Category Archives: product review

Skulpt Aim Review

While I am a bit traditional when it comes to measuring body fat and quantifying fitness results, I was super excited when I was asked to test and review the new “Skulpt Aim” device. Skulpt uses leading edge technology to measure bodyfat and muscle quality. As a personal trainer I am always open to new products and ideas that take our profession to the next level.

skulpt

While opening up the package, I was very impressed with the quality of the packaging – I almost felt as if I was opening up a new Apple product. Everything was carefully placed and displayed in the box. Inside the box you’ll find the Skulpt Aim device, a charging cradle, USB cable, travel bag, as well as a spray bottle. After a few hours of charging the device, I was ready to start measuring.

The instructions are pretty straight forward – once you sync the device to your phone via bluetooth, you can begin measuring. Simply spray the sensors on the back of the Skulpt Aim device and press on the muscle you want to measure. Very easy to use.

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One great feature that I love is that there are how-to videos on measuring each body part correctly. Since I had a bit of trouble getting consistent readings at first, this was very helpful. Before using this on clients I wanted to make sure I had consistency. I felt that I was getting the most accurate readings from my abdominal region, while having some trouble with the biceps and triceps as I have a petite frame.

I was very surprised at how high my body fat and/or muscle quality was on certain parts of my body but I tried to disregard the actual number and tell myself that those are “areas that I need to work on more.” As someone who comes from a ballet background, I have some experience with body dysmorphia, so I knew the battle for me would be trying not to become obsessed over the number. (With that being said, I would not recommend this product to someone battling an eating disorder or body dysmorphia unless they are working with a professional.)

All in all this is a great product for those who are interested in the scientific side of fitness and are looking to quantify muscle quality.  It’s like the equivalent of a power meter for fitness!

In summary:
Pros-
• Easy to use
• Fun
• Simplified instructions
• Comfortable design
• Ability to measure “muscle quality”

Cons-
• Readings can be inconsistent (especially on petite arms)
• Could potentially become addictive for those with body dysmorphia, exercise disorders

I hope you all have a chance to use the Skulpt Aim device whether you are a personal trainer or fitness enthusiast. I am looking forward to using this device more and seeing the changes it helps me see in my fitness. For more information about Skulpt Aim visit their website at http://www.skulpt.me

Plant Fusion Protein Review

A few weeks ago my favorite brand of plant based supplements, Vega, had a product recall. This left me in a state of shock as not only was I completely out of my favorite supplements, but I could not purchase any since the shelves were cleared at my local Whole Foods stores. You may think that this is no big deal but as a girl who is on a strict bodybuilding program, I drink this stuff three times per day – I had to find an alternative and fast.

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I looked at the ingredients in many of the other plant based protein powders and was not impressed. They either had too many carbohydrates, too much sodium, or simply not enough grams of protein per serving. On the bottom shelf I came across a protein called Plant Fusion. After carefully studying the macros and Amino Acids profile I decided to pick some up and give it a try. The flavor that was in stock? Cookies and Cream. Sounded like a great alternative to the boring vanilla and chocolate I had been drinking at the time.

When I got home and opened the container, I couldn’t believe how smooth the consistency of the powder was compared to the other plant based protein I had tried. This meant that it would mix well and it did! The flavor was good too – although the Cookies and Cream did not taste like Cookies and Cream, it was a nice chocolate flavor that I would have no problem drinking multiple times per day.

protein

The next time that I went to Whole Foods I decided to try another flavor – vanilla. (yes, Vega still wasn’t in stock) This flavor was great as well. Plant Fusion was awesome to send me samples of the other flavors as well and I have to say, all of them are fabulous. This protein is easily digestible and doesn’t leave you feeling bloated or gassy like some plant based protein will. Check out the nutrition facts and amino profile in the picture below!

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After weeks of using Plant Fusion, I have made the decision to continue using it in place of Vega. Now only does it taste just as good but it is a better price point too! Afterall, drinking three of these shakes a day gets a bit pricey and if I can save $20 per tub, that’s a plus. Give this stuff a try. Go to plantfusion.net or check out your closest natural foods store to see if they have it in stock.

Fabletics Fitness Wear Review

Fabletics Nikol Klein

This is a review of Fabletics, a new fitness clothing subscription website founded by the designers at Just Fab in collaboration with Kate Hudson. Fabletics is an innovative, high quality line of activewear that fits your budget. For a low monthly fee of $49.95 per month, you receive an outfit of your choosing from the website look-book. Styles and colors change monthly! Check out the price comparison below:

I received an offer to represent Kate Hudson’s new fitness line, Fabletics, a few months ago before it launched. I must admit that I was a bit skeptical at first as the products had not even been released – how did I know if they would fit? I anxiously awaited my first shipment of samples and more detailed information about the company!

price comparison fabletics

I received my first shipment of samples a few weeks before the new line launched. I received the Nadi Leggings in black and the Oula Tank in Lemon, a BPA free reusable water bottle, and towel. Now here’s what you all are really dying to know – how did everything fit, quality, etc?

• The Nadi Leggings were very big on my petite frame but the quality of the fabric was superb! The waist band came all the way up to my bust line and the legs were too long- clearly these weren’t the pants for me and I would be sending them back. In exchange, they sent me the Lima Capris…one word, amazing! The Lima Capris are just the right thickness, rise, and fit. The minute I put them on I didn’t want to take them off – this is definitely hard to say about a lot of workout pants!

• The Oula Tank is nothing special – lightweight, thin, comfortable, and fits well. If I were to spend money on a top from the Fabletics line, this definitely wouldn’t be the one. I would instead choose the Coro Tank which is amazing! The Coro tank reminds me of the Lululemon Power Y tank – in fact, if you place the two side by side they look like the same product. Believe it or not, I actually like the fit of Fabletics Coro better as it is not ridiculously tight at the shelf bra liner and is more form fitting throughout the body.

Overall, I think that Fabletics is a great new athletic line and of course, I am happy to represent them as one of the Fabletics Masters! Here is an over view of what I feel the pros and cons are:

Pros: Quality of the fabric is soft and feels good. Price point fits any budget. Customer service is superb. Perfect fit guarantee so returns/exchanges are free.

Cons: Sizing is tough to gauge and every item seems to fit differently. Colors are a bit muted and bland (reminds me of the Gap’s color palette).

Are you looking forward to giving Fabletics a try? I know I can’t wait to place my next order. Here is a link to receive your first order (a top and bottom) for just $25!! >> http://www.fabletics.com/invite/16843321/  <<

Fabletics Special Offer

 

Quest Bar Cookie Recipe

questcookiedough

Looking for a healthy snack to satisfy your sweet tooth? I have found a great solution! First of all, you have to try Quest Bars. Quest Bars are high protein, gluten free, lactose free, no sugar added, with only 2-6 grams of active carbs (depending on the bar). Oh, and did I mention that they taste incredible?

I heard from various people that they bake their Quest Bars for added texture and taste so I decided to give it a try! Baking definitely enhances these already tasty bars. I can’t wait to try it with my favorite flavor – Apple Pie – which contains real apples.

Here is my recipe for Chocolate Chip Cookies using the Quest Cookie Dough Bar:

• Take one Quest Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Bar and break it in half for larger cookies, in fours for smaller cookies.
• Roll the pieces into balls, then flatten into cookie shapes.
• Place on a baking sheet. The will stick so olive oil or parchment paper are suggested.
• Bake at 400º for 5-7 minutes.
• If you want a crispier texture, flip the cookies halfway through baking.
• Let cool and enjoy!

Nutrition Facts:
In one bar
Calories: 190
Fat: 8 g
Active Carbohydrates: 3 g
Protein: 21 g

Wondering where to find Quest Bars? You can pick them up at your local GNC or by visiting their website: http://www.questproteinbar.com.

Suspension Training Feature

Nikol Klein Human TrainerHave you tried suspension training yet? I love suspension training as it is a great way to use your own body weight for a fun and effective workout without putting stress on the joints! Best of all it is portable and gives you a full-body resistance and cardiovascular workout. Great for all levels of fitness too.

I am so excited to be the featured user for The Human Trainer for the month of April. I have been working with the company and the device for over a year now, having the opportunity to test the suspension trainer with my clients. Don’t confuse this device with TRX though, it has much more versatility and options. The dual anchor system allows for better symmetry and balance, and if you are like me who goes to the chiropractor each week to get fine tuned, you will appreciate this!

The Human Trainer is a terrific tool for those of you who like to workout at home! This device can be securely anchored to a door in your home. I have had many clients purchase these from me because they love working out with them on their days off with me and/or stretching out those sore muscles with the device! I have to admit, it is pretty handy to have.

Be sure to check out my article all about why I love to use Human Trainer with my clients! READ MORE

 

 

Intelliskin Posture Apparel Review

intelliskin sports bra ©nikolklein

One of the reasons that my personal training clients come to me is to improve their posture. With my ballet background, they know that I have knowledge about proper posture. Let’s face it- when you’re not thinking about it, it is hard to constantly stand with shoulders back, chest up, etc. So we all eventually end up in a slump. Not to mention how our breasts can weigh us down as Women, forcing our shoulders to round forward. Enter Intelliskin Posture Cue™ Sports Bra.

I was fortunate enough to be able to try both sports bras: the Zipper Empower PostureCue™  Sports Bra (pictured above) and the regular Empower Sports Bra. These sports bras are designed to improve your posture as you wear them by supporting you in the front and the back. The unique “PostureCue” that this sports bra provides gently helps retrain and align your spine and shoulders.

intelliskin sports bra ©nikolklein

Back view of the Zipper Empower PostureCue™ Sports Bra

Sizing, Fit, and Feel- The Intelliskin Sports Bras are designed to fit snug, almost like second skin or Under Armour. They come in both black and white. I was between sizes and decided to go with the smaller size.  Immediately after putting it on, you will feel exactly what this product is all about. You will feel a more open chest, shoulders slightly pinched back (how we’re supposed to naturally stand). This product is extremely breathable and the mesh panels in the back not only ensure proper posture, but add to the breath-ability as well (pictured above). It looks great as well!

Function- These sports bras are great for everyone whether you are an athlete, a fitness enthusiast, or someone who simply suffers from shoulder and back pain. I have worn these sports bras for all types of activities like running, weight lifting, and even daily computer work. In all honesty, I didn’t want to take it off. My clients are always on the search for the perfect sports bra and, for me, I know that I have found it.

intelliskin instagram ©nikolklein

Empower Sports Bra in white & Eve shirt in Black/Silver

Recommendations- As a personal trainer, I know that all of my clients can benefit from the Intelliskin Empower Sports Bras. It is great for those who sit at a computer, athletes, and gym-goers. These products are even Chiropractor approved! I took my gear to my Chiropractor this week and he commented on the great design and support. Advice for those of you with sensitive skin- Make sure you hand wash your garment in cold water before putting it on…my sensitive skin started to itch after putting it on straight out of the packaging. Also, if you are a small frame with larger breasts, I might recommend going with the larger size as the compression could be a bit intense on the girls and the sizing chart on the website does not mention cup size.

On a side note: As a fitness expert I receive numerous products in the mail to sample and test every month but never have I received a product that I love this much. I am looking forward to offering this sports bra to my clients, family and friends! For more information about Intelliskin check out their website http://www.intelliskin.net.

Product Review: The Human Trainer

Suspension training is the newest safe and effective way to workout on the go. Chances are, you have heard about suspension training workout devices like the TRX. For years I used TRX, but found that it was lacking in certain areas. So I began the search for the most versatile suspension training device.

Enter The Human Trainer. With the dual anchor system, this suspension device can be adjusted to work with your own body and preferences. Choose to use it in your home or purchase additional accessories to use it in your gym or outdoors. Check out my video below that shows the device and also five exercises that you can do with your Human Trainer device.

Nike Fuel Band Review

After months of waiting, I was finally able to get my hands on the new Nike + Fuel Band. Nike had been teasing me with emails since January about this new device so I was anxious to try it out. Working with personal training clients on and off all day long made this seem like the perfect exercise tracker for me and my active lifestyle. I have always wondered just how much energy I am expending throughout the day.

The packaging made me feel like I was about to open a new Apple product. Could this product really live up to its expectations?

After charging, downloading and resizing my Nike Fuel Band, I was ready to see what this device was all about. Contrary to what I had originally believed, the Nike Fuel Band is not a heart rate monitor. It does however track steps, calories, and “fuel” which is really what this device is all about. While I do not feel that the Nike website does a great job of explaining exactly what this device does, I do feel that it will be a great tool for those who are trying to manage their weight and/or track their daily activity levels.

The main positive thing about the Nike Fuel Band concept is that it helps you and encourages you to reach your goals. You can set your daily goals and track them along the way.

Having the wrist circumference of a 10 year old girl, I was very pleased to see that the size of the Nike Fuel Band is adjustable. Just like a watch, it has links to either expand or take out.

So how do you use it? You simply charge it via USB and wear it. It will track your movement all day long. There is also a great option to sync it with your iPhone. Your iPhone will download your activity level and track it though your phone’s bluetooth.

How do I like it? I think this is a great accessory but to be honest, I could probably live without it. Did it tell me anything I didn’t already know? Not really, although it is nice to see how many calories it predicts that I burn each day.

Favorite thing about the Nike Fuel Band: Adjust-ability, calorie tracking, and the flashing LED lights when you reach your goal.

Least favorite thing about the Nike Fuel Band: That it doesn’t work as a heart rate monitor. (but again, it never claimed to)

Price: $149.00 http://www.nike.com/fuelband

Nike Vomero 6 Running Shoe Review

Since I like to have a healthy, injury free run I change out my running shoes every 6 months. Over the past 6 months, I have been wearing the Air Pegasus 28 (which I also wrote a review about) and the Nike Free Run 2 (which I reviewed as well) but their shoe lives were up and it was time for a change.

I finally had the opportunity to test out the Nike Vomero +6 on a run this afternoon. My favorite running shoe was the Nike Vomero 5 so I wanted to feel out the differences in the updated model. The difference: none that I could feel. I felt the same reliability, response and cushion that I had loved so much in the Vomero +5’s. This is great!
Overall my attitude on the Vomero+ 6 is the same as the 5’s although I think the colors that Nike is offering now are much more attractive. Here is my take on the specs:

Size: Fits true to size. I have to go a half size up in other running shoes.
Width: Runs wide. The toe box is roomy, cushioned and comfortable. Although I have a narrow foot, I have always preferred a wide toe box.
Comfort: Extremely comfortable. I could wear these all day.
Durability: I expect these to hold up just as the Vomero 5’s did.
Support: Neutral. Since these shoes are so gushy and soft inside, there is a lot of room for error if you’re not a seasoned runner.
Overall Grade: A. These are soon to become my favorite running shoes for both the asphalt and the beach. The comfort, control and cushion that I have come to expect from the Nike Vomero Running shoes.

Have you tried out the Nike Vomero+ 6 running shoes? If so, how did they rate?

Top 5 Holiday Fitness Gifts

Are you perhaps looking for a Christmas gift that is “fit” for your active friend, family member, or loved one? Well I have composed a list of the top 5 fitness gifts that they will be sure to love all through the New Year.

Gift #1: Lululemon Scuba Hoodie- This versatile hoodie is a female fitness lovers favorite item to throw on for a chilly workout, following a killer yoga session, or just to cozy up in on a cold day. It even has thumb holes to keep your hands warm! http://www.lululemon.com $108-$148 depending on model.

Gift #2: Nike Sport Watch GPS- This hi-tech watch is powered by the famous GPS company TomTom. Head outside for a run and personalize your data on the watch so that you can track progress. Best of all you no longer need the Nike+ shoe sensor so if you don’t wear Nike’s it’s no problem! http://www.nike.com $199.

Gift #3: Muscle & Fitness Hers Magazine subscription When it comes to fitness magazines, there is only one good read that comes to mind-Muscle & Fitness Hers. Learn real strength training workouts, not the sugar-coated ones. This magazine keeps every month different and uses a wide variety of fitness models, photos, and products. http://www.muscleandfitnesshers.com $19.97/year.

Gift #4: Target’s Champion Compression Sports Bras- These inexpensive sports bras give you the support and stability that you need whether you are a runner or a gym rat. Best of all, they come in super fun colors! http://www.target.com $16.99

GIft #5: Cross-Core 180- If you have a home gym this is the perfect space-saving piece of equipment. No longer will you need separate machines for each exercise. Everything can be done on the Cross Core. I use this with all of my Del Mar personal training clients. http://www.crosscore-usa.com $249