Wednesday, December 30, 2015

RAD Roller and HELIX Review

There are so many options of foam rollers, self-massage tools, and vitamins that claim to help you recover faster or become more injury resistant.  They come in all shapes and sizes, cost anywhere from a little to a lot, and help to focus on different areas of your body.  I saw a roller called the HELIX from RAD Roller.  It had a very different shape than many of your typical foam rollers or sticks.  I was fortunate enough to be able to test out the HELIX and another product that they offer called the RAD Roller, their original product.

RAD Roller is based out of Boulder Colorado, one of the healthiest places in America.  Michael Mallory, a biomechanics specialist, and Dan McIntosh, a professional triathlete, came up with the idea to fill a void in the massage tool industry.  They wanted to create a massage tool that could be used on the back that would not put pressure on the bones in your back and neck.  This is a common complaint I have with almost every foam roller out there.  That is where the RAD Roller came into existence. 

After a short time, the RAD Roller was expanded from the original (blue) to a firmer model (black) and a softer model (green).  They look like two racquetballs that are attached in the center.  The balls dig into the areas along your spine in your neck and back, but the gap between the balls does not put pressure on the spine itself.  I have found that my back and neck are two areas where I really have to take care of because they are areas that I tend to be more injury prone. In fact, I have had neck pain off and on for years and after only a few weeks of using the RAD Roller, I have notice a significant reduction in neck pain.  All I have to say is WOW!!!

The HELIX is another great tool for unlocking stiffness in your neck and back and is also great for flushing out toxins from your muscles.  The HELIX is 12.5 inches long and 3 inches wide.  It only weighs one pound and is has a unique shape.  RAD Roller designed the HELIX shape to mimic the double helix, which are the building blocks of our bodies.  The design, like the RAD Roller, has a void in the center of the roller to ensure that you do not put pressure on your spine.  It doesn’t make sense to hurt yourself when you are trying to relieve stiffness does it? 

I have to say that I really like both the RAD Roller and HELIX.  I find that the RAD Roller can be used to work out knots and stiffness in almost any muscle.  It really gets into those muscles in ways that larger foam rollers cannot.  I tested the original RAD Roller and found that the stiffness was just right for me.  The HELIX is great for really working on your back and neck.  I found that it took a little while to get used to the smaller diameter because I was used to larger diameter foam rollers. Don’t let this scare you though.  The HELIX truly does work muscles in ways a traditional foam roller cannot. 

The main reason why they made their products the sizes that they do is to make sure that they are easy to pack for your family vacations or races out of town.  Try doing that with your 3 foot long foam roller. Click here for HELIX exercises. Click here for RAD Roller exercises.

Great Prices
Can easily travel with you.
Can release tension and toxin in hard to reach areas
Multiple firmness options for the RAD Roller

RAD Rollers’ Media Links:

I am so glad that I stumbled across the RAD Roller and HELIX.  They are both amazing products that could really take your recovery and training to the next level.  You can pick up the RAD Roller for $24.99 and the HELIX for $49.00.   They are both available on the RAD Roller website and at Amazon.  They also offer kits that include multiple RAD Roller products.  Check them out and let me know what you think.

Note:  I received this product in exchange for a review.  The review is my personal opinion of the product and I was not required to give a particular opinion of it.  I am not a doctor, so please use all of the products that I review at your own risk.

Monday, December 28, 2015

Why does your skin burn after running in the cold?

I ran my long run of 10 miles last night at about 7:00 pm.  The temperature was about 40 degrees when I started and dropped to about 37 degrees by the time I finished.  I was wearing running tights (not insulated), wool socks, a long sleeve top, and a light weight vest.  Other than my hands being cold on occasion, I felt quite comfortable. 

When I got home, I stretched for a second and then jumped in the shower.  I couldn’t wait to warm up a little.  After about a minute of being in the warm water, I developed patches of red, itchy skin on my belly and legs and it started to burn.  What the heck just happened to me?  I decided to do some research as to what I was experiencing and how to treat it.

According to an article from Runner’s World, your skin vasoconstricts, which may be just short of getting frostbite.  Your skin turns red and burns when your skin is cold and you decide to jump in the shower.  The warm water increases blood flow, which in turn allows your body to release chemicals like cytokines and leukotrienes.  That is what causes the discomfort.  The good news is that this doesn’t actually hurt the skin or blood, but is a harsh reminder to layer up for your next cold weather run.  

While this condition does not bring any long term effects, the next step is frostbite.  Frostbite is quite dangerous and can cause permanent damage including the possible loss of limbs.  The solution is simple; dress in layers.  There are tons of insulated running tights that you can find on Amazon or Road Runner Sports (RRS Men) (RRSWomen) starting as low as $30.  Just remember, you can take layers off if you get too hot.  There are tons of packable jackets and vests out there that will fold up into a little pouch and fit in your pocket.  I usually like to just tie my jacket around my waist when I am done with it.  While it doesn’t get as cold in Sacramento as it does in many parts of the nation, I will be layering better for my next cold run.

Thursday, December 24, 2015

Pistachio Chewy Bites Review

I am always looking for healthy snacks, but a majority of the snacks out there have too much sugar, artificial ingredients, or tastes horrible.  I had the opportunity to try Pistachio Chewy Bites from Setton Farms. 

Setton Farms is located just North of Bakersfield, California.  Setton Farms sells pistachios, nuts, dried fruit, edible seeds, snacks, trail mixes and confections, offering over 1,000 different snack products. They have been recognized as a leader in the snack industry for over 50 years.  Don’t let their success fool you though, they strive to offer products that are synonymous with superior quality, innovation, and great taste.

The Pistachio Chewy Bites contain Roasted unsalted pistachios, dried cranberries (cane sugar, sunflower oil), agave syrup, brown rice syrup, sunflower oil, natural cranberry flavor, and sea salt.  That’s it!!!  Each serving (2 bars) is 210 calories, 13 grams of healthy fats, 16 grams of carbs, 3 grams of fiber, 8 grams of sugars, and 7 grams of protein.  This is a great pre or post workout shack because you get natural carbs to help fuel your workout and protein for rebuilding your muscles. 

I really liked the taste and texture of the Pistachio Chewy Bites.  There are over 50% pistachios in each bite.  The balance of pistachios to cranberries is very good.  Pistachio Chewy Bites are gluten and dairy free, are a great source of dietary fiber, and vegan friendly.  They have no preservatives either. 

Decent price for an all-natural product
Tastes great
Individually packaged for on-the-go snacking

Setton Farms’ Media Links:

The taste and the fact that the Pistachio Chewy Bites are made with 100% natural ingredients is a huge selling point in my opinion.  In a world where almost everything is made with artificial ingredients, it is nice to know that there are snacks that are still healthy.  You can purchase your Pistachio Chewy Bites on Amazon for $7.79 + shipping.  You get 6 bites or 3 servings (because there are 2 squares per serving size).  Puritan's Pride is offering a buy 1 get 1 free so you get 2-packs of 6 bites for $12.99 + shipping.  Also, several major grocery stores carry Pistachio Chewy Bites as well.  They retail for $1.99 for a 1-serving pack.  Get yours today and let me know what you think.

Note:  I received this product in exchange for a review.  The review is my personal opinion of the product and I was not required to give a particular opinion of it.  I am not a doctor, so please use all of the products that I review at your own risk.

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Therawheel Review

In the world of recovery, there are tools that come in all different shapes and sizes.  I have tried rollers, lacrosse balls, roller sticks, foot rollers, and compression gear.  I got the Therawheel to test out and I was excited because it combines an ab roller and tool to roll out muscles.

The Therawheel was designed by Certified Athletic Trainer Tom Jennings.  Tom has over 25 years in the sports and fitness field.  He has helped people from the weekend warrior to Olympic athletes prevent and recover from injures.  Tom also spent 6 years working for the Indiana Pacers. 

The Therawheel looks like an ab roller, which is not a new tool.  Tom took this idea to a whole new level by making small changes in the design for use in trigger point release is new.  Tom made the wheels concaved with wider and thinner sections, depending on what part of the wheel you use on your muscles.  I really liked this aspect of the Therawheel because it made it simple to adjust the amount of intensity you wanted to use on a specific muscle. 

I tried the Therawheel Core.   This model has two wheels that are attached to a padded shaft.  The wheels roll easily and you can find several video’s on YouTube if you type Therawheel in the search bar.  Here are two videos that are common injuries for new runners.    

Multiple uses (massage/exercise)
Decent price
Can adjust intensity easily

Therawheel’s Media Links:

I really like the Therawheel.  It really got into some muscles like no other tool I have tried.  In my testing, I used the Therawheel for ab workouts and some existing issues that are a result of my marathon training.  The Therawheel Core costs $49.95 an can be purchased at the Therawheel website.  I will continue to foam roll and stretch, but the introduction of the Therawheel is just another tool that will help me to remain injury free and work through any injuries that I experience.

Note:  I received this product in exchange for a review.  The review is my personal opinion of the product and I was not required to give a particular opinion of it.  I am not a doctor, so please use all of the products that I review at your own risk.