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Disclosure: I’m sharing these resources because I want to encourage you to STAY HOME. The links provided below are not affiliate links. I am a paid subscriber of some of these services, but I’m not getting any kick-back or brownie points or whatever for sharing about them. I have not excluded services I haven’t tried.

Stick inside? Get Your Workout ON! (c) Styled Stock Society

As of Wednesday last week, I was kinda non-plussed about people fleeing the gym. For one, COVID-19 isn’t transmitted through sweat. For two, at least at a gym I have access to wipes (unlike at the grocery store). Here’s the thing though, if you are going to go to a gym–and really, you shouldn’t–“be under no illusion. These are places where germs and bacteria of all kinds can thrive[.]” That’s true of the gym, that’s true of your CrossFit box, that’s true of every flavor of studio from aerial to zumba.

(By the way, have you seen my two prior posts? Here’s an easy click-through: (1) Don’t Panic, Do Act Responsibly. (2) A Practical Guide to COVID-19.

Initial steps are NOT enough to protect you. My inbox has been aflutter with emails during the past week, promising extra deep-cleaning of the studio, asking people to bring their own yoga mats and props (offering discounts to help people acquire these), limiting class size, spacing the in-use reformers and megaformers further apart, and more. It is really tough for a small business to close, especially when they have staff and teachers they are worried about. But these measures are not enough, and even the ordinarily irrelevant Yoga Alliance has recommended studios close.

Using lots of wipes is NOT enough. As you should know, the COVID-19 virus is primarily spread by “droplets.” Like when a person who has the virus coughs. Here’s what we know:

  • Asymptomatic people can spread the virus. This means you can give the virus to other people before you know you have it. It takes 2-14 days before you start to show symptoms.
  • Best practice is to stay 6′ away from others. This is an OSHA recommendation (see page 7).
  • We don’t know how long COVID-19 remains in the air under normal conditions.
  • We don’t know how long COVID-19 remains alive on hard surfaces (machines, dumbbells, etc. that are not cleaned after exposure). Some articles are guessing 3 days, but that might be optimistic; other viruses in the coronavirus family can last up to 9 days.

Today I’m focused on streaming fitness. That’s anything online, or available via Roku, Apple TV, Chromecast, Amazon Prime or Amazon Fire. (Initially I said I wasn’t doing apps, but some streaming services are also apps, so…yeah, I started to add them in.)

Support Small Businesses First

Yes, there are some large corporately-structured gyms and studios. Please remember that many of these that you see as “big corporations” are actually franchises–meaning your local location is owned by an individual member of your community (or a small business). I am not personally familiar with what type of financial assistance or relief is available to franchisees, but I do know that many of them will be forced to shut their doors.

Speaking of shutting their doors, yoga and fitness studios are taking a hit. If your local studio is closed, please support them if you can. This means (1) supporting and sharing any online offerings, and (2) keeping your membership active, even if there are no classes to attend. If you’re taking a hit financially and can’t afford to help, no worries. If you’ve got $5 or $20 and appreciated the option, please support your local and other small-businesses.

You don’t need a bunch of fancy equipment to work out at home (c) Styled Stock Society

Free and Low-Cost Options:

Please Donate to Local Studio Offerings if You Are Able

Below are the free and low-cost options I am aware of as of Monday, March 16, 2020. If you know of others, please leave a comment. Due to my current schedule, I can’t promise to keep this updated. They are listed in no particular order, though I have put the locally-owned but closed studios I know about at the top.

Get creative. You do not need any gym, studio, or streaming service to get your workout on at home. Running on the Fly has some suggestions for you!

The Yoga Space. This is a locally-owned studio in Portland, Oregon. They will be offering livestream classes at theyogaspace.live This is being offered as a free gift to the greater community for the first few weeks, and then will be made available as a benefit for members and for individual class purchase. Confirmed classes so far are Tuesday, 4pm PDT (Vinyasa with Allison Duckworth) and 6pm PDT (Intermediate Vinyasa with Ian LeMasters). The Yoga Space is posting updates on their Instagram account @theyogaspace

Flex & Flow. This is a locally-owned yoga and HIIT studio in Portland, Oregon. During the closure, they are offering free livestreams via Instagram. Please donate if you can to help keep the teachers paid and the studio open. https://www.fitapproach.com/ffy for details

Hot Pot Studios. This is a locally-owned dance studio in Sacramento, CA. They currently have a dance class scheduled for Wednesday March 18 at 7:45 pm PDT. Here is their message: “Hey Y’all believers in Science who are staying home: We are getting our Dance Party on with an anti apocalypse I.T.S. Jam! @sarah_unmata Has set up the Virtual Classroom Join Sarah & April Via Zoom Classroom on Wednesday 3/18 $10 for one hour of Dance 7:45pm pacific time via PayPal Sign up by pm [see facebook link] or email April hollon verbatim at gmail dot com Where’s the money go? To cleaning supplies and the utility bills, helping the studio survive the social distancing. https://www.facebook.com/hotpotstudios/photos/a.150142574997245/3122173151127491/?type=3&theater

Tiffany Gustafson. What does a trainer do when you can’t train in person? Hop on a virtual platform and offer affordable group training. Here are two offerings: https://www.lubbdubb.io/class/hiit-it-and-quit-it-30-minute-workout/LXw1h7Dt9 https://www.lubbdubb.io/class/strength-circuit/LXw1h7Dt9 All class times are PDT. Can’t make these? Follow Tiffany on Instagram.

Soul Yoga. This is one of those small, local yoga studios that is closed. Like many studios, it is trying to jump online as fast as possible. Classes are free, but how about throwing in a donation so they can stay in business through this? https://www.soulyogafenton.com/online-content

Love Hive Yoga. This is a locally-owned studio in Portland, Oregon that has responsibly shut the doors temporarily. Please check their website for updates on streaming classes and how to support them, and enjoy free videos until they can stream: https://www.lovehiveyoga.com/

The Bhakti Shop. This is another Portland, Oregon studio. Online recorded classes are $3 (that’s right, Three Dollars) or $15 for a month subscription. Check out their portal. They are also working to livestream their classes, and you can learn more about that over here. Finally, download a 3 minute meditation here.

Derek Beres yoga. Equinox is closed, and Derek is offering live stream classes on his YouTube channel. Classes are free, donations are appreciated. Please find more details, including a schedule, here: http://www.derekberes.com/yoga/

Athletes for Yoga. In addition to the 14-day free trial, Athletes for Yoga is offering 50% off your first month. Essentially, you get 6 weeks for like $5. Here’s how to do it: go to athletesforyoga.com Use code HOMESTUDIO when you create your account. In addition, there’s a free recovery meditation here: https://video.athletesforyoga.com/videos/recovery-visualization

Grokker. Grokker is free through April 30. Classes include yoga, meditation, indoor cycling, pilates, and more. After April 30, regular price is $14.99/ month (and I’m sure there is a yearly subscription discount, I just can’t find it). grokker.com Grokker also added a COVID-19 Coronavirus Preparedness program that is FREE to everyone, and you don’t need a Grokker account to watch it.

Down Dog App. All of their programs are free until April 1. https://www.downdogapp.com/

The Craft of Teaching Yoga/Yoga with Adrienne. Free online rituals. The first one is Wednesday March 18; follow them on Instagram and Facebook to find out about future options.

Glo.com (formerly YogaGlo). An offering of some free yoga, pilates, and meditation are on offer for free: https://glo.com/FromOurHearts

Now Foods Ambassadors. NOW has compiled a range of workouts from their wellness ambassadors. You can find the collection here. All free.

YouTube. Since anyone can post here, the workout options are definitely a mixed bag; some are clearly trained exercise professionals, others are scary and dangerous. Most of the trainers and channels you’ve heard of (PopSugar fitness, Leslie Sansone, Les MIlls, anyone who has released a DVD series) have a decent offering from 10 to 60 minutes.

General Online Resources

Below are a list of general online options to get your sweat on. Not all of these have a special deal going on, but they do have a free trial period. If you are clever, you can work out for free for quite some time before you commit to just one. These are presented in no particular order. If you usually support a local studio please go back when the threat of COVID-19 has passed!! Please note that streaming services sometimes offer coupons, discount codes, or other deals (e.g. subscribe for a year and save). I don’t have all that information for every service 🙂

Yoga can be a workout, but it can also help ease your mind during stressful times. (c) Styled Sock Society

Yoga

The Yoga Collective. Offers a 15-day free trial. Regular prices is $15/month. www.theyogacollective.com

Yoga International. Offers a 14-day free trial. Regular price is approx. $20/month, though you can save up to 50% by paying for a year in advance. www.yogainternational.com

Glo.com. Formerly known as YogaGlo. Offers a 15-day free trial. Regular price sis $18/month when you register through glo.com or $22.99/month if you register through the Glo app (because then iTunes manages the subscription); you get the same content either way. Hosts a number of big-name/famous yoga teachers. www.glo.com

Gaia. Offers a 1-week free trial. Regular price is $11.99/month. If you choose an annual membership, you pay $99 each year ($8.25/month). Gaia also offers a “Live Access” option at $299/year (or $24.92/month) with online workshops, live chats, and other benefits. Like Glo, there are lots of big-name teachers here. www.gaia.com

Yoga Download. If you go to the site a pop-up will offer you a free video. Unlike other sites, some of the Yoga Download classes are available to download, not stream. That means you get to keep them even if you cancel your subscription. Regular pricing is $12/month (2 downloads, unlimited streaming); $18/month (unlimited downloads); $120/year. They also offer 3-month and 6-month options. Easy to sort classes by style.

BUTI Yoga. This is not your mama’s yoga! Yoga with dance and other movement. Offers a 14-day free trial. Regular price is $39.99/month or $399.99/year. butiyoga.vhx.tv

Stretch Lab. This isn’t yoga at all, it’s literally stretching. Since it isn’t practical to have one-on-one stretching right now, and group stretches are also off the menu, they’ve moved to the Stretch Lab Go Facebook page. Follow the page for information on virtual events, and get your stretch on–some sessions are just 10-20 minutes. A strap and foam roller will be handy, if you have them.

Strala/Tara Stiles. If you’re not familiar with Strala, it’s like yoga with more emphasis on the movement in your body than the yoga poses. The library of free practices has meditation and movement. In addition, Tara is offering 50% off all classes. class series, and at-home retreats through the end of March. Use code PRACTICENOW at check-out.

We don’t all have a Reformer at home. If you do dust it off! (c) Styled Stock Society

Cycling

Peleton. I’m told the app is now free for 90 days (thanks, Jennifer!)

Train Right. In exchange for your email address, you can get access to 20+ training workouts (some of which were originally released on VHS, so be nice when you see they look “dated”). https://trainright.com/products/video-downloads/

Barre-style and Pilates-based workouts

Blogilates. One of the original online Pilates workouts (and an app), still free. Sign up for Cassie’s email list to get a monthly workout calendar. She’s also made a special 14-day quarantine workout. Most of her videos are on the Blogilates YouTube channel as well.

Sleek Ballet Fitness. Sleek is a ballet-based workout. Offers a 7-day free trial. Regular price is $19.99/month or $199.99/year.

Barre3. I have a soft spot for Barre3 as it was created by a Portlander, who was affiliated with YogaWorks, and (most important!!) is a body-friendly, anatomically sane barre workout. You don’t need a barre to do the home workouts, though some incorporate small hand weights and props. If you’ve never tried it, there is a YouTube channel. The streaming service at barre3.com/trial for a 15-day free trial. Regular price is $29/month.

Ballet Beautiful. One of the more expensive options, but rooted firmly in ballet (not “fitness”). This is the site of the professional ballerina and trainer who worked with Natalie Portman for Black Swan. There is a two week free trial, using code 2WTRIAL. (If you can’t make it work, try Instagram or Facebook, where they are running an ad for a 15 minute download class for free, and the two week free trial.) You you can get a discount on your first month with the code on the website (currently BBMARCH20). Regular price is $39.99/month. balletbeautiful.com

Physique 57. You may have seen Physique 57 studios, or perhaps you caught the DVD package back in the day. Now they offer a streaming service with new classes added weekly. Offers a 7-day free trial. Regular price $24.99/month or $249/year (essentially 2 months free). ondemand.physique57.com

Pilatesology. Focused on classic Pilates, this site has both equipment workouts (e.g. Refomer) and non-equipment workouts. Offers a 16-day free trial. Regular price $20/month or $179/year. pilatesology.com

Pilates Anytime. Currently has 1,582 mat videos, 812 Reformer videos, and 193 Wunda Chair videos, among others (barre, small props, tower, and more). Offers a 15-day free trial. Regular price is $18/month. pilatesanytime.com

Yoopod. Formerly known as “Pilates on Demand.” This service focuses on Pilates, yoga, and mindfulness practices. Offers a 14-day free trial. Regular prices are posted in British Pounds Sterling–you do the math. yoopod.com

Pilates on Fifth. Like most Pilates options, this site has both equipment workouts and those that use no equipment. Also includes some barre, cardio, and strength-training. Offers a 14-day free trial. Regular price $12.99/month or $129.99/year (includes some products with annual membership). pilatesonfifthonline,com

Pilates Interactive. This is a project of BASI Pilates. Unlike other sites, this is both written instruction and video. It is aimed at Pilates professionals (teachers and trainers) and includes breakdowns for the exercises. Offers a one month free trial. Regular price is $10/month for BASI Repertoire or Polestra Repertoire, $15/month for both. (Client management software is also an option.) I’m not a Pilates professional, but this looks like a screaming deal to me. pilatesinteractive.com

Balanced Body. I wasn’t able to wait for the site to load (I’m sure my internet is throttled at this point) but you can check it out at video.pilates.com

(c) Styled Stock Society

Gym-style and mixed variety group exercise

Bolly-X. Choreographed dance workouts using Bhangra hits! Apparently they were on Shark Tank?!? Regular price $14.99/month. Currently offering a $49 access for life special (or $24/year or $15/3 months): https://bollyx-swag-shop.myshopify.com/products/lifetime-membership-with-bollyx-on-demand-at-home-workouts

Body Groove. Another dance-based workout, this one uses HIIT theory. Offering a 30-day free trial. https://www.startbodygroove.com/hiit.htm Regular price is $9.99/month or $59.99/year (basically half price if you choose the year membership).

The Sufferfest. AltRed is sponsoring an additional free month. The Sufferfest is primarily a training tool for distance cyclists, but there are also a bunch of other videos including strength training and yoga for cyclists. To access a full six weeks, first download The Sufferfest. Then create your account to start your 14-day free trial. Next, go to Settings > Manage Subscription and choose the monthly subscription option. Enter promo code ALTREDSUF30 to get a free month (in addition to the 14-day free trial). Wile you do need to enter payment information for the code to activate, you won’t be charged if you cancel before the end of your free month (which is really six weeks).

OpenFit. This one appears to offer specific programming both live and recorded. (If you’re wondering where gixo went, OpenFit bought it.) The programs are Xtend Barre, Xtend Barre Pilates, Rough Around the Edges, Yoga 52, 600 seconds, Tough Mudder T-Minus 30, and Sugar Free 3. I’m only familiar with Xtend Barre, which I personally recommend as one of the top barre programs for attention to form. Offers a 14 day free trial. Regular price is $96/year ($8./month), $60/6 months, or $39/3 months).

Sissfit. Sisters Lauren and Kelly are offering free access to the Sissfit app (which they apologize is only available in iOS right now). Click here for 30 Days Free Access. (Offer is only for new users.)

Jari Love/Get Ripped. Jari is relasing free workouts via YouTube. You can find the workouts on her channel, starting with this one. The workouts require dumbbells/weights, and you can use a step or the floor. She also released “Slim and Lean” on Vimeo.

City Row. The City Row studios (which to my knowledge are all franchises) are closed. They are posting workouts that require no equipment on their Instagram page; follow them at @cityrow for details. The City Row GO app (which is separate from the scheduling app) is free for a month with code 1MONTH_FREE. It has rowing workouts (in case you own a rower) as well as strength, yoga, and mobility. Psst! There is apparently a whole family of “[insert name here] GO” apps.

Crunch Live. You know the gym chain called Crunch? This is their streaming service. If you belong to a Crunch gym, you can use this for free (unless you are on the base membership plan). Offers a 10-day free trial. Regular price is $9.99/month o $90/year. www.crunchlive.com

Daily Burn. A little bit of everything. Actually a LOT of everything. Whatever you like, they have it. Offers a 30-day free trial. Regular price is $19.99/month. dailyburn.com

TRX. I haven’t seen any specials on the TRX app (yet). If you own a suspension trainer, sign up for their newsletter to receive free weekly workouts.

Centr. Who doesn’t want to work out with Chris Hemsworth?? HIIT, boxing, yoga, strength training, MMA. Offering six weeks free. Regular prices is $29.99/month, $59.99/3-months, $119.99/year. https://centr.com/join-us

Get Healthy U TV. Started by Chris Freytag, with powerhouse Amy Dixon and others! Kickboxing, strength training, yoga, and more. A whole year is $9.99 right now (“regular” price is $59.99) https://go.gethealthyutv.com/a21445/

Body FX. JNL Fitness and Figure 8 workouts, among others. I hesitate slightly to recommend this one, only because several years ago they were planning to launch an MLM to compete with BeachBody, and I don’t know if they will try to upsell you a bunch of supplements (they do make a protein powder) and nonsense (there’s a recipe for something called Sueperfood Detox Soup). Offers 30 days free, regular price is $11.99/month or $84/year. https://bodyfx.com/home-workout/

Suzanne Bowen Fitness. I kinda love that you can click ‘surprise me’ and the site will choose a workout for you! This site also has a workout builder, and a collection of prenatal videos. Offers a 24-hour free trial. Regular price $14.99/month, $129.99/year, or $74.99/6-months. suzannebowenfitness.com

SCW On Demand. SCW produces the fitness Mania events where your teachers go to get their continuing education credits. Offerings include personal training type videos plus active aging, yoga, and aqua. $19.95 month-to-month; $9.95 with an annual commitment (but you pay one month at a time); $99/year (paid all at once). https://scwfit.com/store/on-demand/

Jillian Michaels. Her fitness app offers a 7-day free trial. More information at https://www.jillianmichaels.com/ Note that Jillian offers nutritional advice that is sometimes way off the mark (at least in terms of evidence-based practice). She’s publicly pooh-poohed keto and vegan diets, and promotes misinformation about organic products. If you’re going to use her app for nutrition tracking, just be aware you might want to take her advice with a salt lick.

Pvolve. This is a streaming service that uses custom equipment, though I think you could hack most of it from other equipment (e.g. using a band instead of the gloves with the band). They offer a variety of packages of equipment and their streaming service. Whatever you do, do NOT pay full price. At any given moment I see at least a dozen different ads or influencer campaigns for 20% off. https://www.pvolve.com/

What did I miss? Drop a comment with what you are offering, or how you are supporting your trainers and teachers when their studios and gyms are closed!

Disclosure: I received an original Buff® for testing purposes because I am a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro, and check out BibRave.com to review find and write race reviews. It’s a great way to help race directors see what is working and what needs improvement, and to help other runners find out what a race is really like.

The genuine article has the Buff logo on it--proof of quality and brand!
The genuine article has the Buff logo on it–proof of quality and brand!

I LOVE LOVE LOVE Buff®

Okay, maybe you already knew this. If you’ve been paying attention to my blog, or have seen me at any races, then you probably know about my love affair with Buff® products. I use the UV half Buff® as a hat liner when running, which keeps my bangs out of my face and covers my ears (which never seen to get sunblock on them for some reason). I’ve used UV Buff® in the full size as a hat replacement/”do-rag,” to keep my neck warm during the pre-race chill in Arizona and Nevada, as a sweat mopper during races, and as a combination hat liner and ice holder during the 2016 Buffalo Marathon. As I started to figure out just how useful Buff® is–and how each variety (e.g. UV, infinity scarf, merino wool) is multifunctional–I could kick myself for not grabbing a drawerfull earlier. Given the chance to score a Buff® I will always be interested, and I’ve purchased quite a few for myself, friends, and family. Since I love Buff® products so much, I’m thrilled that BibRave and Buff® have an ongoing partnership!

Sweaty post-race selfie at Rock n Roll Virginia Beach
Sweaty post-race selfie at Rock n Roll Virginia Beach

It’s local.

Betcha didn’t know that! (Okay, local to me…) While the parent company (Original Buff®, S.A.) is in Spain, Buff® Inc. (the U.S. subsidiary company) is located in Sonoma County, northern California! No wonder they are a sponsor of the Levi’s Granfondo in Santa Rosa.

On my wrist to mop sweat (Half Buff)
On my wrist to mop sweat (Half Buff)

Don’t be a Pirate.

Buff® is a Brand Name that Indicates The Real Deal. Just like Coca-Cola, Levi’s, Clinique, and Nike, the term Buff® is a registered trademark. (Through the magic of WordPress I have found the ® symbol!) Unfortunately, just like you can buy knock-off Fendi and Gucci out of some dude’s trunk in many cities, there are imitation/fake/imposter Buff® products out there. (Note that it is absolutely 100% fine to sell a multi-functional headgear, headwrap, tube, etc. but calling it a “buff” when it is not a Buff® is misleading and a violation of trademark law.) For example, at least two race series I know of advertise that runners get a race-themed “buff” with registration, and the Marathon Maniacs and the Half Fanatics sell a club logo “buff” in their member stores. This isn’t just bad news for Buff®, it’s bad news for you.

First, you’re not getting a real Buff® when you buy these products, but you’re probably paying the same price–or more! When I order a Buff® or am promised a Buff®, I expect the real deal. The real original Buff® is made from a soft technical fabric that dries quickly, wicks sweat away from you, and is treated with Polygiene to prevent the build up of bacteria in the product. (The UV version blocks at least 93% of harmful UV rays, there is a reflective Buff® for low-light safety, and Insectshield® has a built-in repellent that lasts through 70 washes.)  The fabric has been tested and is warranted to meet several international standards including Oeko-Tex Standard 100 (which prohibits the use of certain types of chemicals that are known to be harmful to humans or the planet). Fake “buff” products–at least every single one I have seen–are generally made of cheaper fabric that holds the heat in, doesn’t dry quickly, and has no UV protection.

Second, you’re hurting Buff® when you buy fakes. Genuine Buff® products are reasonably priced, and there are great sales (be sure to get on the mailing list!). There is no reason for any race or club to offer a fake “buff” because Buff® offers custom products (here’s the U.S. site!) and has a low minimum order requirement (25 pieces!). Buff also supports numerous international charities with custom designs, including UNICEF, Walking With The Wounded, and World Horse Welfare. (In the U.S., charity designs include The Breast Cancer Fund, and Buff® USA sponsors the Marine Corps Marathon.)

Finding this interesting? Why not Tweet it to your peeps so they can learn about Buff(R) too? Click To Tweet

Buff® isn’t just for running!

Last year I bought a super cute Buff® headband after trying it out at a race expo. (Most headbands go shooting off of my head like a slingshot. Insert joke about having a big head here.) My intent was to use it during yoga and group ex classes to help keep sweat from my head/hair off of my face. My body is very efficient at cooling itself, which is to say I sweat A LOT during workouts. It did a great job of keeping my bangs from dripping sweat into my eyes, and further did a great job of keeping adjacent hair from sticking to my face, but there was still the issue of my ponytail whacking me in the face during sun salutations.

In addition to my large melon, I have baby-fine, stick-straight hair with zero texture. If you put a clip barrette into my hair, it will slowly slide right out–same with most hair elastics (unless applied super duper tightly)–and the giant claw-clips tend to wobble unless held in place with something else (like a shower cap) and are impractical for yoga classes. During this round of BibRave testing, I opted for a full Buff® from the National Geographic collection. (The design I picked was so awesome that it is now sold out.) At first I tried wearing it foulard/do-rag style (see the “How to Wear” video on the Buff® website). While that kept more sweat off of my face and kept all of my hair from sticking to my face, it had the unfortunate effect of letting my ponytail turn into a giant dreadlock.

The finished look, from the top
The finished look, from the top

So I messed around with it more, and came up with a solution. It’s not in the video on the website, so here’s how to do it:

  1. Pull Buff® over head and all the way down onto neck, pattern side out. (Like the neckerchief in the video)
  2. Pull top edge of Buff® up over head (temporarily covering face) until bottom edge of Buff hits chin. Ponytail should be inside (not below the bottom edge). (This is like foulard/do-rag in the video.)
  3. Scrunch and/or roll bottom edge of Buff® up to hairline; multiple layers of fabric should be at the hairline. (I put it behind my ears, which I know looks dorky, but my goal was “effective sweat and hair control” and not “fashion statement.”)
  4. Grab ponytail and twist a few times, making a faux bun right next to head; using one hand to hold ponytail, grab free edges of Buff® with the other hand. (It helps to bend over a little bit while you do this.)
  5. Grip opposite sides of Buff® (it’s a tube, so anything approximate will do) and tie a single, firm overhand knot.

BOOM! Hair and sweat control in one! I used this method in multiple deep-flow style yoga classes that included inversions and plenty of movement, as well as a Lagree Method class. Gravity was no match for this baby.

Post-sweaty yoga selfie--hair intact, no sweat in eyes
Post-sweaty yoga selfie–hair intact, no sweat in eyes. (When all else fails, through a filter on it.)

 

Do you have a favorite Buff® product?

Disclosure: I received a free UV Half Buff because I am a BibRave Pro. (Per usual, all opinions are my own–you should know by now I don’t need any help with that, I’ve got plenty of ’em!) Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro here. Read and write race reviews at BibRave.com!

What’s a Buff?? If you’ve ever watched the TV show Survivor, you see tribe members with these matching cloth thingies. Some of the skinny-minny women wear them as bandeau tops, while the men tend to use them as headgear. I only ever heard the show’s host mumble the name a few times, and I had no idea what he was talking about when he asked for their buffs. Um, they have to turn in their butts? The teams are getting a new bus? What-the-what?

Maybe you have a few more clues and knew that he was saying BUFF. (That wouldn’t have helped me, as I would have been all like, “um, what’s a ‘Buff’?”). If you were in my boat, THIS is a Buff:

UV Half Buff as packaged
UV Half Buff as packaged, in Inked Yellow

Basically it is a piece of fabric shaped like a tube that doesn’t have any seams. You may have seen something like this, or even used something similar, but if you haven’t used a Buff, you don’t know what you are missing. Case in point: I belong to two distance running clubs that sell knock-off buff-like items emblazoned with the club logos. I found them hot and sticky to wear in even the slightest humidity. They reminded me of some of the polyester duds I sported in the ’70s. I couldn’t figure out how Buff was popular if it just trapped the sweat inside and made your skin itchy. But that was NOT a real Buff!

I picked a half-Buff, in part based on my past experience with the wanna-be-buff. (The other part is that this Buff provides UV protection, and I am uncertain I could get a full-sized Buff to sit still instead of gliding right off of my slippery baby-fine hair.) Turns out the REAL Buff is NOTHING like the pretender I’d previously tried.

Test Runs. To test the Buff, I took it on several runs. Primarily I used it as a hat-liner and head-band, sweeping all of my hair off of my neck and face, and once covering my ears (which I’d forgot to put sunscreen on). I also tried it out as a wristband for sweat-blotting. Not only did the Buff absorb sweat and quickly get it off of me, it also air-dried fairly quickly. Once I washed it out with shampoo, rinsed it, and hung it on the shower rod to dry overnight. It was soaked through when I hung it up, even though I’d wrung it out. It was 100% dry when I got back to it in the morning.

Construction. The Buff is seamless and has no edges. The material is a stretchy, soft knit. There is nothing to catch, snag, run, pull, or otherwise fall apart. Granted I’ve only washed mine about four times, but the print colors have not run or faded. Further, the good folks at Buff confirmed that washing does not affect the UV protection.

Fit and wear. I am not brave enough to attempt to wear mine as a Survivor-style bandeau. (It’s also not in the “ways to wear” suggestions!). I’ve got a big ol’ melon, and the Buff went all the way around, no trouble. When it was on my wrist I just double (triple?) looped it, and it stayed. I could also see myself wearing it as a headband (folded over a few times), or as a wind-protection layer around my neck when it is colder. Each time I’ve taken it off and washed it, the Buff has returned to its original size/shape.

Does this Buff make my head look fast?
Does this Buff make my head look fast?

Perhaps the best part? Even after multiple wears with just a rinse (as opposed to a washing machine wash), it does not stink. I sweat when I run, so this is a major bonus.

In addition to the UV Half Buff, there is also a UV Full Buff. Other Buff products include the regular ol’ Buff, wooly winter Buff, balaclava, Buff for Fido, and all manner of other cool stuff. For a limited time, you can score a discount with code BIBRAVE10–you’ll save 10%.

Buff was really generous and gave many of the BibRave Pros a chance to try out their products. (They also sponsored a #bibchat!)  To read more opinions, check out these blogs:

Hey there! I’m revisiting this post  back from the earliest days of my blog–can you believe I published it on April 10, 2014??–because now it comes with a giveaway! This giveaway is not sponsored by CamelBak or Nuun.

First, The Review!

Integrity Statement: CamelBak provided me with a Relay pitcher to review back in 2014. I did not receive any other compensation for this review. All opinions are my own. All words are my own, except where otherwise indicated.

So just how much water should be consumed on a daily basis for optimal health? The consensus among health experts, in other words those who look to optimize health and not merely look at the absence of disease as a sign of health, is that there is a chronic dehydration epidemic.  Paul Chek and Steve Meyerowitz recommend one-half of an individual’s body weight in ounces (90 oz. of water for someone weighing 180 lb.), while Mark Lindsay recommends 0.6 ounces times body weight in pounds (106 oz. for someone weighing 180 lb.) for achieving optimal health and mobility. Even greater fluid intake has been recommended for those individuals who are exercising and sweating profusely. While there seems to be no agreement between the researchers and the health experts, there is enough anecdotal clinical evidence to suggest that increased water consumption is warranted for achieving and maintaining tissue mobility and overall health for most individuals.

Evan Osar, Corrective Exercise Solutions to Common Hip and Shoulder Dysfunction, Lotus Publishing (2012) at 44. For National Hydration Day, I encourage you to stay hydrated!

out of the box Relay

Why am I dehydrated? My main problem is that I don’t like drinking room-temperature water.  I’ll drink hot water (in the form of coffee, tea, cocoa, or similar beverages).  Otherwise, I only like it ice cold.  Call me an American (but at least I know not to ask for ice while abroad, okay?). I’ve kept a filter pitcher in the fridge since the very first ones came out, to keep my water cold and fresh-tasting. I’m also somewhat obsessed with water bottles, and have amassed a collection of about a dozen in my quest to contribute fewer disposable plastic bottles to landfills and the plastic mass floating in the Pacific Ocean.  (Despite our best garbage-sorting efforts, most plastic is not recycled. In 2019, even less plastic is recycled because China stopped accepting American plastics for recycling. Why? We suck at recycling–there were far too many dirty items, non-recyclable “wish-cyling” items, and contaminants. Since I found half a sandwich in my apartment recycling bin, along with dental floss and used kleenex, I’m not surprised.)

Until the fall 2013 Fitness Magazine Meet and Tweet event, I thought CamelBak was not a brand for me. The CamelBak I knew was a hydration pack for longer distance runners (not me) and had a bite valve (not for me). In my defense, the association makes sense, since CamelBak basically invented the hydration pack. As it turns out, CamelBak makes a pretty excellent water bottle with a filter in the bottle—the CamelBak Groove Insulation—so the water is filtered as you drink it.  The drinking spout folds, make it spill-proof, and therefore perfect for me.  My CamelBack from the Fitness event became my go-to travel bottle, since the straw-like drinking valve prevents me from spilling it on myself as I drove all over the state of California for work; I eventually lost it during my work travels. Hopefully it found a good home. The double-walled bottle design is optimal for avoiding slippery hands and water puddles caused by condensation as cool beverages warm up, but the same design prevents it from being optimal for refrigerator storage. Also, it is too small to chill enough water to keep me steadily drinking.

My new RelayEnter CamelBak Relay. The Relay is a filtration pitcher with a 10-cup capacity, perfect for the fridge. (It fits inside the door.) CamelBak graciously offered me a Relay to test drive, and after just a week I decided to give away all of my other filtration pitchers. I’ll never need them again, since CamelBak has a lifetime “Got Your Bak” warranty. By the way, now that I’m in 2019, I still only use my Camelbak.

Filter close-upWhen I opened the box, my first thought was disappointment.  The filter is so huge compared to my old pitchers that I thought, “there is no way I can recommend a product that is going to generate more waste than what is already on the market.”  Then I read the directions.  Oops. Turns out the filters last four months (not 30 days) with regular usage, which means it generates LESS waste than my old filters. Win! This is “double-filter technology,” filtering the water first as you fill it up, and again as you pour the water out. The lid even has a built in reminder dial so you don’t have to remember when to change the filter. Win!Close up of the reminder

The most obvious thing to love about the Relay is that it fills up quickly. My old pitchers were very slow to filter the water, so I would end up standing at the sink as I filled the pre-filtration chamber, waited for it to filter, and then re-filled the chamber to achieve a full pitcher to put in the fridge.  Those days are over. The Relay filters the water about as quickly as I run the tap, meaning I turn on the tap and fill the pitcher—no waiting. Sure, you might be thinking this is a net savings of just five minutes per refill, but over the course of a year those five-minute periods add up to hours I could be running or sleeping!

My second favorite feature is the snap-shut lid. Despite my years in dance and yoga, you can just call me Grace in my tiny kitchen. The biggest peril with my old pitchers is that I’d pour a glass of water over ice just after filling the pitcher and knock the lid off, spilling the water in the pre-filtration chamber all over myself, the floor, the stove, and anything else nearby. With the Relay, that’s impossible.  The lid has two side-locking latches that snap shut, securing the lid tightly. So even if I managed to start pouring before all the water left the pre-filtration chamber—a move that would require Speedy Gonzalez-like agility, since the chamber empties so quickly—there is no way I can accidentally turn my desire for a drink into a shower.  Bravo!

The speedy filing and secure lid were designed in response to consumer requests.  According to the press release: “CamelBak Relay is the latest example of our commitment to promote hydration while eliminating disposable bottled water,” said Sally McCoy, CamelBak CEO. “We listened to our consumers’ frustration with existing water filtration pitchers and solved each complaint by creating an all-around better product that filters water fast, prevents spills and fits well into refrigerators.”

As a design aficionado, I also appreciate the pretty colors (and CamelBak sent me a blue one, my favorite!). I know, pretty colors shouldn’t make the water taste better…but if they make me like the pitcher more, I’ll want to use it more, which means I’ll drink more water.  Hydration, level up.

Camelbak_Relay_Sam_0727_CharRelay_BoxRightPour_PurpleFINALFinally, the taste. I currently live in an area with decent-tasting water but WWII-era plumbing.  According to CamelBak, “When tested to NSF/ANSI Standard 42, independent test results have shown Relay removes 97% of chlorine, taste, and odor.” I have not seen the test results, but I love the taste when I pour.

You can learn more about CamelBak and buy your own Relay at http://www.camelbak.com . The Relay is also available at Target (MSRP $36.99), and at this point in 2019 I’m pretty sure you can buy it pretty much everywhere–I buy my replacement filters using Amazon Prime.

Giveaway!

In celebration of #NationalHydrationDay (no, I am not sure when that is, but I saw it in a tweet for runners, so it has to be a real holiday, right?) I am giving away a box of hydration goodies. One lucky winner will receive:

  • A brand new Camelbak Relay Pitcher! (In the box–but I accidentally left it in the sun, so one side is faded.)
  • A brand new Camelbak Fresh filter water bottle! (Not in the box–I accidentally squished it–but the plastic wrapper is still over the “straw” portion and the filter is still in the package, so you can tell it’s new.)
  • A  suite of Nuun products (see my review here: Happy Nuun Year!): 1 tube of Nuun electrolytes (watermelon), 1 tube of Nuun vitamins (blueberry pomegranate), AND a limited edition Nuun water bottle celebrating the Pacific Northwest!
  • Samples of other hydration products (as your taste may differ from mine)

This is only open to residents of the US and Canada. Sorry everyone, this is a big ol’ box, and postage is killer!

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