Rave: Getting in shape for spring

It’s finally getting warmer out, which means it’s time for all of us hibernators to get back into a real fitness
routine (don’t give us that look) so we can fit into our swimmers from last summer (remember those?). One of the easiest, most enjoyable ways to get into shape is to run. Time spent outside in the great outdoors, no gym fees and all you need are two feet and a heartbeat (well, and maybe a few other things). Here are some tips for getting into the runner’s groove and excited about running. It IS possible to be excited about running, we promise.

Start small, work up
Everyone says start slowly and work your
way up to being a long-distance (or short-distance) runner. Starting out with short bursts of speed has been proven to build momentum, so try jogging for three minutes and sprinting for one. Couch to 5K is a helpful downloadable program for
people starting from zero and implementing a fitness routine into their lives,
at their pace. 

Go from this…

…to this!
Pick a kick-ass playlist

     You know the difference between Norah Jones
and
Girl Talk? One makes you want to jump in a bubble bath, the other makes you
want to do everything at hyperspeed. A good playlist can really make the
difference between a good workout and a great one, so make sure you have tracks
with good beats.
Podrunner.com is a great website for downloading running mixes
– you can even choose music to go along with your pace. Music selections range from 120 to 181 BPM. 


Run with friends
You just can’t sleep in if it means your
friend is left at the end of your driveway. She’ll kill you. So get a foolproof
way to get out there on the track, the street, the gym, the treadmill… running with
friends allows you to catch up while burning serious calories.


Ever heard of The Color Run?  If you and your friends are feeling adventurous, head down to
Montreal on Saturday, August 17 for the most outrageous 5K you’ll ever
join. Participants are encouraged to wear white, so when completely doused with paint during the run they can take home a colourful keepsake at
the end. 

Keep it consistent
You can’t just run a 10K every time you feel the urge. No
matter how ready to run you feel, overexerting yourself will just hurt you in
the long run. So use an app or website like mapmyrun.com to log your runs
every day (or every other day, every three days, we’re not perfect), making sure you’re not overdoing it and track
your improvements over time.


Wear the right gear
We’ve all had running shoes that just ended
up doing more harm than good. Nobody likes blisters or bruises (it’s almost sandal season!) so making sure you have reliable footwear is really important. We like Reebok RealFlex Strength TR shoes – they provide traditional flexibility and lightweight feel, plus extra mid-foot stability. Forget Red Bull – these will give you wings. And they’re cute.



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Rave: Learn to like running

We have a love-hate relationship with running here on the fourth floor. Love: being completely energized and refreshed post-run (and post-shower), knowing you just burned a couple hundred calories, and that muscles-are-sore-in-the-best-way-possible feeling. Hate: being a sweaty, red-faced mess in public, being unable to catch your breath, and feeling like you may die at any moment. Some of us are newbie and/or wannabe runners, and wanted to share our tips for how to actually like running… or at least stop hating it.

First thing’s first: Don’t underestimate the power of a brisk walk to warm up and post-run stretching. This article from the Globe and Mail notes pre-run stretching can be counter-productive and compares stretching to piece of gum. “You put it in your mouth and chew it for 10 minutes – then take it out and stretch it. Voila! It stretches with ease. Take that same piece of gum out of your mouth and put it on a table, then try to stretch it 10 minutes later when it’s cold. It stretches with resistance and snaps. Muscles work very much the same way.” Try these post-run stretches from Huffington Post.





Next, have realistic expectations and set a goal. You will not be able to run 5k right off the bat, and if you try, you will most likely never run again. Ease yourself into it with an app like Couch to 5k, a running program designed to get just about anyone from the couch to running five kilometers or 30 minutes in just nine weeks. It alternates walking and running intervals, gradually increasing the run over nine weeks, until you are able to run 5k or 30 minutes non-stop. RunKeeper is another cool app that lets you enter a target pace at the start of your activity and get coached on whether you are ahead/behind that pace through your headphones, along with tracking how far you went, how long it took you, and the route you travelled. 







RunKeeper app.

Running is easy on the wallet given it’s free and you can do it just about anywhere, but we do recommend investing in a quality pair of shoes, if nothing else. A good pair of shoes will absorb the impact on your bones and joints, saving your knees and shins. We like Reebok Runtone – the airpods on the outsole create micro-instability, activating your muscles as you stabilize yourself, while the synthetic mesh offers breathability for your feet.

Something else worth investing in, especially for our larger-chested friends, is a decent sports bra. Our friend at Happy or Hungry who has big nungas herself (as she calls them), has done the research and recos the Ta Ta Tamer from Lululemon. Cheaper bras are okay for strength training and yoga, etc. but you’ll definitely want to keep strapped in on the run, so it’s worth the trip to Lulu.

Ta Ta Tamer II from Lululemon.


Some other easy ways to enjoy your run include making a killer playlist (try not to listen to these songs until your run so you are pumped when you hear them!), listening to an audio book, or catching up on Mad Men (when on the treadmill). Basically, make your run interesting so you’re not focused on the hard parts. Switching from the treadmill to an outdoor jaunt can help too – a change of scenery can do wonders.


We’d run every day if this was our view: shirtless Matthew McConaughey.

And remember: You don’t have to run fast. You just have to run.

Fashion-able: Packing Petite and Pretty

One open closet. One empty suitcase. The natural inclination is to hurl all your clothes into that duffel and be on your merry way to the airport – you never know what you might need. But if you don’t have an entourage à la Mariah Carey, you may want to rethink bringing the whole wardrobe shebang.
 With our tips, you can alleviate the backbreaking labour of carting around your precious cargo.
Here are our top tips for traveling light and stylish on your next vacation.
Colour coordinate all your outfits. Opt for neutrals like black, white, khaki and denim, and throw in a pop of colour in the form of a lacy camisole, chunky necklace or fitted tee. All pieces that pack punch without taking up prime real estate in your suitcase.
Toss in strong, re-wearable pieces that can take your jeans and tee or fab maxi dress into the evening hours. A blazer or leather bomber jacket can easily help dress up an outfit for a night out on the town.
   
We heart Top Shop for cute pieces like this one!
Accessories, accessories, accessories. Rework a solid mini by pairing it with a patterned belt one day, and shoulder-grazing earrings the next. 
Bring one pair of neutral heels (a la Princess Kate) and toss in a pair of metallic flats. If you’re doing any outdoor exploring that requires runners, wear them to the airport. Your luggage will be lighter and if you need to run to catch a flight, you’ll be ready. 
 
Even style mavens need to lace up every now and again.
Stash a spare pair of knickers, a simple tee and a bathing suit into your purse or carry-on bag. If your luggage gets lost (knock on wood), you will have some essentials to tide you over until you can hit up the closest Forever 21 for some cheap replacement pieces. Toss in a toothbrush too – an essential item to feeling fresh.
 Your mecca should luggage go astray. 
If you are packing fashionably, you might as well cart your cargo in an equally chic case. For the serious traveller, we recommend the Rimowa Salsa Air series – durable, light-weight and perfect for stashing in the overhead compartment.  
Pretty cases, all in a row.
Image source.
For the manly man, Filson offers similarly durable and rugged luggage that will stand the test of time. Try the extra large Wheeled Duffel (you know your significant other will need some space on the return trip, too).

Bon voyage and safe travels.

Rave: Reebok Crossfit Regional Games

Do you think you’re fit? You may have some doubts after seeing the elite athletes competing in the 2011 Reebok|Crossfit Regional Games –  the world’s premier test to find the Fittest on Earth.

Check out those pecs. On both of them.

Check out these super beings and their fit bods this weekend! 63 individual men and women and 21 teams from Eastern Canada will be pitted against each other in a head-to-head competition for the chance to qualify for the finals in California this July. 
Serious muscles.

Once qualified, they’ll have the opportunity to win a piece of the $1,000,000 (US) prize and the titles of Fittest Man and Fittest Woman on Earth.
Definitely a contender for Fittest Woman on Earth, no?

Head to the MasterCard Center in Etobicoke this weekend (Friday to Sunday) and watch them lift, pull and press their way to victory. Tickets are just $25, which gives you access to all three days (buy them here). 

We guarantee that these three days will inspire you to get into bikini-season shape! 

Small ladies, big power.

More info about the Reebok|Crossfit Games here. See you there. (Find them on Twitter @crossfitgames and on Facebook).

Rave: Reebok EasyTone

Christina talks about her experience with our client Reebok’s latest fitness apparel line, EasyTone.

Background: The idea behind the line is that the clothes inspire women to move with intention. 
 
The ResisTone resistance bands in the tops are designed to improve posture and correct alignment during activity. 



The resistance bands in the bottoms are designed to tone and strengthen muscles while you move.
Christina’s experience:
To help me stick to my New Year’s resolution, I was given the opportunity to test out the recently launched EasyTone apparel from Reebok. 

Armed with Reebok’s black EasyTone capris and black EasyTone sleeveless shirt, I decided to put these clothes through the ringer. Over three weeks, I wore it to the weight room, spin class and the kickboxing studio.

 Reebok gear helped Christina pull this move off (almost).
My initial impression of the gear (before attempting to workout) was that it looked pretty cute, and I was excited to sport the outfit in public. The cut of the capris is very flattering and the top is the perfect length, hitting at the hip bone, just where I like my shirt to end. The fit was a little tighter than the usual workout gear, but after a few minutes of strutting around the house, I felt my inner fitness diva coming out.
After my first few workouts, I noticed I like these clothes better than other fitness clothing I’ve worn, hands down. The built-in resistance bands in the shirt made me stand up straighter (or while I was spinning, sit up straighter). I’m a bit of a sloucher, so anything that can improve this is a definite bonus! 
The resistance bands in the pants are invisible, which, in my opinion, made them more comfortable. I could feel them making my legs work twice as hard, and felt like they were toning even more intensely. 
Added bonus: the bottoms are made from thicker material than most other gear, causing any bumps or lumps (everyone has them!) to be flattened and smoothed out. I also noticed that sweat evaporated off the material very quickly. Amazing. 
Reebok spokesperson and trainer Julie Marsland with Sarah Kelsey
I recommend the EasyTone gear to anyone that wants a workout with added benefits, like improved posture or a toned derrière. Plus, the fact that they’re stylish helps when you’re hitting the gym, track, trail or even shopping for groceries!
EasyTone apparel is available at select Sport Chek locations across Canada.
EasyTone bottoms include pants ($79.99), capri pants ($69.99) and shorts ($54.99, coming in April).
EasyTone upper body apparel includes long bra styles ($64.99), short-sleeved ($59.99) and sleeveless ($54.99) shirts

Twitter: @ReebokCanada
Facebook: Reebok Women