Product Review: Garment Pannier – Classic 2.0 by two wheel GEAR

Product Review: Garment Pannier Classic 2.0

The awesome team at Two Wheel Gear sent me this product, the Garment Pannier Classic 2.0 in Graphite, in exchange for my honest review. The good news? I got an early look at a very high-quality product. The bad news? I have to send it back now that I’ve run it through the ringer. (They are prepping for a big product launch.)

If you want the short version of a product review, I’ll tell you right away that this is an amazing product that is designed to do exactly what it sets out to do and is worth every penny for bicycle commuters. If you want the version where I end up coated in mud and hoping I didn’t destroy my laptop, read on.

Product Review | Garment Pannier Classic 2.0 Graphite | two wheel GEAR

To give a bit of context, I get a fair number of opportunities to review products on the blog, but I only seek out these opportunities if I think I could really use the product or it would provide value to readers of the blog. Such is the case with this Garment Pannier. As a part-time bicycle commuter who usually packs a change of clothes in a backpack and suffers sore shoulders as a result, I was really excited to give this bag a try.

What is a garment pannier? A pannier is anything carried around the hips, so in the case of a bike, a pannier refers to something attached to the back “hips” of the bike. “Garment” style luggage means a suit can be packed flat to avoid wrinkles. A garment pannier is a bag that opens flat, can store a suit laid out, folds in half, and slings across the back wheel of a bike (across the bike rack.)

Garment Pannier Classic 2.0 – Unboxing:

Unboxing Garment Pannier

It’s here!



The box stood in the corner for a few days while I waited for the weather to clear. When it didn’t, I decided to take seriously the Two Wheel Gear request that I “test the bag hard.” (Links to their social media pages indicated on the box: Twitter, Facebook, Instagram.)

Freshly unboxed

Freshly unboxed

It’s clear right away that this is piece is well made. There are no cheap zippers in sight, and the fabric and stitching are really solid. It feels like a real piece of luggage, which is handy since it is carry-on compliant.

The underside

The underside

Here is the underside of the garment pannier with universal Rixen & Kaul Vario mounting system (rack required to mount properly.) You can clip the sides together for carrying off-bike.

Open and empty

Open and empty

One thing I couldn’t wrap my mind around with this garment pannier is just how much room there is. Pockets, zippers, more pockets and zippers, plus a padded spot for your laptop.

Packing the Garment Pannier Classic 2.0 – 

All the stuff I want to pack

All the stuff I want to pack

As a woman who works in a professional setting and lives in Utah where weather can turn cold fast, I have a good sized pile of stuff I pack with me for a bike-commute. Pictured here you see a dress, shoes, a sweater, undergarments, full makeup bag, small purse, hair straightener, hairbrush, notepad with pen, Macbook laptop, flat repair gear, rain jacket, balaclava, eye protection, earbuds with charger, and gloves.

Hanger hooks

Hanger hooks

There is a hook for hangers with a solid snap strap to hold them in place. No clothes slipping down into a pile with this setup. I didn’t end up using the clothing security strap but only because I forgot.

Laptop sliding into place

Laptop sliding into place

I’ll admit, putting my laptop into an untested bag made me a little nervous.

Inside all packed

Inside all packed

I packed in all my work clothes plus laptop into the inside of the Garment Pannier Classic 2.0 and zipped it shut.

Outside pockets packed

Stuff for the outside pockets

The outside pockets got all the cold weather gear I would want to keep accessible, hair and makeup stuff, notepad, and purse.

Flat repair in the top pocket

Flat repair in the top pocket

Also in the outside pocket that sits at the fold of the bag, everything I need to repair a flat plus eye protection and earbuds.

Fully packed

Fully packed

Once packed, it functions just like any other garment bag. It weighed a good amount, but anytime I add my laptop to a trip the bag is going to be heavy. Normally I don’t schlep it back and forth, but for purposes of this test, I had to bring it. The yellow bag clipped to the outside is a rain cover that packs into itself so it’s always handy. If you aren’t worried about needing a rain cover, you can unclip it instead of carry it. Today… I needed it.

Today… I needed it.

Riding with the Garment Pannier Classic 2.0 – 

Finally, it was time to give this thing a test.

The bag with the bike for scale

The bag with the bike for scale

Here’s what my bike looks like without any bag attached. For the record, it’s a pretty small frame to go with my short little legs. Sigh… I love this bike. (And props to the local cycle shop Loyal Cycle Co. for helping me pick a good bike rack. Davis County Utah locals, check this place out.)

Hooked up to the bike

Hooked up to the bike

Getting the bag secured was really easy. I love how it looks. I expected the hooks to be complicated, but it just kind of clipped on without a lot of effort.

Rear view

Rear view

Even with all that stuff inside it doesn’t feel very bulky on the frame. It’s worth noting, I don’t have a rear fender. I kind of wish I did. I expected the bag to sit down against the bike rack, but it left a good two inches of space.

Time to pull out the rain cover

Time to pull out the rain cover

It was a really rainy, cold day, so the rain cover got a solid test. My first thought when I pulled it out was that this could double as a scuba suit. I was really confident my stuff would stay dry under this cover.

Cover on

Cover on

I love how nicely the cover fits and that it doubles as a visibility booster.

Off I went on a very cold ride. It may be only a few days into the fall season, but parts of Utah already have snow! Boy did it feel like it. Three miles in I stopped to check the bag and see how well it was holding up to the elements.

It’s worth noting that if you’ve never used a pannier before, it will feel very different than you’re used to. It reminded me of the time my mom drove a rear wheel drive station wagon. I had to be a little more aware of how I went into turns. Once I got my balance sorted out it was no problem, but the bike did respond differently with weight on the rear.

Also worth noting if you’ve never used a pannier is that your aerodynamics will suffer a little. You can feel the drag. That is a little annoying, admittedly, but it’s much less annoying than wearing a laptop on my back and getting sore shoulders.

Still good!

Still good!

Aside from the fact that my phone battery was being drained in the cold, I had no problems. There was a fair amount of mud and water making its way to the underside, but I expected that. I took the cover off to take another picture because it’s just such a pretty bag.

Isn't it so pretty?

Isn’t it so pretty?

I put the cover back, and I continued on, now without a phone to take pictures and show you my dumb choices. My city is building a new high school not far from the bike path, so I decided to take the route that would give me a chance to see how construction is coming along.

Keyword: construction.

Not only was the rain really starting to come down, but the road I chose was absolutely coated in sopping mud, dirt, and grit. I would never usually take my road bike where I might get pebbled to death, but alas, it was too late.


At least the bag would get a good test?

That’s about the time I remembered I put my laptop in this garment pannier and would be in really bad shape if it were coated in mud, rain, and rocks. With hope the bag would hold up, I got back to the non-construction-zone trail as soon as I could manage and rode home.

How did the Garment Pannier Classic 2.0 survive the muck? 

As soon as I arrived home I grabbed my husband to snap a few pics for me.

Holy muddy

Holy muddy

I wish this picture were clearer so you could tell just how muddy my legs were. My black leggings were about 50% brown flecks, and my bike frame was just demolished with grime. You’ll also notice I’m still rocking my Wind Blox from a few months ago. I have no intention of ever cycling without them again.

Still holding strong

Still holding strong

The rain cover on the Garment Pannier Classic 2.0 is really very good. It was hard to remove it without getting water and mud everywhere, but I think the easy solution is to stuff a towel in the external zipper pouch and wipe the bag off before removal.

The underside... ew

The underside… ew

Remember how I mentioned earlier I don’t have a rear fender? Yeah, that would have been nice to have. The underside of the bag was pretty well coated, and it made me nervous for my laptop. I flopped it open and gave it a quick wipe down before opening.

Cleans up quickly

Cleans up quickly

I was amazed at how easily all that grime came off. The cleanup took less than a minute.

The final test. Did the contents stay dry and clean?

Golden

Golden

Yes! I opened the bag, and everything inside was bone dry and where I left it. The laptop sleeve kept my machine perfectly protected even in a bumpy, muddy construction zone with no fender. I’m writing this review from my dry laptop right this second.

Garment Pannier Classic 2.0, the final verdict – 

If you commute by bicycle and care about what your clothes look like when you arrive, the Garment Pannier Classic 2.0 from Two Wheel Gear is a smart investment. I say investment because at $189 retail it’s not a small purchase. Cycling with a pannier will make your bike less aerodynamic and handle a little differently, but it’s easier to manage than a handlebar basket and can hold more weight.

This bag gets two enthusiastic thumbs up from me. If you are shopping for a bike commuter for Christmas, this bag would be an awesome gift.

Thanks again to Two Wheel Gear for sending this my way to share. Be sure to find them on social media where you’ll get to see their awesome commercials as well.

Be sure to sign up for the Simply Fit & Clean email list below and follow me on Pinterest, Twitter, and Facebook. Do you have a favorite bike accessory? Comment below.

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How to Run Faster in 8 Steps

How to Run Faster in 8 Steps

If you are an Olympic athlete looking at blogs to learn how to run faster, this isn’t the place for you. Simply Fit & Clean is for regular people wanting to live fit and eat clean while living normal lives with jobs and kids and classes. If you are a mom or a college student or a really cool uncle who wants to sign up for a 5k with your niece and you want some tips for how to run faster, this is the place for you.

I’ve done some research and compiled a list of 8 things you can do to cut time off your marathon or mile.

How to Run Faster Pinterest

1) Get Those Miles In

It is very, very difficult to get better at something you don’t do. While I know there is value in visualization, there’s only so much thinking you can do. You have to build your base. Don’t try to push too hard for speed until you can run 5 to 6 miles comfortably. Running 18 miles/week is shown to reduce your risk of running-related injuries (which definitely cramp your speed.)

2) Track Your Time

How fast do you run? What’s your mile time? 5k? 10k? You can’t improve your time if you don’t know your time. How? I have used a Garmin GPS watch in the past when training for a half marathon, but now I’ve opted for MapMyRun for the convenience. I already have my phone with me, and it tells me mile splits as I go.

3) Perfect Your Form

There is copious data to suggest that working on the mechanics of your running stride will increase speed and reduce injury. Runner’s World suggests short, quick strides, relaxed hands, knee alignment so the foot strikes right under the knee rather than in front, pushing off the ground behind your stride, and elbows bent at 90 degrees or less. I find it helps to have someone video you from the side, front, and back while you run either outside or on a treadmill. To relax your hands while bending your elbows, imagine you’re running with raw eggs that need to be cradled but not crushed.

4) Fartleks/Interval/Tempo Runs

Yes, fartlek is a real word. Fartleks are the mixing of fast and slow paces. Think of anytime you’ve said “Let’s race to that tree” and slow down after getting there. Interval workouts are HIIT style, meaning a warm up, pushing beyond the red line of what you think you can handle, then a cool down. Tempo runs are a sort of hybrid of the two. Warmup, push a little faster but not beyond the red line, then cool down.  A 2014 study found significant improvement in speed and coordination in runners who participated in these types of drills. This type of work can be taxing, but it really is a critical answer to how to run faster.

5) Turn it Up

Listening to motivational or fast music has been shown to improve running speed. The motivation is great for feeing amped up and ready to dig a little deeper. A nice side benefit is that you can pick a song with a great tempo to set a cadence. If I’m listening to the podcast or going without tunes, I try to think of Hey Ya by Outkast to get the right tempo in my head.

6) Breathe

As you work on maintaining a good cadence, your breathing should be matched to your pace. If you’re running a long, measured run and are running so hard you can’t catch your breath, slow down until you get your breathing under control. (The heavier breathing is okay when you’re doing intervals.) Take deep breaths and maximize the amount of oxygen you’re delivering to your muscles as you go. Try breathing in patterns, like 2 beats inhale 2 beats exhale.

7) Crosstrain

Want to know how to run faster? Do stuff other than running! It may seem counter-intuitive, but there are some muscles that just won’t improve by running alone. These imbalances can lead to injuries and inefficiencies. Just six weeks of core training can improve your running time and performance.

8) Eat Beets

No, this is not a joke. Nitrates are good for runners but only when consumed in the form of plants. Scientists tested runners doing a 5k after consuming either baked beetroot, cranberry relish, or a placebo. The beetroot runners were 5% faster! This is slightly troublesome to me as I think beets taste like dust bunnies, so I suppose I’ll just be 5% slower than I could be.

Still want to know more about how to run faster? Try these books.

Meb for Mortals, $11.59

Runner’s World Your Best Stride, $12.24

Pre: The Story of America’s Greatest Running Legend, Steve Prefontaine $12.14

Hansons Marathon Method, $12.88

If you enjoyed this post on how to run faster, follow Simply Fit & Clean by subscribing below or by following the page on Facebook, Twitter, or Pinterest.

How to Run Faster Studies and Sources:

Rasmussen CH, Nielsen RO, Juul MS, Rasmussen S. WEEKLY RUNNING VOLUME AND RISK OF RUNNING‐RELATED INJURIES AMONG MARATHON RUNNERS. International Journal of Sports Physical Therapy. 2013;8(2):111-120.

http://www.runnersworld.com/run-faster/proper-running-form

Das, A., Babu, M. and Satish, K. (2014). Effect of continuous running fartlek training and interval training on selected motor ability and physiological variables among male football players. International Journal of Physical Education Sports Management and Yogic Sciences, 4(1), p.13.

Bigliassi, M., León-Domínguez, U., Buzzachera, C., Barreto-Silva, V. and Altimari, L. (2015). How Does Music Aid 5 km of Running?. Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research, 29(2), pp.305-314.

http://www.runnersworld.com/running-tips/how-to-breathe-when-running

Sato, K. and Mokha, M. (2009). Does Core Strength Training Influence Running Kinetics, Lower-Extremity Stability, and 5000-m Performance in Runners?. Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research, 23(1), pp.133-140.

Whole Beetroot Consumption Acutely Improves Running Performance Murphy, Margaret et al. Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics , Volume 112 , Issue 4 , 548 – 552 http://jandonline.org/article/S2212-2672(11)01948-4/fulltext

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Wind Blox Review

Wind Blox Review

Official Wind Blox Review by Simply Fit & Clean. One of my absolutely most favorite places about where we live in Utah is that we back right onto a rail trail. It’s an old right of way D&RGW train line with the tracks removed, paved over for non-motorized commuters.

Wind Blox Review

Perfect running, jogging, skating, long-boarding, or biking path that literally crosses into my backyard. This awesome trail plus living pretty close to my office means I regularly cycle-commute to work. When I got the chance to do a Wind Blox Review, I immediately sought it out because I get it now.

See how straight that is??? And flat as well. I heart this trail.

There are a few things about cycling that I loathe: bugs, inattentive drivers, and wind noise. There is nothing to be done about the bugs, the trail is 95% protected from cars, and the noise… I didn’t know how other people were dealing with the rushing wind sound without buying full-on motorcycle helmets and sweating to death (though I guess that would also help with the bugs.)

Here’s the other thing about living in Northern Utah. It can get really windy, and even on a gorgeous day the breeze will be loud enough to make it hard to hear cars or other cyclists.

Since every fourth person in this state cycles and they are, without fail, faster than me, it’s pretty crucial to everyone’s safety to be able to hear someone coming up behind me. When I heard there is an affordable product that increases safety without interfering with anything I normally do, I was excited to try.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received Wind Blox or free from Wind Blox in consideration for a gear review, but they have not specified what I should say about them.

Wind Blox Review

Just a little box the size of a deck of cards

When I pulled them out of the box I was struck by how tiny they are. Something so small couldn’t work, could they? I slipped them on the straps of my bicycle helmet and took off for a ride.

Wind Blox Review

They’re so simple

At first, I didn’t really notice a difference. It was a nice, straight ride down the trail on a busy Saturday. I stopped at the halfway point, pulled off the Wind Blox, and kept going.

Sans Wind Blox

Sans Wind Blox

HOLY CRAP. It was quite a breezy morning, and without the Wind Blox I couldn’t hear anything but the whoosh as I rode. I have no way of measuring decibels, but it was definitely a huge difference. Rather than test the whole way back without them, I stuck them back on (which takes about .2 seconds) and rode home.

With Wind Blox (Yeah you can see them but they are pretty unobtrusive)

With Wind Blox – yeah you can see them but they are pretty unobtrusive

Wind Blox Pros

  1. Small – They felt a little weird for a second, but they are lightweight and small I immediately got used to them
  2. Affordable – The two versions they sell are both under $20
  3. They Work! – Being able to hear on a bike will only make you safer, and these definitely make ambient noise easier to hear

Wind Blox Cons

  1. Velcro + Hair – I’m a girl with hair, so the velcro got a little tricky when I tried to put them back on while still wearing my helmet

A huge pro for the Wind Blox is that this review got my butt off the couch on a gorgeous day to ride the gorgeous rail trail where I got to stop and take pictures of cute baby calves and llamas. (Yeah, there’s a llama farm by my house.)

Cow Babies!

Cow babies!

IMG_4164

Llaaaaammaaa faaaaaace

If you cycle, especially if you cycle around traffic where hearing is crucial to your safety, I would consider spending a few bucks on Wind Blox to improve rides.

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SMaC Your Fitness

SMaC Your FitnessSMaC Your Fitness

You, reading this blog, you should SMaC Your Fitness. SMaC Your Life. SMaC Your Career.

I recently read this great article on Runners World and also finished reading Jim Collins Great by Choice. One of my professional development goals is to read as much as I can, especially books that have influenced the world of business management, and Great by Choice (plus the pre-cursors Good to Great and Built to Last) has been incredibly influential. One of the key concepts that struck me as I read about the authors daily squat routine was how much my personal health would benefit from applying the principle of SMAC recipes.

soup-1006694_1280

What’s a SMaC recipe?

Chances are good if you’ve spent any amount of time working in a business with a corporate structure, you’ve heard this term.  There are various explanations, but the primary acronym comes from Jim Collins who says a formula for success must be “specific, methodical, and consistent.” In a business setting, a SMaC recipe would include principles that lend to increased profits and lower costs. In a fitness sense, a SMaC recipe is how you measure your progress and stick to your goals.

How can you use these business principles to SMaC your fitness?

Set goals that are specific and require you to be methodical, and consistent.

Specific:

Good examples

  • Run every Tues, Thurs, and Saturday
  • Login to MyFitnessPal Mon-Fri
  • Set out workout clothes before going to bed
  • Drink 72 oz. of water a day
  • Eat 3 servings of fruit per day

Bad examples

  • Get fit (Not specific!)
  • Go to the gym more (More than what?)
  • Eat well (What does “well” mean?)

Measurable:

Good examples

  • No more than one sugary treat per week
  • Bench press once per week, 5×5
  • Change at least one meeting to a walking meeting every week
  • Hit Fitbit steps 3 days in a row

Bad examples:

  • Lift more weights than before (How much? What milestones?)
  • Be less sedentary (You can measure this!)

Consistent:

Good examples:

  • Be in bed by ten pm every weeknight
  • Try one new recipe every weekend
  • At least 3 Zumba classes per month

Zumba - SMaC Your Fitness

Bad examples:

  • Run on Monday the 12th (just the one time?)
  • Join a gym (and then what?)

Using the principles of creating a SMaC recipe, you can reinvigorate a tired fitness routine or jump into a new one that stands a better chance of sticking around. SMaC recipes are useful in your work and personal life as well.

Your Assignment: write your health-self SMaC recipe. Make your goals (or single goal if you want to start smaller) specific, measurable and consistent. Report back how you’ve choose to SMaC Your Fitness.

I don't focus on what I'm up against. I focus on my goals and I try to ignore the rest. - Venus Williams

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Post Workout and Muscle Recovery Infographic

Thanks to Supplement Mart in Australia for this great muscle recovery infographic on post workout and muscle recovery. Guide-to-Post-Workout-Muscle-Recovery-InfographicWhat surprises you the most about this post workout and muscle recovery infographic? For me, I was not aware that eating smart post workout can enhance bone mass. As a woman who hopes to avoid osteoporosis, this is especially appealing to me.

What surprises me the least is that age makes recovery harder. This blog is five years old now, and the difference in personal recovery time is very noticeable. I went bowling with my co-workers recently, and that involved some weirdly specific muscle use. (I’m a terrible bowler, by the way.) My left glute was sore for at least three days! From bowling! As a teenager I could pop up and run (against my wishes and never fast or with enthusiasm) with no stretching, warmup, or training and not be sore the next day. Grumpy, yes, because I never exercised on purpose. Sore? Rarely.

For more cool posts and things like this muscle recovery infographic, be sure to follow Simply Fit & Clean here and on social media. Remember to share with friends!

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Breast Cancer Awareness Month INFOGRAPHIC

Breast Cancer Awareness Month Infographic

I would be remiss if I didn’t take a moment to recognize October as Breast Cancer Awareness month. Breast cancer is the second leading cause of death among women (behind heart disease,) but survival rates increase every year thanks to greater education, earlier detection (often by women doing their own exams,) and improvements in modern medicine.

Please enjoy this lovely infographic from Banker’s Healthcare Group and learn a bit more about how to stay informed and healthy. BHG, which offers financial solutions for medical professionals, is involved in breast cancer awareness through events like the “Aiming Fore the Cure” golf tournament which raised funds for the Carol M. Baldwin Breast Cancer Research Fund of Central NY.

Breast Cancer Awareness INFOGRAPHIC

As shown in the infographic, improving your diet and exercise habits can reduce the risk of breast (and other forms) of cancer. So live fit, eat clean, for a healthier, longer life.

*This is not a sponsored post. *
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Unafraid

Unafraid

I was out for my first mid-distance run in months over the weekend, since the Houston weather has settled down from summer misery, and listening to the podcast This American Life, linked HERE. The third act featured a young man learning to communicate with his father and included the son reading a letter from his dad. The whole episode is quite touching, honestly, but one line from the father’s letter really stuck in my mind as I was pushing through the aches and pains of getting my body used to outdoor running.

“As long as you are unafraid of working hard, there will be a path for you.”

I think fear is the biggest weapon we use against ourselves. Fear of not being good enough. Not running fast enough. Not losing enough weight. Not ending up with the exact body we want or expect. Fear of not being enough. We feel guilt and shame over our imperfections and perceived weaknesses.  Dr. Brene Brown, fabulous author of such books as Daring Greatly and The Gift of Imperfection says of fear,

“Shame is the most powerful, master emotion. It’s the fear that we’re not good enough.”

Fight back. Be unafraid.  You will never be perfect. You will never be without weakness. But, as the father said to his son, there is a path for you if you are unafraid of doing the work. There is no guarantee that it will be easy or go exactly as planned, but there will be a path.

Just take the first step.

AS LONG AS YOU ARE UNAFRAID OF

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I am always looking for great ideas and new angles to present to my readers. Do you have any inspirational quotes, articles, videos, or tips? Share them in the comments below.

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Best Gifts for Runners 2014

One of my most popular posts on this page is my Ultimate Runners Gift Guide from last November, but now the best gifts for runners need to be updated for a 2014 edition.*

Best Gifts for Runners 2014

I always like to start these posts with a warning: If your runner is very, very particular about what they wear on a run, DON’T THINK OUTSIDE THE BOX.  They have their favorite items and brands for good reason, so go ahead and find out exactly what those things are and replace things for them, like their favorite type of running sock.  Shoes are very personal, especially for distance runners, so I recommend buying a gift card to their running shoe store.  (Trust me, they’ll love it!)

Stocking Stuffers for Runners

Earbud organizers, because the tangling, OH THE TANGLING, $2.99
Best Gifts for RunnersPaceTat, for runners trying to Boston Qualify, $2.99
Best Gifts for RunnersHydraPak Soft Flask, because runners need to focus on hydration even more than regular folks, (these collapse small enough to keep in a purse) $19.99
Best Gifts for RunnersSuddora Zippered Wrist Sweatbands are a great way to hold a key and ID on a long run without adding bulk, $8.99
Best Gifts for Runners

FlipBelt, they can hold a surprising amount discreetly (but they don’t come with abs, unfortunately,) $26.99

Reflector Running Set, keeping runners safe in the shorter daylight hours of winter, $12


BodyGlide, because chafing is a runner’s worst enemy, $9.99
Best Gifts for Runners

Gifts for Women Runners

Pearl Izumi Insulatour Jacket – Full Zip (For Women) by Pearl Izumi for cold winter runs, $111.95

Best Gifts for Runners

Pearl Izumi at ShopStyle

TrailHeads Ponytail Headband, warmth and style in one, $18.00
Best Gifts for RunnersShock Absorber Running Bra for full-figured runners, $80Best Gifts for Runners

 

Nike Tech Dri Fit tights are an awesome addition to a runner’s wardrobe, $75
Best Gifts for Runners

 

Zensah Reflect Running gloves for cold weather runners, $34.99
Best Gifts for Runners

 

Nike Running Sunglasses.  I never ever run without glasses, even in winter. $176
Best Gifts for Runners

Gifts for Men Runners

Nike Aeroloft running jacket.  I know this is $$$ but I love the down chest piece. $250
Best Gifts for Runners

 

Nike Thermal running tights, because thermal is a must for outdoor runners in cold locations, $75
Best Gifts for Runners

 

Under Armor ColdGear hat, wicks moisture and keeps ears covered, $26.99
Best Gifts for RunnersWraparound Running Glasses.  In glasses, look for light weight, non-chafing, and good wraparound coverage. $22.99
Best Gifts for RunnersMizuno Run Gloves for winter joggers, $18.80
Best Gifts for Runners

Tech Runners Gifts

Garmin GPS Watch.  When I asked my Facebook Running Group what they would ask for for Christmas, the two most popular answers were race fees and a Garmin GPS watch.  If I were getting a new one, I would ask for the 220, $299
Best Gifts for Runners

TomTom GPS Watch.  If someone were to hand me this instead, I wouldn’t exactly be disappointed, $133.99
Best Gifts for Runners


Bosavi Rechargeable Headlamp
, a must for running in the dark, $69.95

Bosavi Rechargeable Headlamp

JayBird BlueBuds Bluetooth Headphones, one of the few bluetooth style headphones that can really work for runners, $132.99

Books for Runners

Spartan Up! by Spartan Race tour de force himself Joe de Sena.  This is a recent release, so if your runner loves obstacle-style or mud run type events, this is a great gift (and has great reviews,) $18.26
Best Gifts for Runners

Born to Run by Christopher McDougall, a national bestseller detailing the Tarahumara Indians known for running great distances barefoot.  Warning: This book is behind the “barefoot running” craze, so if you don’t want your loved one to wear shoes with toes, pick a new book, $10.63

Best Gifts for Runners

 

Any of the Best Gifts for Runners I missed that are a must have for you? Be sure to subscribe to the blog, like the Facebook page, follow me on Twitter and Pinterest, and use the social media buttons below this post to share this post with anyone who might be looking for the best gifts for runners this year!

Experience the World's Best Obstacle Race Series! Sign up for a Reebok Spartan Race Today!

*This is not a sponsored post, but many of the links are provided through affiliates, meaning if you choose to purchase the item I make a small commission.*


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Causes of Obesity: 12 Sources of America’s Epidemic

I read this article about the causes of obesity, “12 Graphs that Show Why People Get Fat,” and had to share the results and add my input on how you can combat these issues.  Knowledge is power, and if you are struggling with your weight, you might better understand how your personal challenge is reflected in our national challenge.  I encourage you to read the full article and associated graphs with links to the studies from which the findings were derived.

Causes of Obesity

12 Causes of Obesity

1: People are Eating More Junk Food Than Ever

Causes of Obesity - Junk Food We are eating more calories in general, but that is made exponentially worse by the source of the calories.  Processed, sugar and additive filled, chemically preserved foods are harder for our bodies to deal with properly.

Personal Fix: Eat more home cooked, clean meals.  Less fast food, fewer pre-packaged meals.

2: Increasing Sugar Consumption Causes of Obesity - SugarSugar is ubiquitous in American cuisine.  Did you know that other countries don’t have sugar as a standard ingredient in their bread but we do?  The recipe for white bread is shockingly similar to regular cake, but we slice it and put meat on it and call it bread. Added sugar = added calories = added pounds.

Personal Fix: Pay attention to ingredient labels, avoid extra sugar

3: The Holiday Bulge that Doesn’t Budge Causes of Obesity - Holiday WeightWe love to overeat during the holidays.  It’s fun! It’s delicious! There are so many opportunities!  The holiday pounds often stick around from year to year, and after a decade you might be looking at 10-15 extra just from winter parties alone.

Personal Fix: If you have a lot of parties on the schedule, try not to indulge at every single one, and work in some extra gym time. 

4: Low-fat Misinformation Causes of Obesity - Low Fat The “low fat” craze of the late 70’s has only worked to spread incorrect information about how our bodies work.  Not all fat is equal, and living a “low fat” lifestyle might mean eating too many processed chemicals and not enough healthy fats like Omega-3s.

Personal Fix: Learn where to keep healthy fats in your diet, and if you’re trying to lose weight don’t focus on “low fat” choices.

5: Food is Cheap! Causes of Obesity - Food is Cheap Let me rephrase that, BAD food is cheap.  I can get ten times the calories per dollar in a fast food cheeseburger than in a dollar’s worth of strawberries.  That is very hard to resist especially for low-income families.

Personal Fix: Try stocking up on healthier options when they are in season or on sale.

6: Drinking Our Calories Causes of Obesity - Sugary Drinks As a country we are drinking more soda and sugary drinks than ever before.  It’s addictive and CHEAP! (See #5.)  A can of sugar cola per day can lead to an extra 10-15 pounds per year.

Personal Fix: Keep up your water intake to quench your thirst, and limit sugary drinks as much as possible. 

7: So Many Tempting Options

Causes of Obesity - Variety This goes well with the holiday weight.  Picture that seasonal spread with twelve kinds of desserts.  We want to try them all!  It’s normal, but when we are presented with those choices regularly (think vending machines,) we tend to overeat.

Personal Fix: Find healthy options you enjoy and keep them on hand rather than having cookies and junk in the pantry. 

8: Sedentary Jobs Causes of Obesity - Sedentary We aren’t hunters and gatherers anymore, and people like me end up sitting a lot during work hours.  If you’ve ever heard, “Well my great granddad never exercised a day in his life and he was skinny as a rail and lived to be 175,” you can ask what he did for a living. Chances are, it was something physical.  Burn less, eat more, gain weight.

Personal Fix: Track movement with something like a FitBit so you have an actual understanding of how much you can/should eat and how much you should exercise to stay healthy. Fitbit makes activity tracking easy and automatic.

9: More Vegetable OilsCauses of Obesity - Oils Hand in hand with the low fat craze came vegetable oils and non-food like margarine. In processed foods these oils are often hidden and boost calories unnecessarily.

Personal Fix: More meals at home that you cook yourself so you know what’s inside. 

10: Group Overeating  Causes of Obesity - Group Eating It’s hard not to grab a few hundred extra calories from shared appetizers.  Dining out with a group can increase your calorie intake per meal by 72%!

Personal Fix: Be the example and order a healthy option.  If the calories aren’t visible on the menu, Google it!

11: Not Enough Sleep

Causes of Obesity - Sleep Deprivation I’ve harped on this point before, and it’s as true as ever.  Not enough sleep leads to poor food choices and deprives our bodies of the chance to process food properly and reset.

Personal Fix: Set a bedtime, and keep it. 

12: Eating More Calories  Causes of Obesity - Calorie Intake The most basic rule of weight gain/loss is “calories in vs. calories out.”  If you bring in more than you burn off, you will gain weight.  As a country, we are eating substantially more calories per day AND burning less per day.  It’s simple math.

Personal Fix: Calculate your BMR, and keep that basic number of how many calories you need per day in mind when deciding what to eat.


Again, I encourage you to read the full article with the fascinating graphs and charts by clicking HERE. 

Be sure to subscribe to the blog, like the Facebook page, follow me on Twitter and Pinterest, and use the social media buttons below this post to share this post with your friends who want to know the causes of obesity.

*The links in this post are affiliate links and I will receive a small commission if you make a purchase after clicking on my link

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Reebok Outlet Sale Wish List

This post contains sponsored links from Reebok, Simply Fit & Clean Affiliate

Reebok Outlet Wish List

Reebok is having a massive outlet sale online this week, so over lunch breaks I’ve been pining about my favorite things on the site.  Click here for up to 50% at Reebok.com + Free Shipping & Free Returns

Here are some of my favorite things.

Women’s Athletic Shoes

Reebok Cross Fit Sprint

Reebok Cross Fit Sprint

I think I’ve posted about these shoes ten times already.  I can’t help if I like pretty things.

Men’s Lifting Shoes

Reebok Cross Fit Lite Lo

Reebok Cross Fit Lite Lo

Some dudes like to lift barefoot.  That scares me.  If you like a low-profile shoe for weight lifting, this is a great option for stability.

Kids Socks

Kids Reebok Zig Back Tab Socks

Kids Reebok Zig Back Tab Socks

Perfect for long days at the park or family hikes.

Women’s Top

Reebok Studio Graphic Tee

Reebok Studio Graphic Tee

I am a sucker for workout clothes that add extra motivation (like this or this.)

Men’s Sunglasses

RBK Classic 3.0 Sunglasses

RBK Classic 3.0 Sunglasses

I know a few people who could pull these off nicely.

Seen any great fitness fashion deals lately?

Be sure to subscribe to the blog, like the Facebook page, follow me on Twitter and Pinterest, and use the social media buttons below this post to share this post with your friends who want to Save up to 50% at Reebok.com + Free Shipping & Free Returns

Fitbit Zip

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