A Marathon Playlist, BioSport Headphones & Hanging Out with Me This Weekend

running-playlists-spotify-soundcloudWith the marathon right around the corner, Boston is BUZZING. I live a couple blocks from the finish line, and as cliché as it sounds, you can feel the excitement in the air. Even as a non-marathoner, it’s one of my favorite weekends in the city (a day off from work, friends, roof decks, beer—yes, please!).

Although I’m not running it, I thought it’d be fun to share some of my current favorite workout music in case any of you marathoners need some inspiration for your race-day playlist. I go back and forth between using Spotify and SoundCloud, so I’ve included both (with different music on each). I actually prefer SoundCloud because you can find crazy good remixes, but they’ve started playing ads so I can’t use it while teaching class. What a bummer!

First up, some jams for all you SoundCloud users:

Next up, some jams for all my Spotify peeps:

 

Intel x SMS Audio BioSport Headphones

intel-sms-audioSpeaking of music, I’m working with Intel and SMS Audio on a fun project for their new BioSport headphones (spoiler alert: I get to give away a couple sets to you guys!). These headphones, which have an in-ear heart rate monitor, are the lovechild of Intel’s technology and SMS Audio’s studio-quality sound.

For all you techies: They use a built-in optical sensor that continuously and accurately measures your heart rate while simultaneously removing noise signals caused by your body’s motion during your workout. The earbud shape allows it to sit deeper in the ear canal for consistent data collection, and the headphones are sweat and water-resistant.

The headphones also have a self-charging system (it’ll draw power from your smartphone) so no batteries are required. It won’t drain the battery life though—it uses the same amount of power as any set of headphones with a built-in mic.

For all the rest of us: 50 Cent—or as I like to call him, Fiddy—is the CEO of SMS Audio. So yeah, if the man who made the soundtrack to my high school years stands behind these headphones, count me in, too. (Anyone else jam out to Hate It or Love It at high school parties??) :)

runkeeper-biosport-headphonesThe in-ear heart rate monitor wires directly to your smartphone and syncs with the RunKeeper app. I’ve been playing around with it the last couple days, and it’s pretty cool!

Also, it’s worth noting that I’m super picky about earbuds (usually I don’t like having something stuffed in my ear), but the part that goes inside is actually pretty narrow on these. I think they’re comfortable–and that’s saying a lot! I’ll be giving away two sets of these headphones (they retail at $150 so it’s a pretty kickass prize!) in the coming weeks on the blog.

Come Hang Out with Me This Weekend!

marathon-playlistAs part of this project, I’ll be at the SMS Audio booth at the Boston Marathon Sports & Fitness Expo this weekend. If you’re local or will be in town to run, I’d love for you to swing by and say hi! I’ll be there Saturday from 3 to 3:30PM. The expo is open to the public, so you don’t have to be running the marathon to check out all the exhibits. It’s at Hynes Convention Center and you can check out a full list of the exhibitors/where their booths are located HERE. I’ll be at booth #2735 and hope to see some of you there!

Are you running Boston this year? Let me know if you’ll be by the expo!

What workout songs are currently on repeat for you? Side note: You can enter to win a pair of the BioSport headphones by sharing your top workout songs on Instagram or Twitter using the hashtag #IntelxBioSport. The contest is open until April 19th so hop on it! Terms and conditions

Enjoy your weekend! signature

Disclaimer: This post is sponsored by Intel. Although I was compensated, all opinions—as always!—are my own.

My First Golden Tote (Review)

Golden Tote ReviewOh man do I love these faux fashion blogger posts. I was recently given the chance to try out Golden Tote, and jumped at the opportunity. I loved all the clothing I received so it’s time for a picture overload!

Golden Tote is one part personal styling, one part online shopping. They offer two different sized totes: a large tote for $149 that includes 5-6 items and a small tote for $49 that includes 2-3 items. A new tote is offered once each month, and the sale lasts the duration of the month.

For the large tote, which is what I received, you start by picking out two items from their boutique. You fill out a style profile, and based on your preferences, a stylist will surprise you with 3-4 additional items. You can also add on to your purchase by buying any of the other items in their online boutique.

My two picks were the Barcelona Pant and the Pop Print Tee Dress, and I’m obsessed with both. How fun are these prints?! The dress had “me” written all over it—bright colors and bold patterns paired with a casual, sporty design. And the pants are so on-trend right now, I couldn’t pass them up. Plus, they’re like one small step up from pajamas so … hello, lover (Carrie Bradshaw voice).Golden Tote Review Golden Tote Review Golden Tote Review

OUTFIT DETAILS | dress Golden Tote / shoes Jeffrey Campbell (similar here) / bag H&M (similar here) / sunglasses Buffalo Exchange (similar here)

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OUTFIT DETAILS | pants Golden Tote / top Brandy Melville (similar here) / shoes ASOS (similar here) / bralet Urban Outfitters (similar here)

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In addition to the two pieces I picked, I received three tops—all of which I love—and a dress that I’m not crazy about, but is still really cute. That’s the one downside of Golden Tote: returns are all or nothing. Although you can’t return just one or a few items, there is a Facebook group for trading pieces. I’ll hang on to the dress and see if I end up wearing it, and if it doesn’t get any use, will probably just give it to a friend. It’s cute, just not really my style. Golden Tote Review Golden Tote Review Golden Tote Review

OUTFIT DETAILS | dress Golden Tote / sneakers c/o Reebok (similar here) / sunglasses Ray-Ban

The three tops are all awesome additions to my closet. The following two will be perfect for summer weekends on the Vineyard and Nantucket. Golden Tote Review Golden Tote Review Golden Tote Review Golden Tote Review

OUTFIT DETAILS | top Golden Tote / shorts Urban Outfitters (similar here) / shoes MIAGolden Tote Review Golden Tote Review

OUTFIT DETAILS | top Golden Tote / pants Hudson (similar here) / shoes Sperry (similar here)

The last shirt is totally my style. Sporty neckline with animal print, and I loved the mixing of delicate materials with casual cotton.

Golden Tote Review Golden Tote Review Golden Tote Review Golden Tote Review OUTFIT DETAILS | top Golden Tote /shorts Urban Outfitters (similar here) / shoes Simply Vera by Vera Wang (similar here) / bag H&M (similar here) / sunglasses Buffalo Exchange (similar here)

As an added bonus, the striped neckline matches my favorite mug perfectly (I got it in a Yankee Swap a couple years ago—cute, right??). Ever since that nasty stomach flu I had a few weeks ago, I haven’t been able to handle how acidic coffee is, so I’ve switched to tea. Lately I’m loving the organic Tiny Tea from Your Tea.

Golden Tote ReviewFinal verdict? I would 100% get another tote. This one was complimentary (thank you, Golden Tote!), but considering I now have six new items in my wardrobe that I love, I think the $149 price tag would be well worth it.

Have you tried Golden Tote? Which is your favorite of the pieces I received?

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Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. I appreciate your support! :)

Plank Challenge Workout

Plank Challenge Workout -- pick a starting interval length based on your  ability and gradually increase it!The excessiveness of my plank-related posts is getting slightly out of hand. But I just love the way you can build up the burn with a series of holds and movements in a plank pose. And core strength is important for good posture, daily movements, other exercise—everything.

I also love the way I’ve seen progress through plank and plank-based exercises. One time in college, I took a group fitness class at the Student Rec Center and we ended with a plank hold contest. My whole body was shaking after 30 seconds and I barely lasted a minute (I don’t know why I remember this so vividly haha). Now, thanks to years of regularly working out (and especially all those megaformer classes), holding a minute-long plank during a class actually feels like a recovery pose to me. What?!

Plank Challenge Workout

This is a workout that can adapt with you as your strength and ability improves. You pick the interval length that’s best for your fitness level and you pick the number of times you repeat the sequence (beginners, just one time through; more advanced, try three sets with a brief rest in between each). Next time you do the workout, challenge yourself to increase your interval length by 5 seconds or add on an extra set.

So to start, pick your interval length: If you’re a beginner, I would suggest 15 seconds. More advanced, try 30+ seconds. You’ll do each move for x seconds, moving right onto the next one at the end without resting or coming out of your plank. There are 8 moves total, so if you pick a 15-second interval, you’ll be in a variation of plank for a total of two minutes.

To give you an idea of what interval length to pick, I can do 45 seconds if I only go through the sequence of exercises once. If I complete 2-3 sets, I’ll do 30-second intervals.

Plank Challenge Workout -- pick a starting interval length based on your  ability and gradually increase it

Beginners: I’ve placed an asterisk (*) next to all the moves that can be modified by doing them from your knees. Just make sure that if your knees are down, your butt isn’t sticking up in the air—it’s still a plank! Keep your hips lowered with abs engaged so that your body forms a straight diagonal line from knees to head.

  • Forearm Plank* | Most of us are familiar with a plank, so just a couple form queues: think of stacking your joints, elbows directly below shoulders. Pull the lower abdomen in to protect the low back (think of pulling up your jeans’ zipper). Squeeze the quads above the knees—notice how engaging these muscles helps straighten out your body even more.
  • Forearm Plank Hops Side to Side | Start in a forearm plank (elbows stacked underneath shoulders, core pulled in tight—don’t let your low back sag or your butt stick up in the air). From here, hop your feet in unison to the right, back to center, to the left, and back to center (that’s one rep). While you hop, try to hold your body in a straight line, not letting your bum pike up into the air.
  • Hip Dips* | This is a great one for the obliques. Start in a forearm plank position. From here, dip your left hip down towards the ground, twisting through your waist and rotating onto the outer edge of your left foot. Chest and shoulders stay square, only below the waist rotates. Come back through center and then repeat to the right. I think of it as tracing a smooth arc shape with my hips. Just be careful not to pike the bum into the air as you come up—it comes no higher than where it’d be in a static forearm plank.
  • Walking Plank* | You’re essentially just moving from low plank to high plank, up and down. Starting in a forearm plank position, press up into a high plank, one hand at a time. Reverse the movement when you’re in a high plank, lowering onto one forearm at a time. Important form notes:
    • Hands under shoulders, not in front. As you do these, think about keeping your shoulders stacked directly over whatever joint is on the floor (wrist in high plank, elbow in forearm plank). As you fatigue, the tendency is to have your hands far in front of your shoulders so that it’s easier to get back down to your forearms—don’t do this!
    • Hold your hips level. Instead of shifting your body weight and rocking the hips to the forearm side as you move up and down, stabilize through the core and hold the hips level. To do this, the arms need to work harder, elbows bending deeper (like when you do a push up).
    • Alternate your lead hand. Your body will want your dominate side to lead on this (from forearm plank: right hand presses up, left hand comes up, right forearm lowers down, left forearm comes down). Switch it up next time through so that your left side then leads the way.
  • Crossbody Mountain Climbers | Start in a plank position with hands stacked under shoulders, abs held in tight (don’t let your low back arch down towards the floor). Pull your right knee across your body towards your left elbow, trying to make physical contact between the two if you can. Step the right foot back into your high plank and then repeat on the other side, left knee to right elbow. I want the pace of these to be controlled: quick, but your focus is on pulling the knee as far forward as possible (try to tap the arm every time) more so than on the speed.
  • Rotating Side Planks* | Enjoy these! They’ll give your shoulders/arms some much-needed relief (albeit momentary). From high plank, shift your weight into your right hand and foot, rotating open into a side plank with your left hand reaching up towards the ceiling. Squeeze that right sidebody, keeping your hips lifted. Rotate back down to your high plank and then shift the weight into your left hand and foot, opening up into a side plank facing the other direction. Continue back and forth.Tip: Keep your feet closer together than you would in a normal plank so that you can easily roll from the edge of one foot to the other as you rotate between the side planks.
  • Plank Jacks | Start in a plank position with hands aligned underneath shoulders. Jump feet out to the sides (like a horizontal jumping jack) and quickly back together. Try to hold a strong plank alignment with your upper body as you jump the feet out and in—don’t let your butt pike up into the air or hips sag downward.
  • Plank* | End just like you started: holding in stillness, this time on your hands (although if your wrists are bothering you, feel free to do a forearm plank instead!). Wrists should be stacked directly under shoulders.

Plank Challenge Workout -- pick a starting interval length based on your  ability and gradually increase it!

WEARING | tank & leggings: c/o Sweaty Betty // sports bra: c/o Cory Vines 

More Planking Fun (…”Fun”):

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I was so excited when Sweaty Betty sent me the “Get Your Om Back” tank–it’s so perfect for my whole 2015 mission to discover my inner yogi! And the back is perfect for showing off a fun sports bra. signature Shop New Yoga Styles at Sweaty Betty!