Tag Archives: Product reviews

Product Review : Polar Loop Activity bracelet

17 Dec

I have a Garmin 405cx and used to love it so much but since coming back to running since having bub I don’t like it as much. I mean I like what it does and the data it gives but I don’t like the bulkiness which hurts my wrists and the fact that the battery wears down so much so I hardly use it. Am saving for a newer lighter version!

A few months ago I started looking into activity bracelets as it seems everywhere I looked there was a new one and a number of my gym buddies had them. I liked the idea of them being light and thought getting one might be good until I get my new watch. So I ended up getting a Polar Loop in the mail from my friends at Run Stop Shop and have been using it for the last couple of months to see whether it would be useful or not.

What’s the point of activity bracelets?

I guess my interpretation would be taking the old step pedometers into the modern age! The bracelet tracks your steps, how active you have been, how many calories you have burned and at what time. I did use a Nike+ for a while a good few years ago and the activity bracelets now are a little bit similar to that but a bit more advanced in terms of features but it depends which one you get.

Set up

When the package came in the mail I was very excited to get it. The first thing you have to do is chop the watch strap down to fit your wrist. I was a but scared I would end up cutting too much off and be stuffed but I measured my wrist and then as my friend Shaun advised me to do I measured again. When I was sure I wouldn’t stuff it up I got my husband to cut the strap. I then plugged the USB thingy into my computer and set up was easy.

Polar Loop Review on The Girl That Runs

Useability

I couldn’t wait to put the wristband on and to start seeing my steps accumulate. I found to begin with every few steps I was checking it to see how many steps. I know – nuts and slightly obsessive!

The idea is that the watch will show you how active you have been and I found it did make me think in terms of when sat at my desk how inactive I was and then start thinking about making up for it by going to the gym at night or for a run!

I also had the Bluetooth heart rate monitor which is great for the gym as everytime I got onto the treadmill or bike my heart rate comes straight up on the screen clearly in front of me rather than having to put my hands on the heart rate readers which can be awkward. There is an app that you can download too which syncs everything together and shows a breakdown for how active your day has been and whether you met the daily goal.

You can sleep in with the Loop on too and it tells you how well you slept. I found I couldn’t wear it because of my tendinitis but it is handy to see how restful you are. I managed to wear it a couple of times and it was pretty accurate.

The Girl That Runs - photo of Polar Loop

Seeing my calories burned became an obsession!


Down sides

The only down side to the Loop for me really is because at the moment I am a new mother and am using a pushchair a lot the issue I have is that it doesn’t pick up the steps when walking or running with the pushchair unless I walk one handed and let my hand swing. I contacted Run Stop Shop who were very helpful and explained that the Loop is designed to be an activity monitor i.e steps/calories burnt in day to day life and responds to movement especially in your arms so normal walking or running you would swing your arms but having them on a pushchair means that you are restricted in movement and so the technology doesn’t respond as well.

There are lots of GPS/ heart rate monitor watches out there which would be better for hardcore training outdoors and give more information such as routes and times etc.  Polar do have a number which are worth looking at. I haven’t tried them out but have seen good reviews.  I’m highlighting the Polar RC3 as there is a sale on at the moment if you are in the market for a new watch!

For me The Loop is great as an activity monitor and great for indoor training where my Garmin doesn’t tend to be used as the GPS signal is slow or non existent.

Conclusion
For me the Loop is great as a day to day activity monitor and for use indoors where my Garmin doesn’t seem to work so well and when I want to keep an eye on my heart rate in training. It would be a great gift for someone wanting to get into exercise or just generally improve their activity and monitor heart rate etc however if you want to really monitor training, and have GPS, times, maps etc then this is not for you.
 Please note that these are my own opinions and I have not been paid to write this review. 

Product Review : Airia Trainers

10 Dec

I have to admit I had never heard of the Airia Brand, so when Airia approached me and asked me to try their Aria One shoe out I wasn’t sure. I scoured the internet and the reviews were mixed but of those positive reviews people said that they had got faster wearing the shoe and the company itself claims to help you be able to run 7% faster so I thought why not? I’ll try the shoe out. I’ve run in a lot of different brands over my time running including Nike, Saucony, Adidas, New Balance and now I am an ASICs convert so trying this shoe was going to be a challenge as it was so different.The Girl That Runs previews Airia trainers 20141014_121657

Overall look and feel

My shoes arrived and I was intrigued. They didn’t look like your average running shoe. They were very light compared to my normal trainers, and really curled up at the end. You certainly wouldn’t be able to wear these like normal trainers to walk down to the shops in that’s for sure. in Airia’s promo material they do advise that they are made solely for running not to walk or stand in.

Comfort

When I first put them on they felt a bit strange but very comfortable. They are extremely light so I felt like I was wearing slippers rather than a running shoe. Airia’s promo material advised to put at least 10k into the shoe before getting used to them which I did. On the treadmill the shoes felt good. I really enjoyed running in them and I don’t know if I felt like I was running faster but I did have a good run and felt good running in them. I did find where the shoes tilted upwards they felt a bit strange and I don’t think my feet would be able to deal with that over a longer distance as my toes were sliding around a bit as the shoe was a bit wide.

Running outside I was a bit more aware that the shoe didn’t give masses of support like my normal trainers but they did continue to be nice to run in and again  I also found as they are quite wide that my toes and bottom end of the foot was sliding around a bit. As a middle distance runner these shoes would definitely not be great for running over a longer distance as they don’t really give much support in the ankle at all and I have rolled my ankles on a number of occasion in other trainers so that was a definite put off for me. I do wear orthotics and whilst they fitted ok when I actually went to see my physio she was not too keen on my running in them regularly because of the support issue.

Conclusion

Whilst the shoe was very comfortable and light fitting and would be great to race in – the biggest issue for me was the lack of support that I need and the shoe is quite wide. They were comfortable on the treadmill over a short distance so I think I will continue to wear them for sprints.

I try to be as honest and balanced as I can when writing reviews and encourage people to try for themselves. This is just my opinion but see for yourself at Airia’s website.

Product Review: CW-X Womens 3/4 length running tights @RunStopShop

6 Oct

I recently got some CW-X 3/4 running tights from my favourite online running store Run Stop Shop and I have to say they are great. Still having a bit of a jelly belly from baby and wanting to run without feeling my insides weren’t jiggling up and down these tights are great.CW-X Running tights

Fit

When I first put them on they felt very snug but they are meant to. They have a draw string at the top so it means you can pull them as tight as you like which I like as I like to feel everything is being held in! I’ve had tights in the past that are just elastic at the top and they haven’t fitted properly to my shape.  I Like the fact as well they they are not as low rising as other running tights so I don’t have a muffin top!

I haven’t had great experiences with 3/4 length tights before as they have always been quite tight on the calf and I’ve ended up with a deep imprint on my leg when I remove them but these were not too bad. I jostled around a bit to get the pattern in the right place to maximise compression as the knee bit needs to be on the knee but once I had them on they were really comfortable and flattened all my wobbly bits – awesome!

Climate control 

They felt quite thick which for Queensland I thought might be an issue in summer but they would be a great spring, autumn and winter tight to wear and also for the cooler days in summer as there are a few air vents in them to give some breathing space.

CW-X 3/4 length running tights

Being put through my paces in a PT session wearing my CW-X tights. They were very comfortable and kept all my jiggly bits in!

To run in they are so comfortable. After baby M was born I bought some ‘el cheapo’ tights from Target and K Mart but you do get what you pay for and I spent half my time when back into running pulling them up or wiggling them around but these never moved and I felt quite secure my butt wasn’t going to suddenly make an appearance! I did a PT session in them and they were great support so they are definitely a favourite in my wardrobe right now. There are lots of different compression tights out there on the market and it often is a case of finding the right ones for you. I think I have probably tried most of them now and they are a firm favourite in my wardrobe.

Product Reviews: Musashi Lean Protein and Syn-Tec Synthesis Protein

14 Feb

Just as I found out I was pregnant I was sent some samples of a few different  protein products to try and I wasn’t keen on taking them being pregnant – so being surrounded by friends who are personal trainers or fitness plays a big part in their life I asked them to trial them for me and have only just got around to going through them to share with you.

The first one I wanted to share was the Musashi Lean Protein Chocolate Flavour and Syn-Tec Synthesis Protein. Before I was pregnant I used to use lots of protein powders and so I would have liked to have tried these. Instead I asked my wonderful friend Nadia who owns her own personal training business NADU Fitness to try the proteins on my behalf and this is what she had to say:

Flavour

The Musashi protein chocolate flavour protein tastes amazing. I’m not a big fan of chocolate protein drinks but this one had a smooth texture and was not too chocolatey.

The Syn Tec Synthesis tastes great with milk.

Ingredients

On the Musashi Lean Protein – It only contains 1.9g of carbs which is great for those following a low carb diet. It also has less than 1g of sugar and is low lactose for those who can’t stomach too much lactose.

It has 18.4g of protein per 24g of protein powder which is a good amount.

On the Syn Tec Synthesis it’s high in protein (27g) which is fantastic for muscle recovery and it is great for those on a low carb diet as it only contains 1.7g of carbs and only 0.8g of sugar. It is packed with Vitamin B, creatine and many more supplements.

Zoe’s note:

The Musashi Lean can probably be brought in health food stores and also in Coles and Woolworths depending on what each store stocks but the Synthesis looked a bit more hardcore with text on the side of the container like Extreme Nutrition for Extreme Strength athletes – I haven’t seen their products anywhere apart from nutrition and supplement stores and am not sure whether it is something I would take.

Syn Tec Synthesis Protein

Syn Tec Synthesis Protein – described as extreme nutrition for extreme strength athletes

Musashi Lean WPI Protein

Musashi Lean WPI Protein

Product Review – @BodyScience Fuel Energy Gel & Energy Bar

31 May

I haven’t done a product review for a while and I had a friend ask me about the products I used to power up before and during a run so I thought it would be a good time to talk about the  products I have used.

Before I had to taper down my training for a while I was on fire training wise doing a fair amount of riding as well as running. At one point I was clocking up a good 100k

in riding a week and a fair few km in running so i found I was burning a lot of energy, getting half way through and running out of steam. It so happened at that time that BodyScience who I am an avid supporter of kindly sent me their new range of fuel bars and gels to try – perfect.

So one day on a ride when I was feeling really sluggish I decided I would try them both out together as the bar is a Performance Fuel Energy Bar and you are meant to eat one bar 15 mins before your run/ride – race and then either eat the bar 45 mins into session or in my case I chose to take the gel which advises you take 30-45 mins into exercise. The result was great – I was on fire and I was able to seriously push myself and felt a bit like a Duracell battery bunny and it gave me loads of energy.

BodyScience Fuel 01 and 02 review

BodyScience Fuel 01 and 02 review

Different things work for different people but on this occasion the bar and the gel worked well for me and have continued to do so.

The bars were a bit of a trial to eat as they are quite chewy – great flavour – vanilla nougat which I really liked. I couldn’t eat a whole one in one go so munched part way into my ride. One bar (40g) gives 21.8g of carbohydrate which was a good amount and they are reasonably low in fat, providing 638KJ.

The gels I had a bit of trouble with flavour wise – the flavour was lemon and lime and I didn’t like it all. I had trouble swallowing as the flavour really didn’t appeal to me but the end result was great energy wise so I guess you have to toss it up – which is more important flavour or effectiveness. I remember my friend and I running and we both were using the Powergel gels a long time ago and the only flavour our local store had was chocolate – we both nearly gagged trying to swallow the gel so the lemon and lime in this gel was not quite that bad.

Energy wise the gel provides 418KJ, slightly more carbs than the bar – 23.6g and no fat which is a huge bonus!

I often find the gels easier when you are on the go training as they are easy to rip the top off, squeeze into the mouth and keep pushing on so it comes down to preference and what you prefer to use.

 

I’ll be running a competition soon to win some of the gels so watch this space.

Happy Running/Riding :-)

 

Loving my new CW-X compression pants!

18 Mar

I was recently sent a pair of CW-X compression StabilyX pants to try out. I didn’t think anything would feel better than the compression pants I have at the moment but these ones are great!  I hadn’t actually heard of this brand but apparently they are available over here in Australia now and you can order from their website http://www.cw-x.com.au.. 

I ordered according to the sizing chart and got my pants in the mail and when I first took them out of the packet I was a bit worried as they looked like they would fit a 7 year old! I was even contemplating passing them onto my PT friend as they looked so small but when I tried them on I found they were very flexible but very tight – in a good way – I marvelled at my lovely looking behind as the pants pulled all my bits in – another bonus! It did however take a bit of grunting and pulling and bending to get them on but once on they were very comfortable. 

I also like that they aren’t low rising as normally, not being a skinny minny runner I get a nice little muffin top over the top of my pants and feel very self conscious when out running.  

The other great thing about these pants is that they have been designed with runners in mind and have a patented kinesiology support webbing to specifically target areas such as the hamstrings, hip flexors, ITB and back which is excellent for those of us with niggling injuries every now and again.

Women's StabilyX capri pants

I used a shot from the website as I wasn’t ready for my butt to be on display on here :-)

I went for a run in them at lunch time today with the dog and I have to say they were very comfortable and I had no problems with them and I felt a fair bit of support on my knees which was good.

The only thing I could potentially say is a down side is that the fabric is quite thick and if you are someone who feels the heat like I do these would probably be your winter tights rather than summer as the fabric is quite thick – awesome for when it is cold but not for our Queensland summers! Although they do have a UV protection rating of UPF 40+ – but just a bit thick. They do do more of a short than a capri so they may be more suitable for this time of the year.

Product review: Slim Secrets Low Carb Fit Balls @slimsecretssnax

16 Oct

It’s product review time again :-)

Mint Fit Balls This time I decided to try the new Slim Secrets Low Carb Fit Balls.

I had previously tried one of their berry flavoured products a long time and wasn’t too keen on it – but I guess it comes down to the flavour and we all like different things, and I previously tried a bar – these were balls so quite different consistency wise.

I had the Choc Mint Chip flavour to try and I have to say they are delicious! It was almost as good as eating real chocolate and portion wise you get about 5 so that was a good number for me to munch on throughout the day.

The balls are low sugar, wheat free and they also contain chia which according to The Chia co is a superfood and the highest plant based source of omega 3.

For the number crunchers out there a 50g serving of balls contains:

741kj (177 calories)

16.0g protein

5.8g fat

1.9g carbohydrate

I’ve seen the Slim Secrets range in Coles, Woolworths and IGA so if you want to try them you can get them at any major supermarket by the looks of it.

So I’d definitely eat these again and would describe them as light and refreshing and good to eat on the go rather than chocolate.

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