Working Out in Westchester: Spring Into Action & Fashion

Hello, Sweatsational readers!

I hope that your weeks are off to a great start! I’m currently on spring break, and enjoying having some extra free time. Today, I’m here to introduce a new blog series — Working Out in Westchester. I’ll be using these posts to highlight events and fitness studios in Westchester County, NY. I’m constantly amazed at all that Westchester has to offer, but with so many choices, decision making can be overwhelming! Hopefully, this series will serve as a way of highlighting some of the best fitness opportunities that Westchester boasts.

This weekend, you’ll have the chance to get fit and support a great cause at Spring Into Action and Fashion!

WHO: Operation PROM and O2MAX Fitness are partnering to host this fabulous event for high school and college students.

WHAT: An afternoon dedicated to learning the latest makeup tricks for prom, sharing tips for healthy living, fitness tips designed to fit the busy life of a student, and (my personal favorite part of the day!)…ZUMBA!

WHERE: Sarah Lawrence College (Campbell Athletic Center) in Bronxville, NY

WHEN: Saturday, March 30th from 1PM to 4PM

WHY: To provide students with the tools they need to look and feel their best, while supporting one of Westchester’s finest charity organizations, Operation PROM. Operation PROM provides dresses and tuxedos, among other support, to students in need in Westchester and beyond (they’ll be accepting dress donations at this event!). This year, Operation PROM is also raising funds to pay for students affected by Hurricane Sandy to have a prom.

This event is FREE for anyone going to prom! If you aren’t attending prom this year, tickets are available for $15 (includes gift bag and raffle tickets) and $30 (includes gift bag, raffle tickets, and a month of O2 MAX’s Fitness program)

One other bonus of this event…I’ll be hosting it! I would love to see you there. For more event details, click HERE.

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Sweat Worthy: Road ID Review

One of my current fitness goals is to get outside and take up running as a hobby this year. I love to run because I always feel so refreshed when I finish a few miles, but I personally find treadmill running to be a bit boring. Still, I run inside because its easy. Well, that’s about to change–with the arrival of spring today, I’ll be hitting some local paths and training for a few 5Ks.

I tend to do a lot of research before taking on a new task. Naturally, I did the same when creating a running plan. I investigated the local paths and asked friends and family for recommendations. I stopped by the Greenwich Running Company (great service, by the way!) to learn about staying hydrated on the road. I purchased a toque for cooler weather, a breathable pullover, and a pair of running shoes. Then, I came across a blog post (thanks, Shin Splints and Sushi!) that introduced me to Road ID.

I will admit that one of my concerns about outdoor running revolves around safety. What if something happens to me on the trail and I’m unable to call for help? What if someone finds me injured, but I’m unable to communicate with them? Road ID helps to alleviate some of these concerns. Edward and Mike Wimmer, a father/son team, have created wristbands, dog tags, and shoe tags that are engraved with your name, emergency contacts, and important medical information.

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I decided on the Wrist ID Sport bracelet in pink. I have tiny wrists (6 inches) and ordered a size small. It fits perfectly without being too snug (it adjusts with velcro). When ordering your Road ID, you have the choice to go with a ‘Original’ version or an ‘Interactive’ version. The Original version is simply engraved with the information of your choice. The Interactive version allows you to customize two lines of text, then provides information that directs first responders to a full emergency profile that you create online. They can access this profile via phone or online.

I chose to go with the Interactive version for a few reasons. You are able to include so much more information in your online profile than you can fit on a small engraved wristband. I am able to list multiple emergency contacts, my doctor’s information, a photo of myself for identification, and more. I think that the interactive band can also help to clarify situations for first responders. I don’t have any pressing medical conditions that a first responder would need to know immediately. I do, however, take a medication that is used for multiple ailments. Rather than just posting my dosage on my wristband, I’m able to put the dosage and an explanation of why I take the medication in my online profile. Much more useful information!

A Road ID is surprisingly affordable — you can pick up most styles for under $20. To maintain your online profile should you choose an Interactive Road ID, there is a fee of $9.99 per year. However, this fee is waived for your first year of service with your new Road ID purchase. I’m more than happy to pay $20 now, and $10/year in the future for a little extra peace of mind for me and my family.

If you’re interested in picking up a RoadID, you can head to their website by clicking HERE. They provide all customers with ‘Tell-A-Friend’ coupons, and I’m happy to share mine with you so that you can save $1 on your purchase. Simply enter ThanksSarah25585008 at checkout. I don’t receive compensation for sharing this code–I’m simply passing it on because I think that staying safe while staying fit is extremely important!

Do you wear a Road ID (or similar product) when you exercise? Any other recommendations for staying safe while participating in outdoor sports alone? Let me know by leaving a comment below!

Gym Buddies – Week 1

Hello, Sweatsational readers!

Fitness isn’t a journey that you can undertake completely alone. Sure, it’s easy to hit the gym solo. But having people to support you as you accomplish your fitness goals can make all the difference in your motivation level. These people don’t necessarily have to be “in-person” friends–they can be bloggers or vloggers! In my ‘Gym Buddies’ series, I will be featuring links to websites, YouTube videos, blog posts, or magazine articles that have inspired me on my fitness journey each week.

This week, I found my biggest source of inspiration via Pinterest. One of my favorite bloggers, Taralynn McNitt of Undressed Skeleton posted this gem (click here to check out her pin!).

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In one of her recent blog posts, Taralynn wrote about hiking and her nature epiphany: that many people (herself, and myself!) included, don’t take the time to “thank” nature for all that our planet provides for us. We forget to recycle, overuse natural resources, and leave an extremely large carbon footprint in the wake of our everyday activities.

One of my biggest fitness goals is to become a dedicated outdoor runner. I’m excited about spending more time in nature, and I’m sure that running while taking in fresh air while taking in the sights around me will be far more motivating than staring at a wall as I jog on the treadmill at the gym! I plan on “giving back” to the world around me by taking up a challenge that Taralynn has set up for herself: using reusable shopping bags no matter what! It sounds like a small thing, but every little change that we make in our lives can have lasting results.

Thank you, Taralynn, for being such an inspirational gym buddy this week!

Who inspires you on your fitness journey? Let me know in the comments below, and keep an eye out for next Saturday’s Gym Buddies update!

Fit & Fashionable – Ellie Review

Lately, one fitness brand has been making quite the splash via social media among ladies looking for a good deal on cute workout clothing. You know who I’m talking about…Ellie! Originally launched as PVBody, Ellie follows the model of beauty subscription boxes. For $50 per month, you are able to choose two pieces from a monthly collection to be sent your way.

I signed up for PVBody late in 2012. I was getting into a fitness groove, and needed to stock up on a few gym essentials. When I signed up, you filled out a ‘Style Profile’ and based on your answers, PVBody selected an outfit (top & bottom) for you. Receiving my package was a pleasant surprise. Though it took almost two weeks to arrive, I was happy with the pieces selected for me: a tank top (that has been spotted on Alessandra Ambrosio!) & pair of cropped compression leggings from Electric Yoga.

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Receiving high-quality, well-fitting pieces made the fact that I had to wait so long for my order and place a subsequent call to customer service to request a missing free tank top easy to brush over. Still, I was a bit wary of PVBody at this point. Their facebook page was beginning to fill up with comments from other customers who had been repeatedly charged for orders that were never filled. I’m on a pretty tight college budget, so as a precaution, I cancelled my account. I didn’t want to experience multiple charges that would take time to dispute.

When 2013 arrived, PVBody again made waves by announcing that they were launching their own fitness brand: Ellie. Instead of receiving pieces from established fitness brands each month, customers would receive new Ellie pieces instead. Ellie claimed that due to such high demand for PVBody membership, it was impossible to gather enough clothing from the brands they were working with. To keep up with customer need, they said they had made the decision to launch their own brand in a matter of weeks. Sounds fine, right? Well…from articles I’ve read, this isn’t the truth. According to pandodaily, launching Ellie was always part of PVBody’s plan. To start Ellie, PVBody did “everything from testing the cost of acquiring customers, to actually launching a disposable, experimental brand called PVBody to gather real world feedback on the product and business model, while ironing out its operating processes.” You can read the rest of the article HERE.

Despite all of this information, when Ellie officially launched in February, I decided to take a chance and place an order. It took a few days to do, as Ellie’s servers crashed upon their launch and no one was able to access the site. When my finally got my order placed, I sat back and waited for my new work out clothing to arrive.

And waited. And waited. Because even though a FedEx tracking number was created for my order a day after my order was placed, it took Ellie over a week to actually SHIP my package. As they use FedEx Smartpost, it took even longer for my order to arrive. In the end, it took OVER two weeks for my purchase to arrive. I was not happy about this at all. However, it would have been at least a little easier to deal with if I had loved the items I received. Sadly, it was a bit hit and miss for me.

The first item I ordered was the Vixen tank:

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The material on this shirt is really nice. It is a light, mesh-type fabric, perfect for keeping you cool during an intense workout. My tank appears to be well made, and an XS fit well (I am typically an XS top in brands such as Nike and Under Armour, size 2 or 4 at lululemon) My only complaint about this tank is that the built-in bra does not feature padding or lining of any kind (or a place to insert padding). Basically, if it’s a cold gym…you’re in trouble. I ended up removing some lining from a swimsuit, popped them into the bra, and prayed that they wouldn’t fall out during Zumba class. It worked! I did keep this top, because I like the style and since I have a smaller chest, the lack of support wasn’t a total deal breaker for me.

My second piece from the collection was the My New Obsession Leggings:

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I really wanted to love these. The pattern on them is so original! I love being able to wear fun pieces the gym that are still functional, and these seemed to fit the bill. Sadly, they were not usable for me at all. The material was a fabric that I’ve only really seen used in yoga tank tops in the past…that fabric that shows EVERYTHING. Simply put,they gave me the most obvious camel toe that I have ever seen in workout pants. Generally, that only happens to me when I buy pants that are too small. However, Ellie marketed these as an XS/S combination size. I generally am a size XS, so they should have worked for me.

I decided to return the leggings, and am currently in the return process with Ellie. By the time I receive my replacement item, it will most likely be April. My leggings took about a week to ship back to California, and though Ellie has had them for a few days already,I haven’t received a status update. I also learned via facebook that Ellie’s March collection shipments are delayed because they don’t actually have their stock yet.

Based on my experiences, I will not be purchasing from Ellie until I see more efficient shipping and return practices put into place. I am sorry that I can’t recommend Ellie, because I think that their concept is excellent and when I have spoken to customer service representatives, they have been friendly. Sadly, friendliness and a good idea don’t add up to a well-run business. I personally don’t think that Ellie should have items for sale on March 1 that won’t be arriving to their warehouse until March 21 without at least letting customers know at time of purchase that there will be a delay. They also need to work on follow-through. I know that it is tough to keep up with customer inquiries, but if you promise a phone call, you need to call back to maintain your credibility.

I really do hope that Ellie is able to eventually work out all of the issues they have been facing! If they are able to be more transparent with their customers, provide their product in a timely manner, and keep up with their launches of innovative new fitness wear designs, I know they have the potential to be a game changer in the world of fitness fashion.

Welcome to Sweatsational!

A premier fitness/healthy living blog is coming soon! You can look forward to…

  • Training Tips – Getting fit is a continual learning process. Here, I’ll share with you tips that I’ve picked up along my journey.
  • Product Reviews – Working out should be simple…right? Sometimes, the plethora of exercise options can be overwhelming! I’ll be reviewing everything from active wear to local fitness studios to healthy eats.
  • Recipes – I absolutely love food, and can’t wait to share some of my favorite healthy recipes with you here.
  • Beauty Blasts – Feeling good on the inside often translates to looking good on the outside! As a former beauty intern, I look forward to sharing beauty tips that apply to a fast-paced, fitness-full lifestyle.
  • Inspiration – Motivation is key. I’m a collector of inspirational quotes, and will be sharing them with you regularly.
  • My Journey – Along the way, I’ll be growing with you. I’ll also be using this blog to check-in regularly regarding my personal fitness. I’d love to have a supportive accountability network!

I hope that you are as excited about SWEATSATIONAL as I am! If you’d like to learn more about me, you can visit my personal blog at htttp://www.sarahhreyo.com

Sarah