I like to use my blog for education, motivation and inspiration. I have great relationships with a lot of amazing companies and as an ambassador (not "sponsored") athlete, I really enjoy sharing some of my favorite things with you all - my dedicated blog readers.
Often, I receive emails from companies asking me to try their product or promote their product. Sometimes it is shoes, sometimes it is clothing, sometimes it is something very random. I believe in staying true to my blog and to my words. Although I am always open to trying knew things, I don't ever want to come across as misleading and try to win a popularity contest for blog hits. I am proud to have a blog where the readers are passionate about enhancing their active lifestyle, one bite at a time.
I don't want to receive free products from a company and then tell you how great they are, just because I get things for free. I really take my time to research companies, try things out and make sure I provide an honest product review. However, I am not the one who will bad-mouth a company's produce and say it is horrible..it may just not work for me but it may be the perfect fit for you.
A few months ago, two companies had contacted me to review their companies. As a lover of the water and finding my inner-nemo and for healthy mind/body challenges, I couldn't wait to check out the websites that were introduced to me via email. I was not paid anything to endorse products or write a review and have not received anything from these companies but friendly words and passion. Aquagear offers an affiliate program (which anyone can sign up for) so I invite you to spread the word just like with Hammer Nutrition. I always love to support local businesses but sometimes you have to order online when you can't find what you are local for locally.
I have a growing list for Aquagear in order to write reviews on a few products but other than that, I am enjoying learning about companies who are dedicated and passionate about what they offer to the consumer. I would love for you to check out the websites that I am about to review below, and feel free to give your feedback either via my blog (comment section) or via email.
As an on-line retailer of swimming and water exercise products (based in Florida), aqua gear is a family-run company that's been around since 1992. They offer same-day shipping and very competitive friendly prices.
I asked aquagear to give their recommendations for a few goggles as I think many triathletes and fitness enthusiasts struggle with finding the right pair. I love my speedo women vanquisher goggles and for de-fogging, just drop a tiny drop of baby shampoo in the lenses and rinse.
As far as goggles go, the new models that are big this season are AquaSphere's K180 and Speedo's Polarized Speed Socket.
The K180's are AquaSphere's first google designed for competitive swimmers. They are extremely light-weight and low-profile. The K180's plus also new this year, goes a step futher and actually sits inside the rim of your eye-socket for an even lower profile.
For a trialthelete, the K180 Plus might be too low of a profile to be comfortable for any length of swim. The Plus fits and feels like a sweedish goggle. If you like a lower profile, you might like the regular K180. If you prefer a wider field of vision and a bit more comfort, you might consider the Kayenne or the Kayenne Small Fit.
Speedo's newest addition is the Speed Socket with a Polarized lens. This is another low profile goggle meant for competitive swimmers, but is notable due to its polarized lenses, which very few goggles have. If you like the feel of a low profile goggles, you might like the enhanced vision that polarized lenses provide when swimming in the open water.
Speedo's Air Seal Tri is also a popular choice for Triathletes. It fits more like a goggle than a swim mask, but still allows for a wider field of vision than competition swim goggles.
Many triathletes ask me about paddles which I find effective for swim drills and for working on the form (specifically the pull through) in the water. I also believe in water jogging when necessary for injury or just to change up the routine. I highly recommend checking out the paddle section as well as the aqua jogger belts.
From the email I received from my contact person at Aquagear (family owned business):
"I think what our company has that our competitors don't have is the people working here. We try out almost every product that we carry. We might try all of the exercise bells in the pool to see which has the most resistance or try on each model of goggle to see how they fit. We use this knowledge to train the rest of our employees on all the subtle differences between different brands and models to help the customer find the right product for their needs.
We also take the time to talk to our customers to figure out who they are and what their goals are so we can recommend a product that they'll love. We believe that good customer service is more than sounding friendly on the phone. Its about knowing the products and the customer and finding the right match.
We throughly check incomming and outgoing merchdise to spot and weed out manufacturing errors before the merchandise gets to the customer. So while other companies may sell the same model of kickboard or goggle, you'll know that each product coming from us has been looked over thouroughly for any missing parts, defects or cosmetic blemishes. Unfortunately, many of the factories that make swimming products tend to toss in a few defective products in each batch as part of their business model. We're rather picky about the appearance of the product and aren't shy about sending defective or blemished merchandise back to the manufacturer when needed. If the customer is paying for something that's "new", it shouldn't have scuffs on it or indentations in the foam. Ultimatly all of these things create a better experience for the customer, since the purpose of a retailer is to help the customer get the right product, in brand new condition, on-time, with as little difficulty as possible."
Now a day, "challenges" are the rave. Whether it is a 30-day "diet" challenge or a fitness challenge, it seems like people are looking for ways to be dedicated to changing up the routine....for a short amount of time....only hoping that those changes stay.
As a triathlete, I have a routine and a schedule in order to be as consistent as possible to receive the most prominent physiological adaptations to the body with the least amount of training stress. As a coach, all my athletes use Training Peaks to upload data and to review their weekly workouts. I use it myself to see what torture..I mean fun workouts, Karel has me do for swim-bike-run.
But sometimes you need to change up the routine. I don't believe in keeping the same routine month after month. As a triathlete, I like to dedicate no more than 3 months training for one event, with the last 8-10 weeks being the "heaviest" of training load (duration or intensity depending on what I am training for). Despite having a "season" for triathlons (typically lasting March - Oct for most triathletes), I still like to put in a few "breaks" of unstructured activity to keep my fitness going but to not burn out my mind and body.
As for the few months that follow triathlon "season", I LOVE to change things up. I still exercise but "training" is not as necessary. I find that many athletes become burnt out by the end of their season and this turns in to a lot of doing nothing. I find nothing wrong with doing nothing but certainly, there should be a healthy balance between season and off-season. Too much or little of any one thing is never a good thing.
I am excited to introduce you to Konkura which is the FREE fitness challenge site. All you have to do is create a username (it took me less than 2 minutes) and you can browse the site to get inspired by challenges, exercises and even meet other like-minded individuals.
'Konkura is the free sport, fitness and workout site where you can join, share or create challenges for every sport or fitness activity imaginable.
Whether you’re a runner, cyclist, swimmer, rower, football player, paddler, strength athlete or just interested in getting more fit or changing body composition, you’ll find a challenge just for you. Because many people don't have access to gyms and lack motivation to train on their own, this is a great website to give you a community of like-minded people to train against and enjoy friendly competition.
And if you can’t find a sport or exercise challenge that suits you, you can quickly and easily create your own, then invite your friends (or the whole world) to compete with you for mutual motivation.
Let me know what you think of the site...if you are a runner or triathlete, this is a great place to track your own progress and be inspired by others.