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Underwear Nation // Author

Author based archive
25 Jan

Down here in South Texas, people tend to break out the parkas and long johns when the outside temperature dips below 50°F. Why? Because nobody likes being cold. And the same holds true regardless of where you live. So whether you live in balmy San Antonio or the Arctic tundra, here are some tips on when to wear long johns and thermal underwear, so you can stay you warm and, hopefully, avoid muscle strains and catching colds.

What happens to your body as the temperature drops?

• As temperatures drop to 50°F, your blood vessels narrow and reduce blood flow near the body’s surface. These blood vessels dilate and can burst, which causes numbness and redness. Your face and hands are especially vulnerable. (Maybe South Texans are on to something after all!)
• As temperatures drop below 45°F, you may experience difficult breathing while you’re out for a run or on the ski slope. Your nose tries to warm and moisturize the air as you breathe in the cold, dry air. The result? A runny nose.
• As the temperatures drop further with or without wind chill, you can easily go from discomfort to possibly life-threatening. When your core body temperature has drops about a degree below its normal temperature around 98.6°F, you may start shivering. This may be the first sign of hypothermia. If your body drops to 96°F, your motor coordination begins to fail. If your internal temperature goes to 90°F, you’re in an imminent life-threatening situation.
• And frostbite can occur when your skin is exposed and temperatures and wind chills are above zero. At -18°F, frostbite can occur on exposed skin in about 20 minutes.

Now that we know the potential dangers of the cold…

Wearing layers of clothing will keep you warm as you tackle the snow in the driveway or stack boxes in a warehouse. As your body temperature rises, you can take a layer off to stay comfortable.

Thermal underwear and long johns are perfect as the base layer to keep the body heat in and the cold out.

In addition to insulation, your thermals should be able to breathe. As you sweat, your underwear should wick the moisture away from you skin and cause you to cool down as this moisture evaporates, thus regulating your body temperature. Elite athletes and those work outside for a living would never go outside without a base layer of quality thermal underwear.

Even with long johns, sometimes, you can only venture into the great outdoors during the dead of winter for so long. Did you ever wonder long “so long” was? We did, too.

 

Fortunately, there’s someone in Canada who took a stab at this and created the Long John Index, a “not-scientific-whatsoever” method of measuring when, and if, one should be wearing a pair of thermal long underwear. So, if curious, check out the index.

 

Slip on some great looking long johns like this union suit from 2(X)IST. (No one ever said that you can’t look  good, too.) Stay warm, don’t forget your hat and gloves.

 

When you need to layer, what do you wear? We’d love to hear from you. Comment below or on our Facebook page.

18 Jan

Superfood to keep your body going

You probably don’t remember or maybe you’re trying not to remember what you had for Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year Eve meals.  You may have used the excuse that it’s the holidays, and you should eat, drink, and be merry.  It’s not the beginning on a new year and outside temperatures may be a bit on the frigid side.  Fight the urge to cozy up with comfort foods like mac ‘n cheese and high-fat creamy soups. Yes, you can work off these high calories. But think about how many extra minutes that you must add to your workout. How about looking at superfoods that are loaded with nutrients, antioxidants, and immune-boosting powers that your body needs to power itself through cold weather…and are great to have on those chilly days.

Chili

Skip the cans at the grocery store. You can make a pot of chili in in minutes with simple ingredients like lean meat (chunked or ground), your favorite beans, lycopene rich tomatoes (stewed, paste, or fresh), onions, and chili pepper powder.

When you add any variety of beans, you have a high source of protein and fiber. So, you can either skip the meat, or add a little lean proteins like beef, chicken, and turkey for flavor.  Tomatoes in any form contain lycopene, a cancer-preventative phytonutrient, which is an antioxidant with a laundry list of amazing benefits. Onions are high in vitamin C, a good source of dietary fiber, and folic acid. They also contain quercetin, a flavonoid another antioxidant.

As if your simple bowl of chili can’t any more, did you know chili pepper is not only tasty but good for you, too?  The capsaicin in chili has been shown to boost metabolism and burn fat.

Beef and barley soup

If you think barley tastes good in beer, how about trying a nice warm bowl of beef and barley soup?  A cup of this tasty soup contains 16 grams of protein, high in vitamin A and selenium. Barley is one of the best complex carbohydrates to eat for weight loss.  (Notice the word “eat” and no mention of “drink.”)

Oatmeal

Oatmeal is not just a breakfast food.  You can enjoy any time of day and is a perfect warm meal before you hit the outdoors.  Oats are a whole grain, so you know you’ll have fiber and protein to provide your body with slow-burning fuel. Every bowl also contains a powerful starch called beta-glucan. A National Center for Biotechnology Information research study found that just 3 grams a day of the beta-glucan in oats may reduce your bad cholesterol levels by 5 to 10%.

Bake a batch of oatmeal cookies or bars for a wholesome snack.  Just watch the amount of butter, or better yet, try a more healthy substitute.

 

Time for some veggies!

Brussels sprouts.  Even though, eating these mini cabbages may just help you fight a cold, ‘Yuck!’ is what many people still think. It doesn’t matter that these little guys are superfood packed with fiber and cancer-fighting phytonutrients, and high in vitamin C (at 74.8 milligrams a cup!).

Roasting in olive oil vs. steaming will bring out the sweetness.  Add a little salt and pepper to taste, and you’ll wonder why you were afraid of this superfood.

Sweet potatoes.  Sweet potatoes are high in vitamin A. One medium size baked potato contains 438% of your daily value. Plus, you’ll get vitamin C, calcium, potassium, a bit of iron, and nearly 4 grams of fiber when you eat the skin – make sure you clean the potato before roasting.

Many people go wrong by adding the butter, brown sugar, and even marshmallows.  When you simply bake or pan roast them with olive oil, you’ll bring out the natural sweetness of the potato.

Squash. Most varieties of squash are in the superfood category  because they high in potassium, some calcium and vitamin C. A study in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology found a diet high in potassium (while also curbing sodium) could reduce risk of stroke by 21% and lower odds of developing heart disease. Squash is also rich in vitamin A and contains hunger-busting fiber. Try a cup of baked butternut squash, it has 457% of your daily vitamin A, 7 grams of fiber, and

just 82 calories. Even better, you can warm up all its parts. Bake the insides and season with garlic salt, pepper, even cumin or turmeric, You can also eat the seeds if you roast them.

Now for dessert!

Apples.  These portable fruits taste great as-is or cooked. Apples are a good source of soluble and insoluble fiber when eaten with the skin.  This superfood can make you feel less hungry while

helping digestive system by slowing digestion and helping other food pass through your system more efficiently.  Plus, apples add to your hydration since 86% of the fruit is water.

Baked apples make the perfect sweet treat for fall. Sprinkle a bit of cinnamon before you throw them in the oven, and you’ll get more antioxidants.

Hot chocolate.  Drinking a cup of hot cocoa, especially, when it’s consumed with a loved one, is doubly good way to get your sweet fix.  Make your own, so you know what goes into your hot cocoa.  Whichever type of milk (cow, soy, almond, etc.) you use will give you the protein to keep your body’s insulin levels steady while the antioxidants in the chocolate will fight free radicals, potential instigators of cancer and cardiovascular disease.

Who thought a cup of sweetness could be a superfood, too?

Are you hungry yet?

Good.  These ideas are perfect to use as pre-workout snacks or your post-workout meals to keep you warm and fueled during this cool time of year.

What superfood do you eat to keep you warm and fueled during the cold months? We’d love to hear from you. Comment below.

 

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10 Oct

You woke up sniffling, sneezing, coughing, aching, stuffy head just like in those well-known cold and flu medicine commercials. Now what? Do I have the flu or the common cold? Besides knowing what you need to treat, knowing the difference could be the difference between a minor irritation and serious illness. While a cold can make you feel bad for a few days, the flu can make you feel awful for a few days to weeks. The flu could also lead to other health problems such as pneumonia.

Although we’re going to let you self-diagnose yourself with our handy dandy Cold vs. Flu chart (courtesy of WebMD), you should never rely solely on articles find on the Internet. When in doubt, always seek medical advice.

#

Symptoms

Cold

Flu

1

Fever

Sometimes, usually mild

Usual; 100-102 F; lasts 3 to 4 days

2

Headache

Occasionally

Common

3

General Aches, Pains

Slight

Usual; often severe

4

Fatigue, Weakness

Sometimes

Usual; can last 2 to 3 weeks

5

Extreme Exhaustion

Never

Usual; at the beginning of the illness

6

Stuffy Nose

Common

Sometimes

7

Sneezing

Usual

Sometimes

8

Sore Throat

Common

Sometimes

9

Chest Discomfort, Cough

Mild to moderate; hacking cough

Common; can become severe

 

Complications

Sinus
congestion; middle ear infection

Sinusitis, bronchitis, ear
infection, pneumonia; can be life-threatening

 

Prevention

Wash hands often; avoid close contact with anyone with a cold

Wash hands often; avoid close contact with anyone who has flu
symptoms; get the annual flu vaccine

Treatment

Decongestants; pain reliever/fever reducer medicines

Decongestants, pain relievers, or fever reducers are available
over the counter; prescription antiviral drugs for flu may be given in some
cases; call your doctor for more information about treatment.

If you already have flu or cold symptoms, it’s important to call your doctor if you also have any of the following severe symptoms:

  • Persistent fever: A fever lasting more than three days could be a sign of another bacterial infection that should be treated.
  • Painful swallowing: Although a sore throat from a cold or flu can cause mild discomfort, severe pain could mean strep throat, which requires treatment by a doctor.
  • Persistent coughing: When a cough doesn’t go away after two or three weeks, it could be bronchitis, which may need an antibiotic. Postnasal drip or sinusitis can also result in a persistent cough. In addition, asthma is another cause of persistent coughing.
  • Persistent congestion and headaches: When colds and allergies cause congestion and blockage of sinus passages, they can lead to a sinus infection (sinusitis). If you have pain around the eyes and face with thick nasal discharge after a week, you may have a bacterial infection and possibly need an antibiotic. Most sinus infections, however, do not need an antibiotic.

In some cases, you may need to get emergency medical attention right away. In adults, signs of a crisis include:

  • Severe chest pain
  • Severe headache
  • Shortness of breath
  • Dizziness
  • Confusion
  • Persistent vomiting

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, you should get a flu vaccine before flu season begins. It takes about two weeks after vaccination for antibodies to develop in the body that protect against flu, so make plans to get vaccinated by the end of October, if possible. Getting vaccinated later, however, can still be beneficial and vaccination should continue to be offered throughout the flu season, even into January or later.

You’ve worked hard all year long to stay healthy and fit. Don’t let the fall and winter seasons do you in. Get your flu shot. Don’t forget to wash your hands frequently, especially after using fitness equipment. Stay active and healthy!

Do you work through your cold or flu, or do you grab a hot toddy and curl up in your bed? We want to hear from you. Comment below or on our Facebook page.

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19 Sep

The weather is starting to change. The leaves are turning colors.  These things can only mean one thing … It’s football season!

It’s also time to start thinking about your skin.  Men are more likely to suffer from dry and itchy skin due to cold weather than women are. Why is that? Because women are more aware of how to take care of their skin.  Remember last year when you were outside in that cold, dry, windy weather? Did you put any cream on your hands?  Of course not, that’s why your chapped hands cracked and started bleeding.

Here are a few tips from the American Academy of Dermatology to help you be at your best.

  1. Hit the showers, but only briefly and keep it warm. Hot showers can strip your body of essential oils that protect your skin. These oils act as a defense against cold weather. Use enough water and a gentle, fragrance-free cleanser to remove dirt and oil. And don’t scrub your skin! If you take a bath, keep it to less than 10 minutes or so. After you get our, towel blot your skin gently dry.

  2. Apply moisturizer immediately after washing. Moisturizers work by trapping existing moisture in your skin. Apply a moisturizer after showering and washing your hands and face. Look for ointments and creams that contain olive oil, jojoba oil, or Shea butter since they are more effective and less irritating than lotions.

  3. Wear lip balm.Choose a lip balm that feels good on your lips. Lip balm won’t work if you left it on the sink. So keep it in your pocket.

  4. Use only gentle skin care products. When your skin is dry, stop using deodorant soaps and skin care products that contain alcohol, fragrance, retinoids, or alpha-hydroxy acid (AHA). Look at the ingredients in your laundry detergent, too. Avoiding these products will help your skin retain its natural oils.

  5. Watch the open flames.Sitting in front of a campfire is a cool experience. Too much of this good thing can dry out your skin – either bundle up or be prepared to slather on the moisturizer.

  6. Add moisture to the air. Plug in a humidifier to add moisture in your home. It will be good for your skin as well as your breathing.

Don’t be afraid to pull out that moisturizer. You’ll be at your best as you cheer on your team.

How does dry skin affect your outdoor activities? We’d love to hear from you. Comment below.

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11 Jul

Achieving leanness is a worthwhile goal for any active person.  However, attaining that lean body mass can sometimes be challenging at any stage of life.  We’re going to outline seven simple steps that you can follow to accomplish your goal.  Keep in mind that simple does not mean easy, so keep at it and stick to the commitment.

Remember, habits are made daily and with effort.  Forget about forming habits in 21 days.  21 days are a great start, but enduring habits can take about 66 days to take hold.

Use this guide as a tool and make these steps a part of your daily routine.  It’s never the wrong time of year or the wrong age to start or get back on the wagon.  So, stop making excuses and get going!

1. Get a Good Night’s Sleep

Some like to brag that they can get by with only a few hours sleep a night.  Good for those people.  Most of us, though, need an adequate amount of sleep to be productive.  People like Albert Einstein, Ludwig von Beethoven, and Benjamin Franklin averaged 7-8 hours sleep.  They realized sleep is when your body recovers and regenerates.

Watch what happens a child doesn’t get enough sleep.  That child will be in a crappy mood all day.  Adults will be in a crappy mood, too, without adequate sleep. This one rule could change your life, so get a well-rested sleep.

Tips: Sleep six to nine hours at least five nights a week.  When you can wake up without an alarm clock, you’ve found the number of hours you need. Also, stop using all electronics, which interfere with your circadian rhythm, one hour before bed.  (Naps count, too!)

2. Eat Protein, Vegetables, AND Carbs at Every Meal

This piece of knowledge is something with we are all familiar. Sometimes, though, we consume too much protein (through protein shakes) because that’s what everyone does.  Right?

Most of us can consume enough nutrients and energy from eating a well balance diet consisting of several smaller meals.  Eating protein with every meal is necessary to build and repair muscle, burn fat, and keeps you feeling full.  Eating vegetables give you the vitamins, minerals, and fiber you need for good health.

It doesn’t matter if you’re a man or woman.  Everyone seems obsessed with “carbs” and mostly for the wrong reasons.   We need carbs to refuel muscles after a hard workout and to control our metabolism.  Get your fix by eating complex carbs found in whole grains, vegetables, and fruit.  If you need that slice of cake, reward yourself after an intense workout – sitting on the couch playing X-Box for two hours doesn’t count, by the way.

Tips:  Eat two palm-sized pieces of protein and two fist-sized portions of healthy carbs like whole grains, vegetables, and fruit.  Don’t deprive yourself – every so often have that cookie or that snack sized candy bar.

3. Cardio is Not a Bad Word

High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) is a fantastic way to achieve cardiovascular fitness in a relative short period of time.  HIIT is not for everybody. 

Do too much, too quickly, and your joints may suffer.  And some men don’t need that extra stress.  Pick a good aerobic exercise like the stationary bike or elliptical machine.  This sort of exercise will boost your heart, your brain, your recovery, your stress tolerance, and your overall conditioning.

Tips: Do 30 to 45 minutes of steady-state aerobic cardio at least one time per week. After you warm up, bring your heart rate to 130 to 150 beats per minute (70-80% of your max heart rate).

4. Push Iron or Yourself

Instead of maxing out on the bench press, how about working on exercises that will get you through the day?  Think about your Thursday afternoon pickup game at the court or chasing your kids around the yard.  Those bicep curls probably aren’t going to do much to help you.  Kettle ball snatches and weighted lunges will likely serve you better.  Plyometric exercises like burpees and jump squats can work wonders to increase strength and flexibility.

Tips: Increase the amount of weights used by no more than 10% each week.  When body weight exercises become easier, vary the timing of the reps – either slow down, speed up, and do a combination.  Take your time bulding your strength.

5. Confront your stress

Daily stress can affect your thoughts, feelings, and your behavior.  Stress raises your blood pressure and increases cortisol, a primary stress hormone, which slows muscle gain, limits fat loss, and squashes performance.

Control your stress; decrease the level of cortisol production.  Exercise is great way of decreasing your stress levels.  You may a gym rat, but try going for a run in a park.  Sometimes, you even a shower can work.

Tips: Pick a time in the day – it could be before a workout or when you wake up – and spend 10 minutes every day to relax.  Use this quiet time praying, breathing exercises, or even meditating.  The goal is to relax and destress.

6. Make Consistency Your Routine

Even the best of us will let something become an excuse.  Fight that urge.  Maybe you’re on a business trip and there is no gym at the hotel, or maybe you out celebrating a special event.  Whatever the situation, don’t give in and make excuses.  You can still do push-ups, sit-ups, and chair dips.  Better yet, you can go for a jog or walk around the block.  It’s okay to have that drink or two.

You must find the routine that works for you.  That’s how you maintain consistency.

Tips: Don’t beat yourself up if you didn’t get 8 hours sleep last night. Or you overdid it on the Chicken Alfredo.  Don’t add to your stress level.  Just get back on the wagon and do what you need to do.

Be committed.  Follow these guidelines, and you’ll be a better you – you’ll increase your performance and always be at your best.

How do you stay lean and maintain consistency? We’d love to hear from you. Comment below or on our Facebook page.

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13 Jun

There’s nothing wrong with wearing a pair of cut-off jean shorts and your Metallica t-shirt…you wear what you got.  You’re comfortable, and you can knock out a super workout.  Right?

Yes, you are right.  But you do have options these days.  You look respectable during the day.  Why not carry that look into the gym.? It’s not that you’re trying to impress anyone or pick up a date or anything like that.

Here are some things to look for when you’re ready to replace your cut-offs and tour t-shirt.

A Tank Top

This T-shirt is the perfect intersection of function and style.  You want a tank that has plenty of room in the armholes, so you can lift your arms without feeling constricted.  The material won’t make too much difference unless you plan on sweating buckets.  In that case, a cotton blend or something like COOLMAX may be a better option.  And take a towel.

 CIN2 Grip Athletic Tank Top ($40.00)

 

 

 

 

A Long Sleeve T-Shirt

Sometimes you need a little extra coverage (especially in the colder months).  Invest in an updated classic long-sleeve tee.  You’ll keep your muscles warmer between sets.

CIN2 Grip Long Sleeve Crew ($60.00)

 

 

 

 

 

VERSATILE SHORTS

With so many athletic shorts to choose from, it’s easy to fall back on your old reliable cut-offs.  Or don’t opt for the cheapest pair from the same name brand athletic companies you wore back in high school.  Look for shorts that are versatile – ones that let you perform at your best in the gym, at a fun run, or zipping to the corner coffee shop.

Choose shorts with a rugged nylon construction and multiple pockets.

CIN2 Grip Athletic Jump Short ($65.00)

 

 

 

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Clothes don’t make that man.  But, as the saying goes:  Looking good, feeling good!   And that’s the mindset you need when you’re tackling the gym.

What do you wear to the gym? We’d love to hear from you. Comment below or on our Facebook page.

16 May

You started an active lifestyle for your own personal reasons. You may have gone down the path of trying to lose a few pounds or maybe you wanted to run your first marathon. Whatever your motivation, we’re glad you did.
In your daily routine, you probably also noticed other benefits in your life.
1. Diet and weight
Depending on the physical activity of your choice, you can burn a few hundred to over a thousand calories in a session. Out of curiosity, I calculated that I burnt 1,800+ calories in one of my half-marathon runs. When you consider that you have to burn 3,500 calories to lose one pound of weight, you can see how intense exercises can help you lose weight. Conversely, you tend to eat better because your body craves better food – food that it can burn efficiently and use to repair your muscles.
Even if you’re not running for an hour and a half, you are walking around your office, going up stairs instead of using the elevator, cleaning up the apartment, or maybe chasing the kids around the yard, these cumulative physical activities add up. You’ll still get the benefits of exercise because you’re physically active.
2. Better sleep and rest
Do you remember when you first started working out, and you were ready for bed much earlier than normal? It was your body telling you that your muscles needed rest and recovery time. Regular physical activity can help you fall asleep faster and deepen your sleep. Deep sleep means you will be better rested when you wake up. Try not to exercise an hour before bedtime. Your adrenaline levels may not decrease enough to let you fall asleep right away.
3. Mood enhancer
Combine physical activity and well-rested sleep, and what do you get? A more relaxed and happier you. Exercise and other physical activity stimulates various brain chemical reactions that may leave you with more positive thoughts, which can boost your confidence. After knocking out 200 push ups, what is there that you can’t do?
Whenever you need a pick me up, turn to the gym and not the coffee shop. A walk or pumping some iron may be all you need. Plus, you may also feel better about your appearance and yourself when you exercise regularly.
4. Energy booster
It’s almost contrary to what many people think about exercise. You become more energized because regular physical activity improves your muscle strength and boosts endurance. Exercise builds your cardiovascular system to more efficiently deliver oxygen and nutrients to your tissues. Exercise will also help regulate your blood sugar to keep your energy levels throughout the day.
5. Reduce health risks
Physical activity is a good way to keep healthy at a micro-cellular level. Exercise boosts high-density “lipoprotein (HDL), or “good,” cholesterol and decreases unhealthy triglycerides. HDL helps minimize plaque buildup in your arteries which in turn decreases your chances for strokes. Regular exercise helps prevent or manage a wide range of health problems and concerns, including stroke, metabolic syndrome, type 2 diabetes, depression, a number of types of cancer, arthritis and falls.

The health benefits of an active lifestyle are hard to ignore. Anyone can benefit from exercise, regardless of age or physical ability. Exercise and physical activity are a great way to feel better, boost your health, and have fun.  Work in at least 150 minutes per week of moderate-intensity exercise, or 75 minutes per week of vigorous exercise. Your program should be a combinatio
n of vigorous and moderate aerobic exercises, such as running, walking, or biking. Strength training at least twice per week by lifting weights (free or machines) or body weight exercises. 

For those of you laying on the couch waiting for an invitation to get started. Here it is: Get off that couch! And start living. (Just make sure you check with your doctor before starting a new exercise program, especially if you haven’t exercised for a long time, have chronic health problems, such as heart disease, diabetes or arthritis, or you have any health concerns.)
For the rest of us, let’s keep it going!
What other benefits have you realized since you began an active lifestyle? We want to hear from you. Comment below.

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18 Apr

You’ve been looking forward to this long weekend for a while.  You’ve been putting in the hours at work, and it’s finally time.  You want to be prepared for anything that may come up but you want to pack light.

What should you pack?

We’re going to help you with the essentials. As for the other things, it depends, of course, on where you’re going and what you plan on doing.   Our tips are useful whether you’re taking flight and taking a road trip.

It all starts with your bag

Every man should have a nice travel suitcase or bag.  Invest in quality bag; and it should last a lifetime.  But if the best you can do is a rugged duffel bag, that will do.  Whatever bag you’re working with, aim for one that measures 9 inches x 14 inches x 22 inches (including handles and wheels).  If you’re flying, you’ll be able to take the bag as a carry-on, which means you can leave the airport quickly without having to wait for your suitcase in the baggage area.

Check the local weather

No one likes the rain when you were expecting on driving around the wine country in a convertible.  Take a few minutes to check a weather site for the local forecast.  You’ll be able to pack accordingly.  No sense carrying an umbrella or raincoat if there is no real need.  Keep in mind that your weather conditions may be different than your destination.

Start with the must-haves.

  1. Underwear. You can easily go through many pair on a three-day excursion.  After a busy day, you’ll want to change into something that’s a little fresher, so you can see how you may go through 6-7 pair on this trip.  You can cut back by taking the under gear we ship in our monthly boxes.  (Yes, this is a shameful plug.)  Our under gear can be hand washed when you shower; it’ll be dry and ready for you in the morning.
  2. Socks. You can follow the same rule as underwear.  Socks may be a little more difficult to wash and wear since many socks tend to be 100% cotton and will retain moisture longer.  Taking no-show socks and sock liners can cut down on the bulk. 
  3. Dopp bag. Toiletries are as important as underwear.  (We’re a little biased, as you can understand.)  You need deodorant, toothpaste &  toothbrush, floss, and mouthwash, contact lenses, comb/brush, razor and shaving products, 2-in-1 body wash & shampoo.  You could get these items in travel size products, so that you have enough room in your kit or if you’re travelling by plane.  If you keep your Dopp bag properly stocked, all you have to do is throw it in your duffel whenever the travel bug hits you.
  4. ID, money, and trip itinerary. You’ve packed, started driving, and then – you realize that you left the flight tickets on the dining table!  You could even put your papers and wallet in your Dopp bag, so you don’t’ overlook them as you pack your suitcase.

Be a multi-tasker

You can stroll around and take in all the sights.  Later, you can check out the nightlife and eat at a cool restaurant and drop by a bar or two before you go clubbing.  If you’re near a lake or beach, you might expect an impromptu dip.

Whatever you pack, try to make everything pull double-duty.  You will appreciate the flexibility while looking presentable.  You never know who you may bump into.

  1. An extra pair of pants. If you’re travelling in jeans, pack a pair of chinos and vice versa.  Don’t’ forget your belt.  You can always press your pants with the iron in your hotel room.  If you’re in a fix and the iron is missing; you can fold your pants in half and slide it between the mattress and box spring.
  2. A pair of shorts. Pack chino shorts. They’re lightweight, casual, and can be dressed up with the right shirt.
  3. A shirt. Pack a button down shirt that can be worn alone or over a t-shirt.
  4. T-Shirts. This versatile clothing can be worn alone or layered.  Because t-shirts can be rolled up into a compact shape, you can take several with you.  Mix up the colors and cuts (v-neck, crew, long sleeve).
  5. Shoes. Like your pants, wear a pair of sneakers while you travel.  And pack a pair of shoes that you can wear in the evening.  If you plan on hiking, you could take your boots and leave the shoes at home.
  6. Jacket or windbreaker (optional). If you’re the type that likes to look a little more formal, take a blazer or sport coat.  Otherwise, you can take a windbreaker.  In either case, you’ll be warm in the event the temperature drops in the evening.
  7. Swimwear (optional). Unless the place you’re visiting has a pool or some other water hole, you won’t need to worry about packing swimwear.  If you’re thinking you’ll be taking a dip or to get some sun, pack swimwear that can double as shorts.  Bring some flip-flops.  You can use them in the shower as well.
    You can pack your must-haves, clothes, and shoes in your duffel or suit case.  You should keep the dopp kit in your personal bag, so you can brush your teeth or use mouthwash during the trip.  Most airlines permit a personal bag that can be place under the seat.  It should be 18 inches x 14 inches x 8 inches.  This item could be smaller suitcase or a backpack.  In addition to the dopp kit, you should throw in your tablet or laptop, a pair of sunglasses, a pair of headphones, and chargers for your phone and tablet.  And you’re set.

Enjoy your long weekend.  You deserve it.  You may have noticed that there was no mention of squeezing in a workout.  You can if you want.  You’re going to be doing a lot of walking and moving around.  Sometime, you have to let your body and mind rest, so you can be at your best when you come back home.  Safe travels!

What do you pack when you travel? We want to hear from you. Comment below.

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28 Feb

Have you ever tried to stretch a rubber band quickly? You stretched it to its limit, and likely it snapped as you continued to pull on it. Believe it or not, your muscles react in a similar manner when you fail to properly warm up your muscles, especially before exercising or other strenuous physical activity.  When muscles are “cold” and lack adequate blood flow, they are stiff and lack flexibility.  This inflexibility could lead to a serious injury.

Warming Up

Go back to that rubber band. If you rubbed it between your hands for a few moments, stretched it slowly and held it in place for another few moments, and repeated this process a couple of times, you would find that you could stretch the rubber band quite far.  By warming up your muscles, you are raising your body temperature and increasing blood flow through your muscles.  More blood flow allows more oxygen and nutrients to reach muscles.

Do you remember grade school when the gym teacher would have you do some jumping jacks to warm up and then go straight into toe touches?  When you’re seven or eight years old, your body is quite limber and likely did not need an extensive warm-up to prepare for physical activity.

If you haven’t been active, you’re probably not going to be able to do a few jumping jacks and touch your toes as easily.  That’s okay. You just need a little more warm-up time.  So, what to do?  A good warm-up routine doesn’t need to be more than 5 to 10 minutes. (But, listen to your body, some days, you may need some extra time. It’s okay.) Start at a gentle pace for a couple of minutes and gradually increase the pace.  You will feel warm and may even sweat a bit.

Stretching

Now you’re ready to do some light stretching. Focus on stretching each muscle group that you will use in your workout. Stretching correctly during training makes you stronger and decreases recovery between workouts.  (We’ll cover this topic in another post.) You only need to stretch for a few minutes.

After you get in an awesome workout, lactic acid builds up in your muscles. This build up can lead to muscle soreness and fatigue. Stretching after a workout reduces muscle fatigue. When you stretch after a workout, your muscles are warm and you benefit from increased blood circulation. Stretching helps to reset your body to a natural position and posture.

Foam rollers are excellent tools for breaking up adhesions and scar tissue to speed up the healing and recovery process after your workout.  Using one can hurt but in a good way.  You’ll notice the results almost immediately.

Your cool-down activity should be focused on bringing your heart-rate closer to your resting heart rate. Some light walking and foam rolling at the end of your workout will help increase circulation and lower your heart rate slowly. A cool-down routine will also decrease post-workout soreness.

What do you do for your warm-up and cool-down routine? We want to hear from you. Comment below.
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11 Mar

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