Spartan Fit! [and a giveaway!]

The Spartan Race series is an obstacle course event with 3 main types of competitions: Sprint courses are 3ish miles with 20ish obstacles, Super courses are 8ish miles with 24ish obstacles and Beat courses are 12ish miles with 30ish obstacles. They get pretty intense… it takes a whole different level of fitness than running in a straight line. Thus the upcoming release of the book: Spartan Fit! by Joe De Sena. Joe is the CEO and co-founder of the Spartan Race series.
Spartan Fit book - coming soon - preorders available

The book contains a plan full of workouts and diet information to lead someone to competing in a Spartan race, or just as a new way to approach fitness. There are no weights required, no gym required and it helps you build your fitness from one level to the next in a true progression.

Also, the Spartan series has their Summer Agoge coming up. This was new to me… and well, it just sounds kind of insane. Held June 17-19, 2016, this event is only open to those who apply and make the cut. Those who are nutty enough to spend 60 hours going through obstacles designed to test their physical and mental strength. In other words… not for the majority! The event isn’t even open to spectators, it’s just for those participating to test themselves and not any kind of exhibition. You can check out the video for the Winter Agoge… it looks intense.

Anywho….

To help spread the word about the new book being available for preorder, the good folks at Spartan have offered to give away one entry to a Spartan Race to one of my readers. (any open heat, continental US)

a Rafflecopter giveaway

And if you want to sign up for any Spartan Race at a 10% discount, you can do so with the code SPARTANBLOGGER.

Disclaimer: I didn’t get anything from this, other than the opportunity to give something away. No sponsored content or payments, just good will!

Epsoak Epsom Salts – San Francisco Salt Company

Do you soak in Epsom salts? I was recently sent some Epsoak, Epsom salts from the San Francisco Salt Company, so I gave it a shot.
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Epsom salts are not salt, it’s magnesium sulfate. And based on some things you read online, it’s veritable witchcraft the amazing things it can help with! Here are the purported benefits one can get from Epsom salts:

  • Ease stress and improve sleep and concentration
  • Muscles and nerves function properly
  • Regulate activity of 325+ enzymes
  • Reduce inflammation to relieve pain and muscle cramps
  • Improve oxygen use
  • Flush toxins
  • Improve absorption of nutrients
  • Form joint proteins, brain tissue and mucin proteins

Epsoak comes in 3 varieties:

  • Sleep: Epsom salts with lavender essential oil to encourage deeper sleep
  • Muscle Soak: Epsom salts with eucalyptus and peppermint for soothing muscle pain
  • Epsoak: just plain old Epsom salts

epsoak epsom salts san francisco salt company review

I took a soak in the tub with Muscle Soak Epsom salts and I did find that it was relaxing. I could feel an added buoyancy to the water, which was nice. (Have you heard of float centers? They have float chambers and apparently people lay in them for a while to relax. They have A LOT of Epsom salts in the water in these tanks. You can also float in the Great Salt Lake due to the high mineral content… but floating there is stinky.) The scent was nice, not too strong and overpowering but enough that you could definitely tell it was there. I emerged from my soak feeling calmed down, but taking the time to relax in the tub can almost always do that. Provided you can block out the “ambient” sounds of spouse/kid/dog. The sore spot I’ve had in my hip/glute/IT band/leg in general felt better… but it wasn’t magically healed.

You can also use Epsom salts as a scrub, so I tried that. I mixed some into a bowl with some oil and used that in the shower. It’s a great exfoliant, but so far I’ve not ever experienced magical release from muscle knots by targeted application of an Epsom product.

So do Epsom salts work? This is one of those areas that I feel is kind of gray. Some people swear by them, some people dismiss them entirely. I think there can absolutely be placebo effect in play. If you’re hopeful and optimistic, outcomes are usually going to be better. (That’s why I tell myself “You’re not going to get sick.” whenever my daughter comes home with a cold. I’m sure that 50% of the time when I don’t catch whatever she had it’s all due to positive thoughts! LOL!)

That said, I have purchased a little milk carton-y thing of Epsom salts in the past at the drugstore and the contents were super compressed and almost had to be chiseled out. Maybe I got a dud. But that wasn’t the case with the San Francisco Salt Company’s product. Epsoak poured out of the bag easily. I liked them all well enough to use again, although I can’t say with any certainty that it was healing physical ailments. But it was definitely relaxing and that’s worth looking at in itself. I don’t find very many moments to just relax and be these days.

PS – They also have gourmet culinary salts for sale. If you’ve never sprinkled fancy salt on a salad or sandwich, you’re missing out. I’ve not tried these, but they sound good.

Disclaimer: All reviews are my own opinion, this product was provided free for the purpose of review.

Diva Bandz – Non-slip Adjustable Sport Headbands

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I used to wear hats or visors when I ran. I probably should do that to protect my “aging skin”, but I count on sunblock to do the job for me. A hat smushes your hair down way too much and, as much as I hate to admit it, there are days where I run on my lunch hour and I don’t have time to wash my hair. I rinse off in the shower so I don’t stink, blast the hair dryer at the sweaty roots and try to work myself into a semblance of presentable to go sit at my desk once more! So… headbands are what I have been using as my default for the past few years.

Nicole at Diva Bandz reached out to me recently and asked if I would like to try one of their non-slip, adjustable performance headbands. I was definitely game, the best thing about switching from hats to headbands is they’re smaller so you can keep a larger variety on hand and switch things up more often!

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Diva Bandz are similar to another popular headband brand on the market. There are a lot of different options for patterns/prints with an elasticized strap that goes at the nape. But in their quest to build the best workout headbands, they have added a slider to make the size adjustable. You can either extend the band to bigger than what you need and slide it to the appropriate snugness once in place or you can just adjust it and leave it at that for every time you pull it on/off. The pretty ribbon part of the headband doesn’t stretch, all your stretch comes from the black part that rests at the bottom.

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Note, on the packaging it says to hand wash and hang dry. I do have a tendency to just throw my headbands into my workout clothes laundry, so this is a small adjustment to my modus operandi. I wouldn’t say that’s a deal breaker for me, though. Fortunately, handwashing a headband is way easier than handwashing a sweater!

The site says the bands fit most head sizes, ages 2 and up. I just wanted to share a pic of my 3.5-year-old wearing the headband. She won’t actually wear a headband around all day and leave it in, but she did leave this on for about an hour while playing around the house. (Maybe I should have stuck stuff on her head when she was a baby so she got used to hair accoutrements!) It’s a little big when adjusted down to the smallest size, but she also doesn’t have much hair to add extra bulk in the way!

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The other best thing about Diva Bandz (aside from the adjustability) is how they’re made. They’re made here in the United States by professional seamstresses who are work-at-home/stay-at-home moms. I like that it’s providing an opportunity for women who choose to stay at home with their children a way to make extra income. (If you’ve got those skills and want to work for Diva Bandz, take a look at the info on joining their team.)

The Diva Bandz headbands sell for about $15 each and there are a lot of fun prints. I want to order the skull print!

Want to win one of your own to try? Just use the Rafflecopter widget embedded here to earn entries by following various social media accounts, tweeting about it or leaving a comment.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Giveaway is open until March 31, 2016 and is open to residents of the US. Prize is one headband and winner will be selected from random drawing from entrants who submit entries via the Rafflecopter widget. Entries must be recorded in the widget to be in the running for the prize.

Disclaimer: All reviews are my own opinion, this product was provided free for the purpose of review.

3 Must Know Moves for Runners to Escape an Attack

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A few weeks back, I received a pitch email to learn a little more about Krav Maga. Something I would LOVE to do if I had more free time would be to delve into some self-defense courses. I remember taking one workshop when I was 15 or so and thought it was fascinating. Krav Maga was offering to share with me some moves that runners could use to defend themselves in the event they are confronted with a situation that would warrant this action.

I certainly hope none of us have to use this information, but I’m sharing it here (with their permission) for those who are interested.


For most of us running is therapy; we put our favorites tunes in, we lace up and it is just the open road and us. With summer months quickly approaching many runners will find themselves trading in their afternoon run for a nighttime escape. As peaceful and tranquil as this sounds it is also important to understand the dangers of running once the sun goes down. Becoming the victim of a physical attack is something that runners should all be prepared for.

The first principal of using Krav Maga is to identify the danger or the most dangerous aspect of the attack. This process begins by identifying what type of grabbing attack is being made. The big danger in a bear hug attack, especially from behind, is the potential for the attacker to control the body of and/or lift the other person. Once the attacker controls your body they can lift you and carry you away (into a van, to a place where other people can’t see what’s going on, to a place where friends are waiting to gang up), they can lift you and slam you to the ground (a huge risk of being knocked unconscious by the slam), or they can drag you around in similar fashion.

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Krav Maga Worldwide™ teaches students that the best defense against a bear hug attack is to start fighting back right away. There are two things you must do in order to effectively fight back because of the dangers inherent in the attack. The first step is to drop your “base” or make yourself heavy. The second is to “space” or create distance from the attacker. In this case, because the attack is coming on from behind, there is an extra step; you have to “turn in” in order to fight. Here is a breakdown of each step:

BASE – Making your base heavier is relatively easy. When grabbed by the attacker in a bear hug, simply bend your legs and drop the level of your hips. Think of it as basically sitting down into a full squat (thighs parallel to the ground). Drop your hips and sit slightly back and into the attacker, with your head up, not folded forward. This immediately makes your center of gravity lower, which makes you more difficult to lift off of the ground. Dropping your base also puts pressure on the attacker as they know have to deal with your weight. From here, you can start to fight without the danger of being controlled and lifted from the ground.

SPACE – You cannot let the attacker stay close to you in a bear hug. You especially cannot let the attacker keep his/her hips close to you. Think about the last time you moved a piece of furniture, or a box of something heavy, you don’t keep your hips far away from the object and rely on outstretched arms to lift it, you scoot your hips and body close to the object and get underneath it. Along the same lines, an attacker has to be close to you to control you in a bear hug attack. With your “base” low, immediately begin sending strikes in a side-to-side motion to vulnerable areas on the attacker. Krav Maga Worldwide™ students are taught to go for a groin strike first. This strike can be thrown whether your arms are “trapped” meaning encircled by the attacker’s arms, or “free”. A groin strike will often cause the attacker’s hips to reflexively move away thus creating space between your body and the attacker’s. Aggressive and continuous, side-to-side motion also serves to create space from the attacker by making you more difficult to hold onto. It’s more difficult to hold onto someone who is constantly wriggling, than it is to hold on to someone who is static.

TURN IN – When you feel you have a solid base, and continuous side to side strikes at vulnerable areas have created just a little bit of space between the attacker and yourself, you are going to “turn in” or turn toward the attacker to continue the fight. You can’t effectively finish the fight with the attacker on your back. And it’s certainly going to be more difficult to get away with an attacker hanging on you. Krav Maga Worldwide™ students are taught to recognize when sufficient space has been created, and make their move to “turn into” the fight where they have full use of all their strikes. You can turn either direction once the space is there, but whichever direction you turn, you are going to turn in behind your elbow. So, if you are rotating to your left to turn toward the attacker, you are going to raise your left arm in front of your face so that the soft targets of your face (nose, mouth, eyes) have something slightly blocking them in case the attacker is looking to strike at you during the transition. You can also use this raised arm to deliver elbows and hammer fist attacks as you are turning in. Once you have turned “into the fight” you will continue to aggressively strike at all vulnerable areas until the attacker is broken and you can get away without being impeded.

About Krav Maga Worldwide
Founded in 1997 to promote Krav Maga throughout the United States and around the world, Krav Maga Worldwide trains and certifies instructors and licenses over 150 authorized Krav Maga Worldwide training centers in the United States, Canada, Japan, Mexico, South America, and Europe, as well as over 800 law enforcement agencies and military units. Krav Maga offers the highest caliber of instruction to thousands of people, supporting the company’s core commitment to improving and saving lives. Krav Maga Worldwide continues to develop, promote and implement self-defense and fitness programs. For additional information, visit: www.kravmaga.com.

Disclaimer: Most of the copy here was provided to me, but I’m just posting it because I found it interesting. I should charge people for this kind of stuff, huh? 😉 But I feel obligated to disclaimer the hell out of everything on the web these days. Sigh…