Monday, April 18, 2016

Posturing for Success Opedix Blade Tec Shirt and & Hoka One One Vanquish 2 Shoes

Opedix Women's Blade Tec 2.0 and Hoka Vanquish 2 Women's Road Shoes
Now that Marathon season is officially underway, I am testing new gear this spring to help give me an edge out on the road. I recently took a run in some very high tech compression tights by Opedix and you can read my full review HERE
I promised you a review of the tights' counterpart top, the Blade Tec 2.0 V-Neck. So here we go:

More/Shape Women's Half Marathon in Central Park
Why Posture Counts
Our posture is very important not only in weight training (which I think the Blade Tec Top is perfect for by the way) but also for running. Why? Well, if your posture is poor, your lungs are not going to be able to inflate and expand to maximum capacity. That means much less oxygen uptake when you need it the most.

Opedix Blade Tec helps align muscles for optimum posture

The Opedix Blade Tec Shirt acts like an active exoskeleton in helping to keep your muscles aligned for perfect running posture. I found this top to be pretty easy to get on as compression-wear goes. It is cool and comfortable as I was running in 70 degree weather. The material has good wicking action but did get a bit steamy under the arms. The best part is the silicon elastic along the bottom of the shirt. It stayed in place for my entire run which is almost unheard of. No need to pull down or adjust, as the back of the shirt is made a little longer than the front. 

Opedix Blade Tec Shirt is quick drying.

Easy to wash and quick drying, this shirt looks and feels great, giving you a gentle reminder to stand up straight. I really like the V-neck styling as this shirt looks great as well as being functional. See all the Opedix Kinetic Health Gear online at Opedix.com

Fun in the sun in the Opedix Blade Tec 2.0.
Hoka One One Vanquish 2 Road Shoes
I ran a lot of miles including quite a few races last year in my Hoka One One Vanquish Shoes. So I am familiar with this style and what it can do on both hard roadways and graveled trails. I have to say that the Vanquish 2 does well on packed gravel trails - my primary running terrain. They are super comfortable and I've not had a problem with painful joints or achilles tendons as when I tried a barefoot style of running shoe. You can read about that "barefoot" experience HERE.

Hoka One One's Vanquish 2's
Vanquish 2's Of course you will have to try a few different brands to see what works for you specifically. I used to wear Reebok fitness shoes especially at the gym and for aerobic's classes. However, they didn't seem to be the best shoe for running. So brand loyalty shouldn't prevent you from experimenting to find the best shoe for the job. Hoka's are known for their uber thick soles which to someone transitioning from thinner ones may feel like running in platforms! I personally didn't feel quite that way. In fact I've seen my times and fitness levels improve quickly running in Hokas.

Hokas + Opedix Compression Tights

Getting the Right Fit
I find that the Hoka One One collection runs true to size. I usually wear low profile wool blend running socks so the best thing is to take the socks you run in to the store with you. This will give you a better idea of how the shoes will fit and be less of a break in. This also includes any additional orthodics or innersoles, if any, used in your current shoes. Hokas are made to optimize the best running posture which is striking heel first. Studies have shown that women who run that way have almost no soft tissue injuries or shin splints as opposed to striking the ball of the foot first. I've made this conscious adjustment and have found it to be less stressful overall.

Race Day for me means wearing a pair of running shoes 1/2 size larger than usual. This is because while running, your feet naturally swell a bit. You also may be wearing a slightly thicker sock to go the distance so having a little extra room in the foot bed is going to mean less stress on your feet and toenails (be sure to give them a trim before racing). Check out all of the current Hoka One One athletic shoes online at HokaOneOne.com





Monday, April 11, 2016

Race Week Rituals and Training Table Must Haves

Last minute additions and prep during Race Week.
Marathon Season has begun! The week of a major race is always stressful. I try to keep a lot of it at bay by backing off my training, (at least running anyway), a bit to rest and be ready for the demands a 10k or half marathon will place on my body.

Running in the More/Shape Women's Half Marathon in Central Park
Keep in mind that I am running my next half marathon again (The More/Shape Women's Half Marathon), as an embedded journalist so I'm not watching the clock as I did for the Run10FEED10 10k. All the same, it can be a long day so here are some of my race week rituals and training table inclusions:


A clean road shoe is a happy road shoe.
Come Clean - Running Shoe Scrub Off
Whatever shoes I chose to race in deserve a little freshening up the week of the race. I use an old toothbrush and a few foamy puffs of Sno-Seal Shoe & Boot Foaming Cleanser. The dispenser gives you billowy clouds that don't soak your shoes to death. A little scrubbing and then turn them upside down for a quick rinse off. I let them air dry and they are sparkling gorgeous for race day. Works on leather trim and leather shoes too. Visit Atsko.com for this and other shoe care/cleaners.


Hoka One One Running shoes air drying after a scrub.

Keeping Your Cool
I also make sure to eat a sufficient amount of anti-inflammatory foods during race week. This includes salmon, mackerel, sardines, sweet potatoes, beet juice and omega 3 fatty acid supplements. I also include a little grass fed, free range, red meat which boosts iron, B-12 and CLA's levels not to mention high quality protein my muscles will need. Muscle soreness is not something I look forward to so a few extra ounces of salmon can make all the difference in the world.


Fresh salmon marinated in lemon juice.

Going Nuts
Nuts are a powerhouse of protein and good fats your body will need for race day. You don't need a lot but 1/4 cup of nuts or 49 pistachios (which are actually seeds) constitute a serving. I like roasted cashews, pistachios and raw pecans especially. I get a bag and store them in the fridge for extra freshness and crunchiness. Natural nuts keep better at cooler temps so I keep dry roasted seeds like these pistachios from Setton Farms refrigerated.


I go a bit nuts during race week.

Hydrate Powerfully
Race Week for me includes fruit and vegetable smoothies, coconut water and of course pure water all day everyday. As I mentioned before, I have been adding Beet Root Juice to the mix for extra endurance and will most likely use it just before the race itself. Another find has been Nitro Decimus Powder. 0 sugars but has a respectable amino acid profile and creatine blend. Spiked with caffeine though in amounts they don't want to disclose...not good! 

Invo Coconut Water Sencha Green Tea is straight up, natural. Nothing sweet about it. Only thing is it must be consumed within 24 hours of opening. See all the flavors at Invo-Juice.com


Invo Coconut Water and Decimus Blasting Powder

Race Day Goodies to Go
Macrobar - Are you like me and SO over high sugared energy bars and glucose gels that taste like chemicals in your mouth? Join the club! I'm really liking the GoMacro Macrobar, especially their Everlasting Joy bar with real coconut, almond butter and chocolate chips. These are NOT super sweet which I appreciate because stuff like that gives me a stomach ache...something no one wants to run with. Each bar gives you 10 grams of protein for your trouble. Soy free, vegan, gluten free and just plain delicious. See all their varieties at GoMacro.com

Pistachio Chewy Bites - These portable powerhouses are loaded with over 50% pistachios and contain cranberries. The two together make for a serious antioxidant double whammy in a very portable size. Grab and go, these are the perfect size for me just before a run as a full sized meal or protein bar would be best eaten after the race. Check them out along with their sacks of pistachios at SettonFarms.com


Pistachio Chewy Bites and GoMacro Macrobar
So just like cramming for an exam, feed your body right especially the week before a major endurance event. You'll be so glad you did!


My race week training table picks.




Friday, April 8, 2016

Grass Fed, Free Range Protein for Your Training Table

Grass Fed, Free Range protein options for your training table.

We Are What We Eat - While there are so many labels describing how and what we eat, vegetarian, pescatarian,vegan, etc. each athlete has to figure out what best works for them. While animal free diets may be popular, most fitness experts I've spoken with eat a little bit of everything as far as including protein on their training table. My friend, Heidi Powell, co-star of ABC's Extreme Weight Loss includes small servings of lean meats to maintain muscle strength and sculpting prior to body building competitions.


Heidi Powell teaching an exercise class in The Hamptons

I tend to agree with the top fitness gurus and have found the inclusion of lean, grass fed, free range meats to be a welcome and healthy addition to my diet. First of all, beef, lamb and chicken who are raised without hormones, without a mostly grain diet and without being cooped up offer a better quality of protein. In fact naturally raised livestock have been found to have higher levels of: CLAs, (conjugated linoliec acids), Omega 3 Fatty Acids, more intense or richer flavor.  CLA's are unsaturated fatty acids found in the meat and milk of cows, sheep and goats. Free-ranging is also a more humane way to keep animals, allowing them to graze and feed off the open land. Here's where quality should win out over quantity. I don't eat meat very much but when I do, I prefer to sit down and enjoy a good piece of naturally raised beef, chicken or lamb. 



Dave's Homemade Rubs
The Rub
I especially like to use a dry rub prior to grilling salmon, beef, chicken or lamb. You can most certainly make your own with a little hot Hungarian Paprika and cumin for a smokey flavor. A really delicious pre-made one that works great on almost every kind of meat and fish is by Chef Dave, namely his homemade Sweet & Sassy Smokehouse Rub  Another one is Dave's Homemade Muy Bueno Seasoning if you want more of a "Latin" flavor to your dish. Both rubs work extremely well for grilling. Order them wholesale online at Chef Dave's


Salmon fillets. Add a dry rub like Dave's prior to grilling for extra flavor

The Grass Fed Movement
One of the driving forces behind the Grass Fed, Free Range movement is the fact that the livestock are more humanely treated. Not only do they have a better quality of life because of how they are raised but also how they are fed. Feeding them a high quality natural diet is going to result in a higher quality end product. Grass fed and free range meats are already showing up in local supermarkets and food stores. In fact I've seen wild bison, free range lamb, chicken and Skinny Burgers in Wegman's and Shop-Rite locally in the NYC/Metro area.



Skinny Burgers and Ground are available at many local food stores.

Grass Fed Free Range Meats Delivered to Your Door
US Wellness Meats offer a wide variety of naturally raised, grass fed, free range choices. Everything from wild bison to lamb and beef stock. US Wellness Meats arrive frozen to your doorstep shrink-wrapped and can be safely refrozen if mild thawing occurs. I've had a monthly meat delivery service that had similar, portion-packaged products. However, US Wellness Meats are so much better in quality and flavor. You really can't beat the convenience of having everything packaged and labeled in easy to thaw portions. It makes meal preparation a snap.


US Wellness Meats arrive frozen, ready store or prepare.
In general, grass fed meats will cook 30% faster than grain fed. Over-cooking can make them tough however, these are premium cuts. Their Large Beef French RibEye and Lamb Steak were the most tender and delicious I've ever had as prepared in a slow-cooker. Exquisite!

Slow Cooker Grass fed Lamb Steak

See the full selection of naturally raised meats and order online at USWELLNESSMEATS.com



US Wellness Meats 75% Lean Beef Patties grilling.

The Grassfed Exchange Conference
Want to learn more about the growing demand and benefits of grass fed, free range meats? This upcoming 2-Day conference includes pasture walking tours, a great line up of guest speakers to answer questions. Added to the mix for foodies and chefs especially is a Taste of the South Social. This year's conference will be held at the Georgia National Fairgrounds, April 27th - 29th, 2016. For more details and online registration for The Grassfed Exchange Conference click HERE