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Are those $98 Lululemon pants worth the price?

With so many options in the fitness apparel industry these day, is the high price tag of those running crops with the stylized “A” logo on the side really worth it?

I don’t know about you, but if (or when) I decide to purchase a high priced item of athletic gear I expect it to be well constructed.  It should offer comfort, breathability, style, strength and longevity.  At the very least, it should hold up to repeated wear during vigorous exercise.

As a distance runner, I own dozens of shorts, crops, pants and running skirts.  Four to five days a week I put these items through the ringer.  Miles upon miles, up and down the streets and trails, then back home and laid across my bath tub until laundry day. Just to pick it all back up the following week and endure the same rigorous treatment.  But one thing is for certain. The care and delicacy with which I treat these items is such that no other clothing item in my wardrobe receives.  My running clothes get the luxury treatment.  And I don’t mind treating them this way, because, to me, they are worth the price.

Which leads me to the question of the hour.

 

Are those $98 Lululemon pants really worth the price?

 

Let’s evaluate the product first and consider what you’re getting with that price tag.

 

  • Performance and Comfort – probably the most important factors in athletic gear.  If you are a serious runner, logging a minimum of 30 miles a week, you are going to need a well constructed pair of crops or shorts that fit right and perform without chaffing or movement.  One of the biggest selling points for lululemon’s running crops is their smooth, chafe-resistant Nakedseam™ technology.  They use bonded seams instead of stitching so you don’t get rubbed raw.  My Pace Rival crops have flat and bonded seams.  I can log 15 miles in the pouring rain and not worry about how my shower is going to feel when I’m done.  The wider bands on the Run Inspire Crops holds firmly against my not-so-tight tummy and supports me in all the right places.  I recently had a friend in my running group mention how Lululemon crops made her feel like she was wearing Spanx.  And I will agree that I prefer the supportive structure of Lulu’s pants and shorts to those of others for that exact reason.  They are definitely more forgiving.
  • Functionality  – With pockets for storing everything from keys, cash and/or nutrition on the go,  Lululemon definitely hits the mark with functionality. They have water-resistant zipper pockets on the back of their pants called Block-It Pockets that help keep your essentials secure and dry when you’re working up a sweat.  And with mesh fabric panels for extra ventilation, along with moisture-wicking fabrics, these pants are sure to keep you dry even during those hot summer training months.
  • Fit – There’s a little bit of a debate on this one.  Some people say that Lululemon’s sizes run small.  Some say their sizes are inconsistent.  Some say the sizes only cater to a certain body shape and size.  And while I can’t confirm or deny any of those, here’s what I do know.  Lululemon’s sizes range from 2-12.  For an official size chart, you can visit their website.  It’s labeled under every item.  And even though the size chart is not an exact science, it is a good starting point. Just keep in mind that fabric stretch can account for a little variance in size and feel.  As a woman on the larger size, I’m 5’9″  and155 lbs,, I can confirm that lululemon gear does allow some forgiveness as I mentioned above.  As an example, I was able to wear my Run Inspire crops until my 6th month of pregnancy, along with several of their Cool Racerbacks.  They offered the most amazing fit for an expanding belly and allowed plenty of ventilation for hot day trips to the theme parks with my daughter.
  • Fashion – Let’s face it.  Lululemon made their big mark on the athletic apparel industry with the introduction of their fashionable yoga wear.  People may have been wearing athletic attire out to lunch and to play dates before lululemon, but they were not strutting their stuff like the women wearing lulu do.  Lululemon grabbed the attention of many women with it’s stylish attire and they continue to provide plenty of attention grabbing styles that so many of us appreciate.
  • Customer Service and Product Warranty – I’m mentioning this purposely because I have personally experienced exceptional encounters with both, yet have seen and heard the opposite of what I encountered.  First and foremost, I absolutely love and rave about Lululemon’s quality product warranty.  Being that I use these garments in such a way that requires constant use and washing, I require these articles be durable to make their cost worthwhile.  On two separate occasions, I encountered a rip in the threads of two of my bottoms: one in my favorite black Run Inspire crops, and the other in a running skirt.  The first time I merely tweeted how devastated I was to have “ripped my favorite @lululemon running crops.’  Within hours, I was contacted by lululemon customer service and asked about the article.  In the end, the prompt response, coupled with their product satisfaction guarantee equaling a brand new pair of running crops for yours truly won me over one hundred percent.  On the second occasion, I reached out to the customer service number on their website to inquire whether my skirt was covered under that same warranty.  To my utmost joy, it was, so I again was allowed to return the item for a gift card in the amount of the item’s original price.  I might add.  Both of those items were worn excessively for two full marathons, several half marathons and countless training runs.  The mileage alone on those bottoms were in quadruple digits.  But they stood by their warranty and that speaks volumes to the quality and pricing of the garments.

I know many people may want to ask what my budget is for fitness apparel when I tell them I only run in Lululemon gear. But the truth is that I can’t afford NOT to run in their clothes.  Sure, ninety-eight bucks is a lot of money for a pair of pants that you sweat in, but break it down like this.  If you wore those crops every week for two years, those crops would equate to a dollar and six cents ($1.06) for every usage.  And with that price, you would get confidence in your fit, convenient pockets for stashing those personal items, performance and durability guarantees, and comfortable functionality.

I say all of this, not because I think you should necessarily buy Lululemon running crops, because there are other quality fitness apparel lines out there, but by me doing so, I ended up saving a lot of hassle and money in the long run.  And I just so happen to really like their running line.  Six years ago, spending almost a hundred dollars on workout pants wouldn’t have even crossed my mind.  But, once I became an endurance athlete,  it didn’t take me long to appreciate the value in paying for quality gear that is used so frequently and more likely to outlast the bargain buys.

Final Thoughts

 

When it comes to down to it, the athlete must decide for themselves what is most valued in their spending.  What are your specific expectations for running gear?  Do you need all the pockets and extra features?  Is having fashion forward fitness apparel important to you? Are you able to splurge on something like this or is this considered frivolous?  Would a couple “staple” items be sufficient to start with before adding to your collection?

In closing, I definitely think Lululemon running pants are worth it, if you have the budget to spend.  And even  if you don’t have the budget to go all out right away, try starting small, with one item, then gradually building up a nice collection of pieces over time.  This method can reduce the initial shock to your bank account.  And adding one or two pieces after a while or putting them on your wish list for birthdays and special occasions is never a bad idea. That makes for an extra special surprise too. And I gotta say, those cute little red gift cards make great gifts (hint, hint).

Tell me your thoughts on Lululemon and their price per garment in the comments below.  

Are you a fan of their line?   

Do you find their gear to be worth the price tag?

Falling for #prAnaFallStyle 2016

**** Through my affiliation with Fit Approach and thanks to prAna, I was offered two items from the prAna fall line in exchange for this review.

 

Even though the temps here in Florida are still hanging around the 90 degree notch on the thermostat, and you may doubt the existence, fall is here and soon enough we will be searching through our closets for those sweaters and cool weather gear.

I am a huge fan of all things fall, especially the cooler temperatures – once they eventually hit. And thanks to prAna, I now have two awesome new pieces ready to go.

First of all, I must admit, I was not too familiar with the prAna apparel line. I’ve seen plenty of bloggers post reviews and I’ve seen my fair share of their merchandise on Instagram, but that was the extent of my familiarity with them. Naturally, I gravitate towards the active lifestyle and their clothing line boasts a “versatile, stylish, and sustainable clothing line that you can wear during every activity, every adventure, every day.” So, obviously, as an avid athlete and active parent, this apparel line is right up my alley. So I was very excited to try them out. If you’re a fan of sustainable fashion also, you might want to try out other brands and items such as these ethically made handbags. for example.

(Unfortunately, I wasn’t too thrilled with putting on a sweater in ninety degree weather, but sometimes we gotta do the unthinkable all in the name of blogging.)

 

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Kara Jean in Grapevine – Retail Price $89

This soft-stretch denim consists of 79% Organic Cotton / 19% Polyester / 2% Spandex. This style is fitted, with a tapered leg and the length can be worn cuffed or super long. I’m 5’9″ and the length is be a little long for me, unless I decide to pair them with a chunky heel – which won’t be absurd once the temperature drops below 80 degrees. The Kara Jeans are super soft and offer plenty of stretch. They fit me snug in all the right places, yet don’t constrict my athletic legs like some other straight leg and skinny jeans tend to do. It has a slightly lower rise, but still offers flexibility with a lightweight feel. I will definitely be purchasing more of these in additional colors.

 

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Devan Henley in Mineral Green – Retail Price $75

This organic cotton jersey Henley has a soft and cozy feel. I specifically chose this shirt because it offered the most versatility. It can be worn as a base layer or as a stand-alone. The drawstring hoodie offers an extra level of protection for those super cold climates and the fabric is soft and the color is a gorgeous shade of green. I originally requested a large, because I’m busty and sweaters always look odd when they’re stretched out on top, but a medium was all that was available. Having only weaned my son four months ago, I’m still hoping to drop my chest size down a couple more cup sizes, then I think this medium will fit me perfectly. It’s snuggly, comfy fit will be perfect for those crisp cooler outdoor family outings this year.

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I don’t have plans to visit any cooler climates this year, but I may have to persuade hubby to let me tag along on one of his trips so I can wear these super cute pieces/. He’s always trying to get me to travel to Colorado or Tennessee and I may have to take him up on that.

I absolutely love the cut and feel of the Kara jean and I could see myself living in the Henley. It’s so comfortable. And now, after trying these two pieces, I’m completely intrigued with the entire prAna line and I want to try all. the. things. I may not have the funds to try everything on their website, but I do have this fantastic offer to help you take advantage.

Save 15% off your order at prAna.com with code PFS16DUKE

You have until 10/31/16 to take advantage of the discount.

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Until mother nature decides she’s ready for us Floridians to enjoy the change of seasons, I’ll be rocking my Kara jeans with a tank top and saving my Devan Henley for the air conditioning.

 

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What fall fashion pieces do you love?

What would you like to try from the prAna line?

At Home Body Weight Exercises for Busy Moms

You know how time slips away sometimes? You get busy doing one thing, then one of the kids distract you with a game of twenty questions, then it’s dinnertime, and then before you know it, you’ve gone almost the whole day without doing any kind of workout whatsoever. Well, today I’m going to show you an easy at home workout that you can get done using just your body weight. These are also perfect exercises if you’re currently waist training and want to get a longer-lasting hourglass fgure! So, whether you’re inside entertaining the toddler or at the playground, you can utilize these movements to get your workout done before it’s time to crash for the night.Body Weight Exercises

PLANKS – These have been my go – to core strengthening exercises lately. I really despise sit ups and crunches, so this has been an easy way to keep the focus. If it’s a rather rambunctious day with the kiddos, I’ll let them run around and under me while I hold the position. It makes for a fun game, and it’s motivation to hold the pose for longer.

LUNGES – Recently, I’ve been struggling to get some strength training done with the lower half of my body. Lunges are so important and effective in a runner’s training, so I decided to bring the focus back by prompting myself to perform lunges whenever I walk down my entry way. It’s about 20 feet from the family room to the front door, so I make myself lunge all the way there and back.

SQAUTS – Going hand in hand with the lunges, I’ve started doing squats every night during the kiddo’s bath time. I get them setup with the water and towels, then I utilize my gigantic bathroom to perform 5 – 10 minutes of squats. I alternate between sumo squats and back squats with an overhead press. I’ve also been doing the Flower Squat Challenge.

PUSHUPS – I hate them, but I love how they work their magic on my muscles. I lay out on the carpet with the kids while they’re watching tv and knock out a couple dozen of these until my muscles fatigue. I just hope the baby doesn’t need too much attention afterwards because I turn to jello.

HIP RAISES – Laying in bridge pose while lifting and lowering your hips creates a fun little game of Ring Around the Rosie for your little ones. I will warn you though, taller children can injure their heads on your hip bones if they and you aren’t careful. If your kids are too big, there are plenty of other hip exercises that you can find useful and effective. For example, hip flexors might be more suitable than raises, but it’s all about personal preference.

Lastly, I will mention that these exercises, along with any you attempt to perform with your children, have potential for error and possible injury if not taken seriously and done so with caution. Even though you are attempting to multitask, in some instances, it may be better to only involve the children if you are confident in your strength and ability.

I’m not a fitness professional. I only share these because they are what work for me personally. As with all physical exercise, please seek permission from a medical professional before attempting.

This post is part of the Friday Five with Cynthia of You Signed Up for What, Mar of Mar on the Run, and Courtney of Eat, Pray, Run DC. Please visit their blogs and link up with us to join in the fun.

Do you ever workout at home with your kids?

What’s your favorite body weight exercise?

Flower Squat Challenge

Following last weekend’s good form clinic at Fitniche, I learned I have some significant muscle imbalances and weaknesses to address. Not just when it comes to my running form, but in general. Up until this week, I’ve been neglecting strength training in favor of stretching and yoga. I realize this is not good for my body and will subject me to injury. So something had to be done. Insert Squat Challenge here.

One of the mamas in my Moms Run This Town chapter, taught us a fun little squat exercise that she does with her daughter every night. I loved the idea and I couldn’t wait to start.

This is how it works.

You need to download the song Flower by Moby first ( or you can pull it up on youtube if you prefer).
Start the song and then get into squat position immediately. It’s even better if someone can start the song for you because it starts off right from the first beat.
Whenever he sings “Bring Sally Up” you come up out of your squat position.
Whenever he signs “Bring Sally Down” you squat down into squat position and you have to stay there until he says “Bring Sally Up” again.

It goes on like this for about three and a half minutes. And you will feel the burn.

It’s honestly, an easy little challenge that will get you burning those quads and hamstrings with just a couple of minutes.

Just be careful to use proper form. At the lowest point in your squat, make sure your bum is in a straight line with your knees and that it doesn’t dip down below them. Keep your knees behind your toes, and in line with your ankles or the center of your foot. And try not to arch your back, but engage your core to keep back flat.

Here’s my first attempt. I decided to log my process on YT to keep accountable. Hope you enjoy.
Let me know what you think in the comments below.

 

Have you ever done a squat challenge?

What form and technique issues have you struggled with in the past?

#Spartan Fit! The New Book and A Giveaway

 

****Disclaimer:  This post contains affiliate links.  Also, I was provided a race entry to use for a giveaway in exchange for this post.  As always, all opinions on this blog are my own. ****

Scroll to the bottom for entry to giveaway

And use SPARTANBLOGGER for 10% off any race entry

tt-woman-ultrabeast

Spartan Fit!

Remember when I talked about Joe DeSena’s book Spartan Up! back in 2014? Well, the CEO and founder of Spartan Race is at it again.

This time, he’s bringing us Spartan Fit! 30 Days. Transform your Mind. Transform Your Body. Commit to Grit. No Gym Required. The sequel to the international bestseller will be released this summer and I’m here to share some info about this complete Spartan training guide.

In 2014, De Sena authored Spartan Up!, the #2 New York Times Bestseller, that changed lives and revealed the secrets to developing the resourcefulness and mental determination needed to become a true Spartan.  

To live the Spartan Way Of Life is to be a whole person: mind, body and spirit. When Spartans forget any one of these three, they fall out of balance. The body sustains us. The mind motivates us. The spirit elevates us. For Spartans, true commitment is total commitment.

 

Have you ever wanted to run a Spartan Race, but didn’t have a clue where or how to begin training for one?  Have you ever doubted you had what it takes to workout on your own without someone to motivate or train you?  Do you want to know how to build up your fitness without a gym membership or any weights?   Well, if you answered yes, this  book is definitely for you.

 

Spartan Fit! arms readers with the strength, knowledge, and grit to never question their potential again, both on and off the race course.

 

Within the pages of this book you will find:

  • A 30-day workout and diet plan to prepare for the Spartan Sprint — or to just get you in ultimate shape
  • Full-body workouts requiring no gym and no weights
  • How to build fitness levels from one race to the next
  • Inspiring, motivating stories of Spartans

 

 

 

If the new book doesn’t get you pumped up, maybe this news will.  Back in January, Spartan announced the introduction of its most grueling challenge yet, the Agoge.  This ain’t no 5k wallow in the mud, my friends.  Check out this teaser video for chills and thrills.  I’ll be watching this one from a distance.

 

 

Now, I know that looks insane to most.  Truly, it is.  It’s intimidating to probably 99.9% of the population.  But believe me, the regular spartan races are not that intense.  In fact, one of the things I like so much about the Spartan organization is the different levels of endurance races they provide.  Did you know they even offer a kid’s spartan?  Who knew?  So if you’ve never done a Spartan race, or you have and want to do another, today is the perfect day, because I have a GIVEAWAY for ONE ENTRY TO ANY OPEN HEAT FOR A SPARTAN RACE IN THE U.S.!!!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Don’t forget!  Joe’s new book, Spartan Fit!, hits bookshelves August 2nd, but you can pre-order your copy now so you’ll be ready to conquer your next race or endurance event when it comes around!

Spartan Fit! Preorder

 Which Spartan Race would you conquer if given the chance?

Are you the obstacle course racing type?  

Which endurance races have you done that have tested your mental and physical grit?