Friday, November 20, 2015

Test Driving the NEW VivoBarefoot Stealth II Winterproof Ladies Road Shoes

The Original Barefoot Shoe! How it did on the 5K Trail
Right now I'm less than two weeks away from doing my second Run 10 FEED 10, 10K race this year. I'm doing the Run Your Own 10K in my area this time so if you'd like to support me in providing meals for hungry local children please click HERE and make a donation. Running in NYC is great, don't get me wrong but the logistics of getting to the race line on time via mass transit is tricky! So I plan to simply use my training trail at the park which has mile and quarter mile markers in place.

My first Run 10 FEED 10 in NYC - September 20th
New Kicks for the Race
These new running shoes just arrived in time for the cool weather. I chose these because this particular model of VivoBarefoot road shoe is a Winterproof version which comes with Thermal Insoles. They are also water resistant. I got to test both claims as it rained hard the day before and the temps were in the 50's for my maiden run.

5K for the Test Drive
I started out walking and immediately noticed being able to sense the trail beneath my feet due to the thinner soles. I also sensed how my toes were able to naturally move and splay inside the running shoes. Cool! I had on thin socks and after the first 1/2 mile thought it would be a good idea to place an adhesive bandage over the areas that were rubbing. This is common for new shoes so not a problem but otherwise they were perfectly comfortable for the entire 5K test run.

Light Yet Right
The Vivobarefoot Stealth II Road Shoes are much lighter and more flexible than my uber cushy Hoka One One Bondi 4's.  The Hoka One Ones are also road shoes but have enough grip to allow them to run on a gravel packed trail as well. I found the Stealth II's to be equally as nimble on the same terrain. 

My Hoka One One Bondi 4's have an ultra thick sole.
The Transition
So I expected a BIG transition between running in the super thick soled Hoka's and the VivoBarefoot. I will admit that it did feel weird for the first 100 yards or so but in short order my great toe and ball of my foot began taking over as my body's natural anchor and stabilizer.
I was like the Energizer Bunny! Really impressed on how light these road shoes are and how long I could go without breaking into a walk.

2015 NYC Run 10 FEED 10  10K Race

A Road Shoe for the Run 10 FEED 10?
So the 5K + flew by and I didn't notice any additional stress on my knees or shins. In fact I was really able to open it up towards the end of my run. The VivoBarefoot Running Shoes and footwear in general do allow for maximum sensory feedback. That is due to their unique, puncture resistant soles. My feet didn't get wet even though I ran over patches of still soaked grass and felt completely warm and snug even with wind gusts up to 20 mph. These road shoes remind me of the thinner soled ones being worn by the elite runners in the NYC and big city Marathons. You won't see too many thick soled shoes there!
The shoe material is very breathable as my socks and feet were completely dry after my sprint. These road shoes come in European sizing and require hand-washing and line drying only. My model as shown here is in Orange/Navy Mesh. So will I wear these for my upcoming 10K? Well, they did great for my 5K today so I think they are a "shoe in" for the Run 10 FEED 10 race! See all the new fall/winter 2015 VivoBarefoot Shoe Styles at or only the ladies models HERE.

VivoBarefoot Stealth II Winterproof  Ladies Road Shoes in Orange/Navy Mesh

Road shoes c/o Vivobarefoot

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Healthy Nuts for Your Training Table

Nuts and seeds can be a healthy part of your training table this season.
I can remember enjoying all sorts of nuts since I was a child, especially those walnuts my father would bring home starting around Thanksgiving. A neighbor would give us Christmas gifts of pecans in the shell each year. We also ate fresh roasted peanuts as my father's cousins grew peanuts for Planters on their Virginia farms. They would always send us off with a 20 lb sack of raw peanuts in the shell that we would roast in the oven. Lately I've become a fan of Macademia Nuts ever since my brother began shipping them to me while on vacation in Hawaii!

The point is that you don't have to stay away from nuts (unless you have allergies of course) due to their reputation for being high in fat. On that note, let me say that not all nuts and seeds are alike in their fat profile. All the same, you NEED good fat in your diet and raw nuts / seeds can certainly fill the bill.  Here are some TOP nutty choices for your training table:

Setton Farms Whole Pistachios and Chewy Bites
1.) Pistachio Nuts
If you are concerned about controlling the amount of fat in your diet, pistachios offer a lot of taste and nutrition but are lower in fat than other nuts. In fact one serving of pistachios = 49 nuts! That's a lot more than you get in a serving of other nuts. Technically a seed, pistachios also lend well to being added to salads, homemade energy bars and baked goods. In fact Setton Farms offers whole, fresh California pistachios as well as these new Pistachio Chew Bites. These are soft, chewy little bars of dried cranberries, agave and at least 50% pistachios. Vegan, Kosher, gluten and GMO free, you get 30 different vitamins, minerals and antioxidants in the combination. Absolutely delicious and easy to take with you on a run or bicycle ride. Check them out at

Raw Pecans are rich in antioxidants. 
2.) Pecans
While pecans are higher in fat than pistachios, they are a powerhouse of antioxidants. 10 pecans come in at about 98 calories with 10 grams of total fat. They also have trace amounts of iron and calcium. Add them to cereal, salads, energy bars as toasting them a bit gives them a richer flavor. I buy a big bag in bulk and refrigerate to prevent rancidity. 

Coated Almonds

3.) Almonds
These are perhaps some of the most versatile of all nuts and seeds. I showed you how to easily make your own organic almond milk with this simple recipe which you can read HERE. Rich in antioxidants and protein you can use them raw, toasted, slivered and more.  I like to cook the meal that is left over from the almond milk, as a porridge. So yummy! Buy Certified Organic Raw almonds in bulk and refrigerate. I like the certified organic California almonds from

Organic Raw Almonds being soaked for almond milk.

4.) Coconuts
More specifically organic coconut oil or coconut butter. Coconut oil has been one of the body builder's best kept secrets. Take a tablespoon each day to help boost your metabolism and burn body fat. I use coconut oil in cooking in place of other oils. Replaces butter or oil in baking and other dishes, I use it for my home baked bread. Extra Virgin Organic Coconut Oil is available most everywhere now but check out online companies and purchase in bulk. 

Coco Joy Pure Coconut Water

Coconut Water: Likewise coconut water, (not made from concentrate), is a refreshing, healthy drink that many athletes use to recover after a workout. I like Coco Joy as it has no added sugar or preservatives. It is REALLY great tasting and is Nature's Own Isotonic. Like opening a coconut and drinking the milk. Visit to see all their coconut products.

Nature's Approved Extra Virgin Organic Coconut Oil in my baked bread.
5.) Sesame Seeds & Sesame Oil
Toasted or raw, sesame seeds are rich in Omega 3's and believe it or not, calcium. Sprinkle them on salads, in yogurt and on vegetable dishes. Better still is Organic Sesame Seed Oil which is delicious in just about everything butter would be used in. I like to use Sublime Beauty Naturals Certified Organic Pure Sesame Oil for cooking Asian dishes especially. So good! A little goes a very long way especially if you use non-toxic, non-stick cookware. Similar to Coconut Oil for versatility, Sesame Seed Oil has 101 uses including oil pulling for oral hygiene and as a superior moisturizer. Get it at

Certified Organic Pure Sesame Oil

6.) Organic Nutty Cereals
As a certified nut-lover, most cereals never seem to have enough fruit and nuttage for my tastes with one exception. Viki's Granola. My favorite is the Maple Cranberry but all of her flavor selections have a ample helping of sunflower seeds and nuts. So delicious, I like to add a little on top of my Greek Yogurt! Check them out at Wegman's, Whole Foods or online at
Want a little nuttiness to go? Try Carrington Farms Organic Flax Hemp Packs. Ready to eat and rich in proteins and omega 3's, I keep a few packs with me in my handbag,  Really scrumptious from

Viki's Granola

Fresh & dried fruit, granola topped yogurt.

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Cross Training with Kettle Bells - Choosing Traditional or Contoured

Contoured Kettle Bell by GoFit
Cross Training Indoors
As the weather gets cooler, especially here in the great northeast, I'm looking for ways to augment my cross training exercises with new indoor challenges. This year I've added some serious running in the mix and did the More - Fitness Half Marathon as well as the FlexIt Pink and Women's Health Magazine's Run 10 FEED 10, 10k's this year. Still even with all of the running, I've always made sure to include weight training on my off days. 

My Nordic Track Ultra Lift
Weight Machines VS Free Weights
As Kettle Bells fall into the category of "Free Weights" a weight lifting or Universal Machine constitutes an assisted lift. This means that the machine is doing some of the balancing work for you. The larger muscle groups get a good workout but the smaller tendons and muscle fibers...not so much. This is because just the act of balancing free weights calls into action more delicate attenuation. So which type of weight lifting should you do? I do BOTH. You'll find adding free weights to your weight machine routine to be a major benefit to muscle development. Using a machine is great for maintaining correct form and thus preventing injury but to activate the majority of muscle fibers possible, add free weights.

Free weights = dumb bells and kettle bells.
Kettle Bells - Traditional Round or Contoured?
So once you've settled on adding free weights to your workout, you'll want to look in to getting a kettle bell. Traditional Kettle Bells are very versatile and generally easy to handle. If you are a woman and just starting out, choose between a 15 lb - 18 lb bell. The regular kettle bells are usually constructed or cast as one piece with the handle attached. Some may be coated with vinyl or a rubber casing. Here is an example of a traditional kettle bell with a round "bell".

18 lb or 8 kg traditional or Russian kettle bell.
Conversely, you can now purchase a contoured kettle bell. I brought mine on Amazon. It is a GoFit Contoured & Coated 15 lb kettle bell. Since it is contoured on both sides, you do not need to adjust it to have the concave side against your skin.

So here's the issue. SOME of the kettle bell exercises require that you "rack" or allow the kettle bell to rest on your wrist between exercises. If you look at some trainer's videos, i.e. The Kettle Bell Bombshell, she recommends wearing padded wrist guards. This is because working out with traditional kettle bells can cause significant bruising on your wrists.  While I do use weight lifting gloves when exercising with my contoured kettle bell, I do not need wrist guards/pads and have had no bruising from using it.

This coated and contoured kettle bell is concave on both sides.
Correct Form is Key
The key to kettle bell success is to make sure your form is correct no matter which type you choose. My GoFit Contoured 15 lb Kettle Bell came with instructional videos specific for that bell. My favorite move is the overhead press which requires the bell to be racked in between reps. Using a contoured kettle bell is VERY comfortable and secure. I have small hands so the iron handle isn't comfortable to grip without padded gloves. Even so, I've found the contoured kettle bell to be very easy to work with, especially if you are a beginner. Bruised wrists also are not an option. Who needs that?

So you choose. Just add free weights of various sorts and don't forget to try the newer, more versatile shaped kettle bells. 

6 lb weighted "medicine" ball

To insure optimal muscle development, give yourself rest days and or attack different muscle groups each session. Also be sure to grab some high quality protein after your workout. Right now I'm enjoying this Organic Naked Rice Protein (also available on Amazon), I just received from Naked NutritionEach serving gives you a serious 25 grams of Protein and 4.9 grams of Branched Chain Amino Acids. The flavor is pretty bland so I would recommend mixing in a banana, apple, cranberries or blueberries for a bit of added deliciousness.

Adding fresh fruits and vegetables to my organic protein powders.