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Because when you're out on the course, all that's there is your internal monolog

Review: Compex miSport

I recently had the opportunity to perform an extended evaluation on the Compex MiSport Electronic Muscle Stimulation (EMS) system.

CPX045_Pack_Mi_SPORT_Ep

 

I’d hoped to do a similar treatment with the miSport as I had done previously the the Recovery Pump system.  But when I started working with the Compex I found it to be a very different animal than the recovery pump and doing a testing protocol with it just didn’t make sense.

Let me try to explain. The recovery pump legs are essentially a 2-trick pony: using compression force metabolic waste out of your legs after a big workout; and, (also) using compression help refresh your legs with freshly oxygenated blood before a big workout.  The recovery pump  works the full length of both of your legs at once. All good, and really lends itself to a testing protocol where the preloading and recovery could shine.

The Compex is more like visiting a chiropractor or massage therapist or even a strength and conditioning coach, but a session with the Compex is limited to 1 or 2 muscle groups at a time (4 sets of pads, 1 set of pads per muscle group).  That said the Compex can still be used for recovery or potentiation: to do this you use the Compex to activate muscles at the extreme of the limb to encourage blood flow into the entire limb.   I found this to be a little less obvious, but it does work.

The Compex also really excels in rehab, strength and conditioning.  When I gained access to the Compex I was recovering from an upper-glute/lower-back strain that my chiro and I had linked to very tight hip flexors causing rotational stress thru my glute-med, glutes and lower back.  I’d been stretching, doing crab-walks with therabands, and a bunch of other exercises to target and strengthen the unbalanced muscles. I decided to add the Compex to the formula.  I spent 2 weeks, 2-3 times/week, doing a Compex strength program targeted at glute max and glute med while sitting watching TV or working at my desk.  The pain reduction and strength gains were noticeable almost immediately.  Being able to target these areas, for 30-45 minutes/day without putting more time aside for training was pretty epic.  Time is tight for most of us and being able to do these additional strength and conditioning sessions was amazing.  I could see this also being super useful if you were injured but wanted to reduce muscle wasting when you couldn’t train.

One thing I really like about using the Compex,  for recovery, rehab or strength/conditioning is that there’s no nervous system engagement or fatigue.  One thing endurance athletes can suffer from is not so much muscular fatigue, but rather neurological fatigue – where the brain and nervous system that’s engaged in driving your muscles just gets tired of firing those pathways.  When a lot of people think they’re bonking, it’s sometimes nervous system fatigue.  Their bodies are still capable of much more, but their brain is saying “enough”.  Because the Compex is driving the muscle directly, there is no mental fatigue: are recovery workout with the Compex is truly full body recovery (brain and nervous system too).

The miSport is a rechargeable device that holds a pretty serious charge.  I didn’t sit with a stopwatch, but think the battery lasted about 8 hours of use and recharged fully after 2-3 hours.  The Compex also uses electrode pads that are reusable but do eventually lose their stickiness and need to be replaced.  I think my skin may be a little oily because I was initially going through a set of pads in 1 sitting (several applications).  After a while I started swabbing my skin with an alcohol pad before application and found the pads lasted 2-3 times longer.

The Compex miSport is a pretty cool and flexible device.  Definitely an awesome tool to add to your toolbox for all that it offers: pain management, recovery, rehab, and strength and conditioning.  Is it a “magic bullet” that means you don’t have to train?  No.  (There’s no such thing!)  But the Compex can help you maximize your time and target problem areas on concert with or instead of using a chiropractor, massage therapist or physical trainer.  Pretty sweet.

If you’re in Canada feel free to reach out to the Compex Canada rep.  Derrick is a pretty great guy and he’ll hook you up.

Derrick Nield, MSc
Field Sales Associate
Recovery Sciences Division
DJO Canada Inc.

A DJO Global Company

866 866 5031
866 866 5032
647 629 1012

[email protected]
http://www.djoglobal.ca/en_CA/

Golden Packet Contest | GU Energy Labs

A new vid from GU surrounding their Golden Packet Contest.  They’re having too much fun with this Yeti theme!

Golden Packet Contest | GU Energy Labs.

Review(s): Finis Monofins: Foil vs Shooter

A few months ago I started learning how to swim fly.  I can say, much to my total amazement, that I LOVE swimming fly.  That said, I currently am not yet able to do so without fins of some sort (zoomers or a monofin). When I mentioned monofins to my swim coach she was super excited and promised me some serious strength workouts to utilize a mono.

So I started digging.  What kind of monofin should I get?  What are the options? What are the differences?  Why would I want “A” vs “B”?  To my surprise there was very little material “out there” and so I figured some personal research was in order.  The folks at Finis suggested that I start with 2 of their models: The Foil and The Shooter.

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I’ve now put several hours into each of the monofins I’ve developed some 1st hand experience with them and figured I’d share.

1st off for both monofins make sure that you have a good fit and wear a neoprene bootie or something similar to provide some chaffing/blistering protection between your foot and the fin pocket.  The fins don’t come in as many sizes as conventional fins and so you may need to play with this a little.  I, unfortunately, made the mistake of not doing this initially and totally destroyed my feet.  

This picture doesn’t show the real carnage that was on the other foot and literally took weeks to fully heal.

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Neoprene booties can also help with molding seems in the foot pockets of the monofins.  These flash seems are normally trimmed off in post-production at the factory, but when/if little ridges remain then can definitely cause irritaiton/hot-spots.  I’m told that very carefully cutting them off with a sharp exacto-knife can help, but that a great deal of care is requires so as not to weaken the strength of the rubber.  So if you go the removal route: take great care (booties are probably a better choice).  In the photo below you can see the Finis Shooter with my snorkel, Eney buoy, neoprene booties and water bottle.

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I tell ya.. some days when I hit the pool deck, I feel like I’ve packed for a week long vacation :)

The Finis Shooter

The shooter is composed of a rubber foot pocket and fibreglass blade.  The XXL model has an open toe (seen above), where the other sizes have fully enclosed foot pockets.

Shooter monofin

The fibreglass blade has pretty narrow edges and the fin comes with a warning sticker cautioning that the blade could cause damage to other swimmers, to take care when using it and that children should not be allowed to use the fin.  Now, it’s not that thin, but I could certainly see how contacting it with any amount of force could certainly cause a good scrape.

The fibreglass blade also generates a lot of force.  This is a surprising mixed blessing/curse: the force is awesome for getting a massive leg and core workout and for really driving you when swimming fly or other modified strokes.  That said, all that force really strains your ankles (and I found knees and lower back as well) so some acclimitization is a good idea.  Also, I found, as a new monofin swimmer, that because of the rigidity if I cheated my kick a bit and wasn’t driving from my core and hips that I’d still get a lot of propulsion: suboptimal if you’re working on training and not just goofing around.

The Finis Foil

The foil is a single molded piece of semi-flexible rubber, similar to the rubber in the Zoomers fins.  All models of the foil have an open foot pocket.

Foilmonofin hero hr

Because of the molding process, I found the foil to be a little more susceptible to the extra flash (molding-waste) problem that I mentioned earlier, but again, with booties it really isn’t a problem.

The Foil being made from rubber with softer edges, is definitely a little more friendly in a busy pool, especially when you’re splitting a lane with other swimmers. 

The softer rubber, still generates a good amount of force per kick, but does force you to drive your kick using your core, and hips and not just your quads.  The flexibility and slightly less force than the shooter takes some of the pressure of your leg joints and lower back but still gives you a lot of propulsion.  The foil is definitely a good monofin to start with, and perhaps all you’d ever need unless you get into more competitive monofin swim competitions and/or free-diving. 

Others

Finis also have several other models of monofins: for training the Trainer1 and Trainer2; for competition, the MASSIVE competitor monofin; and a few other models for kids and adult play swim.  I’d love to try the competitor but generally I think it’d be impractical in the pool (shared lanes), but would be super fun to take south for some ocean free-diving :)  With my current level of skill the Trainer1 and Trainer2 look unwieldy with the added length over the Shooter.  The Foil and the Shooter were definitely good starting-point recommendations for monofins and perhaps all I’ll ever need in my training.

My Friday swims were historically dubbed “Fun Fin Friday” because I was typically doing a lot of kick work with fins on.  We’ve now renamed them “Funny Fin Fridays” and I feel like “Captain Finis” with my suitcase full of gear.  But it’s fun and fast and tiring so I’ll take it.  

.. and I love fly! :)

Review: Yurbuds Focus Talk Headphones

The weather in Toronto still sucks to be training outside, so I’ve been spending a lot of time on the trainer and the dreadmill. Being on the dreadmill is a great opportunity to test out some new headphones.

On deck this week: the Yurbuds Focus Talk Headphones

Yurbuds

Now, it’s no secret that I’m a long-time fan of Yurbuds headphones.  I’ve used them pretty much exclusively in my training for the last 3 years, since I found them, but I wear glasses or, when I’m outside, sunglasses. Typically in the past I have avoided over-ear headphones because I found them uncomfortable as they competed for space, with my glasses, atop my ear.

I’m happy to report this isn’t an issue with the Yurbuds Focus.  The over-ear arms are very flexible and mounted to the ear-bud in a way that allows for rotational and length adjustment and I found it very easy to get a snug and comfortable fit.  The ear-buds themselves have the signature Yurbuds twist in design, but with a slightly looser fit that allows for a little more ambient sound to enter: definitely a plus if you’re on public roads.  The loose fit didnt’ feel as secure as the snug twist-in models, but I couldn’t shake them loose, so it’s just a perception not a reality :).  The loose fit may also be a little more comfortable over extremely long efforts, not that I’ve ever found my yurbuds uncomfortable. 

The Focus Talk also features a microphone and single-button phone control button.  I only tested with the iphone and iPad, but I understand the microphone and button work with Android devices as well.  The microphone quality is really good.  I placed a call with the headphones, while running on the treadmill: even with the ambient noise of the ‘mill, I’m told the audio quality through the mic was clear and easily understood. 

Finally, and perhaps most importantly (we are talking about headphones here): sound quality.  I’ve always been impressed with the audio representation from Yurbuds headphones.  They’re so small and so light, it was and is a pleasant surprise to experience the fidelity from this compact buds.  I have several pairs of audiophile quality headphones and I can tell you these buds perform at a level of professional headphones costing nearly ten times as much.  

Well done Yurbuds!  Definitely a great addition to your headphone lineup!

Find the GOLDEN Packet of Salted Caramel GU – YouTube

GuEnergy has a contest running… and probably the best flavoured Gel on the market…

Find the GOLDEN Packet of Salted Caramel GU – YouTube.

 

Review: Rudy Project Proflow Sport Shades

I have to admit it, this winter in Toronto has successfully chased me inside for running.  All the snow, ice, black ice, lakes of slush, combined with Toronto’s seemingly increasingly poor drivers has had me running on the dreadmill watching Netflics.

I’d really wanted to spend more time with these shades before reviewing them, but they’ve been in my review queue for far too long and I need to get them done. 

I’ll startout with a spoiler: I LOVE Rudy Project.  I haven’t yet used a product of theirs that I didn’t think was excellent.   I have prescription glasses from them that I race and do a lot of my training in and they are extremely well made and an excellent value.

The PROFLOW sports shades are absolutely no exception to my love affair with Rudy Project.  

SP248606 N000 detail

These shades are pretty sweet: of course they have all the standard Rudy Project adjustable nose/bridge and excellent anti-fogging lenses that are sharp and distortion free, but if these aren’t some of the lightest sunglasses I’ve EVER worn I’d be truly surprised!

They’re apparently forged out of some space-aged aluminum alloy called Kynetium… I’m not a metallurgist, but as a consumer and glass wearer, I’ll tell you it was a good choice.  I have titanium frames that feel like a boat anchor in comparison.   They also have a design feature on them called a “dorsal stabilizer”.  I gather it’s something to do with the temple area of the frame that helps balance the weight of the glasses even when you’re heads down on the bike.  I can’t say how they’d feel without the stabilizer, so I’ll take their word for it.  A few times, while I was out running in the Proflow, I actually forgot that I had them on.  They’re that comfortable.  

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I can attest to the anti-fog of the lenses: the days that I did manage a run in them it was cold out and I got pretty steamy. The lenses, however, did not.  Magic!  Dunno how they managed it, but I’ll just leave it at magic.

As with many of the Rudy Project glasses: the Proflow can be purchased with different types of lenses.  Prescription, or insert, or no prescription.  Polarized, tinted different colours, different levels of light transmission shading, anti-reflective coatings… the whole 9 yards!

Finally, the Proflow comes with a pretty nice hard-case that has a storage compartment for those extra lenses.  

I just got my prescription updated… I’m in progressive bifocals now my friends (ack!) so I think I may just have to order some clear, amber and dark lenses in my new ‘scrip to take full advantage of these awesome shades.

If you’re lucky enough to be training outside these days, or you’re heading somewhere warm and sunny, definitely do yourself a favour and checkout the Rudy Project Proflow Shades.  I don’t think you’ll be disappointed.

This just in my mailbox – love my KICKR… seems Team Sky love them too :)

Team Sky Selects Wahoo Fitness as their Official Indoor Trainer Supplier for the 2014 Season

Team Sky will train exclusively with Wahoo’s award winning KICKR Power Trainer

Atlanta, GA – January 21, 2014 – Wahoo Fitness, the leader in developing connected fitness tools to enhance performance and monitoring, is now the Official Supplier of Turbo Trainers to Team Sky, winners of the 2012 and 2013 Tour de France.

Through this exclusive partnership Team Sky will be provided with KICKRs for use during the racing season and each rider will be provided with an individual KICKR for “at home” training sessions. Team Sky will use the KICKRs for pre-race warm up and post-race warm downs. The KICKR provides the cutting edge technology that Team Sky is looking for as they constantly strive to improve.

“Wahoo Fitness is a young and innovative company, who has produced a fantastic product in the KICKR which will meet our requirements both in racing and training,” said Tim Kerrison, Team Sky’s Head of Performance Support. “Team Sky and Wahoo share a common approach when it comes to innovation and continuous improvement.  We believe they have developed a market-leading product and we are excited about using the KICKR in the team and working with Wahoo to continue to develop and improve their products.  We love the wheel-off design and the big fly-wheel which gives an excellent, smooth feel.  The ability to precisely control the resistance, whilst retaining the smoothness, gives us the opportunity to do great quality and high intensity training efforts on the KICKR.”

“It is awesome that Team Sky chose us to work with as it further validates our rapid growth and shows the world that Wahoo Fitness has created the best trainer ever,” says Chip Hawkins, CEO of Wahoo Fitness. “This collaboration gives us the opportunity to develop future products while enhancing existing products in cooperation with an organization who understands the kind of training necessary to win. We look forward to a successful 2014 and Wahoo Fitness equipment quickly becoming synonymous with victory.”

Using Bluetooth 4.0 and ANT+ technology, the KICKR Power Trainer connects to smartphones and tablets, allowing full resistance control during your training session. While pedaling, users can increase or decrease resistance, structure interval workouts or even simulate real world bike courses all from their smartphone. Resistance adjustments are instant, making it easy to replicate everything from a flat or rolling hill course, to the coast down a hill after a hard climb. With a wheel off design and super flywheel, the iPhone connected bike trainer is engineered to produce an ultra-realistic road feel, equivalent to the inertia of an actual rider on the road. A direct power measurement at the hub provides consistent and lab accurate power readings for every grueling mile.

via Latest News: Team Sky Selects Wahoo Fitness As Their Official Indoor Trainer Supplier – [email protected] – Gmail.

ENVEous? You will be… (read on)

I’m super-stoked to announce that I’ve been added to ENVE’s 2014 athlete list.

Yes, that ENVE.. the ones who make the amazingly aerodynamic carbon wheels for road and trail (as well as bars, stems, posts and a few other bits and pieces).

Yes! I have a wheel sponsor and I couldn’t be happier. I’ve drooled over ENVE wheels for years and now I’ll have a stable-full. Pictures of my Storck with new “legs” coming soon. :)

BOOM!

Hurray! (and finally!!!)

yurbuds® Launches Wireless Earphone at CES 2014 – Endurance Sportswire.

 

4iiii Innovations: Cliiimb @ CES

This in my mailbox this morning. Congrats to the folks at 4iiii.com

4iiii INNOVATIONS FINALISTS IN MOBILE APP SHOWDOWN AT CES
LAUNCHING NEW TECHNOLOGY AND MODULES
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
COCHRANE, AB (January 3, 2014) — Cliiiimb by 4iiii Innovations, the latest technology success story coming out of Cochrane, AB is a finalist in the Mobile App Showdown at CES in Las Vegas, January 7-14, 2014.
Cliiiimb is one of 10 apps competing for the top prize on a global stage with only one other Canadian company.
According to CES, the annual International electronics and technology consumer tradeshow is where those who shape the future gather.
“We are excited to contribute to the future of technology,” said 4iiii CEO Kip Fyfe.  “Cliiiimb is a unique combination of a wearable hardware sensor and a smartphone app that engages riders and runners during their segments by giving them real time audio and visual feedback on where they are relative to their training partner.”
4iiii Innovations will present Cliiiimb at CES in the Mobile App Showdown.  The company will also take the opportunity while at CES to launch their latest technology that has been developed on an open API so any developer can build upon it.
The founders of 4iiii continue to assert their engineering and technology expertise in the realm of wearable sensors.  4iiiii is founded and run by the same team who started Dynastream Innovations Inc., a company that pioneered the development of new monitoring platforms including the ANT+ ultra-low power protocol which enables a majority of sport monitoring devices on the market today.
“You won’t want to miss where we take this next!” said Fyfe.
4iiii Innovations is a leader in the design and manufacturing of wearable technology. The Company’s products include Cliimb, the Sportiiiis heads-up audio visual data display and Viiiiva, a heart rate monitor that connects a full suite of sensors to a Smartphone; providing serious athletes with real-time and precise measurement of personal performance parameters. 
 
For more information about the CES Mobile Apps Showdown please visit:  http://mobileappsshowdown.com/vote/

 

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