Tag Archives: Product Reviews

Just Do the Nike Training Club for a Challenging, Safe, and Fun Workout

Nike is an obvious leader in the sports industry, running the game from shoes and apparel to tech gadgets and major league sponsorships. Now they are not only dressing you in the gym, they’re meeting you there with Nike Training Club. In addition to being an app available on Google Play and Apple’s App Store, Nike Training Club, or NTC, is a group fitness class featured in a variety of universities and gyms across the US, with one of the biggest gyms being 24 Hour Fitness.

nike training club
Nike’s idea for the class is amazing: Get a variety of trainers to put together a killer 45-minute routine with a variety of functional movements and athletic drills, using simple equipment to get everyone moving. Some of the tools employed are dumbbells ranging from 2 pounds up to 15 pounds, medicine balls, body weight, and common equipment used in any sports practice (e.g cones, small hurdles, and agility ladders). The instructor uses all of these elements together to come up with a unique exercise experience.

The quality of the class, while founded on Nike’s principles, will vary by trainer. Nike only wants its name to deliver the best of the best and they constantly send in representatives at random for quality control, but still, some instructors unfortunately fall under the radar.

I’ve experienced one great class where the instructor gave simple modifications to accommodate those who needed them, but were still able to work the same muscle groups targeted in the original programming. When I checked back later that week, I was greeted with new choreography to match the same high intensity I experienced the first time around. (more…)

Sprint to Orangetheory Fitness for a Seriously Sweaty and Worthwhile Workout

When I first heard the name “Orangetheory Fitness,” my mind immediately conjured up images of some kind of old school punk band playing a set in someone’s basement. Boy was I wrong! As it turns out, it’s a rapidly expanding fitness sensation (locations in more than 15 states and 2 Canadian territories) that is taking the continent by storm!

I ventured over to the Naperville, IL location (as I am now a Chicagoland resident) to try out a class to see what it was all about. When I entered I was greeted by a very friendly staff who explained the workings of what was to transpire in class. I was given my own heart rate monitor to wear for the workout to see how hard I’d actually be working.

orange theory fitness
The workout starts with interval training (which I am a HUGE fan of). The first part consisted of Indo Row machines (rowers with water in them for a real rowing effect) and then switching to the box area where we did various strength training moves. This persisted for about a half hour. At first, I was like “Easy Peasy!,” but by the third time around, I was sweating profusely and was feeling the burn!

The second half of the class had us on the treadmills. We did various lengths of intervals, running and jogging, mixed with recovery walks in between. I felt as though I could run a lot harder and faster because we were doing shorter sprints, rather than long drawn out runs. By the end of the second half, I had clocked more than two miles in sprints! (more…)

Subscribe to the Vegan Cuts Snack Box for Munchies You Can Trust

Snack time around my house isn’t very typical. Little Debbie isn’t welcome and neither is her recently recovered friend, Hostess. Nutrition is key, but we can’t just munch on dry rice cakes either. When we find a tasty snack that passes the healthy test, we get excited and want to share the good news. We have nothing but high praise for Vegan Cuts and their snack boxes.

vegan cuts

Vegan Cuts is web-based company that is dedicated to promoting vegan products, not just foods. They have a great way to sample many of their favorite products in the form of their snack boxes. It’s the newest entry in a growing trend of monthly subscriptions that deliver a fun box to you each month. Theirs is filled with food and products that all fit the vegan lifestyle. The subscription is $19.95 per month and has free shipping in the U.S. Each monthly box comes with about 7-10 items. In addition to being vegan, the contents are about 80% gluten-free too.

Each box is different and allows the recipient to try out new things each month. My box came with several snacks, a few drink mix-ins, and even some vegan lip balm. (more…)

Skinny Limits is the More Affordable Raw Juice Cleanse

By Naomi Shapiro of SuperDumbSuperVillain.com

Although many people think of juice cleanses as a weight loss tool, for some they’re a pathway to wellness. The idea is that if you give your digestive tract some time off from all the hazards of the modern world — processed foods, refined sugars, artificial colors and flavors, etc.— and fill it with easy-to-absorb, nutrient-dense liquids, your body and mind will work more efficiently.

skinny limits raw juice

Skinny Limits is an Austin-based purveyor of fresh, cold-pressed raw juices that can be delivered nationwide. Their menu consists of six core juices, each of which you’ll consume each day via 16-ounce bottles. The following Skinny Limits juices will be drank in lieu of solid foods. (more…)

Atkins Releases Three New Frozen Meals that Pass the Taste Test

The name Atkins is synonymous with the low-carb diet fad of the early 2000s. However, that name means much more than a passing fad and the brand is continuing to release products that are intended to provide great food, healthy ingredients, and still remain lower on the carb scale. They just released three new frozen meals, and it looks like they accomplished their goal.

Chicken Marsala - Atkins Diet

 The three new frozen meal flavors are sesame chicken stir-fry, Italian-style pasta bake, and chicken marsala. They all average about 350-400 calories, about 25 grams of fat, and a nice rate of about 25 grams of protein. The meals net about 4-7 grams of carbohydrates per meal and they are appropriate for anyone at any phase of the Atkins Diet. Furthermore, the ingredients are pretty good too. Very few additives or “things that are hard to pronounce” on the label. The company boasts how they use no fillers in the meat, premium cuts of vegetables, real butter and natural creams in their sauces. This all sounds great, but the real test came when the meals were put to the taste test.

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Plated Makes Gourmet Cooking a Snap with Recipe Kits Shipped to Your Door

Two significant events occurred in my life this past May. I finally learned how to cook a grilled cheese sandwich and delightedly welcomed my first child into the world. Realizing that my deficiencies in the kitchen put me at a major disadvantage in the world of child rearing, I was resolved to refine my culinary skills.

After a couple serviceable attempts in the kitchen—a decent veggie burger, a not-too-clumpy homemade alfredo sauce—I felt indifferent, uninspired, and still relatively pedestrian as a chef. But in a simple whisk of fate, Plated.com arrived at our office. Plated is a new start-up that allows you to pick and choose healthy recipes online, then sends all the ingredients right to your door complete with dummy-proof cooking instructions.

plated.com

Plated features a weekly menu—everything from warm kale and quinoa salad to London broil—and gives you two different ways to order. The a la carte method allows you to order four to six plates at about $15 per plate. (A “plate” is a serving for one person.) There’s also a membership option wherein you pay $10 per month and save up to $4 per plate.

Plated thinks there is a gourmet chef in all of us, and their program is designed to take the inconvenience out of culinary pursuits. It also came highly recommended from fellow DIR staffer Lacy Jaye Hansen.

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Experts Agree, Sitting in a Sunlighten Sauna Offers Vast Health and Weight Loss Benefits

Is it possible to sit perfectly still and manage to lose weight and even improve your health? A 2009 study from the University of British Columbia* says it’s so, specifically with the use of a Sunlighten sauna. This 2009 study found that when the Sunlighten sauna was used three times a week in 20-minute sessions, the user lost weight and reduced waist circumference (which is often a better determination of overall health than scale weight).

sunlighten logo

Another study conducted at the University of Missouri at Kansas City** found that 30-minute sessions three times a week in a Sunlighten sauna even lowered the user’s blood pressure. And still, more research hails the benefits of consistent sauna use.

One study showed that using a sauna every other day for two weeks was associated with increased fat metabolism and lower cholesterol,” reported Dr. Jessica Wu, Daily Glow’s Dermatology Expert. She explained that the heat produced by the sauna will obviously make you sweat, and that if you sweat enough, “you will temporarily lose water weight.” As well, since heat reduces appetite, she explained that some people may have less of an appetite after a session in the sauna.

So what is this Sunlighten sauna that seems to be changing the health of its users? It’s not your typical sauna, as the results clearly show. There are no hot rocks or steam, instead, Sunlighten uses Solocarbon far infrared heat – which is the same type of energy that is naturally produced by the sun. (more…)

WIN Koss FitClips and FitBuds in a $150 Runner Prize Pack for Summer

For me, the best moments in running are those rare times when everything feels great, the pace is strong, and the soundtrack pulling me along is flawlessly jamming in my ears. Throughout my running career I’ve struggled to get all those elements to align. And typically the factor that screws everything up is an awkward headphone digging in my ear, a bud popping out causing me to fidget with it, or the sound cutting out because the product couldn’t handle actual sweat. I’m a skeptic when it comes to these products, especially the ones that say they’re made for working out. So, when KOSS introduced their Fit Series of headphones made for active women, I jumped at the chance to see if someone finally nailed the design.

koss buds

KOSS recognized that women were being overlooked in the headphone demographic and teamed up with Olympic Swimmer Dara Torres to create a product that would actually work for active women. Together they created FitBuds and FitClips. The phones come in great colors and each model comes with three sizes of ear cushions to make sure the wearer gets the best fit for their ear. The product is created by KOSS, a high fidelity stereophone manufacturer, essentially giving you professional DJ quality in miniature form. (more…)

The BluePrint Juice Cleanse is a Delicious Way to Kick Start Weight Loss

By Naomi Shapiro of SuperDumbSuperVillain.com

Juice cleanses are all the rage these days, with celebrities endorsing the detoxification benefits for beauty, health and, yes, even weight loss. The BluePrint Cleanse is one of the most popular and offers mail-order delivery, as well as a line of freshly made juices available at many retailers nationwide. Essentially, the idea is that you consume only raw, whole foods in liquid form for anywhere from three to ten days. The enzymes in these organic fruit and vegetable juices work to clean your body from the inside out, reducing intestinal bloat and inflammation by restoring your natural alkaline levels and metabolism.

I was curious about trying the BluePrint Cleanse because even though I try to eat healthy and exercise, I have been feeling lethargic this new year. I felt like the three-day juice cleanse might be a way to restart my system. And I was right.

What really surprised me the most about the BluePrint Cleanse was how I never felt hungry or deprived. Between drinking the juices and water, I was totally sated. The flavors were different enough to keep things interesting, too. (more…)

Get Healthy Snacks from NatureBox for You, Give a Meal to Feeding America

I love snacks. I especially love when they are healthy and tasty. But have you ever, like me, gone into the kitchen for a snack, opened the cupboards and fridge, and turned away dejectedly, only to return and do the same thing in five minutes? Or, worse yet, grabbed whatever was closest to munch on no matter how unhealthy it was? Enter NatureBox here to help.

NatureBox is a service that sends a package of nutritious snacks to your door every month. No more trouble finding a snack when afternoon hunger strikes, you need to grab something on your way out the door, or dinner isn’t ready yet and you need a nibble to tide you over.

But as its name implies, NatureBox doesn’t send candies or brownies or anything of the sort, they pick five different, minimally processed foods each month to keep their subscribers guessing. Standard fare looks something like bags of dried fruit, interesting combinations of granola, and flavored nuts and seeds. Some of the snacks are unusual, but all look worth a try, like Garden Tomato Crunchies, Big Island Dried Pineapple, Roasted Umami Nuts, and Country Ranch Peas. Each box contains fifteen to twenty servings. (more…)