Tag Archives: product reviews

Product Review: Klean Kanteen Insulated Bottle

It’s a rare morning when I can actually sit down and drink my tea or coffee at my house. I’m usually off to teach a spin class or up early on the weekends to go skiing. While there are plenty of travel mugs out there this one definitely takes the cake for me. I’m one of those people that will microwave a cup of coffee about a  million times before I finish it. I love iced coffee but lukewarm hot coffee does not work for me. For this reason, coffee on the go tends to be less than awesome for me. However, this mug has changed everything! Here’s what I do: I make my coffee or tea and then put it in my Klean Kanteen and then put the lid that comes with it on tight and chuck it into my gym bag, teach a spin class or two, and then take it out of my bag and change the lid to the “cafe cap” (doesn’t come with the mug but is well worth the 7$ purchase) and enjoy my piping hot coffee when I’m ready for it! It’s almost impossible for coffee to get cold in this mug. Sometimes it will take me three hours (seriously…) to drink my coffee and it stays HOT! If this wasn’t good enough, last week I discovered that this amazing little mug can KEEP SMOOTHIES COLD. Now I make smoothies before class and drink them afterwards and they are still delicious and frozen. Awesome, huh?

 

Sports Watch Review

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Thinking about buying a new watch to enhance your training? With all the different types of watches and brands out there it can be hard to figure out what you really need. These are the three watches that I own and I love all of them for different reasons.

1. The Garmin Forerunner 10

This is probably my all around favorite watch and the one that I use the most. Since I spend a lot of time running, skiing, and biking the data from this watch is great and it’s fun to see my progress. The features I use the most are the time and distance features. It does a lot of other things but I care most about how far and how fast I go so I tend not to use them. You can hook your watch up to the computer (you need to do this to charge it) and log on to Garmin’s website and all of your activities from your watch will upload onto a calendar. What an easy way to keep a training log! You will also be able to see a map of your route. The downside to this watch is that the charge only lasts around 5 hours (not awesome if you’re doing a long hike or bike or anything over 5 hours). I’d recommend this watch for anyone whose training is primarily outside (runners, bikers, nordic skiers, walkers…). While some Garmin watches are crazy expensive, the price is right on this one at $129.99!

2. Timex Ironman Triathlon

This is pretty much your traditional sports watch. It doesn’t do a whole lot but I like it for the stop watch feature. It’s easy, it’s simple, it’s basic. This is my go-to watch when I forgot to charge my Garmin. I’d recommend this watch for someone that is looking for a watch just to keep track of how long they’re doing their activity. It’s also good for the gym if you’re doing circuits or something that requires you to do an exercise for a certain period of time. You can find them pretty much anywhere (Target, etc.) and they’re pretty inexpensive. The website says it sells for $53 but I’m pretty sure I got mine for less. Also, your Iphone is a good stop watch too, so maybe you don’t need this watch after all 😉

3. Polar FT4 Heart Rate Monitor

This watch is pretty much only good for it’s heart rate monitor feature. It says it has a stop watch, etc. etc., but I’ve found that it’s best feature is really just the heart rate. It comes with the watch and a sensor strap that you wear around your chest while you exercise. It’s helpful for keeping track of which energy zone you’re working in based on your heart rate. I use this watch for spinning because on a spin bike it can be challenging to figure out how hard you’re actually working since most spin bikes have no speedometer/odometer. Heart rate monitors aren’t as expensive as they used to be. I got mine for $75.00 and on the website it sells for $99.00

 

I know what you’re probably wondering why I have three different watches when there is ONE watch that has a GPS feature, a good stop watch, and a heart rate monitor. I happened to get the watches at different times and didn’t realize that right after I got a GPS watch I would need a heart rate monitor. So, if you need GPS, Heart rate and a million other features, by all means go spend $400 on a watch. However, I recommend figuring out  what you really need your watch for and save some money!

 

Hydration Drinks Reviewed

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What’s wrong with water? A lot of things when you’re exercising for prolonged periods of time! When I go for a long bike ride or ski having a hydration drink instead of water is key for a couple of reasons. They (usually) contain sodium and other electrolytes and sugar which are helpful for preventing cramps and for optimal hydration. The sugar also contains calories which are necessary to replace mid-ride to prevent “bonking”. Drinking a drink is much easier than eating something on a bike! I know there are TONS of different hydration drinks out there.  I currently have three of them in my kitchen and decided to write about them today.

Gatorade

Let’s start with the one that everyone knows. Good old Gatorade. Yes, it may be full of all sorts of artificial ingredients but if you’re an endurance athlete you’re going to have a hard time avoiding it all together. It’s at EVERY aid station at races. The last triathlon I did I was SO excited to see gatorade on the run when my calf started cramping. Had a few sips and was good to go!

Pros: Cheap and readily available!

Cons: Artificial ingredients (i.e. red #40 and caramel color) and some people think it’s too sugary. Yes, you can dilute the mix but then you’re also diluting the electrolytes.

Nuun

This one has been around for a while now and you’ve probably heard of it. It comes in a cute little tube with 12 tablets to make your drink. I wanted to like this one, I really did. I bought it when we went to Hawaii not because I was going for long rides but because sitting on the beach all day can dehydrate you as well. 😉 I think that it can best be compared to emergen-c. It was slightly fizzy and lacked any real flavor. When we got home I used it on a bike ride and was super disappointed. I decided to take a look at the ingredients and I discovered the second one on the list was sorbitol, which is an artificial sweetener. Okay, now it makes sense that it tastes weird and has no calories!

Pros: Cool packaging, comes in a variety of flavors, no messy powder when you’re trying to mix your drink on the go, pretty affordable (about 7 bucks for 12 drinks)

Cons: No sugar, tastes weird

Skratch

This drink is MONEY. I love love love it and can’t say enough good things about it. I discovered it about a month ago when my friend and former teammate, Bella, showed it to me before we went out for a ride. I was intrigued from the start. Made with real fruit??? AWESOME! Better yet: it tastes great and WORKS great on long rides. You can buy it in single serve packages or 1lb packages that you scoop into your drink.

Pros: Tastes great, the flavor comes from REAL fruit, convenient.

Cons: Okay, there’s a con. It is crazy expensive. 20 individual packages sell for 35.00 on the website. If I can find a way to get it for cheaper or strike it rich with this personal training thing I’ll be drinking this every day!

Ultimately all of this is preference. Once you’ve been exercising for a long time you’ll figure out what drinks work best for you. Everyone is different and what works for me may not work for you. I encourage you to check out the websites of these products to learn a little more. Also, next time you’re at EMS or another sports store pick up a drink you’ve never tried before. I ended up buying the Skratch drinks because I needed to spend 10 more dollars to get a good discount. You may find something good too!