Misadventures with wine, weights, and running shoes.

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HandBand Pro® Review

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

The GBC girls love to lift heavy things. An annoying side effect of this is hand calluses, blisters and tears. Having taught Body Pump™ for years and now doing old school weight training, I have tried gloves of every brand and style, but never really found one I liked. Most of the lifting gloves I tried were too bulky, hard to put on/take off, and made the grip harder rather than easier. Additionally, being someone with smaller hands, small sizes were tough to come by and lifting bare handed just tore up my hands. My blog partner in crime originally came across this company and was excited about the opportunity to try this unique product.

HandBand Pro® markets more to the Crossfit community, touting as "the revolutionary functional fitness grip - for increased grip, reduced friction, total hand freedom and protection from blisters and rips. Designed for high rep pulling/pushing WOD’s and created for today’s athlete.” Although we do not do cross fit, we lift Olympic bars, use heavy weights, do pushes and pulls, kettle bell swings, and frequently have blisters, calluses, and grip issues.

When they arrived, I laughed. It seemed the HandBand Pro rep picked the perfect pairs for us: skulls (no surrender) for Theresa and animal print (coco blue) ones for me.

My first observation was that the bands are light weight, sewn well, and have a simple but effective design. HandBand Pro provides an explanation in the packaging of how to wear the bands as well as a YouTube video that explains different ways to wear the bands, which was helpful.

The first time I tried them on I got a little wrapped up, but Theresa put them on easily. The more I use the bands, the easier they are to put on. I tried both grip options with the modifications presented and found that you can switch quickly and easily between grip options to accommodate the exercise you are doing. Another added benefit is the freedom of movement for your fingers without compromising your grip.

We tried them during all of our weight training sessions over two weeks and I even tried them with suspended rings and a trapeze bar for higher rep pull ups. While they don't appear to completely prevent calluses they do seem to lessen them. They also appear to reduce the peeling and ripping we previously experienced.

Final verdict: Theresa and I found HandBand Pro to be versatile and compact, and to perform exactly as they claim. We loved the freedom they give our fingers and hands and their minimalistic feel. The price is comparable to any weight lifting gloves ranging from $24.95 to $31.95. It is offered in a variety of colors and prints allowing lifters to express their individual personality. Furthermore, they work for all size hands.

HandBand Pro has become a staple for the GBC Duo. We would definitely buy this product and encourage anyone that lifts to look into this innovative tool.

For more information on HandBand Pro please follow the following links:

Online: http://www.handbandpro.com/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/handbandpro
Twitter: https://twitter.com/handbandpro

Love, Cindy!

[Disclosure: We were given two pairs of HandBand Pro® to try in exchange for a review. I included both mine and Theresa’s opinions in writing the review. As always, thoughts and our opinions are our own.]

Fun on the Run #1

Saturday, September 20, 2014
Among the slew of questions that I am asked as a runner, one of the most common is, "Don't you get bored?" Sure, there are times I do, but a good race can often lend itself to all forms of entertainment. Of course, there are also games that you can play to help the time and miles pass by.

A particularly favorite game of mine - one that is a bit PG13 - is ...

Out of Context: What race signs could be used for sex rather than running?

Love, Theresa

Pocket Fuel - Oh Em Gee!

Tuesday, September 16, 2014
Since my branch out into longer miles, fuel has been an ongoing issue. Gels make me sick. Chews sometimes do too. Of course, take one look at some of the ingredients and it is no wonder:
Maltodextrin, Leucine, Potassium Citrate, Sodium Citrate, Ascorbic Acid (Vitamin C), Calcium Carbonate, Valine, Histidine, d-alpha-Tocopheryl Acetate, Gellan Gum, Isoleucine, Sodium Benzoate, Potassium Sorbate
Yep - needed to google most of these to find out what they were. Preservatives, amino acids, vitamins, something to prevent kidney stones (um, what?), and a geling agent (that can cause GI issues in some - go figure). 

New tactic, try to find a fuel that is easy to carry during road races - in other words - it will fit in my fuel belt and I can easily identify the ingredients. This was easier said then done. Every time I set foot into a sporting goods store or running store, I found myself staring at fuel pouches and reading labels. I'd buy some new options and give them a shot on the run. Some lost me on taste, others on thickness, and some just left me burping that particular fuel's flavor for miles. UGH!
I was seriously starting to think that I was not going to find anything that would work and that I would be stuck with one of the gels I had previously tried - you know, pick the lesser of the gel evils - the one that I had the least issues with and hope for the best. 

Meanwhile, I am also on the hunt for the perfect shoe - one that has the right amount of cushion, is the right width, and isn't over 8oz. Yeah - no luck their as of yet. I feel like I'm hunting for the Holy Grail of running shoes. 

Anyway, as I was saying - I was looking for shoes and wandered into the local REI. Naturally, I had to hit their fuel/nutrition isle to see what they had available. It was more of the same and yet, one thing I hadn't seen before - Pocket Fuel Whole Food Nut Butter Blends.

I had expected to find the usual list of barely pronounceable ingredients but what I found, instead, was hazelnuts, almonds, sugar, cocoa powder, sunflower oil, and sea salt. 

Say What!? Where's the malodextri-something-something or the Tercho-blah-blah? Whoa! 

Of course, I was skeptical so I only grabbed one of the two serving pouches in Chocolate Haze and waited until my next long run to give it a try.

Unlike regular gels, this one came with the instruction "Squish & Squeeze Before Opening." Understandable, you can feel that the ground nuts have settled and I spent the mile leading up to my fuel time mixing the pouch be fore finally giving it a go.

OH EM GEE!! Fuel-gasim. This stuff was amazing. I sucked down both servings. I had to find out more about it and hit the Pocket Fuel sight to learn more. Then I did a little begging to get a sample pack and tried ALL THE FLAVORS.

  • Vanilla Energy Shot - Loved it!  Like a vanilla coffee in gel form. Highly recommended if you like coffee
  • Mocha Energy Shot - Loved this one too!  Chocolate and coffee! How could you go wrong?!
  • Java Energy Shot - Again, another one I loved. Sweet black coffee. YUM!
  • Chocolate Haze - Reminded me of chocolate hazelnut spread (I won't name that brand I'm thinking of) but better and without the chemicals. OH SO GOOD.
  • Vanilla Haze - Another that I really like. Similar to Chocolate Haze just in vanilla. 
  • Banana Blueberry - This one was not on my love list. Can't say I was a fan. I'm just being honest. 
  • Coconut Cherry - Ok, this is an ideal trail fuel for me since I don't mind having something to chew. There are bits of dried cherries and coconut in this and I do happen to love this one. 
  • Chocolate Espresso - This is one that I have to be in the mood for. It reminds me of chocolate covered espresso beans because of the ground coffee beans contained throughout. 
  • Chia Goji & Honey - I really liked this one but it is over shadowed by the ones I love. 
  • Pineapple Coconut - I love this one. It falls second to Chocolate Haze for me. Take note, this is another one with texture that may require a little chewing. 
Ok, so my personal tips. "Squish & Squeeze Before Opening" before you go on your run, ride, or what have you. They stay mixed for a while and when you do go to use them, you are squishing them for as long. Also, be sure to try them in advance of any major event. Some of the fuels have "texture" due to the dried fruits and coconut. I happen to like this and use those particular fuels for my trail runs. 

Seriously, go check them out:

Online: http://www.pocketfuelnaturals.com/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/PocketFuel
Twitter: https://twitter.com/@PocketFuel
Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/pocketfuel/
Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/user/pocketfuelnaturals?feature=results_main
Instagram: http://instagram.com/pocketfuelnaturals

Now I need to go find a fuel belt that will hold one of these. 



[Disclosure: I was given Pocket Fuel Naturals - after some begging - so I could try all the products before committing to by them and in exchange for a review. As always, my thoughts and opinions are completely my own].