Category: Product Reviews

Rethink Your Day With the Polar Loop

The following post is sponsored by FitFluential LLC on behalf of Polar.

How much do you move during the day?  Probably less than you think.  Well at least that’s what happened to me when I got my first step tracker.  So when I was given the opportunity to test out the brand new Polar Loop activity tracker, I jumped at the chance.  I know I’m fairly inactive during the day because I have a desk job that involves sitting at the computer and working on spreadsheets and other lovely documents.  So I wanted to see how this new tracker could help me get moving and rethink my day!

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My first impression was that the Loop was chunky and bulky.  It felt heavy compared to my FitBit Flex.  But the more I’ve worn it, the more I really like the design.  The Loop can be worn 24 hours a day and since it is waterproof, you can even wear it in the shower.  It is designed to accurately capture all movement and exercise with the ability to distinguish between varying levels of activity.  

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Polar Flow is the online tracking service and iPhone app (Android coming soon) that syncs up with the Loop via Bluetooth Smart.  This gives you a ton of charts and graphs to track your performance over the days, weeks and months.  You have the ability to monitor five levels of activity: running, walking, standing, sitting and lying down/sleeping.  Look at the difference from a day that I exercised and a day that I didn’t:

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Polar Flow allows you to track your progress over time to so you can see where you can make improvements.  For me, I know that I need to make an effort to get up and walk around during the day more or maybe just do some air squats at my desk.

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What I really like about the Loop is that it suggests activities for you to achieve your daily goal and how long you will need to do them for.  For example, at the end of a typical work day, my activity level is pretty low.  The Loop tells me that I need to go jog for 45 minutes to reach my goal…pretty cool!

The iPhone app will also notify you when you’ve been sitting down for too long and tell you to get your butt into gear!  Well, it’s a bit nicer than that šŸ™‚

Probably my favorite thing about the Polar Loop is that it has the ability to pair up with a heart rate monitor.  The Polar H7 Heart Rate Monitor has BlueTooth Smart technology to pair with both the Loop and Polar Flow.  It will tell you what zone you are in based on your heart rate (fat burning vs. fitness) so you can scale your workouts based on where you want to be.  The soft band is so comfortable that you could even where it all day.

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While many of the features of the Polar Loop are great, it does fall short in a few areas.  First, the band is not adjustable.  Before you can wear the Loop, you need to fit the band to your wrist which is an involved process as you can see by this video.  I often wear wrist wraps at the gym, which obviously makes my wrists thicker.  When I first adjusted the band I made it loose for that reason, but it would be nice if it could just be easily adjusted.

Second, syncing problems via Bluetooth.  The Loop does not easily sync to the iPhone app or pick up the heart rate monitor.  It will after a few minutes, but it definitely takes a while.  Also, after a few emails back and forth with the company I was told you must have the most up to date software installed on your phone (which I didn’t).  And actually, once I updated to iOS7 it still won’t sync to my phone.  I had to sync it to B’s phone to test the app out.  There are definitely some glitches that need to be worked out there.

Syncing via USB

Syncing via USB

Third, I wish there was some sort of vibration or sound that would notify you when you reach your goal or if you should get up and move.  Now that it’s cold here in CT, I’m wearing long sleeves so I don’t see any notifications that might pop up.  Plus, while I’m at work I’m not always looking at my phone to see if the app is telling me to move.

Even with the few shortcomings, the Polar Loop is a great activity tracker.  It really does help you #RethinkYourDay and get you moving more…something we all need!  This model is now available from Polar…a perfect holiday gift for the fitness buff in your life!  I also hear that a pink version with white LEDs is expected in early 2014.

What do you think of the Polar Loop’s features?  Do you see one in your future?

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ENERGYbits: The Power of Algae

You know algae right?  It’s that green slimy stuff that grows on the inside of fish tanks and in swimming pools.  But did you know it’s actually GOOD for you?!?  Algae contains 1,000 times more nutrition than any other food source on the planet.  Just 1 gram is equal to 1,000 grams of fruits and vegetables.  Now that’s a super food!  

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However good algae might be for us, I can’t imagine anyone eating the slimy green stuff.  So here’s where the folks at ENERGYbits come in.  They figured out a way to fit all that goodness into small, bite sized “bits.”  ENERGYbits are made of spirulina algae, 40 other nutrients, and each tab has the highest concentration of protein in the world.

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There are 4 different kinds of bits available.  The original ENERGYbits are made with 100% spirulina and claim to increase energy and endurance, boots alertness and lower blood pressure.  These are best to use before athletic activities or anytime you feel fatigued.

SKINNYbits are also 100% spirulina, but are used for weight loss and aides in stopping hunger and fatigue.  These should be taken before meals to reduce hunger or as a complete meal or snack replacement.

RECOVERYbits are made with 100% chlorella, which is a strain of spirulina grown in fresh water.  These bits are used to pump up the immune system because of their high level of oxygen.  These prevent hangovers (score!) and colds, improve digestion and helps with detox.  These are to be taken after a night a drinking or every morning to prevent cold.  Dual purposeā€¦interesting.

And finally, there are VITALITYbits which are 50% spirulina and 50% chlorella.  This mixture can be used for overall wellness, longevity and improved health.

Besides having a ton of protein, they are also a great source of Vitamin B which is important for maintaining energy when exercising.  I experienced this maintained energy first hand when I tried out some ENERGYbits on a recent morning run.  Now I’m not a morning person and I often find myself dragging when I go out, but I have to say that the bits really helped!  I actually ran a steady 1.5 miles, which is very different for me.  I’m a run/walker and generally never run more than a 1/4 mile at a time.  Not only did I run that 1.5 miles, but I felt great and could’ve kept going.  Unfortunately I had to wrap it up and head to work…

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The bits are best taken on an empty stomach for maximum effect, which is maybe why they worked well for me on my morning run.  They are a great way to kick start your day because they are an actual, healthy food source.  They contain no sugar, caffeine or chemicals and are only 1 calorie per bit!

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Interested in trying ENERGYbits for yourself?  Well I want you to win some!  The awesome folks over at ENERGYbits have been kind enough to host a giveaway so you can give them a try.  Simply enter below…you have until 11:59pm on Sunday!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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Disclaimer: I was provided with a free trial of ENERGYbits for the purpose of this review.  As always, all opinions are 100% my own.

Kona Kase: Fuel Your Active Lifestyle

I consider myself fairly active.  CrossFit, running, cat petting, it’s all requires me to properly fuel my body and I’m always looking for new products to try to see what works best for various activities. So when the folks over at Kona Kase offered me a chance to check out their July Kase, of course I said yes!

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Kona Kase is a monthly subscription service brining a variety of nutritional products right to your home.  Founders Taylor and John have a mission at Kona Kase to inspire people to create and maintain a healthy lifestyle.  They started the company because they were bored with the same old energy bars day after day and wanted to find new nutrition options for their active lives.  So they went out in search of the best products out there and now want to share that with the world. Super cool!  

Let’s take a look inside July’s Kase:  

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This month featured products from Gu, Luna and Kind.  Every Kase is different and you can see what has been sent in the past here.       

I use Gu gels for most of my long runs and I’ve pretty much stuck with the Chocolate Outrage flavor for the past year or so.  But I have to say, I’m getting a little bored with the flavor and the texture of the gels is sometimes hard to handle.  I was excited to see the Gu Chomps in this Kase to try for something different.  

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I gave them a try on my run this past Sunday and I actually really liked them!  I had always been hesitant about chewy things, as I thought they would be difficult to get down, but these weren’t. They actually dissolved fairly quickly and the lemon flavor was a refreshing change from the thicker chocolate that I’m used to.  I probably wouldn’t have bought these on my own, but I’m glad I was able to give them a try.  That’s what makes Kona Kase so cool…I love trying new things!  

Each Kase not only includes fuel for your body, but there is also something inspiring to fuel the mind as well.  I love this quote from Theodore Roosevelt. 

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Want to get a Kona Kase delivered to your home?  Well the rad folks over at Kona Kase want to give YOU $5 off your first Kase!  Just use the code GIFTSUMMER when placing your order…it’s that easy!  Also make sure to check them out on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram for some really inspiring photos and articles!

What is your favorite fuel?  What products would you like to try? 

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Full Disclosure: I received this product complimentary from Kona Kase and did not receive any compensation for this review.  All opinions are 100% my own.