Nike Pro Combat

August 14, 2012

Don’t kid yourself – there’s no badge of honor in chaffing. It doesn’t matter if its a tough workout or long run, the last thing to worry about are uncomfortable clothes. That’s where Dri-Fit technology comes into play.

It’s hard for me to remember a time without Dri-Fit t-shirts. You can find them anywhere for cheap as they’re no longer considered a luxury. I’ve come to understand Dri-Fit as a high performance material that breathes while your body sweats. Cotton, on the other hand, retains sweat and weighs down your shirt. I’m probably spoiled at this point because suiting up in cotton shirt seems like a punishment.

Fear of copyright laws and Nike forced me to take my own picture. Don’t worry Nike, this one’s on me, but I still like your shirt.

Nike’s taken the whole Dri-Fit experience a step further with the Pro Combat series for men and Pro Core for women (I guess Nike went on the hunch that women aren’t sold on the whole idea of combat). Their material moves sweat away from the body leaving it feeling cool and less restricted during exercising (or performing in sports). 

I’ve come to rely on my Pro Combat shirt for all my runs during this summer. It’s  the only shirt I have that can stand up to the brutal summer heat . I’ve logged quite a few 8-10 mile runs this summer and the Pro Combat has made sweating less of any issue. During the winter months, Pro Combat also works great under sweatshirts. This might’ve been Nike’s intent for this series of Dri-Fit. My skin doesn’t get irritated and manages to keep cool despite all the layers I pile on in winter conditions.

Keep an eye out for the next generation of Pro Combat shirts. The Hypercool series just came out and starts at $50.00. I’m willing to be patient and wait for the price to come down some, but Nike partnered with the NFL. This will be a test of my restraint.

Give the Pro or Hypercool series a try for your workouts. The material holds up really well after numerous washes as the color and fabric show no sign of fading. It’s worth the investment and your skin will thank you.

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Lose It!

August 6, 2012

I found out about Lose It! via a recommendation. I used the calorie tracker on Livestrong.com, but never pursued the mobile app version. I was indifferent to the idea of tracking calories because the user interface was tedious and cumbersome. But discovering the Lose It! app makes calorie counting easy no matter what your diet method might be.

Lose It! is an easy to use and free calorie tracker that takes no time in getting started. It’s currently available for iPhone and Android platforms.

Here is what I like about this app:

  • Bar code scanner – great for when you’re in the kitchen (or at the grocery store) because you can quickly create an food library
  • Searching – lists most major restaurants to search; general food item search is thorough
  • Serving sizes – the app will give what the manufacturer lists as the serving size and then you can adjust as needed or consumed
  • History of meals – big time saver if your diet is pretty consistent. Even if it’s not, you can still copy a previous meal and adjust fairly quickly.
  • Goal setting – if you want to lose ten pounds, Lose It! will calculate how long it will take based on how much you want to lose a week. As your weight goes down (or in some instances up – it’s happened a few times to me) the calorie budget adjusts to meet your goal.

The app isn’t perfect though:

  • Exercises – Pretty robust list of activities to choose from, but I question the calories burned. I do a lot of cardio so I know how many calories I burn after a run, elliptical, swim, etc. The app seems to understate of overstate quite a bit. A manual workaround is to create your own exercise and log the calories so it’s accurate. Not a major hangup but annoying.
  • Food Library – I haven’t found a way to edit the library or rename certain items. For example, almonds is listed under raw almonds – ?? – exactly. Not intuitive but I think it’s driven by the manufacturer so keep that in mind when adding items.

If you want to go beyond the mobile app, Lose It! is complemented by a website that provides a social media element and reporting features.

I attribute this app to a lot of the success to my weight loss. I’ve found it’s a good way to maintain accountability on a daily basis. You can certainly find other apps out there that do the same thing, but the user interface is the best I’ve seen as it’s clean and easy to follow.

Consider using Lose It! for your diet. You have nothing to lose as the app is free. The challenge is making the right food choices to record.


Amplify Today

August 1, 2012

Robert Heinlein described the integration of technology and man in his 1959 classic science fiction novel “Starship Troopers” as amplified. With innovations beyond anyone’s imagination then, he envisioned men and women exceeding the limits of speed and strength through technology.

In the context of Heinlein’s novel, technology was used to amplify the people on earth to battle aliens. Soldiers wore powered suits to give them more firepower, greater endurance, and less vulnerabilities. Makes for great science fiction but (forgive the pun) it’s worlds away.

This blog isn’t about getting your own power suit and battling aliens (maybe someday).  Amplify is about how technology can enhance your fitness and health like it’s done for me.

A year and half ago I was forty pounds heavier. With the support of my beautiful wife, personal motivation and discipline, and advantages of technology I lost the weight and want to lose some more. Now I look at my health in terms of how I can amplify it.

This blog will look ways of amplifying health and fitness. Apps, gear, nutrition, strategies – the technology exists (with more on the horizon) and that’s my favorite kind of science fiction.