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Bio Skin Review & Announcement!

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I have exciting news… I have been chosen to be a Bio Skin Ambassador! Bio Skin provides compression supports and athletic braces to a variety of sporting professionals including the everyday person trying to live a healthy and active lifestyle (runners, triathletes, hikers, fitness enthusiasts, etc). Bio Skin reached out to me via Twitter, asking if I would be interested in being an ambassador. As an athlete training for her first Ironman, I need all that I can get for RECOVERY. This being said, I was thrilled to accept their invitation to be an Ambassador! I am excited to tell you today all about Bio Skin and give you some insight on my first-hand experience with the product. Jake at Bio Skin sent me a pair of Compression Calf Sleeves to sample, and I will be writing about those and my experience.

So, you may be wondering… what are the benefits of compression as an athlete?

(taken from the Bio Skin website)

REDUCE FATIGUE

During exercise, your muscles are exposed to forces that cause vibration. This major cause of muscle fatigue, known as muscle oscillation, can be reduced when wearing compression garments. This leads to improved muscle endurance, strength and power.

IMPROVE RECOVERY

Compression provides greater recovery from muscle soreness caused by exercise by helping the pumping action of the cardiovascular system; removing blood lactate from muscles leads to faster muscle repair and recovery.

REDUCE MUSCLE DAMAGE

Compression reduces muscle damage (microscopic tears of the muscle fibers) caused by certain types of exercise, identified as Delayed-Onset Muscle Soreness (DOMS). Where there is pain there is damage and damage means that the muscle cannot be worked to its full potential. Therefore reducing the rate of muscle damage can have a direct effect on the productivity of the muscle.

AGILITY

Compression increases proprioception, which heightens senses and awareness for enhanced stability and agility. Proprioception can also help with improved technique as you remain aware of your body’s positioning, improving the balance control system and muscle coordination.

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There are many compression brands out there. If you go to an expo before a race (like the Boston Marathon for example) you will be flooded with different brands of recovery skins, sleeves, socks, etc. It can be a bit overwhelming to know what type of compression will work best for you. I have tried many brands of these sleeves but honestly, nothing has felt as comfortable or as smooth on my calves as Bio Skin. It literally feels like a second skin.

Most compression sleeves are a ‘sock’ material, think of a cotton blend with stretch. Bio Skin’s sleeves are set apart from the rest, they are seamless and you won’t even notice you’re wearing them. Bio Skin is thin and gives radial compression so it conforms nicely to the curves of the body. Bio Skin is also breathable, so perspiration evaporates right through it, and is hypo-allergenic so you don’t have to worry about skin reactions. hen worn, the high-level compression helps reduce muscle vibration and increase circulation so you can train more often, feel less pain and recover faster. The distinctive SkinLok™ feature of Bio Skin material ensures the sleeve won’t slide down the leg, no matter how vigorous your activity.

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My experience with BioSkin:

Lucky for me, I received my Bio Skin Calf Sleeves just days before I raced the Patriot Half Ironman- perfect timing!  Before going to the race, I made sure I stretched the material in my calf sleeves, slightly (as the instructions recommended).  This made it easier to put on the sleeves after the race.  As soon as I finished racing, I put on the calf sleeves.  I wore them throughout the day, all day, post race.  I then wore the sleeves the entire day after the race.  I did not sleep with the sleeves on (although I’m sure I could have).  The day after the race, my muscles felt great and less sore than they typically do after a long race, like a Half Ironman.  I attribute my lack of muscle soreness to a combination of proper training, recovery fuel and wearing the Bio Skin Sleeves. Also, my calves were feeling great after wearing the sleeves, and were less ‘tense’ than they normally are after racing.

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Since I had such a positive experience with my Bio Skin Sleeves, I have been wearing them after tough training sessions and even during recovery bike rides. They will be a staple during the rest of my Ironman training and beyond!

If you are interested in trying Bio Skin products for yourself, I highly recommend them for recovery.

You can check out their website HERE!

If you are interested in trying BioSkin for yourself, there is a sale going on right now where you can get 15% off your order. Just enter the code below (Dogday2) for a discount!

 

Have you had success with Compression wear? When do you wear compression sleeves/socks? 

 

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ENERGYbits Review & Giveaway!

I first found out about ENERGYbits while on Twitter one day.  I was contacted by ENERGYbits, when they asked how my training was going.  I appreciated the reach out and started to inquire about the bits!  Well come to find out, the company is actually based in Boston, close to where I live.  I got in touch with their Brand Manager and they offered to send me a sample.  Prior to trying the bits, I had seen quite a few athletes whom I follow, posting how they are “powered by bits”… I was curious and looked forward to trying them out for myself.

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Here is a little information on ENERGYbits:

ENERGYbits is a new Boston based sports nutrition company. Our “bits” are rapidly becoming the fuel of choice for athletes and people looking to lead active lifestyles. ENERGYbits have the highest concentration of protein in the world and deliver a steady stream of energy, all naturally and all without sugar, caffeine, chemicals or stomach distress. Even better, ENERGYbits are the only protein in the world that also contain natural antioxidants and Omega 3 which reduce muscle inflammation, iron which prevents fatigue, chlorophyll which builds the immune system and electrolytes which replenish mineral imbalances, all for just one calorie per tab. No other protein offers all this.  

ENERGYbits are 100% spirulina algae and are 100% non GMO. Algae is FOOD, it is NOT a pill or a supplement.

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When I received the bits in the mail, I will be honest; at first I was hesitant to try them.  I had read a lot about spirulina, in general, but had never really tried it before, except in a smoothie. The directions said in order to get the optimal result from the bits, I needed to swallow 30-40 bits (not recommended to chew them due to taste) 15-20 minutes before my workout.  30 bits?!?  Seemed like a lot to me, but I was willing to try! The day I tried the bits was a perfect trial session.  I had gone for a long run in the morning, and knew I needed to ride my bike and go for another short run in the afternoon (i.e. a brick workout).  It was the afternoon and I was feeling tired from my morning run… I was debating what to eat for my afternoon training session…then I remembered that I had my ENERGYbits!  It was perfect because I didn’t feel like eating a big meal or snack, but needed extra energy. I eat so many bars, gels, etc.. .it was nice to try something different for a change!

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The one thing I had a difficult time with at first, but swallowing 30 total bits.  I started with one at a time.. then would swallow two at a time… it was also a lot of water to take them down, and for a moment I felt bloated.  Once I got all 30 bits down, I felt fine after a few minutes.  It wasn’t bad at all!  It was time to get on my bike and see if these actually worked. After a few minutes on the bike, I am happy to report that I did notice that I had an increase in energy and awareness.  I rode my bike for an hour, and then went outside for a 30 minute run.  I felt that the bits gave me the energy for both the bike and the run.  Once I finished everything, I didn’t even feel depleted, instead I felt really good!

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In summary, I would try bits again.  I really like the concept and would like to incorporate them into my everyday workouts.  As someone who has a sensitive stomach, and doesn’t always do well with food right before working out,  ENERGYbits are the perfect alternative for me.  ENERGYbits have an insane amount of benefits, see chart below.

GIVEAWAY PRIZE!

If you are interested in trying bits, the first person to respond to this post will get a free sample of bits!  Let me know and I can hook you up! 🙂

Nutritional Comparison Chart

* Disclaimer –ENERGYbits provided me with a free sample in exchange for my honest review. All opinions and thoughts are my own.

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Week Recap and my Favorites on a Friday

This week has been jam packed and I’m excited for the weekend.

Here’s a sneak peak at my training this past week:

Monday: Swim 3100 yards with Masters
Tuesday: Bike 1.5 hours with intervals, run 3 miles
Wednesday: Crossfit (my arms are still sore), bike 1 hour
Thursday: Run 8.25 miles including (7) hill repeats, bike 1 hour
Friday: Swim 3000 yards with Masters

When I write it all out like that, no wonder I’m tired!  On tap for this weekend is more biking and running (while spending time outside).

So, I had an MRI on my foot yesterday. As far as I know, I have either plantar fasciitis, a giant heel spur, or fat pad syndrome.  My Chiropractor, who does my ART and Graston work, recommended an MRI so we can rule out a stress fracture.  I should find out the results today or Monday.  The pain in my foot does not show up when I’m running, it’s really weird.  Being the ‘typical’ runner that I am, this make me justify in my head that I can run (because running does not hurt!) But I should know, from past experience, that this doesn’t mean there isn’t something wrong.I am just very frustrated at this point.

Onto happier things.. it’s FRIDAY! Here are some of my (random) favorite things :

 

CWX Running tights

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Living in the Boston area and training for the Boston Marathon, these are a must have.  Most of my runs are done outside the the freezing cold, so the CWX insulator tights are my favorites.  They seriously make me feel like I can go faster.  The compression makes everything feel better and keeps the blood flowing in my legs!

 

Skratch Labs

I started using Skratch Labs last summer, when I was looking for a sports electrolyte drink for biking, that didn’t have fake sugar!  I am a huge proponent of eating and drinking real food… I much rather have real sugar in my sports drink versus fake sugar.  Skratch Labs does it right.  Their drink powder is great for training, racing and recovery. My favorite flavor is the Orange.

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Sweet Potatoes

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I eat sweet potatoes every day, sometimes at two meals a day.  I once read, that if you could eat one food your entire life, it should be the sweet potato.  You can read about the many health benefits of sweet potatoes here. I eat sweet potatoes for breakfast every morning (which is perfect for a post workout breakfast, by the way).  I make them into a sweet potato hash, mixed with onion and garlic powder, yummy!  Add a few eggs and you have the perfect breakfast.

 

Lululemon Cool Racerback Tanks

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These tanks are seriously my favorite thing in my wardrobe.  I used to work at lululemon, and that was the beginning of my addiction with their products.  Although I feel the clothing has changed a bit over the years (I really don’t think the quality is there like it used to be), I am still a huge fan of the Cool Racerback tank.  I wear one of these tanks almost every day, whether it’s running, hiking, hanging out around the house, or doing errands.

 

Dry Shampoo

Whoever invented this stuff is pure genius.  I could not live without my dry shampoo.  I am not partial to a particular brand, but lately I have been loving ‘Not Your Mothers’ dry shampoo. For days that I need to hop on the treadmill during my lunch at work, this stuff saves me some serious time.  This should be in every athlete’s gym bag.

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I hope you have a great weekend!

Kristin

product reviews

Picky Bars! Perfect for the endurance athlete

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Me and my Picky Bar on my hike in New Hampshire this past Summer

For a long time now, I have been looking for a delicious (real food) bar that I can eat for fuel before, during and after workouts. It’s hard to find a bar that does not have GMO’s hiding in it’s ingredients. After years of trying to find the perfect blend of an energy/protein bar for my biking, running and hiking, I have finally found it! And best of all, it doesn’t upset my stomach.  Picky Bars are perfect for the very picky eater that I am 🙂  They are gluten, dairy and GMO free, and the five flavor combinations are delicious and fun!

The five flavors are: Lauren’s Mega Nuts, Smooth Caffeinator , All in An Almond, The Need for Seed, and recent addition: Blueberry Boomdizzle (formerly called Runner’s High). Ever since they launched the newest flavor, Blueberry Boomdizzle/Runners High, it’s been my favorite.  With hints of blueberries, hemp seeds and vanilla, it’s just delicious. But honestly, I like them all!

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My favorite flavor, fueling before a long run!

I first found out about Picky Bars while browsing Instagram. I saw a post about Picky Bars and intrigued by the name. I started to read about these bars, and soon found out they were created by and for endurance athletes.  And not just any endurance athletes: Jesse Thomas (a professional triathlete), his wife and champion runner Lauren Fleshman, and pro-marathoner Steph Rothstein.

What I love about Picky Bars is, well, a lot of things.  As their motto says ‘It’s freakin’ science dude.’ They are focused on a 4:1 carbohydrate to protein ratio, perfect for the endurance athlete like myself.  I eat them on the bike during training rides and races.  I also eat them before a long run for fuel, and after a long run for recovery.  Pick Bars also make a perfect hiking snack on the go.

A little more on 4:1 Ratio

Endurance athletes such as marathon runners, triathletes and long distance swimmers have opposite needs to those of strength athletes. Their events take a long time and deplete glycogen levels drastically, yet muscle damage is minimal. For this reason, a higher ratio of carbs to protein is ideal. Try a 4:1 or 5:1 ratio of carbs to protein. The American College of Sports Medicine recommends that high level endurance athletes should take in up to 1.5 g of carbs and 0.3 to 0.4 g of protein per kg of body weight following a workout.

Another really awesome perk that Picky Bars has to offer, besides their bars tasting delicious, is they have a ‘Picky Club’ for devoted Picky Bars eaters!  After I had my first shipment of bars, and realized how delicious they are, I signed up for the club right away.  For $37/month you get 18 bars auto-shipped to your house, any flavor combination of your choice, This is comes out to be a discount from the normal price per bar. You can change your flavors at any time… You also get to sample new flavors (yummy!) and get a picky club t-shirt upon sign up!  They really know how to make you feel special at Picky Bars. Thanks Picky Bars for being so awesome!