Monthly Archives: June 2014

the low down on the low shoe

statisticians would have an absolute field day observing the evolution of fitness fads over the years – when we think back to the ’80s with its tight pink shorts and workout videos (hey – some of us still rock the tight pink shorts, Boogie style!) and contrast it to our modern day sweat, it’s pretty hilarious. But within those decades of growth and change, there are smaller trends that are more easily pinpointed as the result of a certain cultural event or experience, and the perfect example of this is minimalist running. Minimalist running shoes were around well before they started being produced in a full range of highlighter rainbows; however, with the 2009 drop of Christopher McDougall’s “Born to Run,” minimalism became a buzzword in running, and simple quickly got a whole lot more complicated. Now, there are hundreds of different styles of minimalist running shoes, and as tends to be the case with any trend, not always enough education surrounding how to best use them – which, in this case, can lead to some pretty serious injury.

So, what is minimalist running? Minimalist running refers to running either barefoot, or nearly barefoot, with a running shoe that functions solely as protection from sharp objects on the ground. It is thought to both strengthen your legs and improve your stride, since the extreme padding and cushioning that has become so customary in running shoes these days does unquestionably alter the natural-born human running posture, and has been shown to encourage the ever-dreaded heel strike. Great in theory… so why does it seem that every other person you talk to has some devastating injury from their experience with minimalist running? Simple – there is a pretty high likelyhood that they either didn’t transition properly to this new style of shoe, or they maintained the exact same running posture and engagement in a zero padding shoe as they had in the heavily padded one. When the minimalist running trend hit, everyone and their run-loving mothers went out to the nearest shoe store and said defiantly “give me your most minimal shoe,” absolutely declining anything other than the lowest of the low, and instantly went home and pounded the pavement with these trendy new kicks… logging the exact same number of miles as they had been before the switch. Oops. Ouch.

These fleets of baby barefoot runners soon started getting all kinds of injuries – shin splits, IT band issues, hip pain. You name it, it happened. So why? Because, like with anything in the world, growth is a process. The transition from a lifetime in a heavily supportive shoe that has literally shaped the way that you run to something that offers you nothing other than protection from sharp objects is a huge one, and one that should be made in a slow, mindful, and well-educated way. Ideally, you would probably go from a heavily supportive shoe to a lower drop, but not quite barefoot shoe (low drop simply means that there is a smaller “drop” distance between the height of the heel and the height of the toe), and spend some time training in that before switching all the way to a no-drop barefoot shoe. Understandably, many people don’t want to fork out the cash required for a multi-shoe transition, in which case you should just be extra, extra mindful of a slow posture and strength transition. Modern day running shoes make it much easier to run lazy – bad posture, core not engaged, little to no attention given to the way that the foot is striking the ground. Minimalist shoes don’t  allow for these leisures, so give your body time to adjust. Even if you’re a happy marathoner, dial it wayyy down to one or two miles a day, until you really get used to all of the new muscles you’re using. Walk around barefoot when possible (so summer is an awesome time to start on this transition), which will strengthen your feet and make for a much easier shift, since most runners actually have surprisingly weak feet. Here is an awesome breakdown of the detailed process of switching between these two different styles of shoes, and I would also recommend doing a little bit more research on it before you dive in. It’s a wonderful transition to make, but like with anything, the more you know the better.

Now that you know how to have a proper and pain-free transition into a minimalist running shoe, there is still the question of “why?” Why would you make this transition, especially when it is so much easier (and cheaper) to stick with what you know? Is it necessary? The answer to that is:  it’s totally up to you. Obviously, it’s not necessary at all. There are benefits to any kind of running shoe – stability, low-drop, minimal, or anything in between. The distinct benefits of a minimalist running shoe are that it offers increased strength, flexibility, and a more refined technique. Strength-wise, running with a less padded shoe will force your body to compensate for that loss of padding by developing even stronger legs, feet, and even core – which is awesome, as long as you honor the six-eight week transition period your body needs to build up that strength. Flexibility is increased because to run in this type of shoe, your body will need to develop much better ankle and calf mobility, which will be helpful for pretty much any athletic endeavor that you pursue… yoga balances, anyone? Finally, with regards to technique, minimalist running discourages heel-striking, since there is no padding to encourage the heel towards the ground before the middle of the foot, which can definitely help in long-term injury prevention. It will also encourage you towards a more aligned and upright style of running, which will be much less painful and much more efficient in the long run. That being said, a lot of these benefits are ones that I have found in a low drop, but not minimalist, shoe – so, it really has a lot more to do with the level of awareness you have surrounding your run than it does with your preferred style of shoe. But, now that you have a little bit more information under your belt, consider giving minimalist running a try!

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link love

happy tuesday morning, wonderful people! Here are a few interesting and beautiful things to bring some brightness to your cloudy morning:

this article, which is all about the different stresses we hold, and how to STOP doing this.

read this too, because you definitely need another excuse to go to the beach right now… weekend trip, anyone?

– are you eating all of these? all day every day? probably not… but sneak some in every now and then 😉

read, read, read.

– one of the prettiest necklaces I’ve ever seen.

– some (more) reasons to get outside and love this weather.

this is interesting… drink you kombucha, but also exercise for a healthy gut?

these look like a perfect summer treat.

– females in the triad: need something cool to train for? why not sign up for a sprint triathlon?!

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#ambassadorlove

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what could possibly be better than taking a kick-ass Power Vinyasa class with our Ambassador Elliott? Oh, that’s right – taking a kick-ass Power Vinyasa class with our Ambassador Elliott AT WANDERLUST!!! That’s right, Elliott’s off to teach at Wanderlust, aka the dream festival of yoga, music, food, and seriously incredible human beings. We can’t say that we’re at all surprised that Elliott was asked to come teach alongside MC Yogi and hang out with Gabrielle Bernstein, but we sure as hell are super proud of him!  Check out his official Wanderlust bio, and if for some reason you haven’t yet made it to Winston-Salem to take his phenomenal class, come join us there next week to welcome him back!

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sweet tooth adventures: coconut milk ice cream

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Summer means ice cream. I mean, duh. Gelato, custard, sorbet, or just plain, great, creamy ice cream. There’s something this time of year (hm, probably all the warm sunshine?) that makes everyone scream for ice cream. So what does that mean for those of us who are desperately trying to mindfully nourish our bodies, and avoid as much of the sugars and the dairys as we possibly can? Fear not – healthy ice cream is not only a very real thing, but also super easy to make… and, it’s unbelievably delicious!

 

Ingredients:

1 can coconut milk (I like to use light)

1-2 egg yolks

1 tbsp honey

+ whatever flavorings you choose (see bottom of the post)

Directions:

bring the coconut milk to a light boil, and then, stirring very thoroughly, add in the yolk/yolks. I generally tend to stick with one egg, but it’s a little thicker and more creamy with two. Make sure to stir very carefully at this point, so that the egg doesn’t cook into piece-y chunks, and slowly bring the mixture up to a full boil. Once it starts boiling, bring the heat down to a medium temperature, add in the honey and continue stirring for another 2-3 minutes. Remove from heat, and allow it to cool to room temperature. Once cool, pour everything into your ice cream maker, and let it churn for ten or so minutes, until you’ve got a bowl full of creamy, delicious goodness.

Flavors:

mint chocolate chip: mix two tsp of peppermint extract into the cooling liquid. Once it’s completely cool, add in chocolate chips.

– vanilla bean: scrape one vanilla bean into the cooling mixture, and add a tsp of vanilla extract. Option to add a little more honey for this one.

– chocolate & cinnamon: stir 2 tbsp cocoa powder and 1 tbsp of cinnamon into the coconut milk before adding the eggs.

– blackberry honey: scrape a little bit of vanilla bean into the mixture as you heat it. Once it’s cooled and ready  to pour into the ice cream maker, add in 1 cup of fresh blackberries and 2 tbsp of honey.

 

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behind the scenes: Nathan Keil

when looking at some of the rock star lululemon men in our Triad community, it would be impossible not to highlight Nathan Keil, who is the Head Coach at Crossfit Altius over in Kernersville. Nathan has been Crossfitting for three years, but it’s not the fact that he could probably lift a small house, OR the fact that he just got fourth place in the Mid Atlantic Regionals that makes him such an incredible coach – instead it’s his heart, and his very clear passion for what he does. When you step into Nathan’s box, you almost immediately realize two things very clearly: 1) he really, truly loves and believes in Crossfit, and 2) even deeper than that, he cares about coaching and helping you to do and be the best that you possibly can. In addition to incredible physical strength, Nathan also has the heart of a coach, and this shines through in everything that he does. We couldn’t be more proud to have him as a part of our community. Check out some of these pictures from our Product Notification shoot with Nathan last week!

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Nathan - PN 1

Nathan - PN 2

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gift guide: father’s day, 2014

just in case you were fretting about getting your husband/father/grandfather, etc, another set of whiskey stones or a different pattern of striped ties this year for Dad’s Day, we thought it might be a good idea to have a few unique other options ready for you. We have scoured the internet, poured through the “best of” lists, and come up with a few seriously awesome gifts for your main man this Father’s Day!

1. lululemon Boxers – definitely number one on our list… but seriously. You don’t understand. He’ll thank you for the rest of his days, and possibly start loving lululemon even more than you do…

2. Krankies Coffee – for those token early morning “dad moments” of coffee, orange juice, and a newspaper, some local and delicious Krankies Coffee would work perfectly. Pair it with a unique and funky mug, OR paint one yourself!

3. Mast Brother’s Chocolate – it might not be the most original gift ever, but I know personally that whenever I give my dad Father’s Day gifts, the only things that I see get immediate and significant use is the chocolate.

4. Working Man’s Hygiene Kit – a well-packaged one-and-done for manly personal hygiene, these things smell lovely and are created with natural oils.

5. Plantable Comic Books – okay, I’m a little bit obsessed with these. Comic books that have herb seeds in them. So, you read them and then plant them in the garden – “be a hero, plant herbs.”

6. Age Your Own Whiskey Kit – I mean, come on.

7. Biolite Camp Stove – the coolest little wood-burning stove in the world, and it also charges electronic devices from the heat created by the fire. Absolutely ideal for your camping man.

8. Tudor Watch – a simple, handsome leather and steel watch, for a man who loves simple, beautiful, and well-made things.

9. Fly Fishing Kit – this is ridiculously cool –  Patagonia makes a “Simple Fly Fishing Kit” with their Tenkara rod as well as everything you’ll need to use it, and everything you’ll need to know about it.

10. Personalized Photo Book – it’s not lame, and it never gets old. No matter what, the most important thing in a dad’s life will always, always be his family, and what better gift for Father’s Day than a collection of images of the people who make him a dad.

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meditations from the board – trusting the process

I love the idea of Meditations from the Mat – and how everything, every small little lesson or adjustment that we find on our yoga mats can have the power to transform not only our entire practice, but also our lives. I think, though, that too often we rely on yoga alone as our source of wisdom and inspiration, and while there is an endless fount of wisdom to be found by pursuing the path of yoga, really, the majority of this wisdom is something that is already living inside each of us, and yoga usually just has a more clear and concise way of bringing it out. The importance in realizing this is that, instead of learning and growing leaps and bounds for one hour ever day, or every other day, you can bring this meditative state, this eagerness for and openness to learning with you wherever you go, whenever you want. It’s always there, and as soon as you’re ready to get present in your body and tune into your clear, focused, and brilliant mind, you will be ready and able to be your own answer. A lot of the biggest breakthroughs I’ve had in my life have come on a particularly long run, or really whenever I step foot onto my paddleboard – anytime I allow myself the time and space to get clear, and get grounded in my physical body, my mind often follows.

 It’s like that – any time you take away from the madness of daily life and really get off of your autopilot, out of your head, and into your body… that’s when the serious change starts to set in. We need something to bring us back into the now, so that the growth we’re slowly doing can start to solidify within us. This past weekend, I found the same beautiful experience on a surfboard. The second I finally became truly present out there in the waves, all of the abstract challenges I had been working through over the past few weeks were finally presented in a way that I could understand, approach, and overcome. Instead of a vague tangle of things I knew I needed to fix, I realized quickly that the challenges I had been facing in my personal life were also showing up so clearly in my time on my board. I was frustrated and annoyed, because I have been surfing for years and years, and yet, on this morning, still could not manage to really catch that perfect wave. I was riding some in, and getting a few good ones, but when it came to really getting on top of a wave, throwing myself into it, and riding it all the way… I was coming up way short. I was getting a lot of good, and no great. And I was very, very ready to blame it on a bad surf day, waves that weren’t ideal, anything but myself. However, when I took a moment to pause my blame game and really figure out the root of what was going on, it quickly became clear – I was getting into the tops of these waves, and instead of paddling hard to truly “catch” the wave, I would give the water a few quick swipes with my hand, and then immediately try to stand up, before I was even in the wave. For those of you who know nothing about surfing, bear with me for just a moment. I was trying to get to the next step of the process, without fully giving my effort to the step I was currently in. And, as a result, I almost always lost the wave, and ended up in a half-standing board limbo, and subsequently very wet and salty. Where all of the concept and information had been failing to process in my brain, this physical reality landed, and landed hard – all I had to do was really put myself fully into the process of catching the wave, before moving on to what I knew came afterwards. I needed to turn off my overanalyzing brain for just a second, and instead, be in the moment, and trust the process, focusing entirely on what is right here and right now. There’s so much truth and beauty in that realization – because we have a clear goal, a purpose, an idea of what our future should and will look like, we spend so much time and energy focusing on that future, instead of living in the present that will bring us to that future. We’re trying to stand up on boards that aren’t even in a wave, and that leaves us with no force or momentum, and if we keep it up, we’ll keep falling flat on our face. Instead, let’s focus on getting present, getting in our bodies, and learning to paddle before we try to stand.

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