Archive of ‘DSB Review’ category

DSB Review: Jawbone UP24

Back in June, my friend Christina showed me and Andy her Jawbone. Neither of us had heard of it before, but we couldn’t stop thinking about.

So in November when Andy’s mom asked us what we wanted for Hanukkah, the answer was easy: the new Jawbone UP24.

As an active person — I run and take Refine classes, and I walk to and from work (and home at lunch to walk my pup) every day — I didn’t think there would be much value in tracking my steps. I was more interested in the sleep component.

As it turns out, the Jawbone’s ability to track steps has become a huge part of my life, and changed my activity levels for the better. The social aspect of the Jawbone app is motivating and entertaining, and I love knowing exactly how many hours a night I sleep.

To make this review simple, I’ll break down my thoughts in categories.

Jawbone UP24

Image: http://www.uncrate.com[/caption%5D

Step Tracking (Pedometer)
For a healthy adult, experts recommend 10,000 steps a day. I never cared about steps — As I mentioned, I run, I take Refine, I walk to work, etc.  What I learned about my own habits by wearing my Jawbone since November is that I easily take over 10,000 steps on a normal workday, but on weekends I fall far short. Relaxing is my favorite activity; I spend a lot of time on the couch!While a HIIT class like Refine comes with a multitude of health benefits, I don’t do very many actual steps there (though I get quite a lot on my way there and back!).

My Jawbone motivates me —  on weekends, I now make an effort to get my steps in. On snow days, I make an effort. On lazy vacation days, I make an effort.

[caption id="attachment_11360" align="aligncenter" width="230"]Jawbone steps summary Today’s steps – still a ways to go!

My friend Missy even ran up and down subway stairs last night at 11:30 pm to get 2,000 more steps in!

I can’t tell you how many nights Andy and I marched around our living room (sometimes I run back and forth) to get our steps in. We jog in place while watching TV. I take the dog on much longer walks than I would have on cold days to get my steps in. Sometimes, Andy and I go to the gym and walk on the treadmill just to get steps for the day — when we both would have easily been sitting on our asses doing nothing! We were just in Florida, and during the times we would have been lounging around, we instead set out to walk a couple laps of her community.

andy and grandma

Minor height difference

I can safely say the Jawbone has made a significant impact on my activity. I can’t believe how under-active I was (especially for someone who considers herself active). Sure, it sucks getting home, feeling tired and realizing I have to somehow fit in 5,000 more steps for the day — but I feel so much better after knowing I’m doing something positive for my health. As I say when I tweet about all my stepping adventures, #itworks.

App Praise
Along with the motivation from myself comes motivation from the iPhone app itself. The Jawbone praises me when I have successful streaks of 10,000 steps or more. Three days, five days, 21 days! I’m addicted to the praise! However, the praise stopped coming after 21. Now that I am on a streak of well over 50 days, I’m committed to making it to 100 out of pure curiosity — will the app praise me then?

The app also celebrates milestones, like the day I hit 1,000,000 steps. It’s fun.

Social Aspect
And then there are my friends. I can see how many steps they take and they can see how many I take. When any of my friends hits 10,000, I submit to them  happy emoticon through the app (there are two emoticon options  and they are pretty funny looking). If they fall under their goal, I either ignore it or give them the unhappy face (I do the same for their sleep).

I like knowing my friends can see my steps because it provides greater motivation to be awesome. My friend Ellen gets 30,000 steps all the time, so that motivates me. And I want to impress my friends!

My friend Christina’s mom is my Jawbone teammate (that’s what they call friends) and she is always impressed by my activity, which is just my day to day walking. Wait til she sees me marathon training! On that note, I’m excited to see how many steps a marathon is.

Dori and Missy in 2008

Me and Missy in our prettier days of 2008.

I have two favorite parts of the social aspect:

1. Missy.
SHE IS HILARIOUS. Every weekend, I wake up to see her well over 10,000 steps for the day. That is because she goes out dancing until the wee hours of the morning.  Then I check back later because I know her sleep will be short — about four hours — and very choppy, a mix of wakefulness and sleep. In sum, Missy is my #1 source of entertainment.

2. Andy.
I can tell if Andy walked the dog or not based on how many steps I see he’s taken. Knowledge is power.

Sleep Tracking
Jawbone sleep
The real reason I wanted a Jawbone in the first place is for the sleep tracking and alarm clock function. Every night when you to to bed, you press a button on the device. When you wake up, you press it again.

If you forget, you press a spot in the app to do it manually and in my experience, it is startlingly accurate on the time I went to bed and woke up!

I try not to forget though. Light blue indicates light sleep, dark blue is deep sleep and orange means you were awake. As you can see, I had a rough night starting at around 4 am. That’s usually when my GI pain kicks in.

The data also tells you how long it took you to fall asleep (after you pressed the sleep button), how long you were in bed for, how many hours was light and deep sleep, and how many times you woke up. You can also see the exact times you fell asleep and woke up.

Is this accurate? As for the times I fall asleep and wake up, yes. As for deep and light sleep, who knows? I like to think it is somewhat correct, but I mostly enjoy knowing exactly how many hours I get each night. And I get to see my friends’ sleeps (if they choose to share it) which is always interesting.

You can also set it for a power nap, to wake you in 30 minutes.

Alarm Clock

Jawbone alarm clockAnother feature I use often is the alarm clock. You can set it to wake you up by vibrating (a very nice way to be woken up, much better than a jarring alarm clock) when you are in a light sleep mode. This is because when you wake up during deep sleep, you might be more tired all day long than if you slept less but woke up while in light sleep. Fascinating! I have it set so that I put my latest possible wake-up time into the alarm, and give it permission to wake me up up to 20 minutes before that time if I am in light sleep.

You can adjust this setting however you like. I can’t speak for sure to its accuracy, but I like the idea of it.

Another bonus is that you can set multiple alarms for different days.

Idle Reminder
I have it set so that between the hours of  9am and 5 pm, my Jawbone vibrates if I’m idle for 45 minutes. You can set this however you’d like.

Workouts
Using the stopwatch function, you can begin and end a workout. After the workout, you select on the app screen what type of workout it was. They have a few pages of options, including run, walk, cross training (that’s how I designate Refine), elliptical and more. You input the intensity of your workout — easy, moderate, difficult, in the zone, gut buster — so it can estimate a calorie burn if you care about that. I wouldn’t really trust their estimate  though.

Some interesting things I’ve noticed: the elliptical counts as steps but the stairmill does not. I don’t know why that is but needless to say, I was pretty frustrated that my 20 minutes of climbing stairs didn’t count toward my total!

Food Tracking
That brings me to food tracking. Through the Jawbone app, you can input food you eat right down to the size (like, 1/8 cup strawberries, really precise) if you choose. You can also take photos of your food for the app to tally up. This function is primarily for people who want to assess calories in vs calories out. I don’t bother with this function, though I am sure some people find it very useful to see a log of all their food each day.

Alerts & Insights
In addition to the praise I mentioned above (which the app gives for both steps and sleep), there are a number of other alerts as well. On Saturday, my Jawbone app reminded me of how many steps I took the Saturday before and urged me to beat that day’s steps. I also have it set to send me a push notification when I reach 2,000, 4,000, 6,000, 8,000 and 10,000 steps each day, as well as a summary of the day so far at 4:30pm.

You can swipe down to see a quick summary of your recent activities.

Jawbone data

Another feature is Insights. Every day my app will show me some new insights into my own data along with general health and wellness tips. Here’s one example.

  Jawbone Insights

Data & Trends
The app makes it easy to analyze trends and see which days I tend to fall short or do better. The Trends section and the Lifeline section are really fascinating.

Jawbone Lifeline Jawbone trends

You can also see your most current sleep and steps data right from the home screen, along with one Insight.

Jawbone app home screen

See that happy face on the left? Every day you can tell the Jawbone app your mood, and over time it will analyze trends to correlate your mood with your sleep. I haven’t played much with that feature yet.

Jawbone appsApp Syncing
The Jawbone app syncs with some other fitness and wellness apps, and can display your data for you and your friends. I don’t use any of the apps they partner with right now, but they keep adding more so I hope to find one I’d like to use eventually.

Goals
The default goals are 8 hours of sleep and 10,000 steps. You can easily change those to fit your lifestyle. I like these two goals, so I leave them as is.

Battery Life
The battery lasts around seven days, and the app itself will tell you how many days charge you have left. To charge the device, you just plug it into a port that connects to your computer via USB. The entire charging process doesn’t take long at all.

I think that’s all! I’ll probably come back here and update this post if I think of anything else I want to add. I never used the FitBit or Nike Fuelband, so I can’t compare the Jawbone to those.

I’ve been very happy with my Jawbone UP24 these last three months! Feel free to ask me any questions.

Do you wear a fitness tracker? Does it motivate you to march around your house, too?

DSB Review: My Favorite Running Gear

When I love something, I really, really love it. Here’s the running gear I can’t live run without.

Lululemon 50 Rep Bra {Discontinued}

I discussed my love for this incredible bra on Rate Your Burn. If I had realized Lululemon was discontinuing the 50 Rep Bra, I would have bought even more. I was able to scour a few Equinox locations to find a few (marked up) stragglers last year, but this year I am running more and I need more.

I have never found a sports bra that fits me better, is quite so flattering, is supportive without feeling restrictive and is so comfortable.

Photo credit: RateYourBurn.com

The 50 Rep Bra is seriously the perfect bra. I tried on the Energy Bra because I heard it was similar and whoever thinks that is wrong. I’ve tried other brands that make incredible claims, and nothing has ever fit me well.

So I needed to find a way to get more 50 Rep Bras.

I checked eBay and saw people selling their used bras. I don’t know if that is gross or not, and figured if anything I’d have a last resort. But then I happened to check last week and saw three listings for brand new 50 Rep Bras with tags attached. They were all from the same seller, I bid on them all, and I won the brattery (bra lottery)!

I paid $100 total. I am happy.

My brattery winnings

My brattery winnings

Oiselle Roga Shorts

Ashley Runningbun wore these shorts when we ran a 5K last month, and showed me how her phone fits right into a front pocket. It looked annoying to me, but she swore she didn’t feel the phone at all while she runs. She raved about the shorts, but I was happy with my Lululemon Speed Shorts (almost all which I got on sale) and thought little of it. Until just two days later when Fiona posted about how much she loves the same shorts. My interest was peaked, and I found the Rogas in orange on sale on Amazon for $34.

I ordered them, despite not needing more running shorts, figuring I’d just return them if I didn’t absolutely love them. And at first I almost did. They felt different from what I was used to, and as I ran back and forth in my house I thought I didn’t like them. I thought they were more constricting than my Speed shorts, touching my thighs too much. I decided to send them back.

The next morning I had a strange urge to wear the shorts while walking my dog. During the walk, I felt really, really good in them. I decided to keep them and give them a shot during my next run. I wore them on a post-work hilly Central Park run — phone in pocket — and while I did feel the phone when I walked, I didn’t feel it at ALL while I ran! I’ve worn the phone in my pocket a couple of times since then. I wouldn’t recommend putting your phone in the pocket on runs longer than an hour (that’s the point I started to chafe a little) but any run 60 minutes or less seems good to go.

ETA: There’s been some confusion with my wording, and I want to clarify that the chafing was only when I carried my phone in the front pocket for longer than an hour. The shorts do NOT chafe me!

Oiselle Roga Shorts

Photo credit: Oiselle.com

And of course, if I’m not keeping my phone in the pocket (which is also great for everyday use if you don’t want to carry a purse) I could run in these for hours. And I will — at the Richmond Marathon (weather permitting).

I loved these shorts so much I scoured the internet for sale prices and ordered a second pair. And then a third, when I realized I started using them as regular summertime day shorts and I wanted to wear nothing else. Bye bye Soffees for comfy daytime and . . .

Bye bye Speed shorts for running? I actually want to sell some of my Lululemon Speed Shorts and a running skirt (size 4 in case you’re interested) because I seriously love the Rogas so much and don’t want to wear anything else ever. Interested?

Lululemon Cool Racerback Mod Waves/Mesh Cool  Racerback

Once a year Lululemon offers a mesh version of their Cool Racerback. It is awesome, and up until this year I’d only been able to get it in black.

I ordered this year’s Cool Racerback Mod Waves (new name because it isn’t 100% mesh like prior years) in a really bright purple that I loved, but they seem to have changed the sizing because my regular size was huge on me! I had to return it and by then they didn’t have any Power Purples left in my new size. Thanks to getting some money back from Lulu for rusty bra hooks and a torn seam on a different top, I did buy it in two other colors – black/hot pink and white/neon green.

Pictured on me here:

Photo credit: CarrotsNCake.com

I haven’t been able to find another super wicking top that fits me as well, that I find as comfortable or that I love as much. Lululemon doesn’t even make the Run: Swiftly Tech Racerback in my size. I bought two tops from Nike at the employee store in May that fit me well and looked flattering (can’t find them online) — but when I tried running in them, they rode up!

I got the Lucy Fast As You Can Singlet on a major sale, and I like it — but I prefer a more fitted midsection. I also tried the Oiselle Mio Mesh Tank on a few people’s recommendations and while it is fine, I don’t like it nearly as much. It is a bit too clingy for me.

So there you have it – I am sticking with my mesh/Mod Waves Cool Racerback as my lightweight running top of choice.

Nike Lightweight Running Slim Waistpack

Like many runners who go to race expos, I had a SpiBelt that I used when I needed to carry my cell phone with me when I run (along with anything else I might need that doesn’t fit/isn’t comfortable in pockets). I found myself fiddling with it during runs. The longer I had it, the more it moved around and bounced. But it got the job done and I had no plans to try anything else.

Then I lost the SpiBelt when I moved last month and needed something on short notice. I went into the Nike store on 20th and 5th in Manhattan and picked up the Lightweight Running Slim Waistpack in black. I used it the next day, and a few times since and I LOVE it. It is so much better than the SPiBelt – it’s more comfortable, it doesn’t move or bounce at all, I don’t even feel it at all when it’s on! It also has more structure than the SpiBelt which seems to keep my items in place better. It is (as the name suggests) extremely lightweight and I can’t recommend it enough. Pictured on me in the photo above.

NIKE Lightweight Running Slim Waist Pack

Photo credit: SportsAuthority.com

Hoka One One

Back in December I realized I needed new running shoes. Karhu no longer made the Steady Rides I’d been using for years and it wasn’t clear which new style was meant to replace them. I decided it might be time to try a new shoe and I did a ton of research, ultimately deciding on the Hoka One One Bondi B shoes. I felt confident that with my bunion and heel strike issues, these would be great shoes for me.

I wanted to note that I have done the whole Jack Rabbit gait analysis, but they always gave me heavily padded shoes with a high arch that caused me to heel strike even more than I already do. I know from my experience with Karhus that I perform best with a flatter bottom that lets my foot strike in the center.

The Hokas are incredible – just as good as everyone who has them says. From the moment I put them on, I felt like I was walking on clouds. They are surprisingly lightweight — so much lighter than they look — and extremely comfortable too. Yes, they look ridiculous (and unfortunately when I ordered them only white was available; now there are some fun colors) and I’ve been accused of wearing moon shoes, but I don’t care. I feel so much less pressure around my bunion and I don’t feel far less impact on my joints (excellent news for this injury-prone girl).

These shoes were made for me.

Hoka One One Bondi B

Photo credit: hokaoneone-na.com

 

Injinji socks

I’ve discussed my love for these Injinji toe socks before. I used to be plagued by black, deformed toenails along with painful blisters on my second toes on both feet. It got so bad the last time I was marathon training that I had to borrow doggie nail clippers from my friend because it was the only way I could cut the toenail (sorry, gross).

With the Injinji toe socks, I don’t get black toenails anymore. I don’t get weirdly growing toenails either. I don’t get those crazy blisters on the tops of my second toes.

I actually started using these socks because my genius sports massage healer recommended them to align my feet properly because I have a bunion. My feet feel SO much more comfortable in these because of that alignment. Regular socks squeeze my toes together, which is really bad if you have bunions because that reinforces the deformed positioning of your toes. Strongly recommend fellow bunioners to try these!

I also have the Injinji compression socks for recovery, and I wear my Injinji socks for everyday use in addition to running.

Injinji Toe Socks

And there you have it! I seriously love all these items so much.

Would you try any of my recommendations? What’s your favorite running gear?

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