Friday, June 18, 2010

My Thumbs Up/ Thumbs Down List

Throughout this crazy year, I have been able to find a lot of products, services and companies which I feel are noteworthy enough to include in my blog. I have 2 lists a Thumbs Up List and a Thumbs Down List. Obviously the Thumbs Up list are companies or products with which I have had very good experiences with and the Thumbs Down list are the ones I am not thrilled with. Of course your personal experiences may differ from mine, but with ALL of the things that are out there... I figured it might be a nice jumping off point for people.

******* we interrupt this blog for a brief disclaimer*******

I certainly am not Oprah, and I am not getting paid for my opinion on any of these companies. I do not received anything free, and have no interest in any of these companies successes or failures. These are strictly MY opinions based on my OWN experiences at these particular companies.

***** End Disclaimer*******

As I was saying, my list grows daily based on items that I come in contact with that I particularly enjoy.

So, briefly I will give you a rundown of what I have posted so far:

Bike Forums- I can not tell you enough what a helpful group of people post on this forum. Most are bikers first- a lot are also Triathletes or at the very least compete in Aqua Bikes or Dualthons if not full Triathlons. You will find everything on this site from training tips, nutrition, tips for biking, tips for training, and even forums broken down by geographic location. They are SO much nicer than the people at Beginner Triathlete. If you are looking for people to answer questions for you on just about any subject this would be the place to go to.

I found it entirely by accident, googling local bike paths, but I am glad I did. Every Manic Panic moment I had leading up to race day was answered quickly and honestly from people who had experienced the same things I had. And, they are Clydesdale/Athena friendly (even have a whole forum dedicated to the Tubs!)

Gatorade I know a lot of the hard core athletes and trainers are going t disagree with me on this one. But I am really impressed with the new line that Gatorade has out. Its the G line. G1 is for priming (taken fifteen minutes before a workout) G2 is taken during an INTENSE workout (this isn't for a thirty minute jog around the park) and the G3 is taken post workout/ recovery.

I used it during my brick sessions as well as on Triathlon Day and I felt great using them.

Junonia This is a great website for women to go to for all of their sports gear needs. Especially if you are a plus size or a super-plus (their gear goes all the way up to a 6X (32-34) . So many times I hear my really heavy friends say "I wish someone would make legitimate workout clothes for someone like me... " and this place does, It is where I purchased my Triathlon suit from. They also have normal workout clothes as well as swim suits and every day clothing.

Bras - Especially with plus size women, but really anyone who was kissed by the boob-fairy and is naturally well endowed, there is always an issue with "the girls" when working out. For me, personally, I have never been able to find a sports bra that gives me the support and coverage I need without feeling like I am being squished into a mammogram chamber of a bra. Most sports bras simply press the girls up against your body so hard that they practically go numb.

I had numerous friends suggest Enell Bras. And I do own two of these, but I have to say, even Enell Bras hold the girls flat against the body, instead of holding them up like a normal bra would.

This is why I decided to try the Shock Absorber Bra in the first place. The Magazine Article that I read said that it was a bra designed to move with the bodys "Natural Movements" without "restricting" So pretty much it allowed the girls to do what the do without making them feel like potatoes in the masher.

I 100% suggest this bra for any woman who is a size C or bigger. Most of you will be able to order them right off of Amazon. I believe the Amazon site has sizes up to a D. If you need a DD or beyond, you'll need to contact Shock Absorber directly to workout a shipping arrangement to the US.

This bra is also great in the water, which was the other issue I had with Enell. Enell is lined in cotton or some form of breathable fabric, which once wet chafes like no ones business...and if anyone has ever experienced chafing in not so pleasant areas, it is NOT fun. The shock absorber bra dries quickly, and always stays comfortable, breathable and does not shrink, bind or in any way deform while it dries or sits wet against your body.

This is absolutely the best bra I have ever owned. Worth every penny! (and no, they are not cheap. I believe they are about fifty dollars)

Swimming Gear I do not have near enough experience in biking or running to feel knowledgeable enough to give any suggestions on those sports, but considering I come from a swimming background. Here are a few things I think ANYONE training for a triathlon needs:

Swim Plan- this website will workout great plans for you to use to build up skill and endurance. It works and changes as your skills sets improve and you can change up the workouts as often as you like. If you are following a typical light medium heavy swm workout schedule, I would suggest creating three workouts for yourself each time you ask for a new workout so that you can alternate between the tree.

Swim Outlet dot com- They have hands down the best prices on the internet for anything under the sun swimming wise. They also have a Triathlete section but they are not Tubby Friendly (neither are their swimsuit sections if you are a super plus.) If you wear a sie 20w and below you will be fine on this site. Some suits say size 24 but when I purchased and wore them, the show I gave to the early morning crowd was enough to scare me off those suits (even still today) because they are cut with a normal swimmers physique in mind and not a tubbys (really, ridiculously high on the leg area.... and when you think of most tubs, there is usually a pleasant roll of chub that protrudes from that general area.....)

While we are on the subject of Swim Outlet- here are my favorite swimming supplies:

Speedo Vanquisher Goggles- least likely to fog, scratch, etc. They are mirrored so they #1 make you look bad ass and #2 protect your eyes if you swim outside (I dont know if they have as much protection as say polarized sunglasses do, but they def help with the glare of the sun off the water)

Zoomers by Finis- ANYONE looking to develop their stroke should work with fins. I am not kidding- there are so many people that say no no its not needed just work on stamina, work on stroking, work on building up your laps.. but the key to a good swimmer is strong legs, proper kicking and strong arms and proper stroke return.

Zoomers are the BEST fin out there. Plus for the ladies, they make your legs look really toned and defined. - perfect for short and skirt season. If you are just starting out with them- use the blue ones either just with a kickboard or in combination with your swimming.

And, do NOT and I repeat do NOT trust any swim gear by Nike. Nike needs to stick to what it knows... Running. For swimming, the brands that are your safest bets are Speedo (the original swim gear company) and TYR - anything else, I wouldn't trust.

I think that is everything. Hopefully, this little section will be helpful to you.

I have a list of dislikes as well... I think they are pretty self explanatory if they havent been included in this post already.