HIIT it Like a Boss! {Gymboss Giveaway}

Every once in awhile I come up with a blog title that just makes me giggle.  Today’s one of those days.  In Friday’s post, I had briefly mentioned a new gadget that I’m loving: Gymboss Interval Timer.

timer

A few weeks ago I was asked by Gymboss to do a review / giveaway of their product.  Of course I said yes; it’s been on my wishlist for awhile now.  But before I get into the review, I want to talk a bit about HIIT workouts – no, I didn’t just misspell hit in my post title – because what good is a product review if you don’t know what to use the product for?

HIIT stands for high intensity interval training.  Briefly summed up, a HIIT workout is a short, balls to the walls workout.  You go through several cycles (intervals) of max intensity to fatigue your muscles followed with a brief low intensity break.  These workouts are highly favored for their fat burning and metabolism boosting properties.  The graphic below gives you a small idea about interval training but you should really check out the full infographic when you get a chance.

HIIT

To see the full HIIT infographic click here.

HIIT workouts are becoming more and more popular as we become busier and busier.  If you can get a 20 minute workout that reaps the same benefits as a 45 minute workout, you’d be all over it, right?  Uh, yeah.

Gymboss and kettlebells...a match made in masochistic heaven.

Gymboss and kettlebells…a match made in masochistic heaven.

Killer HIIT workout. {source}

Killer HIIT workout.
{source}

So how exactly does Gymboss fit into all of this HITT madness? Well because, my dear fitness friend, you need something to help track your effort.  Something to alert you when to start/stop both the high intensity and low intensity parts of your workout.

Sure, a basic stopwatch works for one round but you have to reset it for each high & low intensity interval.  This means that you’re having to start and stop your workout every time to fool with the dang stopwatch.  It’s really less than ideal when you think about it.  With Gymboss you just program your high intensity interval time, the low intensity time, how many reps you want to do and hit start. Voila, it does the rest.

Gymboss vibrates and alerts you with a loud beep every time you should switch from high to low (or vice versa).  And it’s really, really user friendly.  Seriously.  I hate reading instructions and I was able to figure out how to work it less than 30 seconds.

Here are some of the product features:

  • Program 1 or 2 intervals – 2 seconds to 99 minutes long
  • Intervals repeat up to 99 times
  • Beep or vibrate alarm settings
  • Compact Size (1 ¾ x 2 ¼ x ½ inches)
  • Stopwatch setting
  • Water resistant
  • Shock resistant
  • Belt clip (can be used to clip onto shirt, sports bra, wrist strap, shorts, shoes, etc.)

I’ve used this at the gym several times already and love not having to keep messing with the stopwatch on my phone.  I’m slightly a germaphobe so I love not having to touch my phone with gym hands (you know what I’m talking about) and then put the phone to my face later.   I don’t have to worry about sweating on the Gymboss or getting sand stuck in it like I do my phone.  It clips onto clothing, is roughly the size of a pager/beeper and is very light so you can’t even feel it.  And the best part of it? It comes in fabulous neon colors! Y’all know how much I love my neon colors.

gymboss

The Gymboss retails for $19.99 which is well worth it in my opinion and cheap compared to other fitness gadgets.  HOWEVER, one lucky Noshing on Asphalt reader is going to WIN a Gymboss interval timer.  Say what??  Yep, the lovely folks at Gymboss want you to win a timer so you can HIIT it like a boss, too.  There are several different ways to enter:

Mandatory Entry:  Leave a comment telling me how you would HIIT it like a boss if you won.

Additional entries (please leave a separate comment for each):

  • Follow Gymboss on Twitter.
  • Like them on Facebook.
  • Tweet about it, something like:  I want to HIIT it like a boss and win a @gymboss timer from @asphaltnosher! http://wp.me/p28bf6-Ni
  • Load a picture on Instagram of you getting after in your workout (make sure to tag both @asphaltnosher & @gymboss).

That’s 5 chances to enter! The contest closes Monday, June 17, 2013, at 12amCST and the winner will be announced Wednesday, June 19th.  Good luck!

Huma Chia Energy Gel Review & Giveaway

A few weeks ago, I was contacted by Huma Chia Energy Gel to review their product.  I hadn’t heard of Huma and I’m really particular about the way I fuel my runs so before agreeing to review their product I needed to know that they fit with my clean eating lifestyle.  I was beyond excited with what I found: I could pronounce every. single. ingredient.  Be still my beating heart.    Huma strawberry

Now before I go on, I feel it only appropriate to let you in on a secret. I hate GU Energy gels.  I don’t foresee my position changing anytime soon.  First of all, the name GU (goo) brings to mind the stuff I pull out of my shower drain, and second, I don’t want to put anything created in an ‘Energy Lab’ into my body; give me something from the kitchen.  Sorry if I’ve offended any of you that use GU but I hope to convert you to the natural side. 🙂 Compare the difference for yourself in the two ingredient labels:

(L) GU ingredients                     (R) Huma ingredients

GU ingredients                                                                   Huma ingredients
Click image to enlarge ingredient labels

Whew, now that I have that off of my chest, let me get back to the review and tell you a bit about Huma Chia Energy Gel.  It’s the brainchild of Ian McCollum and Kevin Sherbourne and was officially launched in November of 2012 – this explains why I hadn’t heard of them yet.  While leading troops in Iraq, 1st Lieutenant McCollum read about the Tarahumara, a tribe of Mexican Indians who regularly compete in ultramarathons using a special chia seed blend for fuel. 1st Lieutenant McCollum figured if it worked for the Tarahumara in Mexico, maybe it would work for him in Iraq.   Hello birth of Huma Chia Energy Gel! {Side note: Because this company has military roots it a special place in my heart thanks to my brother who was killed in Iraq.}

Quick Tech Guidehuma-info-graphic

The above graphic explains perfectly the benefits that Huma brings to the table (you GU users, make sure to look it over carefully) so I’ll cut to the chase and jump right into your ‘how’s it taste & perform’ questions.  The first time I tested it out was two weeks ago on my last taper run.  I wasn’t quite sure what to expect when I opened the apples and cinnamon gel so I squeezed a bit on my finger first.  I was pleasantly surprised to find that it had the exact same taste and texture as apple butter; not that thick gel consistency & artificial flavor like GU.  I shared it with my running girls who all approved.  Unfortunately since this was a short long run (only 10 miles) I didn’t have it on my stomach long enough to see if I would experience any digestive issues.

379191_586170938077998_1348506775_n Then last week was my marathon and I debated heavily on whether or not to use it since I hadn’t had the opportunity to try it on a 20 mile run. I e-mailed the company and Ian responded saying they had never had any digestive issues reported; he was very confident and reassuring which led me to abandon the old adage ‘No new is good new on race day.’

Ready to Rock-n-Roll 26.2 miles fueled by ch-ch-chia!

Ready to Rock-n-Roll 26.2 miles fueled by ch-ch-chia!

I packed three of Huma gels for race day and took my first one (strawberry – yum!) in between miles 5-6; making sure to chase it down with some water.  It went down easy and stayed down even better.  No cramping, no GI issues.  By mile 15 I grabbed my next gel to top off my glycogen stores.  Same thing, no cramping, no GI issues.  Not a single time during the race did I experience any unpleasant effects with the gel or felt like I wasn’t properly fueled.  I also really liked how I didn’t feel hungry during the marathon; usually I start feeling the need for solid food in the last few miles. I finished the marathon strong, in pain, but strong and a lot of that had to do with the gel.

I adore that Huma harnesses the incredibly powerful nutrients of the chia seed and that this gel packs more of a punch then just topping off glycogen stores.  It contains complete protein, fiber and an extreme amount of Omega-3 (you know, the stuff good for your heart). Well color me a convert! I had been using Honey Stingers up until this point but not anymore.  The gel is moderately priced just under $2 a gel.  I realize GU is a bit cheaper but potato chips are cheap, too, but neither is good for you.  I just look at it as an investment in your body; like paying the extra money for organic produce.

Two thumbs up for Huma!

Two thumbs up for Huma!

And for you, my lovely readers, the wonderful gents at Huma Chia Energy Gel are allowing me to giveaway a sample pack to 3 Noshing on Asphalt readers!

Mandatory Entry:  Leave a comment letting me know how you fuel your endurance activities.

Additional entry (leave a separate comment for each):

  • Follow @HumaGel on Twitter
  • Like Huma Chia Energy Gel on Facebook
  • Tweet about the giveaway: “I want to win @HumaGel to fuel my runs. #Giveaway via @Asphaltnosher. http://wp.me/p28bf6-DX”.

That’s four chances to enter! Contest will close on Tuesday, March 12th at midnight and the winners will be announced in Wednesday’s post.

Disclaimer:  I was given four Huma Chia Energy Gels to sample; I was not compensated for this post.  The Huma gushing and GU hating opinions are my own.  I will not review or promote products that I don’t fully believe in.

No Sugar Challenge Update & Vega Giveaway

Originally, I was going to wait until Monday to write this post but then I realized that this weekend is Veteran’s Day.  So instead of trying to cram two posts together, I figured I go ahead and do my week 1 update a few days early.  You don’t mind, right? I’m pretty sure nothing’s going to change between now and Monday.

So how has everyone been doing with the no sugar challenge? It’s definitely been a challenge for me these past few days.  Not challenging in the way that I’m tempted to ‘cheat’ but challenging instead because this is a HUGE inconvenience!  You don’t really realize how much sugar, even natural sugar, you rely on until it’s all been taken away from you.  [insert pitiful trombone noise here]

Giving up all forms of sugar means that I’ve given up most processed foods, even my ‘healthy’ processed foods.   Even my Kashi taste-like-cardboard-to-most-people cereal has evaporated cane juice in it.  So basically, if I want to eat something, I have to make it from scratch which, let’s face it, is insanely time consuming.  No wonder women from the early to mid 20th century didn’t work.  They couldn’t get out of the kitchen.  Throw in some kids and no washers or dryers and I’m exhausted just thinking about it!

On the plus side, I’m over the sugar cravings and I’ve stopped finding myself wandering aimlessly between the pantry and fridge.  The first few days I was starving and felt like I couldn’t fill up but that, too, has gone away.  It always amazes me at how much faster my body digests and uses the nutrients from whole foods vs. processed.  If I don’t eat every 2-3 hours I’m starved!

FYI – if you ever want to jump start your metabolism, make sure to eat at least 5-6 times a day; I prefer 6-7.  By only eating 3 meals a day your body goes into starvation mode and conserves calories from the food you ingest.  Feeding yourself 5-6 daily allows your body the peace of mind to go ahead and burn those calories since it knows you’ll be replacing them again.  Sorry, I digress.

I’ve also been detoxing my body with 20 oz of warm lemon water each morning.  The bitter flavor first thing in the morning took a bit of adjusting to but I’ve started to enjoy it.

So the benefits that I’ve seen so far? Really the only one I’ve noticed is that my skin has cleared up quite a bit.  I don’t know if it’s because of the no sugar / lemon water detox or because I’m not running as much as I was a few weeks ago.  Either way, I’m enjoying not looking like a teenage girl.  YAY!  The downside – it’s really, really affected my running.  That’s really the only time I physically notice the detox.

Wednesday night I hit the treadmill for the first time in months (literally, since July or August) and it. was. terrible.  I’m not sure when I started hating the treadmill so much? I guess maybe when I realized that I wouldn’t melt running in the elements.  But my night got 1,000% better with the arrival of a package from Vega.  (To read more about my thoughts on Vega, check out this review I wrote.)

Holy motherload! This is like $300 worth of product. Me = happy!

I won a photo contest back in September where I had to show them what energizes me.  Of course the photo had something to do with running… It’s actually from my first duathlon.

I’ll have to wait until the no sugar challenge is over to enjoy it but I want to share the love with you! I’m going give away a full size package of Vega’s Energizing Smoothie because I just adore y’all!

Mandatory Entry: Leave a comment below telling me what energizes you.
Additional Entries (leave a separate comment for each): 1) Subscribe to Noshing on Asphalt and tell me what e-mail you subscribed with.
2.) Follow me on Twitter
3.) Follow me on Instagram @asphaltnosher
4.) Like my Facebook page

The contest will run through Wednesday, November 14 at 11:59 cst and be selected through Random.org.  I will announce the winner on Friday, November 16.

RAW Protein Review and Giveaway

Last night was one of the scariest / most exhilarating runs ever! I met my running girls to do 6 miles with 3 miles of speed work.  Little did we know our speed work would come from having to run for our lives in a freak flash flood!  We’re used to running in rain and wind but the scary part came from the lightening strikes that were going on about every 20-30 seconds.  I’m happy to report that we’re not dead (What? You’re surprised?) and also that for the first time in a week and a half I actually feel like a real person and not some sick, green-slime producing zombie.  So in celebration of being alive and feeling human again, I thought I do a giveaway – yay! Who doesn’t love free stuff? If you failed to answer “I do” to that question, I think we cannot be friends anymore.  Just kidding! I love all my readers even if you don’t like free stuff. 🙂

It almost goes unsaid I’m always on the hunt to try new products that will increase my health and make my life easier so I was super happy when the wonderful people at Garden of Life sent me a container of their vanilla flavored RAW Protein to review. 

I’m not a vegetarian but I really don’t eat a ton of meat so I tend to fall short on my daily protein intake.  Shorting yourself on the protein intake may not seem like a big deal, but any athlete will tell you that protein is the basic building block of strong muscles.  And I definitely need my muscles to be a strong as possible to get me through the grueling 26.2 miles of the Marine Corps Marathon.  Oorah!

The first thing that I loved about RAW was the fact that it was completely clean, no artificial nothing in it.  (It’s also organic, vegan friendly, gluten free and dairy free.)  RAW is a sprouted brown rice protein offering 17 grams per serving and has a complete amino acid profile like you would find in animal protein.  It also contains probiotics which makes your digestive system happy. 

The first way I tried RAW was as a recovery drink after my 15 mile long run.  I mixed it with 8 ounces of skim milk and proceeded to slurp it down.  I was really surprised at the flavor. I normally have to mix protein powders in smoothies to mask their taste but RAW was just fine on its own.  I do have to recommend drinking it right away; I let mine sit for a minute and some of the powder collected at the bottom of my cup.  (No making fun of my pasty legs and purple compression socks.)

The next thing I wanted to try was cooking with it.  During Hurricane Isaac I was completely craving comfort food so I decided to make pancakes.  It took me a minute to figure out the measurements, but after a minute….Success! Whole Wheat Banana Protein Pancakes were born – yum! I slathered them in peanut butter and topped with pure maple syrup and they were magnificent! Definitely not an every day meal, but completely acceptable hurricane food.

Now that I’ve yapped on about the benefits of Garden of Life’s RAW Protein, I want you to try it for yourself! Garden of Life sent me an awesome blender bottle and sample packet of their chocolate flavor to giveaway to one of you.  I really want you to win, so you’ll have lots of chances to enter! (Contest open to US and Canada only.)

Mandatory entry:  Visit Garden of Life’s website and then come back and leave a comment telling me what flavor you would most like to try.

Extra entries (be sure to leave a separate comment for each):

  • Follow my blog via e-mail or RSS.
  • Follow me on Twitter @asphaltnosher
  • Follow Garden of Life on Twitter @gardenofliferaw
  • Tweet about this giveaway, “I want to win @gardenofliferaw protein from @asphaltnosher http://wp.me/p28bf6-fW”.

Ok, that’s 5 total entries! The contest will be open until Sunday, September 9th at midnight EST and the winner will be announced on Monday.  Good luck!

Disclaimer: While I received product to write this review, all of the opinions -good, bad, or indifferent- in it are my own.  I will never write a positive review for something I don’t believe in.

Vega Energizing Smoothie Review

A few weeks ago Vega did a shout out for bloggers to review their Energizing Smoothie.  After a quick Google search of their product, I found that it was a clean (love) plant-based nutrient drink (super love!).  How has this escaped my radar for so long??? I absolutely adore finding new, healthy items that I can add into my life soI decided to send an e-mail letting them know I was interested in doing a review.  Last week I received a sample in the mail – heck yeah I love free stuff!  Now, I did receive the samples in order to write a review but the opinions in this post –good, bad or indifferent- are 100% mine.

Side note – I seriously get excited, like kid in a candy store excited, to get anything in the mail that’s not junk or a bill.  I know, I’m pitiful.

Vega sent 5 different flavors with awesome names like Bodacious Berry, Choc-a-lot, Oh Natural, Tropical Tango and Vanilla Almondilla with each flavors having the following bragging rights:

  • Two servings of veggies
  • 10 g of complete, plant-based protein
  • 5 g of fiber
  • 1 g of Omega-3
  • No sugar added
  • Vegan friendly, gluten free, soy free
  • No artificial anything (colors, preservatives, ect.)

Now, I’m a berry kind of person so I of course tore into the Bodacious Berry flavor first.   I opened the sample, gave it the sniff test (which it passed), added it to my organic skim milk and proceeded to follow Vega’s instructions of “just shake and pour”.

Riley says I want some, too, Mama!

Alright, so I don’t actually have a fancy-schmancy mixer thingy but my martini shaker works perfectly fine thank you very much.  *In my best James Bond voice* I prefer my smoothie, shaken not stirred.

Don’t let the greenish color scare you; those are just little particles of earthy goodness for your body to love.

The berry flavor was very prominent and I was pleasantly surprised to find it lacking the familiar chalky taste that so many supplement drinks have.  I have to be honest that I found it a bit on the sweet side but the berry flavor was the only one that was like that.  I had the smoothie as my breakfast with a side of banana.  Breakfast is typically my ‘big’ meal of the day so I was worried that I’d be famished before my 10am 2nd breakfast (yes, I eat two breakfasts) but the smoothie held over really well.  I also felt much more invigorated that morning than I normally do. Coincidence? I think not.

Vega + morning devotion = great start to the day!

Out of all of the flavors, I fell in love with the Choc-a-Lot.  I made it after my long run on Saturday and it was the perfect recovery drink!  In fact I’m going to go ahead and order the full size pouch just so I can have it as my post long run recovery drink during marathon training.  I’m excited to play around with it a bit more. I think it would be really good blended with an avocado or some natural peanut butter; might even taste like a Reece’s Cup!

Choc-a-Lot, the flavor I fell in love with.

Choc-a-Lot, the flavor I fell in love with.

Want a chance to win some Vega for yourself? Just visit their facebook page by clicking the image below and submit a picture showing them what energizes you!  They are giving away 110 prizes which gives you a really great chance of winning something awesome! Check out my entry to find out what energizes me.

On my schedule this weekend is a 5k Friday night and then a 9 miler Saturday morning.  Sounds like a great weekend to me!