Tuesday, June 23, 2009

One Way to Rest - Do Product Reviews and Giveaways Instead...

Well...all of the running books, magazines, websites, doctors, physical therapists have been suggesting insisting that the best way to fix the plantar fasciitis issue in my left foot is to REST.

But have I listened to any of THAT?

NOOOOOOOOOOOOOO. I've continued to run, bike, swim, exercise (am LOVING the Wii Personal Trainer BTW), and the heel has not healed. Not really. Not one bit.

Saturday's run with the track club was a testament to that. I ran 5 miles. At 4 miles I had to stop and walk my heel hurt so bad (thanks to Irene for hangin' in there with me and my super-slow pace for the first 4 miles).

So, what's finally gotten me to not run, bike, swim, lift, or do any other effing thing for the last two days?

A nasty cold.

Or at least I hope it's a cold, and not the swine flu (although, unlike Diana, I don't work in a place that'll hose me down at the first sign of illness). Symptoms include: stuffy nose, tired, congestion, no fever...all in all, good signs that's it's not the flu, but I still feel like crap.

And, since I have no running, biking, tire changing, bike-store-dude conversation stories to share with ya'all today, I thought I'd do my FIRST PRODUCT REVIEW!

Yes, the Hefferblog does it's first product review! I like to try out free stuff as much as the next blogger does!

Here goes...about three months ago, nuruplanet.com contacted me and asked me if I'd review their Exercise Anywhere cards.

"Why the heck not?" I thought.

They arrived in the mail about mid April or so (yes, I've had them that long...I've been REAAAAAALLLLLYYYYY BUSY!) and they've pretty much been sitting in the mail pile since then.

Knowing that I had little else to write about, and that I hadn't even had the courtesy of writing anything over the weekend, I located them this morning and took a look. Basically, Exercise Anywhere is a deck of cards; each card describes a single strength exercise. The cards are organized into sections. Each section targets a major muscle group including: the chest, back, lower body, shoulders, arms, abs. There is also a section of cards that describes exercises called the "cardio lab."

The cards are advertised as a way to get a full body workout when you cant (or don't want to) go to a gym. Here's a sample (from their website)...I suspect they won't mind since I've linked it again here.

I'll be honest, I took one look at these cards and at first thought, can't I get the same thing from Self magazine every month? And in color...with a real (skinny...OK...that's depressing) model? But I'm open minded, and gave them a closer look...So here's my opinion...

Good things about the cards:
  • They are compact. I could keep them in my pocket, and anyone who has ridden or run with me knows that I have some storage issues, and I tend to carry way too much stuff with me.
  • The directions for each exercise are well written and simple to follow. If I didn't know how to do a plank (or if I'd been doing it wrong) the card explains it pretty darn well...
Get in pushup position, but rest your weight on your forearms. Keep your face looking toward the floor (my comment: this is a good point as I've seen plenty of people doing planks on Tuesday nights looking up and around and not at the grass...maybe they're looking strength, or for inspiration, or to see if someone else (Stoney for example) has given up on his plank, but in all cases, looking up and around while doing a plank is bad form...so is sticking your butt in the air, but that's another rant...anyway the card continues) Stay firm: no drooping or bending. Hold for 15 seconds. Work your way up to 30, 60, and 120 seconds.
  • The cards seem comprehensive and seem to target all the muscle groups as advertised.
  • The cards give a sample weekly routine to follow (I would need this. I tend to do all major body groups all at once, on one day, then get sore, and stop...which is probably why I've never gotten into strength training.)
  • There are modifications for typical weight training exercises that you can do if you don't have hand weights...that is, you can use "cans" instead of "weights" for the arm exercises.
  • It has a glossary. For the uninitiated, it tells what a "set" is or what a "superset" is. In all honesty, I know at one point of my life, I didn't know these things.
  • It includes random bits of information about the muscle groups that made me giggle...for example did you know that "the word "triceps" comes from the Latin tri (three) = capit (head) which literally means "three-headed" (for the three muscles that compose it)." So you can get your anatomy lesson in as well as some exercise. Or you can giggle whenever you see the word "head" like I do.
Some criticisms
  • The type is really small. When I exercise I wear contact lenses and to see these, I'd need to put on some reading glasses to read the small print. So these are best for people who don't need reading glasses.
  • Basically, each card has the same layout and the same color scheme, and even though each muscle group has a tab, the tabs aren't really offset all that much AND they're all the same color, so the tabs are not particularly useful in quickly finding exercises. (If that were a goal). I think it'd be easier to find the "chest" exercises if they were color-coded in a different color than the "arm" exercises.
This would be sooooo much better if the tabs, or even the card headings were color coded
  • The black and white drawings, which illustrate each exercise, while straightforward, are a bit boring...On the other hand, maybe that's a good thing. I always wonder whether or not those models in Self magazine actually DO the exercises they're modeling, or if they're just standing lying there faking it....
As luck would have it, my Self magazine arrived yesterday (why do I even get this magazine...I think I got three free issues from Active.com when I signed up for a race one time and never cancelled...GAH!). Anyway, here's one of this month's tear out exercise cards

A similar exercise featured on the Exercise Anywhere card...why does this card not make me feel like someone should at least be buyin' me dinner?

So, the final review? Exercise Anywhere cards...they aren't sexy, but they're functional, and for $9.95 with free shipping, relatively affordable. They're probably best for the beginner who wants to start a strength program exercise, but doesn't really know where to start, or for those who've been at it awhile and who need a tangible reminder of what to do next.

And, also for someone who doesn't need glasses :-).

The Giveaway!

Just leave me comment that says you'd like to be included in a drawing for a free set of Exercise Anywhere cards before this Saturday, June 27. If you don't have a blog you should also email me at hefferblog [at] gmail [dot] com, to let me know you'd like to be in the drawing, so that I know how to get a hold of you. This is a really important thing to do if you don't have a blog. If you do have a blog, I can track you down.

OK...that was exhausting. I need a nap now. (evidence of how sick I am? I started this blog at about 9:00 this morning and it's almost 3:00 now...a full days work for me).


  1. I think it would be a lot more interesting if you could turn the cards into a game... workout poker? You don't have to put my name in the running for the cards. I have a plethora of workout books and DVDs to keep me occupied. ;) I still have yet to open my Wii Fit.

    The pace was just about right for me on Saturday. I really wasn't feeling it that morning. I like having someone to run with. I got in the mileage and that's all I needed to do.

    I hope you get past your cold quickly!

  2. sure, count me in. Working from home now, i'm always looking for different exercises to do at home :)

  3. Are you somehow trying to get my blog address through a "backdoor" drawing?????

  4. Definitely include me!

  5. Thanks for the shout out! It's always fun to just be reading along and then pops up your name!
    The cards seem neat, but my only concern is that most people will more than likely just leave them laying around with the rest of the deck of cards. If it amazing how many things people come up with to help beat the obesity problem when it really needs to come from within ourselves. I don't mean that to come across to smug, but, it's true!

  6. I've heard very good things about those. I'd like a set. ;)

  7. Whoa! That Self honey looks like she's waiting for more than "exercise"! Bet she knows the difference between the shaft and the base of a "bicycle pump"!

    Can she join the heffers?

    And if yes, then can I?

    Last time I came here, comments were broken. Woo-hoo for fixed comments! Because the world is a much sadder place without my puerile comments. It would make anyone's "bicycle pump" droop.

  8. Gosh I hope I filled out the new comment field right. It's too early in the morning for me to think.

    I like the utility of those activity cards...beats carrying around magazine pages when you travel. And my friend was a model and swears she did the exercises -- over and over and over.

  9. Sorry to hear you're sick! If don't have a fever, then, you're right, it's probably not swine flu.

    I saw a review of these cards on someone else's blog awhile back, and they look handy.

  10. Lisa Slow&SteadyJune 24, 2009 at 5:37 AM

    Maybe the downtime from the cold will help your PF and then you'll finally take some rest to help it heal up. :-)

    Put me in for the cards. I think they'd be useful when travelling. But I'm with you...tiny font = hard to read. :-(

  11. Sign me up... sorry your feet are so bad. I went through the same thing a few years ago.

  12. I'm game to be in the drawing.. I'm with you, I'd overdo it on a set of muscles, be sore, and be done.

  13. oh...I hope you check back. I don't know who "guest" is!

  14. I hope you get feeling better... both from the cold and the foot pain! I know it's hard to rest, but think of a lifetime of running vs. a moment off for healing!

    Nice review, the cards seem convenient since they're all bundled together on a ring. I used to subscribe to SELF (stopped because I got fed up with too many magazines always telling people to lose weight instead of purely focusing on being healthy, I could soapbox...) and I guess someone could collect the tear-out exercise cards and collect them on a ring as well... but then you have to build up from several magazines worth. These would be a convenient way to instantly have a whole exercise collection! :-)

  15. Hmm. Looks interesting. Would be much nicer if they had an iPhone app though...

    Okay - I am commanding you - get better! Rest! I want to meet you and the rest of the herd in Long Beach!

  16. Not sure about the cards, but wouldn't mind trying them out. For some reason I am having a hard time commenting on your blog via my blogger profile.

  17. wow. six hours to post about cards. you're as bad as i am.

  18. I have heard about those cards! Too cool.

    BTW. I have been having a hard time with posting comments.. I hope this works!

  19. Nice review, they look like excellent stocking stuffers for Xmas!

  20. Alice, I'm sad that you aren't feeling well, but this was a great post...and I say NO to exercise cards...just do stuff! We had a tough track workout last night and missed you...then went to Ritual Tavern, which you will love. Heal up and come play next week with the herd.

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