, that’s my history with classes.

ENTER GROUPON…

In the last year or so, I snapped up a Groupon for Dailey Method and gave it a shot. I have a lot of friends who did it in SF (where it’s from) and loved it. (I just never had the time to do it, or anything at all for that matter, when I lived there.) And I have the Physique 57 DVDs and so I kind of had an idea of what it would be like.

SO WHAT IS DAILEY METHOD LIKE?

Friggin’ hard. That’s what it’s like. If you’re not strong already, it’s frustrating and painful. And even if you are in shape, it’s still going to be awkward at some point because you’re getting into all sorts of weird positions and then you’re going to be pulsing. Yep. Pulsing. Gross.

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IT’S HARD. HARD!

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Also? Dailey Method doesn’t count for hardly any steps according to my UP 24. 😦 Bullshit.

But it’s also FANTASTIC. This is a rich lady sport, so the studio is clean, and bright, and colorful and feels kind of like a spa. It’s a lovely place to be. Everyone is paying out the wazoo to be there, so everyone takes it seriously, focuses on their own shit, and generally brings it in the fitness fashion department.

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I kinda love it!

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There are people of all shapes and sizes and ages and even stages of pregnancy. My favorite classmate is a proud breast cancer survivor in her late 60s who rocks the brightest tights I’ve ever seen. Every. Single. Class. She lost 30 lbs doing Dailey and didn’t change anything else in her life. She kicks all of the ass.

There’s a lot of emphasis on getting into proper position/ alignment first and then working. You work a muscle with light weights or body weight and high reps until you’re burning and shaking, and swearing under your breath. I’m serious. Shaking is a good thing in Dailey Method. It’s not the end, it’s the midpoint. Then when you think you’re going to collapse because you no longer have legs, just jelly sticks, or that flames will literally start shooting out of your quads and melt your stretch pants, you do some more. Then you stretch that muscle.

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There are a lot of planks and on-your-toes squats and plies and sometimes there’s a shitty terrible awkward position like pretzel sometimes there’s not. There’s always something that sucks to do but builds rock hard thighs FAST. And there is always a ton of core work.

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RESULTS?

Yes. I definitely got results from doing The Dailey Method, and I never went more than 3 times a week. I also bought both DVDs and use those when I need to. My results looked like this: a general “tightening” of my whole torso, everything sucked in and shrunk. My thighs got BIGGER because I was growing strong quads and my butt got smaller. My arms got tighter. And the “bottom butt” or “second butt” or “pooh bear butt” or the “butt under the butt” went away.

COST? 

Dailey Method is very expensive (at least $150 for a monthly pass). But if you frame it as a hobby instead of a gym, then it’s easier to wrap your head around. $150/4 weeks = $37.50 a week. How much do you spend on lunch? Or on random shit you don’t need at Target? Just sayin’. It can be done. And it’s much more valuable than a lot of other crap I unthinkingly spend money on.

IN CONCLUSION:

THREE WORD REVIEW of THE DAILEY METHOD: Hurts. So. Good.

I’ll review the Boot Camp I went to next. Coming soon.

Here are some pictures from my Dailey Days.

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They’ve got home videos too.

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Dailey Method: work up a sweat standing still.

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Barre stretches feel good.

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My favorite exercise. Standing leg hold.

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August WorkOutFits

Confession: Yeah. So I’ve had a major energy problem this past month or so and haven’t been working out a ton. 😦 I’ve been a lazy, carb-eating piece of shit. But like Fun says, “Carry oh-oh-oh-oh-onnn!” So I shall. I switched back to paleo and am feeling a bit more vital this past week, so…hopefully more of my workout pants will fit again soon. That’s why A. all tunics all the time and B. not many WorkOutFits to share. No work out = no WorkOutFit. I don’t take a picture every time I work out. But I promise, if I DO take a picture, that outfit got worked out in. So there’s that. I post WorkOutFits on instagram @iamaimeeschewe

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Athleta Breathe Tank top and Zella leggings.

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Old Navy Active top, LuluLemon leggings.

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Champion top, Lulu tank, Lulu leggings. Up24 fitness band.

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Champion top, Old Navy yoga pants. Borderline basic bitch gym outfit, I know. Like I said, I haven’t been feeling so hot.

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Lulu Lemon top, Nike leggings.

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Old Navy Active top, Zaggora hot pants. (they’re sauna pants. like in the 80s. Because i’m puffy, yo.)

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This was an Old Navy T-shirt that I cut and shredded.

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even MORE Old Navy. (top) Zella leggings. Shameful because I didn’t run that day. Or month.

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This was a Gap shirt to benefit Japan after the disaster. I bought it on principle. Then cut it, because it needed it.

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LuluLemon top, Old Navy capris.

 

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!

My favorite tights: Chaturanga from Athleta

So, you know I have over 20 pairs of workout tights/capris/pants/leggings whatever you want to call ’ems. Anything dark, knee length, and thick enough not to show my cottage cheese, and high enough to hold in the muffin top, I like. But I think I just realized I have a favorite.

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I just got a fresh pair of Chaturanga capris from Athleta. I already have a full-length pair that I wear in the winter, which I love. And I just pulled these on and they’re just…so easy. So stretchy and forgiving and comfortable. I guess most of my capris are “performance fit” which means tight as hell so they squeeze you in and support your muscles and jiggly bits. So it is such a treat to pull on a pair and not feel like a sausage for once. I love you Chaturanga.

http://athleta.gap.com/browse/search.do?searchText=chaturanga

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Already had Chaturanga Odyssey Tights (looks like space dye in real life)…..Just got Chaturanga Stardust Capris. (looks like cheetah/snow leopard in real life)

Note: they are NOT thick, which I usually would not recommend. And they’re probably not great for running because they’re not performance-tight (which means they’ll probably slide down as you run). So I can’t recommend them for running. BUT I can recommend them for pretty much everything else. As long as you get a dark pair, preferably a pattern, you should be comfortable and camoflauged. Just like Imma be all friggin day in these puppies. Ahhh. Chaturanga.

They come in every length: shorties (tiny for you obnoxiously fit skinny minnies), shorts (not sure who, but if that’s your gig go for it) jammers (ditto. maybe under a skirt or something? it’s a mystery to me. but to each her own), capris and tights. In whatever pattern you could want, even crackly faux-leather and stripes. Bazam.

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Zella is stellar.

Hey, today’s the last day of the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale. So I apologize for being so late to the game on this, but HAVE YOU TRIED ZELLA? Zella is Nordstrom’s fitness wear brand, and they’re pretty great. My sister-in-law convinced me to try them after swearing they were “non-cellulite-showy-offy.” And at $30 a pop (until tomorrow, then $44) for their super-popular “live-in leggings,” I mean, come on. Done.

I ordered a few different pairs, and even in purple, they are flattering. No celulite. Not too thick. Not too thin. Not too low. Not loose, but just tight enough. Im an idiot for not trying these before. EXCELLENT value. Pro pro pro. I’d take better pictures for you BUT THERE’S NO TIME! The sale ends tomorrow. Get it! (zella pictures are linked) And YES, Zella comes in plus sizes.

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sorry for the shitty photo. Guess my mirror is dusty.

 

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.

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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