Treating Winter Skincare Woes


If there’s one thing I’ve learned about pregnancy so far it’s that there are a lot of constants — fluctuating hormones, escalating excitement, random discomforts and exponential expansion, just to name a few. Oh, and the fact that just when you think you’ve got things figured out, your body will throw you for a loop.

Case in point: Schizophrenic skin.

I’m pretty good about trying to meet my daily quota of water to keep the inside of my body (and Baby H) hydrated. But despite Portland’s nonstop-soggy climate, the humidity in the air wasn’t enough; our cold winter weather was still managing to wreak havoc on my now-sensitive skin (read: dry patches and red blotches on my face, along with chapped hands from frequent hand-washing during cold & flu season).

Since so many skincare ingredients are no-nos for preggos, I went in search of a few new products that would not only be safe, but also ultra-nourishing. I ended up revamping my regimen with the following, which I wanted to share in case you’re experiencing similar skin maladies this season:

Remove Makeup: Wipe face gently with Burt’s Bees Sensitive Facial Cleansing Towelettes with Cotton Extract to remove dirt, oil and makeup.

Cleanse: Massage Mad Hippie Cream Cleanser into damp skin fro 20 seconds, then rinse with warm water to hydrate and help balance skin.

Moisturize: Apply Farmaesthetics Nourishing Lavender Milk to clean, slightly-damp face (morning and night) to mend freaked-out skin.

Treat: Slather on good ole Mentholatum Ointment for chapped lips and Farmaesthetics Hand to Heel Softening Salve on cracked hands, heels and ashy elbows.

Prevent: Alternate Farmaesthetics Nourishing Herbal Cream with The Spoiled Mama Tummy Butter and Booda Butter to keep belly itchiness at bay and help prevent stretch marks.

Pamper: Spritz pillow with Earth Mama Angel Baby Morning Wellness Spray for aromatherapy effects, soak swollen feet with Farmaesthetics Field Lavender Solar Salt Mineral Bath, soothe tense muscles with Farmaesthetics Deep Lavender Rub and ease anxiety with Farmaesthetics Lemon Balm Remedy Oil.

Note: As it turns out, Farmaesthetics has a special New & Nursing Mothers Gift Set, which effectively kills many birds with one stone (i.e. ALL the Farmaesthetics products mentioned about are included), so I’d suggest checking it out.

Not only because you can sample a smorgasbord of products at once, but also because all six formulations come in convenient travel-sized containers — perfect for babymooning or in your hospital bag!

What are your best tips for treating winter skincare woes? 

Q&A with Alex Schmotter, founder of the world’s first alkaline sports drink


Let’s get one thing straight: Sports drinks today aren’t exactly health food. Sure high sugar content, artificial dyes, preservatives and chemical additives are bad enough, but it’s the acid content (100 times more than coffee!) that can really affect our health (tooth decay) and performance (muscle fatigue).

Enter PHenOH 7.4, the first sports drink that helps the body maintain its natural alkalinity, allowing us to perform at our best for longer.

Founder and CEO Alex Schmotter, a lifelong athlete with a passion for health sciences, developed the product after realizing the lack of a healthy alternative to traditional sports drinks. He also happens to be one of Hubby’s dental school buddies, so I thought it’d be fun to sit down and chat about how he balances running a successful business with pursuing his DDS degree!

KineticFix: Welcome, Alex! So, how’d you get the idea for an alkaline sports drink, and why is it so beneficial for athletes? 


Alex Schmotter: I was in the process of applying for dental school, so I had teeth on my mind, and at the same time I was brainstorming research topics for my senior research at Cal Poly. Being an athlete with a background in biology and a strong interest in dentistry, I began researching the detrimental oral affects that sports drinks have.

Most people don’t understand that acid is the direct cause of tooth decay, so I decided to conduct my senior research on the topic. And the more I learned about the acidity of sports drinks, the more I discovered that their negative effects aren’t just on teeth, but also on physical performance and overall health.

Sports drinks are about 30,000 time more acidic than blood. This is especially important for athletes because when we exercise we naturally produce acids. Our bodies are amazing machines, and we are very good at getting rid of this acid, but there comes a point that we produce acids faster than we can get rid of them, which can adversely affect performance.

KF: You’re currently in dental school; how does your work with Phenoh 7.4 fit in with that?

AS: Teeth are where this all started. I was out for a bike ride one day in undergrad, and I’m riding along drinking my sports drink thinking about how I’m drinking it. I notice that I put a little bit of this bright blue fluid into my mouth, swish it around for a few seconds, swallow, and then repeat the process. It doesn’t take being a dentist to know that this is terrible for your teeth.

Having such an interest in oral health, I wanted to understand the justification for sports drinks being so acidic. I thought that if the acid is destructive to our teeth, then it must be very good for us in other ways to justify being in sports drinks, but the more research I did the more obvious the problem became.


KF: Describe a typical day; I’m interested in how you balance it all!

AS: Well I don’t do it alone, first of all. I have a great team behind me now, and that’s crucial. I have learned to feed off of the positive support that I have gotten from my family, my friends and some great advisers.

In terms of a typical day, though, I sleep between 4 and 5 hours a night. I usually set an alarm for 6 a.m. I wake up, get ready and head to a coffee shop to work before school. I try to get a few hours of work in before clinic. It’s actually great working this early in the morning because retail store buyers are up early to prepare before the store opens.

Then I go to clinic or class. I work with patients all morning, and during that time I’m really pretty unavailable. This is where it is to important to be able to trust the people you work with.

We get an hour off for lunch, so I usually sprint to the coffee shop around the block and catch up on emails or take a phone meeting. I try to schedule phone meetings for 1-2 p.m. every day, because this is the time of the day that I know I am available and that both the West and East Coasts are within normal business hours.

At 2 p.m. I go back into clinic were I’m with patients again until 5 p.m. After cleaning up, writing notes, calling patients, etc. it is usually 5:30 or 6 p.m., and this is when the work day really starts for me. I would say that Wei-Ken, our company president, and I have most of our company-defining moments after the midnight hour. There’s no such thing as 9 to 5 at a start-up!

Someone told me once that the key to a successful business is “people by day, papers by night.” I agree with this — that during the day it is important to speak with as many people as possible in the restraints of their working hours. And during the ‘off’ hours, I get to express my creativity, make a game plan, develop new products, etc.

KF: It’s been four years in the making; can you tell us a bit about what went into creating your product? 

AS: Ten years ago, a “curious kid” would not have had the resources to do what I did. Today we have access to any information in the world at the tip of our fingers. We have online databases full of unfiltered, scientific literature prepared by masters in their respective fields. I was able to pull information from every discipline of science to get a true understanding of the big picture — thereby giving me the opportunity to develop a solution that “bridges the gaps.”

Phenoh 7.4 is made with just seven natural ingredients, and each one is in there at a very specific concentration for a very specific purpose, based on what the research shows we need for maximal function. We redefined the sports drink on every level, not just the alkalinity. For example, we make our product with organic aloe vera — not only for the essential nutrients that it provides to help us rebuild after stress, for also for its anti-inflammatory effects, ability to reduce post-exercise pain and boost to the immune system.

The real time, however, has not been on the product development, but on building the business. Taking a concept to market with zero business experience is no easy task. I have made many mistakes and will probably make many more. I have, however, developed an incredible network that is proving extremely helpful in spreading word of this new product.


KF: You’re a self-taught businessman, and I’d argue there’s no better MBA than starting your own company! So what are three things you’ve learned in the process? 

AS: As you know, my background is in science — so other than a few lemonade stands as a kid, I came into this with zero business experience. Starting a company as a one-man show, you wear a LOT of hats. I gave myself the crash-course in just about everything, and learned a lot from friends, but if I had to give just three things that I’ve learned, I’d say:

1. If you do not know something, learn it. If you are in a situation where you don’t know something, don’t be afraid to ask. I spent the early days of this thing splitting time between developing the graphics, building a production systems plan, writing my first provisional patent, learning about types of seed round financing, learning about quality control compliance regulations for producing a consumable product, building basic marketing and distribution campaigns…the list goes on.

2. Take on an attitude that if you do not do something, then it will not get done. In business, there is a lot of talk. I still believe that most people genuinely want to help and want to see your vision succeed, but we are all very busy and without an ingrained sense of urgency, people and businesses do not always take action in the way that they say.

For me, this experience was true in situations with friends coming on board to help with the operations and not understanding how much time and effort goes into building a business, all the way to giant corporations promising results and not following through on their agreements. In business, everyone is working on leverage. Be persistent. Stay positive, and push push push.

3. Know who you are. This may be the most challenging initial process of starting a brand. Can you explain it to someone? Will they understand? It doesn’t do a whole lot of good having a “great-freaking-product” if you are the only one who understands it. This should be an exercise performed by every new business entrepreneur.

My suggestion is that you go out and talk about it. Talk about it so much that there is not a single question you don’t have an answer to. Find your brand identity. Think about your brand’s immediate-, short-, and long-term goals, and write them into your business plan. Then don’t lose sight of those ideals!

KF: What are your favorite ways in which to stay active — that is, where & when do you drink Phenoh 7.4?

AS: Exercise is a part of my life. I can’t go without exercise, or I just feel off. I’ve always run outside, and throughout college I played team sports (Alex was an All-American collegiate lacrosse player) and went to the gym daily. I still like to go to the gym, but nothing can replace being outside — whether it’s running, biking, hiking, water skiing, snow skiing, etc.

After dental school, I would love to get back into lacrosse and soccer. But for now, you can find me at the Lyon Street staircase or running down Marina Green!

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KF: Where do you see Phenoh 7.4 5-10 years from now?

AS: Phenoh is a lifestyle brand, and Phenoh 7.4 is our flagship product. The benefits of the concept of Phenoh 7.4 extend to everyone, not just while we are exercising. We want to teach and we want to offer information and healthy products.

We also plan to build philanthropy into our core values. My dad and I have been doing dental philanthropy trips, and last year we did three where we went to Mexico and provided free care for the Huichol Indians. We want to use Phenoh to build similar prevention and care programs around the world.

KF: Finally, what would you say to people who haven’t tried an alkaline drink yet but are open to the idea of trying one?

AS: Don’t be scared! People expect that an alkaline alternative beverage is going to taste like soap, or something awful… Give it a try and see for yourself; it’s very refreshing!

We like to think of ourselves as the Tesla of beverages — at first, consumers were interested in Tesla because it was an electric alternative to internal combustion engines, but now it’s becoming a norm. Phenoh products are the same; while our defining characteristic is the fact that we are alkaline rather than acidic, it is only one of the reasons that we offer a superior product.

It’s also important to note that we aren’t an alkaline water — we are an alkaline flavored beverage, and we are the first of our kind. It’s not just sports drinks that are acidic. If you see something in a bottle, and its not alkaline water, you can assume it’s acidic. This acidity is a serious problem, and that’s why were offering Phenoh as a viable solution.

Intrigued yet? Check out Phenoh 7.4’s website here for more info! 

Beer lovers: Five reasons to drink to your health


Hubby and I may not officially be Portland residents just yet, but that hasn’t stopped me from looking up a few fun facts about our soon-to-be new town.

Like, for example, did you know that PDX is home to more breweries (50+) than any other city on Earth?

And it just so happens that, according to some more of my “research,” downing a cold one could be the ideal recovery drink for all this marathon training I’m doing.

Yep, long considered an indulgence of the inactive, beer actually offer serious health benefits for athletes.

Not only is it an excellent hydrator (93 percent water), but it also has one of the highest energy contents of any drink, not to mention a bunch of natural antioxidants and vitamins.

But if that’s not reason enough to imbibe (in moderation, of course), you can raise a glass and toast to these five health benefits:

Source: Dayton City Paper

Source: Dayton City Paper

1. Sturdy Skeleton: Beers rich in silicon, such as pale ale, have been linked to the stimulation of bone-building cells. A 2009 study at Tufts University also found that men and women who downed a drink or two daily had higher bone mineral density.

2. Happy heart: Alcohol increases the levels of “good” (HDL) cholesterol and reduces the risk of heart attack and stroke by helping to prevent blood clots and hardening of the arteries. What’s more, Harvard reports show that moderate drinking cuts this risk of cardiovascular disease by as much as 25 to 40 percent.

3. Clean kidneys: A Finnish study found a correlation between beer drinking and a reduction in the risk of developing kidney stones – by as much as 40 percent. Its high water content helps prevent dehydration, plus the hops may limit the leeching of calcium from bones, both of which contribute to stones.

4. Boost brainpower: Moderate drinkers (those who consume one drink per day) may also count a sound mind among the benefits of their regular beer consumption. A 2005 New England Journal of Medicine study showed that, compared to non-drinkers, this group not only lowered their risk of mental decline by as much as 20 percent, but also scored better on mental skills tests.

5. Curtail Cancer: Much like grapes, hops also contain antioxidants, which are substances that protect cells from the damage caused by unstable molecules known as free radicals. Plus, a certain compound found in hops (xanthohumol) is thought to inhibit some of the enzymes that can trigger cancer, and it may even go as far as to help the body break down harmful carcinogens.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, it looks like I have a little more, er, “lifting” to add to my weekly training routine…

If at first you don’t succeed…

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…trail, trail again!

That was the theme this past weekend as Hubby and I tried to squeeze in one last trail run before my 50K on May 31.

Our first attempt was on Saturday morning in Marin. We’d done the Tennessee Valley Trail once before, but ended up cutting off about two miles because A) navigating trails is never easy, and B) if there’s a way to get lost, I’ll find it.

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So this time we were determined to hug the coastline and reclaim those lost miles. No matter what — even if it meant going down a single-track trail that slowly disappeared into thick brush.

Long story short? Some of that “brush” we were wading through turned out to be poison oak.

Combine that with four snake sightings, plus something hissing at me under a rock (my guess is snake no. five), and Hubby and I high-tailed it back to the car and called it a day after two miles.

But not before stopping to pick up the skin-saving miracle called Tecnu. We slathered ourselves in it head-to-toe, and so far so good…

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Cut to trail attempt, take two, on Sunday where we decided that a 13-miler around Lake Chabot — the scene of my 30K this past February — might be a better option.

The poison oak and another snake sighting (yup, both are all over right now) turned out to be only minor annoyances, though, as compared to another factor that reared its ugly head: heat.

Our “summer” — i.e. foggy, barely 60-degree — days have definitely softened us. Despite drinking all the water in my vest, I was still super dehydrated by the time we finished (but my fueling was good, as you can see — thanks, Hubby, for catching me mid-mouthful).

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Although we both spent the remainder of the day trying to re-hydrate — seriously, we couldn’t get enough water — it was a great reminder going into my race to drink more frequently.

In fact, experts say that performance is impaired when you’re dehydrated by as little as two percent of body weight…and we experienced that firsthand when we both started dragging in the later miles.

But working out the kinks aside, you can’t really complain too much when you’re running with these kinds of views.

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After all, as one fellow trail runner said to us in passing, “It’s just another horrible day in paradise, isn’t it?”

Happy trails, friends!

Race Recap: Chabot Trail Run 30K

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As a fitting follow-up to last weekend’s ‘ride of firsts,’ today was a ‘run of firsts’ at the Chabot Trail Run in Castro Valley, Calif.: First longer trail race, and first 30K distance in the books! And as I sat recovering on the couch and sorting out the day’s events, I decided it’d be best described as equal parts exhilarating adventure and happy coincidence.

But, to back up for a moment…Vivi, my running partner in craziness crime, and I signed up for the event on a whim (although she did talk me down from the 50K, thank goodness), thinking it’d not only be a nice change of scenery, but also a good way to give our legs a rest from the roads, as well as a perfect proving ground race to test our trail mettle.

photo (47)We arrived to the start area about 45 minutes before the 8:30 a.m. gun time and managed to snag the last parking spot (good race karma, we decided) before picking up our packets, hitting the bathroom and swinging back by the car to drop our sweats.

By the time we did all that, we could hear the race organizers lining people up, so we jogged over to the start.

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After giving a few last-minute instructions, the event director started the final countdown, and we were off!

The first mile or two was on paved roads around the lake, so we eased in at a conservative 9:00-mile pace. Then the pavement gave way to dirt and we got onto the good stuff…a bouncy footbridge followed by soft trail.

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Now, about that happy coincidence: Vivi had put out a call on Facebook the previous evening to our November Project friends about the race, letting them know we’d be running and inviting them to join in to pace us or cheer us along.

We figured it might be too last-minute to have anyone take us up, but a little ways into the run we heard someone come up behind us and say, “Are you Jen and Vivi?”

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Enter Molly, whom I nicknamed my Race Angel for the day! She’s training for the Boston Marathon and had a 19-miler on the schedule for the weekend, so she figured she’d kill two birds with one stone and grab some miles while gabbing with some fellow runner gals.

In yet another testament to the amazing running community, we all immediately started chatting like old pals…and the miles flew by because we were so immersed in conversation.

Before we knew it, we had tackled the first of four major climbs (walking the steep parts because I wanted to heed my ultrarunner friend Jamie’s advice to conserve energy) and hit the first aid station. 

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And, wow. They should call these mini-buffets instead of aid stations. It was like a mirage in the desert, such an amazing spread with all kinds of items, both healthy and not-so-healthy. Huge kudos to Inside Trail Racing for really taking care of us runners.

With my sweet tooth, I thought I would have to restrain myself around all the candy, but I actually wasn’t craving it at ALL. In all my pre-race hydration focus, I ended up making a rookie nutrition mistake (more on that later), so I grabbed a PB&J sandwich square to stay on the safe side.

And then we were off again!


Over the next few miles we met up with a super-nice woman named Leslie — a mom in her 50’s who had taken up ultra-running and was doing the 50K as a wait to train for her upcoming 50-miler.

That’s the great part about these longer distances; not only are they so much less crowded that road races, but you can run alongside people at a slower pace and actually have some great conversations along the way.

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I think (hope?) people enjoyed running with us, as well. We were having such a great time being out there, laughing and taking it all in, that we must have served as some interesting on-course entertainment!

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Despite the intermittent climbs, our spirits stayed high as we alternated jogging on the flats and small rolling hills with walking up the steeper areas.

I also tried to stay on top of my hydration and fueling, which was Leslie’s main advice, taking sips of Osmo Nutrition Active Hydration and nips off my PocketFuel every mile or so.

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After we had done another four miles (~10 total), we came upon the second aid station. By this time, my stomach was starting to feel a little grumbly (Note to self: My big mistake was to eat salad for lunch the day before the race – never again, as it didn’t set well).

I tried a combo of boiled potatoes dipped in salt, along with a Dixie cup of Pepsi, which helped. And then we were off again!

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The third and final aid station before the finish was about four miles away (~mile 14), and we were still feeling pretty strong at this point. So strong, in fact, that a fellow runner commented on how upbeat we seemed as we hiked up a steep hill.

She identified herself as a triathlete by training, and said that her half Ironman races were much easier than the 30K distance, which made me very happy to hear in light of my upcoming April Olympic distance!

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We made good time to the final aid station, and I grabbed more Pepsi and salted potatoes, filling the flasks in my Ultimate Direction Jenny Ultra Vesta (ok, I may have gotten it for the name, but it’s such a handy and comfy vest for long runs) with water mixed with the Tailwind electrolyte drink that they had on the course.

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By this time, we were out of the wooded areas and running in full sun, along dirt paths through some really beautiful scenery (another benefit of trail events).

We kept commenting on how lucky we were to have such good weather, too — it was a perfect 65 degrees.

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About 15 miles in, I remember telling Vivi and Molly that I couldn’t believe how good I felt.

Admittedly, we were undertrained for the race — I was hoping to get 14-15 miles the weekend we attempted the Double Dipsea last month, but the weather never cooperated, and we called it a day at 10. So we were attempting 18+ miles, having completed only a 12-mile “long” training run in advance of the race.


Well, apparently I provoked the running gods by saying that — and it turns out they’ve got a wicked sense of humor. No sooner did I utter those words than the wheels started slowly coming off, and thus began a gradual unraveling over the next few miles.

I forced myself to keep sipping and eating small amounts, but every incline got tougher as the accumulated climbing of the day started to take its toll. Our solution? A few photo opps as we made our way slowly toward the finish (i.e. chances to rest for a minute, catch our breaths and bring our heart rates down).

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With a mix of jogging down straightaways and walking up inclines, we slowly ticked off another mile and saw a sign that indicated we were a mile away from the finish. Heartened, we picked up the pace to bring it home. But at the end of that mile, when the finish line was nowhere in sight, I hit the mental wall.

We figured we couldn’t have more than another mile, and Vivi got her second wind, so she ran ahead while Molly hung back and kept me distracted enough to keep going despite my rebelling mind and body.

When we turned the final corner, saw the finish line and noticed that the clock was under 3:30 (Vivi and I were thinking we’d aim for under 4:00, but would thrilled with 3:30), it was enough to give us that final boost to get across the finish. Final time: 3:23:21.

And then the feasting began!

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On the way out of the park, we ran into a woman who races with her Dachshund. He had completed the half marathon today, and he’s training for his first marathon later this year — so, of course, we had to get a shot with the impressive little guy and his bib (yes, he was officially registered for the race).

Leslie (our new ultra hero from the race) had also mentioned that it was her rule to make a new friend during every event — so between her, Molly and our new four-legged mascot, we not only met but happily exceeded that goal for the day!

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And I’ve just got to share something that Vivi and I saw on our way home over the Bay Bridge that gave us a laugh…

This furry fellow was also enjoying himself today, catching some rays and taking in the views from the sunroof.

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There certainly is something to be said for taking on another round of firsts. You never know where it’ll take you — and who you’ll meet along the way.

Happy running and racing, friends!

Hydration 101: What to drink – and when – for optimal fitness

Photo credit:

Photo credit:

If your usual routine of gels, powders, bars and chews isn’t helping you power through tough workouts, you may be missing a critical component of a successful exercise regimen: Water.

Not only does it help your body efficiently convert food into energy, but it also wards off dehydration, which can accelerate the onset of fatigue.

Contrary to popular belief, however, thirst is not a good indicator of hydration; by the time your brain senses it, you’ve already lost about one percent of your body weight in water.

That doesn’t sound like much, but exercise performance decreases with as little as a two percent loss (or less than three pounds in a 150-pound athlete).

Factor in the statistic that some athletes can lose up to five pounds of sweat (or more!) during practice and competition, and it’s a no-brainer to start all exercise sessions in a hydrated state.

Photo credit: Lifefactory

Photo credit: Lifefactory

Here’s a good rule of thumb for ensuring proper hydration:

    • Drink about 16 ounces of water two hours before any endurance event
    • Consume a cup or two 10 to 15 minutes immediately prior to activity
    • Aim for four to six ounces of fluid every 15 minutes during the event
    • Remember that it’s just as important to re-hydrate afterward, as well

If your sweat session will last more than 90 minutes, consider swapping in a sports drink or electrolyte tablets, which help bring your system into balance more quickly by helping you to retain more liquid.

And now that I’m in the throes of marathon training, my must-have accessory is a reusable water bottle. I’m loving this new straw-cap glass bottle with silicon sleeve ($25) from Lifefactory. Isn’t the design great? And now I can keep track of exactly how much I’m drinking throughout the day, thanks to the helpful marks on the grip.

My dog clearly wanted in on the photo shoot

My dog clearly wanted in on the action here

It’s the first glass water bottle I’ve tried, and I’ll gladly take a little extra weight in exchange for peace of mind (it contains no BPA, BPS, PVC or phthalates). After all, we work so hard on the outside of our bodies, we may as well keep them healthy on the inside, too, right?

Handy built-in straw and pivoting handle

Handy built-in straw and pivoting handle

For mid-run hydration, I recently bought this QuickDraw Plus ($25) hand-held water bottle from Nathan.


Photo credit: Nathan

I’ve tried hydration belts without much success (ugh, they ride up), so I figured I’d give this style a shot. It’s also BPA-free, but I was more excited about the iPhone pocket and thumb hole for grip-free running.

It worked just ok on my recent 10-mile trial run, but I’m going to give it a few more tries before I make my final judgment.

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How do you stay hydrated during those intense workouts?

Thanks to the folks at Lifefactory for providing a sample for review; all opinions are my own. 

Simple tips for keeping your cool during summer workouts

Photo credit: Blisstree

Photo credit: Blisstree

Although we wait most of the year in anticipation for them, the dog days of summer can wreak havoc on workouts.

Between heat, humidity and poor air quality, suddenly even the simplest of activities can feel twice as difficult.

But don’t let zapped energy derail your exercise regimen; instead, try these tips for successfully tackling summer sweat sessions.

Mind the time. Early morning and late evening are generally the coolest stretches of the day, so rearrange your schedule to squeeze in a workout without getting beaten down by the midday sun.

Wear proper clothing. Look for lightweight and breathable clothing that wicks sweat, and opt for lighter colors, which help reflect heat better than darker ones.

Hydrate all day. Staying consistently hydrated (four to eight ounces of water every 15 to 20 minutes) helps prevent heat-induced symptoms such as dizziness, stomach cramps and headaches.

Shield skin from the sun. Sunburn is a surefire way to make any workout miserable, so wear a hat and be sure to slather on sunscreen that’s SPF 15 or higher 30 minutes before you head outside.

Allow time to acclimate. It can take anywhere from 10 to 14 days to adjust to a new climate, so as the mercury starts rising, exercise for shorter durations and at lower intensities.

Switch to summer-friendly workouts. Activities such as beach volleyball, kayaking, swimming and hiking torch calories without burning up your body and can be done in the water or the shade.

Rest early and often. You body works harder than usual in the heat, so don’t be afraid to take frequent water and walk breaks to allow it to regulate and recover.

Cool your core body temp. Take a cold shower before and after you work out, and douse your head with a squirt or two from your water bottle when you need to chill out mid-workout.

Take it indoors. When it’s just too hot to do anything outside, take advantage of your air-conditioned gym, pop in a workout video in the comfort of your basement or, when all else fails, do laps at the mall for some good people watching while getting your heart pumping.

Use common sense. Finally, know when to call it quits and stop immediately if you experience muscle cramps, nausea, vomiting, weakness, headache, dizziness and/or confusion, any of which can be cause for concern.

Beat the heat: Gear for surviving summer workouts


Photo credit:

I have a love/hate relationship with summer workouts.

Love? Longer days, runs at dusk with the smell of fresh-cut grass and dressing without fear of the wind chill factor.

Hate? Sunburns, jogging at a snail’s pace under the beating sun, dehydration, heat cramps and humidity.

Luckily, some of those things can be avoided by taking a few simple precautions (aka getting my butt out of bed earlier and slathering myself head-to-toe with sunscreen).

The others? Well, there’s no better excuse to get some fun, new gear to keep you from suffering through some strenuous outdoor activities in the summertime.

Here are a few of my recent favorites!

Dress to Impress

I love a good pair of yoga pants as much as the next gal, but sometimes summer just calls for bare legs. Keep your cool (without losing your dignity in some of those, ahem, ‘barely-there’ shorts) with Moving Comfort’s Sprint Tech Skort ($56), which comes complete with motivational quotes inside the lining to really get you going.


Peek-a-boo! Love the fun colors


Go with the Flow

For up top, I’m a big fan of their Flow Crossback Tank ($58). As comfortable as it is cute, Moving Comfort really knocked it out of the park with this one. From the fun pop of color to the feminine ruching at the bust, this tank is not only done well design-wise, but it also has a built-in bra for support during both low- and high-impact activities.














Keep a Cool Head

When I want to get out and feel the burn (the good kind) while going pseudo-incognito, I grab my trusty Lululemon Run Hat ($32). The lightweight, moisture-wicking and adjustable cap makes it easy to shield your eyes from the sun and keep hair from going haywire.

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Hydrate, Hands-free

Between hydration, energy gels, keys, cash, phone, music and whatever else you need, packing for a long run can spiral out of control quickly. Contain the madness with a Nathan Hydration Belt ($45). Equipped with easy-squeeze flasks, these belts offer lightweight storage, a chafe-free ride, and easy one-handed access to hydration and other running essentials.


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Keep Your Balance

Finally, smart sports hydration takes more than just H2O. Keep from knocking your system too far out of whack by consistently sipping an electrolyte replacement, such as Nuun Active Hydration Tablets ($24 for a four-pack), which contain a quick-absorbing mix of salts and sugars that can alleviate cramps and help muscles function, communicate and burn energy efficiently. Stay cool out there!


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Thanks to the folks at Moving Comfort for providing samples for review; all opinions are my own. 

Get Your Fix: Zola’s “Fruits of the World”

Check out our latest and greatest healthy living obsessions!  Zola

If you read up on the 10 hot nutrition trends for spring, you know that coconut water is making a comeback (has it ever left?), thanks to its loyal following of fitness junkies and athletes who use it as a high-potassium replacement for sugary sports drinks.

But while I love to use the slightly-sour liquid in place of water or juice in smoothies, I’ve never really been a fan of sucking it down straight from the bottle – until now.

At the suggestion of my friend, Fit Approach co-founder Jamie Walker, I tried Zola’s version and found it is indeed all it’s “cracked” up to be (plus, as an ultra-marathoner, boot-camp instructor and yogi, I’m pretty sure Jamie knows a little something about hydration).

Not only does it contain five essential electrolytes – potassium, sodium, calcium, phosphorus and magnesium – but unlike a lot of stuff that’s that good for you, it also actually tastes great.

How? Founder and intrepid traveler Chris Cuvelier has been trekking around the globe for more than a decade in search of the world’s best sources for the tastiest and most nutritious exotic fruits – which just happen to be Thai coconuts and Brazilian Açaí, by the way (the company also offers a yummy line of antioxidant-packed Açaí juices, too).

I guess you could say the, well, “fruits” of his labor turned out to be some pretty darn delicious and refreshing ways to replenish, re-hydrate and recover.

Thanks to the folks at Zola for providing samples for review; all opinions are my own.