Workout Gear Review: Winners Balance Collection Athletic Pants

I get a lot of people ask me about reviewing workout gear, they want to know what's out there. So, I thought today I would write about the these yoga/athletic pants I got from Winners.  Being from Winners and costing $25 makes me think they are accessible and affordable to most people. Now I know you may be thinking "But Jen, Winners prides themselves on the fact that every time you go there is something new. They have commercials saying the item could be gone in a hour!" Yes, this is true. And I can even think of sometimes I didn't buy something only to regret it later when it was gone. The one thing I've noticed they keep pretty reliable is their workout gear section. There are brands (such as these) that I've seen every time I go. 

Moving on to why we are here. The pants. 

The pros:

I really like the fact that they are lightweight. I love them for hot yoga and cardio. I don't feel like they are make me even warmer and they are breathable. I like that they stay on me for these types of activities too. Some pants I find start falling down as I hit the treadmill. (Subscribe to email to watch for which ones!) These pants don't move. 

IMG_6719.JPG

I like the fun design/colors they have. The crazier the better seems to be the trend in workout gear and they've got a lot of great options. Side note here; with the designs and so on it hides sweat marks really well! 

The wide waist band rocks. This is basically the very first thing I look for on workout/yoga pants. Being a mom of two, the lower part of my stomach doesn't always "behave" with pants. Wide waist bands are nice to keep everything tucked in and secure. 

They are not see through. I went to take some pictures to show you how they aren't see through and decided against posting pictures of me basically bent over full bum in the frame shots. So here is one of me off to the side. The flash is really bright here and you still can't see through them.

They cost $25. Yeah that's a big difference between some brand names of upward to $200.

The cons:

There is no small key pocket. I used to think these were useless. But I use these pockets in pants alllllll the time. I usually take off my rings for weightlifting and put them in these pockets. If they are big enough and the location works, I sometimes put my music device in there too!

I have bought pants basically exactly like this and enjoyed them immensely, but after about a year the had a hole in the side, where the seem split a bit. I haven't had this exact pair that long but they are the same material and stitching. This is the difference in pricing. The expensive pants usually last a really long time and these types not so much.

Final Verdict:

Great for activities like running and yoga.

Good choice if maybe starting to workout and looking for something inexpensive to start with. Also if you are planning to very dramatically change your body (read as loose say 40 lbs) they would be good. This way you aren't buying really expensive stuff that wont fit. (soon hopefully)

Share with me some brands you'd love to see a review of!

Love, Jen

Why Do I Want To Compete

It’s funny how I can’t recall one person asking me why I wanted to run a half marathon when I was training for it. Or I have never thought to ask friends why they want to compete in Crossfit competitions or Super Spartan races. But I’ve had a lot of people ask me why I want to compete in this bikini competition. Is it because it’s basically being judged on your look? Maybe a contemplation for another day, before I get to far into it? I originally planned to write this post after the competition, but today seemed like a good day.

I first decided I wanted to compete in September last year. Original thought process was “that would be cool to do one day”. And it went on the bucket list. But ya see;  the thing with me is sometimes I become fixated on things and I have a  hard time letting go of them. This became one of those things that stuck.

So why compete? Why not? Why be ordinary? Why not do the things that we think are impossible? Why not dare to be extraordinary?  We don’t all have to be extraordinary by selling our worldly goods and moving to India or jumping out of airplanes. If you do those things and they make you happy, then amazing. But for me, smaller odder goals are my thing. That new song about being the life of the party and take your shot, it might be scary…. Exactly. Maybe it’s the scary that attracts me to doing things like this.

I did it to push myself. Doing the uncomfortable makes us grow, makes us learn about ourselves. I never want to look back on life and say I wish I tried this, or I’m too old for this now or whatever lies we tell ourselves to make us feel better about not doing the things we never did. Bring myself to that “edge” as my yoga teacher calls it. Nothing wrong with pushing yourself to the limit. As long as you don’t stay there I suppose.

To self observe, to learn about myself. I remember telling a friend I wanted to compete when I first started thinking about it and was told to make sure I don’t take it out on my kids. I was a little offended at the time, but the more and more I’ve read about people not handling the process, well I understood it more. Lowered calories/carbs, excessive training, meticulous food intake, no alcohol, dehydrating practices or heck even the excessive peeing from crazy water intake would have an effect on anyone. The things I’ve learned about myself are incredible to see. Again, probably another blog post.

To prove something. To break the mold of the “typical” bikini competitor. We see them typically as young, childless cardio bunnies, who eat only chicken and broccoli. Well I saw them that way I guess. I wanted to do it another way.

  • As a vegetarian. I have been a veggie for 19 years and get asked ALL THE TIME, “how do you get protein?” Let me tell you something, all veggies are sick of this question. Especially athletic ones.
  • As a mom. I have two children, 1.5 and 3.5 years old. Being a role model is important to me for my girls. Not role modeling ab out having a lean body. Being a role moel for ssetting goals and sticking to them. Persevering through tough times and being humble when they are good.
  • As natural as possible. Non GMO soy products, no funky heart racing preworkouts, no fat burning pills, and aside from the occasional Quest bars that had sucralose in them, no artificial sweeteners.
  • As a “if it fits your macros” counter. Again another blog post, but google macro counting, it’s pretty cool. I basically ate oreos my whole prep until the last few weeks. Not a lot of them, but better then the none most get. Ha ha. This kind of has a second point to it. I wanted to make sure I maintained a healthy relationship with food. Not look at a carb and cry how it will make me fat, or have an accidental slip on my diet and starting thinking of ways to negate it. I’ve read over and over again how competitors have many eating disorders.

Prove to me? Prove to you? Not sure exactly. Just to see if I could do it differently. Following the road to competing but on my own path, on my own journey.

And finally for the athleticism of it. I enjoy working out. I love weight lifting. Maybe not cardio so much to be honest ha ha ha, but I have become one of those people that loves fitness. It’s exciting, and I will try any type of it once at least. Even if it includes doing deadlifts 3 days a week……… Don’t lie to me, aint nobody like deadlifts.

So on the eve of the eve of my competition I’ve had a nice reflection of why I have done all this. Tomorrow I get my tan and go for my weigh in for Saturday. It’s been one incredible journey. No matter what happens Saturday, first place, last place or flat on my face, I’ve done it my way, learned a lot along the way and am ending with self respect, self love and a whole lot of pride.

(Don't mind the black and white, my suit color is a surprise until show day. You're welcome to guess the color!)

bikini

bikini

Protein Banana Mugbread

Yeah that's right, I said mugBread. Like banana bread? Because it taste like that. Uh huh, I created single serving banana bread, so you don't have to bake a whole damn loaf, wait an hour for it to bake, hour to cool and then resist eating more then a slice. Not to brag, but this is pretty amazing and the texture is spot on. Who am I kidding, I'm totally bragging. But this is my blog and I can do what I want. :* I love banana bread, LOVE banana bread. And based off my last post of my Protein Strawberry Shortcake Mugcake, you can gather, I'm pretty in love with mugcakes right now.

posing 029

posing 029

So here is what you need:

  • 1/2 scoop vanilla protein. I used Allmax natural vanilla. (15g)
  • 3 tbsp Barley Flour (21g). Coconut flour, whole wheat flour etc would all work too, macro numbers would change slightly.
  • 1/8 teaspoon baking powder.
  • 1/4 cup egg whites or two egg whites.
  • 1/4 cup almond milk.
  • Vanilla Stevia, could also use regular stevia to your taste with vanilla extract.
  • 3/4 over ripe banana (70g)
  • 1 tbsp enjoy life chocolate chips (15g)
posing 035

posing 035

The "baking":

  1. In a bowl mix vanilla protein powder, flour, baking powder, egg white, almond milk and stevia.
  2. Add most of the mashed banana. I added 50g. Save a bit to top with.
  3. Add half the chocolate chips.
  4. Spray your mug with non stick spray. I forget to mention my mug is a soup mug. Try and use a bigger mug!
  5. Pour mix into mug. Chips will settle at the bottom and that's okay.
  6. Cook for 2 minutes 15 seconds. This was perfect for my microwave, but check half way through. (also a good time to add a few more chocolate chips into the mixture!)
  7. Take cooked bread out, turn upside down onto a plate, top with remaining chips and banana.
  8. Enjoy the hell out of this!
posing 030

posing 030

Macros: *Note the carb may be higher then most mug cakes, this is due to the banana, hence why I'm calling it bread. But trust me they are so worth it baby.

Fat 7g, Carbohydrates 42g, Protein 25g, Fiber 6g

Signature

Signature