Beating the winter blues this year is no easy task. With people all over the U.S. left shaking their heads at the current weather forecast, only one thing is abundantly clear: race season is still on the way. Here’s a few reviews of products that aim to keep you progressing while Mother Nature makes up her mind.
Strength Training for Triathletes, 2nd Edition
The Complete Program to Build Triathlon Power, Speed, and Muscular Endurance
by Patrick Hagerman, EdD
Retail $21.95, Paperback
While the case for CrossFit is still being hotly debated by trainers and athletes alike, one thing is abundantly clear: triathletes need strength training. In the second addition of Strength Training for Triathletes, 2nd Ed., author Patrick Hagerman, EdD cuts through the fads and latest trends to bring you proven, triathlon-specific techniques. However, don’t be fooled, this isn’t the antiquated workout that had your mom parked in front of public television, doing Jazzercize with cans of soup. Strength Training for Triathletes utilizes the latest sports science research, to create specialized training, targeted to the athlete’s individual needs.
Preparation begins with an education on the merits of strength training, guidelines for organizing your program and advice on adapting training as your strength is increased. Charts, detailed instructions and photographs walk the athlete through each workout. Exercises include core strength and general conditioning and are separated into disciplines to make navigation simple. Our tester, an instructor for new triathletes, found the manual easy to read between classes; “The book is free of flowery explanations and presents clear concise instruction where it is needed most. I’ve been studying training techniques for years, and still found great information that I’ve begun using with my athletes.”
In this new addition, more sample programs and travel solutions will appeal to the newbie as well as seasoned athletes, searching for a competitive edge. Any triathlete looking to build endurance, speed and power will benefit from Strength Training for Triathletes.
Clif- Builder’s Protein Bar
Retail 12 Bars/Box $18.75
Packed with 20g of high-quality protein, the right amount of carbs and zero grams trans fat, the low-glycemic, Builder’s Protein Bar continues Clif’s tradition of great supplements. We tested their newest flavor, Chocolate Hazelnut, and it’s become our new favorite. I should clarify, when I say, “We tested,” what I really mean is: “I took one bite and commandeered the rest of the box for myself. The other testers had to go buy their own.”
One tester wrote, “I like to imagine that the Chocolate Hazelnut tastes delicious, since Jen ate them all. I did find a Chocolate Mint Builder’s Bar and it was very satisfying.” Another commented, “I missed the meeting, but I hear Jen really enjoyed her Chocolate Hazelnut protein bars. They must be good, because I asked her to try one and she calmly answered, “No” without any explanation. She’s usually pretty generous.”
Before you judge, let’s be honest, it’s really hard to find protein bars that you don’t have to gag down. Clif does a great job of delivering these GMO-free beauties without any artificial sweeteners to make them palatable. Since everyone has different protein needs, Clif offers a variety of sizes and flavors ranging from a 10g snack size, to the 20g version I pulled from my bottom drawer and horked down just now. If you have any questions about the amount of protein your body is craving, the Clif website even has a calculator to assist you in finding your magic number. Builder’s Protein Bar’s currently come in nine flavors and are available in stores and online, unless I eat them first.
Brooks Running- Women’s Pure Project Seamless Tight
Retail (currently on sale) $61.00
Nothing ramps up my motivation in February better than a new pair of cozy, warm Pure Project Seamless Tights. This year, Mother Nature may be confused when it comes to snowfall, but for those of us whining about our unused ski’s passes, the temperature outside is still very clear; it’s winter. Built for running, these thicker tights work well for colder weather (40 to 65 F) on their own or as a base layer in colder conditions. We especially loved the wide waistband with three hidden pockets, and found them incredibly comfortable during activity.
Part of what makes them so comfortable is the DNA fabric technology. Most fabrics stretch only up and down and side to side. Over time, this results in great sadness when you discover your favorite tights have turned into a worn, saggy mess. The DNA fabric is amazing! It stretches 30% more than other fabric, but without any sagging. Anchoring itself to the natural motion of your body, the fabric reacts to your body temperature by lowering resistance to allow increased blood-flow as your muscles heat up. When your muscles begin to cool, the fibers return to their original resistance. Because the DNA fibers are thinner than other common winter fabrics, the tights feel lighter than you would expect. “I’m in love with these tights!” our tester commented, “They’re much less restrictive than my other winter tights, and the textured sides are super cute.” The Pure Project Seamless Tight comes in three sizes and two colors.