Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Toning Clothing Review and Giveaway!

Toning apparel falls into three categories: underwear, compression garments and workout clothes - each with their own science to back up their claims.

First up was the Shapercise. They promise to "increase energy expenditure during daily activities" through the use of special resistance bands. While I did not feel any pump in my panties (I'm sorry, I can't help it!), they did suck me in and smooth me out beautifully and for half the price of Spanx. It would be difficult to measure if they did actually help me burn extra calories but they were comfy and looked good under clothes.

Next were the SKINS compression capri tights. Made for athletes, the science behind using compression to aid performance and speed muscle recovery is pretty solid. SKINS uses a special "gradient compression" to enhance circulation and give you that little edge. (And you'll pay for it, these babies aren't cheap.) So how did they feel? Embarrassing. When they say SKINS, they do mean they will fit you like a second skin. They make Katy Perry's liquid latex suit look chaste. And they're about as flattering as latex. My tushie was compressed into non-existence and my waist-skin overfloweth. And yes this led to a wardrobe malfunction (more on that later). But once I got over myself (I mean the whole point of compression pants is that they're really tight, right?) and tested them out in my wicked-hard bootcamp class I was impressed to find that the compression felt really awesome on my legs. I also wasn't sore the next day and I usually am. These really do what they say they will. You just won't look supercute doing it.

Lastly there are the toning clothes - shirts, tanks, capris, shorts, pants and tights all with built-in panels designed to "create extra resistance as you move" thereby activating more muscles and burning more calories. I tried out the Fila toning pants, wearing them to several workouts ranging from weight lifting to TurboKicking. Did they help my muscles? Who cares? I've never had so many compliments on my butt! And I probably burned some extra calories what with having to check out my rear view in every reflective surface. As a workout pant, they are very tight but not uncomfortable. They're quite thick which minimizes indecent sweat marks but I didn't overheat. My only real complaint is the length. I'm 5'7" and these were high-waters on me. I kept tugging them down trying to make them at least hit my shoes but they didn't stay. My advice is if you are taller than 5'4" go with the shorts or the capris to avoid a length issue.

So, did the clothes live up to their ad hype? The Shapercise worked well as a body shaper but I'm not convinced it increased my calorie burn. The SKINS lived up to their science but failed in the cute department (on me anyhow, the models on their site look smokin'). And the Fila toning pants are the most butt-flattering pants I've ever worn plus they were comfy so if they do do anything toning-wise it would just be icing as I'd wear them anyhow.

Want to try some of your own? I've got one pair of Shapercise and one pair of Fila toning pants for two lucky readers! Just leave me a comment below to enter. Contest ends midnight Friday. (I have to keep it short or I forget I'm running one and that's just embarrassing.)

What do you think about the new toning clothing - fad or wave of the future? Have you ever tried any? Do science-y explanations usually make you want to buy the product or just make you roll your eyes?

Monday, October 11, 2010

Pop Chips Giveaway!

So I wanted to take a picture for you, food blogger style, of all the adorable little bags of chips lined up on my spotless counter with a hand-thrown ceramic bowl of fruit artfully arranged in the background but after the kids and I got to them, this was all that was left:

One sad, empty bag left all by its lonesome. I believe there were six flavors when we started. Those suckers go down easy. In addition to being tasty, the whole bag is only 100 calories and has no artificial flavors, colors, preservatives or freaky fats. As far as chips go - and it did crunch exactly like a regular chip - these babies get the gold medal.

Still. They will never top a Nerds Blizzard for me. I'm sorry but no salty snack will ever come between me and my ice cream filled with sour crunchy candy.

To win a whole box of Pop Chips plus a cool little chip clippy thing, just leave me a comment on this post telling me if you are a savory or sweet snacker. Or if you're a non-snacker and are offended at the way you were cruelly taunted. I'll try to pick the winner in a timely manner this time! Contest closes Friday at midnight.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

True Lemon Contest [c losed]

Every morning, the first thing I do when I wake up is to fill a quart-sized Mason jar with water, a couple of random herbal-tea bags and heat it up. I take sips off of it all morning until, by the time I leave for the gym, it's empty. Take that, puce pee! But all that flavored water gets a little boring day after day and, being as I'm not a fan of artificial sweeteners nor do I want to start off my day with a bucket-o-sugar, I've been stumped as how to mix up my morning mocktail.

Charlotte confession #485b: I licked lemons as a child. And I liked it. True, it's not as bad as paint chips but my dentist still shudders at the sorry state of my enamel. I just love sour, tangy flavors! But I also am too lazy and negligent in the produce department to keep lemons, limes or oranges on hand without them molding. Enter True Lemon (and True Lime and True Orange):

These little packets - one packet = one citrus wedge - are just crystallized fruit, nothing else. So this morning I added a packet of lime to my mint herbal tea and got a Mormon Mojito! Delish! From there I got creative with my little packets. I sprinkled lemon crystals on my fish, added orange crystals to my whole wheat banana muffins, and brought out the lime ones for - are you ready for this? - sticking on Jelly Bean's tongue! It is one of the unadvertised perks of parenting that you get to introduce these brand-new humans to their first tastes of, well, everything and then watch the hilarious faces they make. Oh sure, some people start their kids off on peaches or rice cereal or whatever. Wusses. Our kids get pickle juice, salsa (mild - we're not sadists), creamed spinach, curried hummus and, yes, lemons. Best. Friday. Night. Ever.

Charlotte confession #485c: I am a sucker for frozen lemonade. While I normally try to avoid artificial sweeteners, everyone's got to have a vice and mine's drink mix. Every night during the warm months, I fill my Mason jar with water, ice and a packet of 5-calorie drink mix that have been regurgitated by my Vita-Mix (a.k.a. the blender your blender wishes it smells like). Hawaiian Punch, Grape-Ade, Cherry Blast and other totally grown-up flavors often stain my lips but my all-time favorite is lemonade. The problem with drink-mix lemonade (I'm looking at you, Crystal Light) is that it tastes nothing like real lemonade. And I'm far too lazy to make lemonade from scratch. (Did you know it requires cooking?! Found that out the hard way when the kids asked why there was sand in their sour water.) But True Lemon's lemonade mix is divine. It tastes like actual lemons plus it has Stevia in it which, to my research-addled brain, is the least offensive of the calorie-free sweeteners.

My only complaint about the product is that there's a ton of excess packaging. The box is maybe 1/4 full? Just seems like a waste of cardboard but then I'm not a marketing person so what do I know? Also, why no true grapefruit?? Can I suggest that for the next flavor?

Want to try some yourself? Every single one of you can get a box for free! (I was going to write I feel almost Oprah-esque but then she had to go and give away trips to Australia to everyone and nobody is ever going to beat that. Ever.) All you have to do to claim your free box is UPDATE: go to their site and fill out this short form and they'll send you a coupons and free samples True Citrus products! FREE. Don't forget to follow them on Twitter and/or like them on Facebook for more opportunities. Also, leave a comment here and three of you (via the random number generator) will win the whole True Citrus product line!*

So tell me, do you hydrate during your workout? What is your preferred beverage? How do you feel about artificial sweeteners? Anyone want to tell me what color they'd describe their pee as?

*Thank you all so much for your helpful comments and opinions on my giveaway poll. Thanks to your responses I've decided to keep doing the giveaways (obviously) but to just stick to items that I really like and can get behind.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Shabby Apple Giveaway

Yes, I fantasize flouncing around Paris in a non-jelly-stained white dress. What - like you're actually counting reps or something? That's what I have Gym Buddies for. They count to 75 while I blather on about how my 3-year-old has lost 4 pairs of shoes this month (seriously!), our soft water makes my hair too soft and healthy, oh and in my next life I want to come back as a sexy secretary.Would I not rock this dress?

I mean, why else practice yoga if not so I could stand in a fabulous little frock like this without ending up in the drink (giving "boat pose" a whole new meaning)?

And all that core work will come in handy the next time I sit leisurely on the beach in my retro swimwear and fabbo huuuuge hat and earrings (I know, you can't swim in that getup but if you saw the lakes here you'd be happy on your beach blanket too):

Thanks to Shabby Apple, women's clothing company and dress makers extraordinaire, my fantasies are a little closer to reality. Not only do all of these fabulous dresses (and swimsuit) come from them but they also have a new line of women's fitness apparel. They sent me this adorbs firefly workout skirt (free) to try out:

Not being leggy and ultra-thin like their model here, I was a little worried about how form fitting the skirt was but after texting pics to all the girls the verdict was that the skirt was super cute. Indeed, Turbo Jennie said it was by far her fave of all my workout skirts. (Yes I own multiple workout skirts. You can plan the intervention later.)

I cropped it because I snapped this pic post-workout in just my sports bra - Gym Buddy Megan accused me of sexting her and frankly this is as close as I'm ever going to come so I hope she enjoyed it - and you don't need to see that. Also, my bathroom was really really messy. Pretend I'm standing in a field of flowers, basking in the sunshine and staring off into the middle distance whilst stretching my quad.

After running, lifting weights and kickboxing in it, I have to say I agree with Jennie. I love this skirt! First: See that nice wide non-muffin-top-making waistband? Their site says you can fold it down to show off your killer abs or leave it up to snug in your mummy tummy. Obviously I chose the latter and by golly it worked! Second: It comes with attached under-shorts and unlike every other pair of attached undershorts I've worn, these are nice and long! They hit under the fatty bulge at the top of my thigh rather than strangling it (I'm looking at you Adidas). My only complaint about the skirt is that the shorts are made of the same nubby fabric as the skirt so the skirt tends to ride up a little bit.

Want one for yourself? Shabby Apple is offering a free skirt to one GFE reader! Don't like to be as super-girly as I am? The winner can pick the Firefly Pose Skirt, the Goddess Pose Tank, King Dancer sports bra, or the Side Pose Crow shorts. To enter, leave me a comment on my original post telling me your fave item on the Shabby Apple site (and yes you can pick a dress to love on!). If you find something you love, GFE readers get 10% off your whole order for the next 30 days using the code Fitnessexperiment10off

Monday, April 5, 2010

Tag! You're It! Designs Necklace Giveaway

Awwwwww!!! I do! I love you!

To enter to win, head over to Sarah's site and click on her giveaway page. Enter the code "GFE" in the appropriate box along with your contact info. THEN go back to my original post and leave me a comment telling me what words you would put on your necklace.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Handful Bra Giveaway

Not only is it adorable but thanks to its deep-yet-not-porno-cleavage V, it makes feeding the Jelly Bean a snap which is saying a lot as traditional sports bras are ridiculously hard to breastfeed in and maintain any semblance of modesty. Bonus: it comes with removable pads that work great to catch leaks now and will offer much needed support when the girls need fluffing up after I've weaned the Jelly bean. My only complaint is that it doesn't come in more colors because I'm already ordering another one. Any of my sisters want to try out a Handful? (And no, you don't have to be a nursing mom to appreciate this!) Handful is offering a free bra to one GFE reader. To enter, leave me a comment on THIS post telling me which color you would pick!

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

I Live a Dirty Life ($200 Giveaway!)

This is a compensated review by BlogHer and Arm & Hammer.

"Mom, why can't we have a dog?" My son begged.

I gave my standard answer. "Because between you, your two brothers and sister, I already have enough butts to clean up after."

"But mom," he beamed as if he'd solved cold fusion, "dogs totally lick their own butts!" It will speak to his faultless reasoning skills, or my exhaustion, that I actually considered it for a moment before remembering this is the same child who suggested I buy a box of cereal because "it only has 6 pounds of sugar in it."

Butt wiping aside, the mess promulgated by 4 tiny kids is astounding - it's like living in a frat house: underwear on the table, food on the floor and enough pee on the bathroom walls you'd think we'd have just installed wall-to-wall urinals and been done with it. Thankfully they're short so the pee stays below shoulder level. But by far their most high maintenance habit - after their 2,000 piece Lego minefield - is the amount of laundry they generate. So when Arm and Hammer asked if I'd try out their new stain fighting gel detergent I knew I'd have plenty to test it out on. They were particularly interested in seeing if their stain-fighting powers were up to my family's love of the great outdoors.

See, we're a sporty bunch (they get that from their father) but we're also a klutzy bunch (they get that from their mother, along with sneezing in bright sunlight and a deep love of musical theater) so there isn't an item of clothing they own that hasn't been marred by dirt, grass, blood, mud, bug juice and, yes, poo. Take for instance last Saturday, the first beautiful spring day we've had. This is the result of an afternoon outdoors:


His older brother insisted on wearing his nice white dress shirt (Why not? I'm sure I'll have time to clean it before his next State Dinner.) to deleterious results:

But my favorite stain of the day is this one:

See the streak up the back? That's from running so fast through the puddles that it got him coming and going. My child needs MUD FLAPS.

Of course the socks were coated in filth:

Even the baby got in on the action by soiling 5 burp cloths, 7 bibs and one washrag. See, sometimes she manages to barf other places than in my hair or down my cleavage! In one day:

But - and here's where my mother-of-the-year badge loses some of its nickel-plated shine - what I really cared about was how this fancy laundry detergent cleaned my clothes. You all know what a sweaty betty I am and the number 1 reason I have to get rid of my cute workout tops is because I pit them out. What that means is that I sweat so much I stain the pits that nasty yellow cruddy color to the point of embarrassment:

See, I love this shirt but it's from the Venus Williams line for the now-defunct Steve & Barry's. Which means it's pretty much a limited edition, albeit a limited edition that cost me two dollars. When these pits give out - and you can already see the yellow creeping up into the unacceptable zone (i.e. the place where you can see it when my arms aren't lifted) - I can't replace it. Same goes with this awesome-from-Target t-shirt:

All of you who lived through the '80's know what the front says, right?? It's accompanied by my sweat towel which the Gym Buddies and I used to do P90X towel pull-ups, mop up a water bottle spill on the weight floor and wipe my face. Not in that order.

So that was the challenge. Five loads of laundry later... success on all stain fronts! There wasn't a single item of clothing that didn't come out pristine - even the socks. As for my nasty pit stains, while they weren't completely removed they did seem lighter so at least Venus and I can have a few more months of good sweaty times together. I'm sure she's as stoked about that as I am. Unexpected bonus: The Arm & Hammer gel has no phosphates and is entirely biodegradable! It also smells yummy - every time I pick up the Jelly Bean I have to give her a good truffle-hunting snort.

Want to try out some detergent of your own? Well first you need to get outside and make some stains! And Arm & Hammer wants to help you out in all your healthy living pursuits by giving one reader of this blog a $200 Visa gift card! That would buy a lot of detergent. Or Venus Williams workout tees. Or whatever you want, really! All you need to do is leave me a comment telling me your number one outdoor-related laundry woe. Are your pits yellowed like mine? Are your fave running tights stained where you ate it on your last trail run? Does your tank top smell like poo too??

For 7 more chances to win a $200 Visa gift card, check out the other reviews at special offers page

Official Rules

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Dick's Sporting Goods $50 Giftcard Giveaway

Dick's Sporting Goods is looking for fit-minded folk to be on its Starting Lineup Panel. This group gets to try out new fitness stuff. To be eligible to win the $50 gift card:

1. Send a tweet to @dickssportcmo with my Twitter name @CharlotteGFE telling them why you think I should be chosen. (sample tweet: @dickssportcmo I nominate @CharlotteGFE for the #startinglineup because she can't keep going to the gym panstless" - feel free to copy and paste that!) Leave me a comment on my original post simply saying "I Tweeted!" for one entry.

2. For a second entry, leave me a comment on my original post telling me what you would spend the $50 on. (example: I want skirtapris too so I can be just like Charlotte!)

3. For a third entry, tweet the link to my giveaway post or post the link on your blog! (Make sure and leave me a comment on the original post telling me you've done it!)

This contest will run for 1 week. The winner will be announced Monday March 17th!

PS> If you want to run for the Starting Lineup too, I'll totally vote for you as well! Yes, I realize that decreases my chances of getting on but I'm all about sharing the love with you guys:)