Christmas Gifts from SwimOutlet.com

Disclosure – This is a sponsored post from SwimOutlet.com but all content and bad jokes are my own.

Hey guys.  Guess what?  CHRISTMAS IS COMING!  Have you finished your shopping?  I haven’t.  Unfortunately, most of the gifts I need to buy are not for swimmers or triathletes.  But that doesn’t mean I didn’t have a great time browsing the holiday gift guide from SwimOutlet.com.  They have a great array of gift suggestions in a number of categories and price ranges.

Need some suggestions?  Well, here are my personal favorites.  First off, for the wacky swimmer or triathlete who spends way too many early mornings at the pool.

Be the most fashionable lady at the pool.

Be the most fashionable lady at the pool.

When I first started swimming for fitness, I bought a black bathing suit.  I did not want to draw attention to myself.  I figured I did enough of that with my splashing and flailing.  Thankfully, I’ve gotten over myself and this winter, will be sporting this fabulous suit at the pool.  I love fun Christmas sweaters and this suit is FABULOUS.  And encompasses my love of snow.  Plus it can be worn well into the new year.  (Of course, if you prefer something Christmas specific, there’s also a suit styled after a Santa suit.)  And who can resist pairing it with a silly swim cap.  We all know that training sucks up our social lives.

(Hey, maybe I can meet a fellow over-scheduled triathlete at the pool thanks to this cute suit.)

Okay, okay.  So you want to go more practical but don’t want to spend a ton of money.

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How about some fins or other training accessories and a pair of goggles?  Every swimmer I know has at least three pairs of goggles in their swim bag and still manages to forget them when they go to the pool.  As an aside, I really like Sporti brand swim accessories.  I have a kickboard from them as well and it’s incredibly sturdy and buying it didn’t break the bank.

And though I purchased swim-related items from SwimOutlet, they aren’t just swim focused.  They know that a number of their customers are triathletes, so they have clothing and gear for running and triathlon as well. Check out their holiday gift guide and pick up a few gifts for your friends or maybe something for yourself.

See you at the pool!

Product Review & Contest – Freekeh Foods

Freekeh FoodsThis review is sponsored by Freekeh Foods and Sweat Pink, but all opinions are my own.

When the opportunity to try and review freekeh came up, I was intrigued.  What in the world is freekeh?  Is this one of those new fangled foods?  Nope.  In fact, freekeh is over 2000 years old.  As the story goes, freekeh was created by accident nearly 2,000 years ago when a Middle Eastern village was attacked and their crop of young green wheat was set ablaze. Most folks would sulk over their misfortune, but the crafty villagers rubbed off the chaff, cooked it up and “Eureka!” Freekeh was created.

But what IS it?   It’s roasted green wheat.  It has a nutty, chewy sort of texture.  It’s a good substitution for rice or another grain as a side, or cooked into a dish.

I had the opportunity to try both the plain and the rosemary sage freekeh.  I started with the rosemary sage.  I really liked what I saw on the nutrition info.  Not super high in calories and a good amount of protein for a side.

Freekeh NutritionIt was also easy to cook.  And had this fun image on the back.

IMG_0762Uncooked, it reminded me a lot of steel cut oats.

IMG_0771I followed the directions and cooked it on the stovetop.  As is my tradition, I probably over cooked a bit, as some of it stuck to the bottom of the pot.  But it still tasted pretty good.  And as you can see, it really fluffed up, much like rice or quinoa.

IMG_0772I liked the rosemary sage well enough, though it did seem a bit plain.  I will definitely be spicing up the leftovers a bit.

For the plain version, I decided to cook it the way I would do steel cut oatmeal.  I liked the texture and the flavor and wondered how it would cook up as a breakfast food.

IMG_0775This time, I did it in my trusty rice cooker.  (Seriously, if you don’t have one of these, it is amazing.  I cook all my grains in it and it is phenomenal.)  This was a total win.  I just added the same amount of water that I would have added on the stovetop and the freekeh cooked up perfectly.

I decided to go simple and just put a spoonful of jam in the freekeh for flavor and a bit of sweetness.

IMG_0783This was delicious.  The nutty texture and the little bit of sweetness from the jam made for a great breakfast food, and it was under 250 calories for the whole thing.  The added protein and fiber definitely helped keep me full.

There are a whole bunch of recipes on their website that you can try out.  You don’t have to be boring like me and just eat it plain.  One suggestion, if you’re cooking it like a breakfast food, was to use milk instead of water, for example.  Maybe next time!

And you can try out freekeh yourself!  I’m giving away one package, flavor of your choice (original, rosemary sage, or tamari, which I didn’t try).  And entering is easy!  I’m excited to see what the winner makes with their freekeh.  And sorry, it’s US residents only. 🙁
a Rafflecopter giveaway

This post was sponsored by Sweat Pink and Freekeh Foods, but all opinions are my own.

Support Lily Trotters on Kickstarter!

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Who doesn’t love cute socks?  And aren’t these socks cute?  Well, they’re more than just cute, they’re amazing compression socks!

Lily Trotters is a great little company with a great product.  We all know that athletes of all kind like compression socks, either for wearing during a workout, for recovery, or even when you’re on an airplane.  But compression socks are so often so very boring.  From what I’ve found, the cute ones aren’t all that great in terms of compression.  Lily Trotters is working to change all that.

I was sent a pair of adorable Lily Trotters socks to try out, and I can’t recommend them enough.  The founder, Susan, has been great to communicate with.  I admit, I was skeptical.  I have giant calves.  I like to pretend they’re solid muscle, but well… Either way, compression socks are hard to find.  Frequently, they’re way too small on me, or they’re so stretched that any cute factor is gone.  I end up with boring men’s sizes and colors.  But even though my shoe size and height indicate that I should wear a S/M, Susan sent me the L/XL, and oh my goodness, these things are awesome.  They fit perfectly, and look cute too.  The pair I was sent isn’t being made as part of the first run, but I think the Om pattern in blue is super adorable too.

CHf8KCDWwAA0ushI’ve worn mine after all three of my most recent triathlons and I can honestly say that they’re some of the best compression socks I’ve worn.  They’re comfortable and cute.  I would definitely wear these in public, which is certainly not the case with a lot of compression gear.  (I mean, I’m no fashion plate, so I wear compression gear in public, but I know I’m not making the best impression.)

If you are a lady with curvier legs and have struggled to find good compression socks, these are definitely for you.  Not to worry, smaller calved ladies, you are set too.  Thank goodness for size options!

89593f592b971f974ec5ae4734887489_originalLily Trotters is entering their final days of their Kickstarter campaign, and while they’ve already made their goal, now is a great time to get in on a pair or two for yourself!  Quality compression socks are expensive, but for only $37, you can support this great company and get yourself a pair from this first run.  They’re going to be more expensive once they’re on the market this fall, so consider getting a pair or two or three NOW.  You won’t regret it.

Of course, which pair(s) will you choose?

Disclaimer: I was sent a pair of Lily Trotters socks to try out, but the comments are my own.  I am a backer of their Kickstarter and really love these socks.

DeskCycle Review

I received a DeskCycle to try in exchange for this review.  All comments are my own.

Features600Over the past few weeks, I have had the chance to try out the DeskCycle under desk bike. I have toyed with the idea of getting some sort of a cycling product for under my desk, so I jumped at the opportunity to try this out.

I was not disappointed.

IMG_0662.JPGNote: I am never going to argue that the Desk Cycle counts as a workout. It does not. But does it make sitting at your desk all day slightly less unhealthy?  I think so. I am a chronic fidgeter, so for me, this was a different way to add motion to my work day.
IMG_0663.JPG As expected, the Desk Cycle comes packaged in parts so you have to put it together, but the instructions were easy and also pretty obvious. Put base on. Put pedals on. Set up and start pedaling.  It’s also easy to take back apart for ease in moving.  It’s quite sturdy when assembled.  And it’s heavy!  It’s not going anywhere when you pedal.

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There is no good way to take a picture of your feet pedaling.

This thing is great.  It uses magnetic resistance, so it’s pretty much silent, which makes it great for using in the office.  The pedal motion is incredibly smooth.  And the resistance is adjustable.  Personally, I like it at a high resistance so I can just pedal slowly.  I joked to a coworker that it’s how I power my brain.  Very slow pedaling to make the cogs in my head turn.   I’m sure you could pedal quickly at a low resistance and high cadence, but that sounds like it would make working a bit more challenging.  Though it could be something to occupy you while you’re on a muted conference call.

One weird thing I noticed is that using this has really improved my posture.  Because of the positioning of the pedals, I can’t slouch while I sit at my desk.

The DeskCycle does come with a display so you can see your speed and calorie burn.  But even the creators of DeskCycle say it’s not quite accurate.  It all depends on what resistance they have the bike set at.  But they have a calculator on the website so you can input your resistance and the data from the display to figure out how many calories you’re burning.

My opinion on that?  Ignore it.  Ignore all of the calorie burn calculations.  Are you burning more calories than you would be just sitting?  Probably.  But to me, if you’re calculating your calorie burn, then you’re treating this as a workout.  This isn’t a workout.  To me, it’s an antidote to the effects of sitting all day.  Think of it the same way you would think of a standing desk. You’re working muscles there too, but you wouldn’t consider it a workout or think about how many calories you’ve earned.

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I’m pretty sure they wouldn’t recommend riding with flip flops. I’m a rebel.

What do my coworkers think of the DeskCycle?  Well, at first they thought I was insane.  (But I’m not sure that’s because I have a bike under my desk.   I think that’s just their general opinion.)  But now they’re jealous.  More than once, I’ve come back from a meeting to find someone pedaling away at my desk while they review a document.

The DeskCycle doesn’t have to be used at a desk.  For a while, I had it underneath my dining room table, where I often work.  I also tried it in front of the tv.  (My road bike was on the trainer next to me, mocking me silently.)  It was a littler harder to use on the couch, since my couch is pretty deep, but you could make it work if you wanted to.

So if you’ve considered some sort of under desk bike to add a bit of movement to your workday, I can’t recommend this enough.  The DeskCycle is a great, high quality product.  It’s quiet, won’t distract your coworkers, and lets you get a bit of “exercise” while you work.

This has been a sponsored review by DeskCycle.  All thoughts and opinions are my own.

Diet-to-Go – New Meal Review!


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I am starting this post with full disclosure.  I am a Diet-to-Go Ambassador and was provided these meals for review for free.  I do receive compensation for anyone who signs up.  (Gotta pay for webhosting somehow!)  But I also make it a policy to not endorse any product I don’t or won’t actually use myself.  Check out the end of the post for a discount code!

I just finished up a new week of Diet-to-Go meals.  I have used DTG meals on and off for a few years now and they just keep getting better.

What is Diet-to-Go?  Diet-to-Go is a company that sends you fresh, healthy meals to help you eat well on a busy schedule.  The meals are freshly made and then frozen before they are sent to your door.

There are a couple of options as to what menu you can get.  There is traditional low-fat, vegetarian, and low carb.  The traditional and vegetarian menus come in either a 1200 calorie option or a 1600 calorie option.  (These are newly listed as Men’s and Women’s, probably the only thing I disapprove of with this company.)  I, however, like the 1200 calorie plan because I like to have snacks during the day, so I can supplement my eating with some snacks and not feel deprived.  You can get a 5 day plan or a 7 day plan.  I like the 5 day because it allows me to eat out occasionally without finding that I’m overrun by extra meals.  Plus I can actually cook for myself on the weekends.

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Diet-to-Go sends you all of your meals in a large styrofoam cooler, each individually packaged and labeled.  They also send you a menu of when to eat each meal, but you can mix and match as you see fit.

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The meals are really pretty tasty.  They also do what they can if you have menu preferences.  You can make meal swaps if there’s something you don’t like.  I’m not a fan of raw onions or giant pieces of onion in things, and I let them know.  This meant that one of my lunches got swapped out.  No complaints here!  They knew what I didn’t like and they took care of it for me.  But I also love that I can sub in some of my favorite meals if I want on any given week.

I’m not a great photographer and I didn’t want to try to edit these photos to make them look all professional.  You want to know what you’re getting, right?  Not what someone can make them look like.  So here are my meals, photographed lovingly by me.  With my iPhone.  I’m so fancy.

In addition to being tasty, I have to rave about the best part of Diet-to-Go.  You aren’t stuck in a crazy plan.  It’s easy to sign up for a week here and there.  You aren’t stuck signing up for a month.  Know that you have a busy week coming up?  You can schedule a week’s worth of meals to arrive at your house and then you can easily have the meals stop.  No gimmicks. No tricks to keep you in the program.  They’re a very respectable company, and it’s one of the biggest things I appreciate about them.  So many of these “diet” companies hook you in with contracts.  Not Diet-to-Go.

You also don’t have to eat the meals as scheduled.  Get five days worth, shove a few in your freezer.  Maybe you eat two this week and three next week.  There are so many options.

Diet-to-Go has given me an awesome promo code.  Enter DTGA110 at checkout to get 25% off your first order of any meal plan.  Try it out!  It’s great for anyone with a busy lifestyle or who just hates spending time in the kitchen.

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