Thursday, January 29, 2015

Winter Hydration Tips - How Much Water Do You Need?

The Goal: x4 - 24oz Polar Bottles per day
Winter air is notorious for being super dry. Today as I'm writing this, the outdoor humidity is only 20%. When I went snowshoeing the other day after Snowstorm Juno, the snow literally was powder. It was so dry that you couldn't even pack it to make snowballs.
Indoors, conditions can be even worse with heating units, fireplaces, etc. all blazing away. It can take humidity levels down to a very unhealthy level.

So just think what these conditions can do to your lungs, skin and overall winter sports performance. Making matters worse, being even slightly dehydrated puts you at greater risk for hypothermia! Nobody needs that. Here are some  simple ways to combat the problem of dehydration during the winter months.

Indoors: Get a Humidifier
Having proper humidity especially in your sleep and workout areas is key. My Nordic Track Ultra Flex is in the master bedroom so that whole area, minus the walk in closet is humidified. Room humidity of between 45-50% will make breathing easier and your skin feel more comfortable.
Traveling? I take along my Air O Swiss Travel Ultrasonic Humidifier. Pop a single serve water bottle on top and it pumps out an adjustable ultra-fine cool mist. Can be used at your desk in the office, hotel room. Anywhere! Get one here: Air-O-Swiss AOS 7146 Travel Ultrasonic Humidifier - Cool Mist

Internal Hydration-How Much Water Do You Need?
All the experts say "Drink plenty of water" but they never quite say exactly how much. A lot is going to depend on your size and overall activity. Obviously working out in the cold dry air will likewise put extra stress on your hydration efforts. I'm going to give you the 3 Liter Hydration Challenge as it is a good place to start.

THE PLAN: Drink x4 - 24 oz water bottles per day
You can use any BPA Free water bottle. I also like the thermal, stainless steel bottles as they keep the water nice and chilly for hours.

1.) First thing in the morning before you even get out of bed, down a 24 oz bottle of ice water. This will boost your metabolism and start things moving along for you. Water on an empty stomach cleanses the internal organs and bloodstream of impurities. You can even add Pure Inventions LLC - Green Tea Extract - Original Flavor, 2 fl oz liquid for flavor if pure water is just too plain for your tastes. So now you are a quarter way through your water quota for the day! 

24 oz Insulated Thermal Water Bottle
2.) Increase Your Intake of Raw Fruit, Vegetables, Smoothies and Soups
My breakfast is usually a smoothie with protein powder added in. I have the Vitamix 5200 Series Blender Super Package.  I toss in frozen berries, carrots, celery, apples, spring greens...whatever. This all goes towards your water totals for the day and the extra fiber + protein will keep you satisfied longer. It all helps the morning cleansing cycle to work at optimum level. Same thing for lunch. Start with some vegetable or lentil soup while you're getting the meal ready. Keep in mind that thirst often masquerades as hunger. Focus on high moisture content complex carbohydrates and you can count this as one half of one of the four - 24 oz servings of water for the day.

Raw fruits and vegetables in my VitaMix

3.) Take it With You
If you are trekking outdoors, just because it's winter doesn't mean you should leave your hydration pack at home. Your body heat will most likely keep the water in your reservoir from freezing (I've not had a problem during cold weather hikes).

Another thing you can do is pack some of that hot soup to help you warm up. Winter hikes are no place for a cold salad! I like to fill my wide mouth Klean Kanteens with soups and stews for the crew. A great way to hydrate and keep toasty while you're out in the outback. Check out all the colors of Klean Kanteen Wide Mouth Insulated Water Bottles with Loop Caps

Hot Homemade Cream of Broccoli Soup
4.) Sterilize Water on the Fly
Another thing you can do is invest in a filtering/sterilizing water bottle. That way you can use water available at the parks and recreational areas without carrying in so much of your own. I like the Camelbak All Clear as it can even be used with water from a running stream. The UV light in the All Clear is 99.9% effective on bacteria, viruses and protozoa. Pick one up here:
Camelbak All Clear Bottle Pre-Filter

Camelbak All Clear uses UV light to kill viruses, bacteria and protozoa
Include Fruits and Vegetables with Each Meal + 24 ozs of Water
I really enjoy my grilled salmon! I make it on my panini press and serve it on a bed of spring greens with sauteed mushrooms and peppers. I also like oven baked sweet potato fries as they are loaded with beta carotene. You can mix it up and use oranges and apples to garnish your greens as well. Meal time is also time for another 24 oz bottle of water. Three meals per day plus the 24 ozs you had before arising and you're DONE. See? It's not so hard and your fitness as well as over all performance with soar this winter. Just remember to space out your water consumption throughout the day as I've recommended here.

Panini Grilled Salmon, spring greens, raw mushrooms and sweet potato fries.

Saturday, January 24, 2015

Snow Dome: NEW Giro Women's Discord Snow Sports Helmet

Hot for snow sports this season: Giro's Discord
NEW for Winter 2015 - With more snow in the forecast, I'm glad my new Giro Discord Snow Sports Helmet arrived!
Even if you are doing something as "safe" as cross country skiing, having a helmet like this is important in case you take an unexpected fall. I have to admit to sledding and riding my Sled Dogs mini skis without a helmet...for years! Come to think of it, as a child I never wore a BICYCLE helmet either but you won't catch me on my bike without one now.

Sled Dogs snow skates used like mini skis

With snow sports, especially when heading downhill, you've got some serious speed with not a whole lot of braking control. It's not worth the risk of a possible head injury although thank God, I've never gotten more than just a few body bruises. All the same each year people are admitted into the emergency room due to concussions from skiing and snowboarding so yes....wear your helmet.

Lole Sidonie Ski Bibs
Giro Discord Snow Sports Helmet
This season's hottest snow lid around is Giro's Discord.  This NEW design has soft shell construction and is ultra padded, so it is very comfortable to wear. Has thermostat control, stack vents, vertical tuning and what I really like, a super padded strap with cozy ear covers. Perfect for all snow sports as shown here in Matte Dark Shadow. Check it out at

Side view of the stack vents and ear covers of the Discord

I can't wait to try out this new lid!  One of my favorite cycling helmets is the Giro Amare as I really like the design and construction. The Discord is not extremely heavy in spite of the ample padding. Shown here in a MEDIUM it comes in EIGHT gorgeous winter colors.

The Discord claims to be compatible with most styles of goggles. I wear Scott and Rudy Project Snow Goggles both of which have a pretty wide band. The Discord itself if pretty compact with a matte finish so I don't see a problem.

Padding inside
Here are the details from the Giro Website:

Discord Details

Reign Supreme: An all new offering in our innovative Soft Shell category, the Discord helmet expands your options for freestyle freedom and expression in natural terrain. Built for progressive freestyle and backcountry riders where day-to-day impacts are inevitable.

The Discord design combines our patent pending, impact absorbing dual density Vinyl Nitrile (VN) liner with a proprietary, flexible and comfortable helmet for both high and low energy impacts.

The Discord's low profile design features Thermostat Control adjustable venting, Auto Loc 2 fit system as well as removable ear pads and seamless compatibility with all Giro EXV goggles for a dialed fit and fog-free function in any condition.

Colors and purchase details are available here:

Giro Discord Helmet Mens Unisex Ski Snowboard Protection New 2015 (Matte Black)

On the fly vertical tuning

Monday, January 12, 2015

Jump Start Your New Year's Fitness Resolutions

Jump Start your New Year's Fitness Resolutions with these "Game Changers"!
I'm sure you were all stoked about stepping up your fitness routine for 2015 on January 1st, right?Now the reality of not enough hours in the day, cold-wet-snowy weather and the general "blahs" from dark, gray skies is setting in.

Don't despair! There are a few things you can do to re-fire your desire to get fit in 2015. Here are some sure fire tips to do NOW to help turn things around:

Go Shopping for New Running Shoes
Even if it's really snowy/rainy outside now, there will be some winter days when the skies will open up and the pavement will be dry. A pair of new running shoes is just the thing you need to take a run in the park or even the treadmill at the gym. Look for the most up-to-date releases in funky bright colors to chase away the winter blues. Check out this new pair of Hoka One One 2015 Bondi 4 Women's Road Shoes in Corsican Blue and Neon Cora!  See more colors of the
Hoka One Bondi Women's Road Shoe

UPDATE: I took my first run in the Bondi 4 the other day and they are amazing! Even without the extra Ortholite Performance Insoles in place, they gave me a stable, well cushioned ride on the road. They also have enough grip for trail use as I tested them off road. Full review will follow.

Getting a new pair of running shoes can motivate you to run more.

Amp Up Your Nutrition -Try Some New Energy Bars
If you've been hitting it pretty hard at the gym, you may not be getting enough protein calories to fuel your workout. I usually drink about half of my protein shake before lifting weights and then the other half when I'm done. That's fine for the home gym workout but you may want protein to go in the form of an energy bar. These NuGo Bars are lower in sugar, rice / whey based and deliciously easy to pack along. My favorite? I'd have to say I'm partial to the Carrot Cake and Caramel Pretzel!

This Caramel Pretzel Stronger NuGo bar offer 25 grams of packable protein.

And Some New Performance Supplements
Just like the NuGo Stronger Protein Bars, you'll want to keep portability in mind as you may have to relocate your workout to the gym during inclement weather. These Ultra Woman Packets from Vitamin World contain a day's worth of supplements for the active woman. I love taking these along when I travel too as most hotels have a workout room with a water cooler. Easy to swallow tablets and each 30 Day supply comes with a cool Zumba Workout DVD! Now how's THAT for motivation?

Ultra Woman Fitness Supplements from Vitamin World travel easy.
Get A Grip: Buy Some New Weight Lifting Gloves
This is an issue for me because my hands are small and gripping the lat and chest press bars can be uncomfortable.  These G-Loves are flashy and brighten up your workout while helping you handle the bar with confidence. 100% Neoprene and made in the USA, they need a bit of breaking in before they conform completely to your hands. Check out all of the designs at

G-Loves Fashionable Workout Gloves
Take A Class
One of my favorite outdoor fitness educators is REI. They often have all sorts of classes at their stores or on location. Now's the time you might want to brush up on your bicycle maintenance skills such as the class I attended at The Woman's Story in Crystal Springs Resort. Even if you may be done for the season as far as riding, learning some new skills at a Bicycle Clinic can make you eager and ready to hit it once the opportunity arises. If you do ride in the winter, these skills can help keep your bicycle in top working condition despite the cold and snow.

Justin from REI teaching a Bicycle Maintenance Clinic

Can't Beat Them? Join Them!
You might want to get out a pair of good thermal, waterproof hiking boots in case cabin fever is just too much. While I understand not everyone is a Snow Bunny (like me), working out in cold temperatures actually burns MORE fat than going at it in a heated room. So ditch the gym a few days a week and take a walk in the cold or snow. If it's really slick add some Micro-Spikes or mini crampons. You will feel so much better even if it's a quick walk due to the cold. Layer up and get out there! 
Skiing or snowboarding? Check out my review of Lole's 2015 Thermal Sidonie Ski Bibs!

My answer to being Snowbound-Ahnu Montara Tall Hiking Boots

Try on Some New Workout Clothes
I really enjoy looking at the Spring and Summer fitness collections as I can begin dreaming about springtime even in the midst of high winds and snowstorms. Grab a few catalogs and see what's new for SS2015 and what pieces you might want to add to help round out your fitness wardrobe. You can also pick out some new cold weather pieces for now to help deal with the style. Here below is one of my favorites this season: Baker Bike Jacket by Novara ( REI Label).

Something Bright and Toasty for the cold weather.

Just thinking about springtime can lift your spirits with visions of warmer days and working out, outdoors. One of my favorites finds is cycle-wear that looks like street-wear. Giro's New Road Collection is both fashionable and practical on and off the bike. This makes your pieces do double duty, affording more wear per garment. A bike commuter's panacea. Check out GiroSportDesign online.

Giro Sport Design: Spring Cycle-wear that looks like street-wear