Review: Gainz Box

I don’t know about you, but I love subscription boxes. There’s just something fun about a box showing up on my doorstep with cool, curated stuff just for me. I’ve previously done Stride Box, I’m a frequent Stitch Fix-er, we currently subscribe to o the Wizarding World of Harry Potter Loot Crate, and I recently signed up to try gainz box.Gainz Box delivers a number of specially curated CrossFit and weightlifting products to your door – now, disclaimer, I don’t do CrossFit. I enjoy following CrossFit athletes and many of my workouts use elements, but I’ve never been to a box nor have I ever done a class. That said, I still felt like gainz box has products that were for me! I was thrilled to receive mine this week and was excited to see how the products could work in my gym life.

Each box could contain the following elements: apparel, supplements, equipment, snacks, collectibles, and since the boxes are curated by different experts each month, you also get a bit of their knowledge.

The February box was put together by Julian Alcaraz and Miranda Oldroyd – both well-known and seasoned CrossFit Games athletes. The products included are some of their favorites and the included write up gives you details about what’s included, as well as some discount codes if you want to buy more!

The first thing I pulled out of the box was WOD Welder hand cream. This moisturizer is supposed to increase the elasticity of your skin and help repair your callouses, ultimately protecting them from nasty rips and tears. I have some gnarly callouses from all of the barbell work I do, and I can tell you I need all the help I can get. Plus, it smells good and isn’t too heavy or greasy. That’s a win!

You guys. I love tea. A lot. I drink tea every day – usually hot, because it’s the easiest to make at work. But yeah, tea is great. I was super excited to see this in this box and I was even more excited to see that it was just that: tea – nothing extra added, tea and water. Paleo, no added sugar. I had this at work yesterday, and omg. It was awesome. I need to get my hands on more of these, because it’s starting to get warm in Virginia and iced tea is my jam. Gimme.

Also included? A shaker bottle. I probably have… six… seven shaker bottles? Clay and I use these daily, whether it’s for preworkout or protein shakes. One can never have too many. I threw this one in my gym bag, where it will probably live permanently, or get migrated to my office, so I have one there. 

Getting new workout clothes is maybe one of my favorite things ever – and this box had not only this v-neck tee from Wod Gear, it also included a pair of socks. I haven’t tried those yet (I’m picky about my socks), but I wore this shirt to the gym yesterday and it was great. Typically, I don’t wear sleeved shirts when I work out, but this one’s sleeves are short enough that I didn’t get too hot. It’s a nice add to my collection. All in all, I was really pleased with what I got this month. This box is a little pricey – for the month to month subscription it’s $32, but the value is great. You’re getting approximately $75 worth of gear for about half the cost. And with the coupon codes included as well? Yeah. I approve.

I’m going to keep my subscription for another month or two for sure – I’d like to see what other boxes look like and I definitely don’t mind getting some new swag in the process. I’ll say it again, you don’t have to be a crossfitter to subscribe to gainz box – honestly, I found everything in this box useful to me as someone who weight trains regularly. If you do, too, check it out! You’ll get some great products, and maybe you’ll be exposed to something you haven’t tried before.

 

New Year’s Resolutions? More Like Life Resolutions.

Now that we’re a month into 2017, those resolutions we made a few short weeks ago might have already fallen to the wayside. Or, you could have been like me and not made any resolutions at all, in which case you might still be trying to figure out what you want to do in 2017 and how you’re going to accomplish it.

We hear so much talk about #newyearnewme that is almost seems like a requirement that we all resolve to be skinnier or stronger or whatever. I have a hard time with that, because 1. The me that I am right now seems pretty okay, and 2. Shouldn’t we focus more on being a better human being and making meaningful changes in our lives than just the superficial?

Similarly, I don’t think the beginning of the year has cornered the market on when we’re allowed to set goals. Who says you can’t make resolutions at the end of January, or in May or in August? No one, that’s who.

Given that, I’ve spent the last couple of weeks really evaluating some *life* things and have made pledges to myself and to others. Some of these pledges are fitness related, others are more broadly applicable in my life. All are aimed at growing into a better person and maybe bettering the word around me, too.

1. Get more sleep.
This is a fitness goal if I’ve ever seen one. Having a history of troubled sleep or simply not getting enough has meant that I haven’t allowed my body the appropriate recovery time. In the last month and a half, Clay and I have prioritized early bedtimes in favor of getting the most sleep possible. Consequently, we’ve been feeling a lot better physically and been more successful in the gym.

2. Read more books.
This seems like a gimme, but it’s ones that I’m really excited about! I used to be voracious reader as a kid, but since graduating college, the time I’ve dedicated to reading has dwindled. However, now that getting to bed early is a reality, so is making time to read a little before falling asleep. My goal is to finish at least 30 books this year – I’m already two in (one of those being Game of Thrones. Go big or go home amirite?)
3. Balance my workouts.
Weightlifting has been front and center for more than a year, but I want to make sure I’m balancing that with cardio as well – I feel better physically when I make time for a run or a Kaza class or two during the week. I want to stick to this, especially while Clay travels for work and my gym partner is gone.

4. Get more involved in my community.
This is a goal that has grown out of the atmosphere of the past few weeks – I feel that to best do my small part to fix what is so broken, I first need to get to know my neighbors and our community. To better understand what challenges we all face and what our priorities are.

5. Adjust my five year plan.
Following the last goal, this one is broader. My new five year plan includes going back to school and getting my law degree, so that I can really make bigger moves in advocacy and political action. But, in order to make that happen, I need to make some other adjustments and allowances. I’m grateful to have a partner who supports and encourages these dreams – and who understands that they may take time to achieve, but they are still possible.

More than new year’s resolutions, these goals aren’t time-stamped, and they certainly don’t have an expiration date. My next steps are just to keep on trucking and make a little bit of progress every day.

How do you set goals for yourself? Do you buy into New Year’s resolutions?

Weight Lifting Wednesday

It’s been a while. Oops.

The holidays happened. Then I moved. Now January is almost over and I feel like I don’t know where it went. Gah.

In all of this busy-ness, running has kind of fallen to the curb. I’ve run maybe twice since the Baltimore marathon in October. I’m signed up for a couple of races this spring, but honestly, I’m enjoying the break. From running at least.Look at those musclesssss

What have I been doing in the meantime?

Lifting a lot of heavy things.

The boyfrannnd is a Marine and that means being in shape and PT tests and since we both like fitness (and beer and pizza), we find ways to workout together so we can eat and drink together, too. We’ve crafted a workout schedule that is mostly weight training, balanced with some cardio and I’ve really been feeling great. Physically and mentally. It’s a huge boost to my self esteem to see the numbers on the plates tick up week to week.

By no means are we preparing for any body building or bikini figure contests, but damn if my arms and traps and lats don’t look way better than they used to.

Weight lifting can be super intimidating – I get it – but with the right plan for you, it can be the best workout you’ve ever gotten.

Just to give you a taste, here’s a week in the life of my current training schedule:

 

Monday: Back/Shoulders

  • Pull-up pyramid(5-4-3-2-1-2-3-4-5)/push-ups (10) superset
  • Military Press: 65#; 4×10
  • Barbell Rows: 115#; 4×10
  • Lat pull downs: 104#; 4×10
  • Tricep pull-up pyramid (5-4-3-2-1-2-3-4-5)

Tuesday: Legs

  • Squats: 165#; 4×12 (we opted for reps over weight here, whereas our last training cycle was focused more on heavy lifts and I was squatting 195#-200#)
  • Deadlifts: 165#; 2×10

Wednesday: Chest

  • Straight bench: 105#; 4×8
  • Incline bench: 95#; 4×8
  • Decline bench 105#; 4×8

Thursday: Rest

Friday: Bi/Tri

  • Standing curl (27.5#)/dips (10) superset: 4×10
  • Reverse grip pull downs : 55#; 4×10
  • EZ Bar Curls: 50#; 4×10
  • Tricep pushdowns: 55#; 4×10
  • Rope curls: 55#; 4×10
  • Plate curl drop sets: 45#, 35#, 25#

Saturday/Sunday: Cardio 
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I mean, one of the most frustrating things I hear from women is that they “don’t want to get big.” Now, I totally get the not wanting to look like some juiced-up East German Olympian with a lady ‘stache, but muscles are hot! And being strong is sexy. I love looking in the mirror and knowing that the reason my shirt is a little tighter or my jeans are filled out more is because I can squat more than what my boyfriend weighs.

Stringing together pull-ups, a thing I haven’t been able to do since I was a kid, is awesome. The day I finally put up 135# on my bench press? I felt like such a badass. Not to mention the fact that lifting weights is an incredible way to build core strength (without having to do a million crunches or other silly ab workouts) and is great cross training for running, biking or other cardio-based workouts.

If you’re at all intrigued by weight training – ask a trainer about it! When you’re at the gym, don’t be intimidated, just do some reading and research and give it a try. Make a plan, start light and get lifting!