Tag Archives: fitness

Blonyx HMB+ Creatine Review

(I’m no “nutritionist”, scientist, or engineer, hell I can barely stick to a diet. Don’t expect much technical stuff out of me on this subject matter.)

You don’t see me do very many reviews on supplements because well, I think when it comes supplements, everyone’s experiences will be YMMV  (your mileage may vary). Honestly, I should be a pro on the subject by now, I’ve been supplementing ever since I was a budding kid in high school not knowing that I was actually allergic to whey. Around 2010 is when I really got into taking supplements other than protein; things like pre-workout, nitric oxide, even so called fat burners. The one thing that I never got into was creatine monohydrate. Hell, I even tried kre-alkalyn, just never the real deal. It wasn’t until sometime after I started CrossFit, that I decided I needed to bulk up, and creatine was the way to do it. There’s nothing like your first creatine cycle, I went from a measly 160 to a pretty muscular 170lb, but most of all, I couldn’t believe how much it helped me last throughout my workouts. Since then, I’ve been a believer in creatine being the most effective supplement you can take, even more so than protein!

(I’m not going to go over the benefits of creatine, you can find that here.)

I’ve tried a ton of different brands and I’m not sure if it’s just the law of diminishing returns or not, but sometimes I see results and sometimes I don’t. Like I said, there’s nothing like your first creatine cycle, so maybe that’s what I’m basing things off of. More recently I’d been using a generic brand I found off of Amazon, once again not really seeing a ton of difference in my performance. To me, creatine was creatine anyways. That is, until I was contacted by Blonyx to check out their HMB+ Creatine, a brand and product that I had known of for a long time, but their higher than normal price tags always put me off.  Blonyx products are more expensive for a reason, for which you can find here, but also in my case, because they work.

(ugly 215 pr and 225 attempt, pre-Blonyx)

Starting a creatine cycle in the holiday season was probably not the best time, due to all the parties and food, but I started mine right after my birthday with the 30-day supply lasting me all the way up into mid-January. Prior to the cycle, I weighed 170lbs, which is the lightest and leanest that I’ve been in a few years. Also, I had been off my creatine cycle for about a month, so the timing was perfect. I followed the directions to a T, 2 scoops a day, even on non training days but I didn’t do any kind of loading, and I usually always take my creatine with some kind of carb. My numbers at the start of the test were a 280 clean, 255 jerk, 385 backsquat, 325 frontsquat and 215 snatch (really ugly); the powerlifts had been higher before, but the oly movements were lifetime PR’s.

(225 post Blonyx)

By the time I was done with the Blonyx creatine and after the holiday season, I had gotten to a solid 175lb. I’m not quite sure how much of that was fat and how much of that was muscle. My training remained pretty similar to what I was doing before I started the cycle; I’ve been following Competitor’s Training for about half a year now. Honestly, I didn’t notice my metcon endurance change too much, but when it’s cold, I tend to suck more. My strength however, took a major turn for the better. When it came time to test 1RM’s for the oly lifts in late January/early February, I came up with some milestone PR’s! My snatch went up to the milestone of 225 and it was much cleaner than my ugly 215. I ended up cleaning 300lbs, though pretty ugly, but I was able to easily clean 285 now. Most surprisingly of all, I hit 405 on my backsquat for a lifetime PR that was way easier than any of my previous 400lb lifts that I hit at a heavier bodyweight. Those gains are definitely worth $60, so Blonyx, you’ve made a believer out of me.

(405 post Blonyx.)

Honestly, I can’t tell you if the gains were from the Blonyx HMB+ Creatine or just because of the training cycle I was on, but all last year, my numbers plateaued and I hadn’t PR’d in ages. Could be a placebo effect, but probably not, though YMMV. If I had to say there was something bad about Blonyx’s creatine, it’s that it smells like BO. There’s no taste to it, it’s not the grittiest creatine but it’s definitely not micronized, but man, the smell is really off-putting if you get it onto your hands or just take a whiff of it; purely superficial but that’s really it.

You might think it’s $60 price tag for roughly 60 servings is expensive, like I did, but spending $15 on 2lbs of junk that doesn’t even work is literally like throwing money in the trash. Even worse, you’ll spend all that time trying to finish the product, but time is something you’ll never get back. You’re better off spending your money, time, and energy on stuff that’s proven.

Get your Blonyx HMB+ Creatine here!

(Special thanks to Blonyx for providing me the product and getting me to a 225 snatch, 300 clean and 405 back squat!!!)

 

 

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2017 CrossFit Training Shorts Buyer’s Guide

The response from my 2015 and 2016 shorts buyers guide has been amazing. The shorts in both of those guides are still top choices and many of them are still currently being produced. All the shorts in this guide are ones that I’ve gathered since making the last video, and I’m sure I’ll have another guide out by the end of the year. These are all the best shorts that I currently have in my rotation!

For reference: I’m 5’8′, 175lb, size 32 waist typically in jeans! I mainly wear a size medium in my shorts.

Links to purchase all the shorts in this video:

2POOD
http://www.2poodstore.com/lifestyle-shorts-velocity/
http://www.2poodstore.com/revolution-v-4-0-soft/

Reebok
http://www.store.crossfit.com/reebok-crossfit-super-nasty-speed-ii-board-short/AZ1771.html
http://www.store.crossfit.com/reebok-crossfit-austin-2-short/AC1339.html

Push Apparel
http://amzn.to/2mwZrPd

Myles Apparel
https://mylesapparel.com/collections/shorts

Vuori
http://www.vuoriclothing.com/shop/categories/shorts/?paginate_by=200

Redline Gear
http://www.red-line-gear.com/

Rhone
https://www.rhone.com

Flexion Gear
https://flexiongear.com/collections/all

Nike Metcon DSX Repper Shoe Review

What if I told you that you could get the DSX Flyknit for only $100…?

Take the red pill.

It took a little bit, but the Nike Metcon DSX Reppers were finally launched sometime in mid February. Still, Nike’s product description about them left much to the imagination, not really giving you any kind of clue as to what they’re meant for. Based off of looks alone, they resemble a cross between the Metcon 2 and the DSX Flyknit; but they’re the lowest priced Metcon yet, retailing for a mere $100. Compared to the more expensive Metcon’s, the omission of the drop-in  midsole sounded alarming, but at the end of the day doesn’t make much of a difference. Which begs the question of even having the need for the drop-in midsole in the first place.

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Looks/Construction:

The best way to describe the DSX Reppers looks is to say that they’re a hodgepodge of all the Metcon’s before them. There’s a little bit of Metcon 1/2 and DSX Flyknit, with little to no design cues at all from the Metcon 3. The upper material is a knit material that’s not as elastic as Flyknit, but it’s beefier than the mesh on the Metcon 1’s and 2’s. On top of that are TPU overlays that seem more decorative than functional, and around the toe box gets beefier almost like a toe cap. Premium features like Flywire lacing are still present in the Reppers and if you opt for a college colorway, get premium laces to match; otherwise you’ll get the same flimsy style laces currently found on the Metcon and DSX Flyknit.

Though the outsole has no mention of “Sticky-Rubber”, the compound feels the same as it does on the more expensive models and in my experience, grips the same as well. Undoubtedly, the biggest difference between the Reppers and the more expensive models is the omission of the drop-in midsole. Instead you get a more standard Phylon midsole, densely compressed EVA foam, which is also found on other Nike running and lifestyle shoes. Obviously, the Reppers include a more standard Ortholite insole that is removable.

Though these might be budget priced, they don’t feel like budget shoes. The materials used rival any of the more expensive Metcon’s and matches the quality you’d come to expect from a Nike product. Personally, I actually think in some ways these feel more sturdy than the other Metcon’s. The woven mesh upper really feels like it could take a beating and since there is no drop-in midsole, there are no squeaking noises!

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Fit:

Typically, Metcon’s fit my feet the best out of any shoes out there.  The overall shape of the Reppers is the same, but I feel like they run closer in size to the DSX Flyknits, being a tad on the small side. A 9.5 Repper fit me a little bit on the tight side, as did the DSX Flyknits. I could use it and it wasn’t terrible, but I sized up to a 10 and now they’re much more comfortable, especially for running. If you’re in between sizes, go for the half size up from where you were.

Here are my sizes:

  • Metcon 3 – 9.5
  • DSX Flyknit – 9.5 but it’s tight, I would get a 10 next time.
  • Nano 6/7 – 10
  • Romaleos 3 – 9.5
  • CrazyPower – 9.5
  • Ultraboost – 9.5
  • NMD – 10

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Performance:

So what exactly are the DSX Repper’s good for? Everything! I know that’s a little vague and all, but they really are the answer for everything you’d come across in a WOD. Where the Metcon 3’s come short in the flexibility/comfort department, the Reppers are awesome. While the DSX Flyknits fall short in stability, the Reppers shine. It really is hard to believe that these are the “budget” models!

I was worried that since Nike cut the drop-in midsole out of the Reppers, they would be inferior for lifting. No, they’re not as stable as the Metcon 3’s for Olympic Weightlifting, mainly due to the much more flexible forefoot, but the Phylon midsole is extremely dense and does not have much give, if any at all. Responsiveness and power delivery is spot on; you’d feel like you’re lifting in any other Metcon unless you put them on back to back. For me, the DSX Flyknit midsole compressed a little more than I’d like, which ended up causing my feet to ache after repeated bounding. In the Reppers, the Phylon midsole creates a nice stable base that isn’t too soft or too hard.

Laterally, the stability of the Reppers is excellent and the foot bed cradles your foot without much roll over. Forward stability is where the Reppers struggle at a little bit, once again mainly due to the flexibility of the forefoot. Dynamic lifts are what I think the Metcon 3’s are better for, but the Reppers easily match up with the Flyknit’s, and in my opinion are better because of the slightly more flat and stable platform. For static lifts, the Reppers are excellent, there isn’t a ton of midsole compression like there is with the Flyknits, so they match up more closely to the Metcon 3; though I’d still rule in favor of the standard model.

Where the Reppers really shine, is the fact that they’re an all around metcon shoe. The forefoot flex grooves really do an amazing job providing flex at to toe for running and bounding exercises. Never have I felt like my feet were straining after multiple wall balls, double-unders or runs. The drop is 6mm like the Flyknits, but compared to the 4mm drop in the Metcon 3’s, you really won’t notice a huge difference.  The overall platform is still minimalist and the outsole shape is virtually identical to what you’d find on the original Metcon shoes. Dare I say that these might be the overall best WOD Metcon?!

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Value/Conclusion:

Like I said, it’s hard to believe that these are “budget” shoes; even performing better in some ways than the standard Metcons, yet only retailing for $100! Other than the Conviction-X, the DSX Reppers might be the most surprising shoe of the year. I feel just like with any other Metcon, you don’t have to worry about what you’re doing when you have them on. The DSX Reppers go to show that you don’t need all these new technologies to have an excellent performing training shoe. They’re a no frills, training shoe that successfully captures exactly what makes Metcons so good, but tweaks the formula making them a great all around shoe. These are what the DSX Flyknits should have been.

As of right now, I think these are my favorite Metcon’s right now because I can do ANYTHING in them and not have to worry. If it came down to having to compete or serious lifting, I would choose the standard Metcon 3’s, but day to day training, the Reppers are easier to live in. These are the best deal in training shoes.

Get your DSX Reppers here!

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LALO Tactical Maximus Grinder & Bloodbird Shoe Review

After TONs of requests, I finally got around to doing a review on some LALO Tactical shoes. I heard about these shoes a LONG time ago, but just never felt like they would fit my training purposes, so I never tried them. At the end of the day, I think they’re decent shoes, but just not optimal for my type of training. The Bloodbirds are great running/all terrain shoes, but the Maximus’ more closely fit a CrossFit WOD where you need stability, but also the ability to move. I’m actually surprised that the Maximus’ work as well as they do!

Asics Conviction X Shoe Review

C’mon Asics, you’re killin’ me with these ridiculous names for your shoes. I forgive you for “Met-Conviction” and I know you have to name it’s successor something similar…but Conviction X?!

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Now that I have that off my chest…Last year when I checked out Asics first actual CrossFit offering, I was impressed but it wasn’t enough to pull me away from the excellent Nano 6.0 and Metcon 2. Still, for a first attempt, they got a lot of things right and I didn’t mind wearing them throughout my test period. My main issues with the shoe were that it was a bit narrow and while being close to the ground, the cushioning felt a little weird. Still, it was lightweight, flexible, stable enough and looked great.

I don’t think it’s even been a year since the Met-Conviction came out, but Asics dropped the successor, the Conviction-X  in late January; following suit with the bigger name shoe makers. Which, I think is a bit odd because it just ended up getting lost in the hype behind the Nano, Metcon and CrazyPower. Things are finally starting to die down as far as shoe releases go, letting me really just focus on using the Conviction-X’s. I’m surprised to say the least, these are one of the better ones to come out in World War Shoe.

Looks/Construction:

To me, Asics shoes pretty much all look alike, or at least resemble each other closely. It’s probably due to the huge Asics logo on the side, but it works and the Asics look is always distinguishable. The Conviction-X’s are not a bad looking shoe by any means, they’re definitely a plain looking one though. Right now, there are only 3 (boring) colorways for the men and 2 for the women so it’s pretty obvious that the Conviction’s are still somewhat of an experimental shoe.

Build quality is on the better side of things. The upper is “seamless” in design with their abrasion and tear resistant “RhynoSkin” synthetic leather blending into the mesh parts of the toe-box. The lateral side of the shoe has the Asics logo that is textured in the same fashion the medial side is, presumably to enhance grip on the rope, though it’s probably too shallow to do so. The tongue is light and is mainly made of breathable mesh, but it also has a pocket in the front to tuck your laces away, like the “Pleasure pocket” on Strike-Movement’s shoes. Which is awesome because the laces are absurdly long.

The outsole of the shoe uses Asics high abrasion rubber throughout the entire bottom of the shoe with a crazy texture that is extremely grippy on any surface. Not to mention, it’s also very dense, flat, and doesn’t give much at all. At the heel of the shoe, it’s 10mm in height and drops down 4mm to 6mm at the front of the shoe, making the Conviction X a very low to the ground feeling shoe, but not as much as the Met-Conviction. The insole is also removable, but the one included is nicely perforated and also surprisingly stiff, so you’d probably want to keep that it in. The Conviction X’s also follow the external TPU heel counter trend, which does a pretty good job keeping your heel from sliding around much.

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Fit:

Asics must have changed the last the shoe was made on because the Met-Convictions in a side 9.5US/43.5EU were tight on me; so I opted for a 10US/44EU Conviction X this time around. I have probably 3/4 of an inch between my toes and the front of the shoe this time around, so I’d say the Conviction X’s are probably a little bit more true to size. Though they look like narrow shoes, the width is actually pretty close to the same as Metcon’s. I could be saying that because my shoes are a little big, but I don’t think the width would vary too much. I’d say size these shoes like you would Metcon’s or your normal running shoes.

My sizes for reference:

  • Nano – 10
  • Metcon – 9.5
  • Chucks – 9
  • Romaleos 3 – 9.5
  • Legacy – 9
  • Most boots – 8.5

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Performance:

Would you believe it if I told you that these shoes have one of the stiffest heels of any training shoe out there? Sounds crazy, right? Well, they do. Imagine my surprise, coming from all of the “serious” training shoes to the Conviction-X! I would say the density of the midsole and heel most closely resemble the Nano 7.0’s extremely rigid heel, which I thought made it the best best shoe to lift in. Even though, my pair is on the large side and that leads to my foot sliding forward when I do any dynamic lifts, the Conviction X’s stability when I get planted, is top-notch. Doing squats where I could get a better setup, led the Convictions to be some of the most stable training shoes out there. Even with my feet sliding around, response is excellent and I’d never guess the ability to transfer force to the ground, which mind-blowing considering most people are going to see these shoes as a second rate training shoe; the platform is just that solid!

Usually in other shoes with stiff platforms, flexibilty suffers quite a bit, but this is also where the Conviction’s excel! The forefoot is extremely flexible and moves with your feet well. Bounding on your toes for double unders is comfortable as well as responsive in the Conviction’s. Box jumps are stable with the outsole providing excellent grip on wood. Most of all, running can be done comfortably as long as you’re good about pose running. Since the outsole is stiff, the shoes can still be choppy if you heel strike, but that’s how it is in most training shoes that are great lifters.

Where the Conviction’s might suffer the most, is the weight of the shoes. They’re not heavy, but they’re not light either at 11.3 oz per shoe. They fall in line around where the Metcon 3 and Nano 7’s are, but keep in mind they’re very flexible and responsive. They feel a lot lighter than they are.

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Value/Conclusion:

At $120, the Conviction X’s are going to be an extremely tough sell against the bigger name shoe makers.That’s not to say the Conviction’s aren’t worth the money, because they totally are. It just is what it is, and I think by decreasing the price, Asics would also be decreasing the perceived value of  the Conviction X; a double edged sword. Granted, you can find the Conviction’s retailing for a mere $88 dollars on Amazon right now.

Out of all the shoes I’ve reviewed in the last couple months, the Asics Conviction X’s are definitely the most surprising, in a good way. They have all the features to keep up and even best the top brands in most areas. Take my word for it, you won’t be going out on a limb trying these shoes out. If the shoes match your style, you like the colorways, you like the brand, you want something different, or you just want a damned good performing shoe – check out the Conviction X.

Get your Asics Conviction X here!

Get your Asics Conviction X at Road Runner Sports with 90 day test run!