Health & Fitness
The Salomon Comet 3D Lady GTX are a lightweight hiking boot designed with stability and support in mind. With a high-cut profile around the ankle, a protective rubber toe cap and gore-tex layer for waterproofing, they protect you from the ground and the elements. They are tested by and for women – with a specific last, collar shape and sole hardness based on women’s input.
I have been sent a pair courtesy of Snow+Rock to try out, and I have really enjoyed stomping about in them over the last couple of months.
The first thing to say about these is that they were immediately comfortable. They felt light on my feet and the positioning of the laces meant I got an excellent fit without any difficulty. That “from the box” comfort is down to this boot being fairly soft in construction – a mostly fabric upper with nubuck leather overlays and a flexible sole so you can walk naturally from the first step. This may of course mean that they are not as robust or give less protection than some other similarly priced boots, but you always need to spend time breaking in an all-leather boot, and stiffer soles would mean you feel the ground under your feet a lot less, so I would much rather go for something like these Salomons.
The waterproofing comes from a Gore-tex layer. Some people find the GTX layer mean your feet can’t breathe as well, but I haven’t found that with these; I think it’s the breathable layered upper that means my feet are very comfortable even after wearing these for several hours at a time – although it’s always nice to remove your boots at the end of a long day on your feet. And thanks to the recent weather I can confirm that these are definitely waterproof…!
Underneath I appreciated the well designed lugs which gave excellent grip. The soft sole meant I did have to walk a bit carefully on rocky ground, but on the paths and meadow-type-terrain I generally walk these gave me a good stable stride and I was able to forget about what was on my feet and enjoy the walking and the views.
What these Salomons provide is a nice looking waterproof hiking boot that is comfortable straight from the box. For the kind of walking I enjoy – countryside trails, muddy paths, hills, and a bit of gravel and tarmac thrown in, 4-10 miles at a time, these are ideal. I would also be more than happy to rely on these for a peak or two (or three!).
Find them on the Snow+Rock website for £140.
I mentioned in my post about my dream motorcycling holiday that I need to get myself fitter and stonger over the next year if I am to enjoy it as much as I want to. One way I am doing that is by running – well, jogging – again. I used to run quite a lot, I’ve completed a good number of 10k road races; but once I realised it had become a chore I put my running shoes away for a while and changed to other things. I know running works for me – it’s a great way to get outdoors and it soon ups my fitness level.
Over the last few weeks I’ve been getting back into it. I’m not at any great distance yet – this we’ve I’ve managed two 2.65 mile runs (and I was quite proud of myself for those!) – but this is me starting again having not run regularly for a long time, and not at all for months.
This has all been helped thanks to being sent a pair of trainers to review by SportsShoes.com. In fact I was allowed to choose. Which took a while. There are so many to choose from! So I started with the wet foot test…
To find out what type of runner you are you just need to do the simple wet test, and for this all you need is a bowl of water, a dark piece of paper (a brown or manila envelope is ideal) and your feet. Just dip the sole of your foot into the water, shake off any excess, then press your foot onto the paper/envelope as if you were walking over it. Match the imprint left behind to the symbols to find out what type of runner you are.
It was a bit of an odd thing to do (and it doesn’t replace proper gait analysis, which I have had done before) but according to my footprint I’m a mild to moderate overpronator which means my arch collapses through the gait cycle and my foot rolls inwards. Apparently this is completely normal (phew!) – 60-80% of runners overpronate. I therefore need a running shoe offering support features inside the shoe. Thankfully the trainers on SportsShoes.com are all categorised into the different types so I could simply select this type of shoe and it narrowed my selection to those which would be most appropriate for me.
After considering various brands and styles and colours I decided on a pair of black runners – the Brooks Lady Adrenaline GTS 13 running shoes – I’ve not got any black trainers and I quite like the idea of being a bit understated on my feet for a change.
The bit that makes these trainers good for the overpronator is the PDRB – a triple-density post on the medial side of the shoe for extra support and allow for progressive pronation control and to create a smoother transition through the stride. They also have excellent cushioning via the BIOMOGO midsole, reducing shock and providing a smooth take off and landing, which is ideal for running on concrete and tarmac which is less than forgiving. They’re flexible too, thanks to Omega Flex Grooves, and grippy thanks to the Omni Grooves in the forefoot. Basically these shoes offer support, cushioning, grip and spring.
One really nice touch on these trainers I’ve not come across before is the extra little bit for your laces to go through on the tongue. You can see it on the right of the photo below (problem with black trainers is it’s difficult to show all the detail nicely!) – it acts to stop the tongue from slipping round to the side while you run. It’s a really simple addition but it works a treat, these trainers stay put, the laces do their job, and they are as comfortable at the end of a run as at the beginning.
I chose my usual shoe size for these trainers and they fit a treat. When I first put them on I really noticed the support inside – they hold my feet snuggly and have a bit under the arch which stops my foot collapsing as I jog. I say I noticed it to start with as after wearing these trainers for a few miles I now don’t notice it in the same way. Rather I notice when I put on my other trainers on that they don’t have the same level of support, and I miss it – even though my old runners were designed for overpronation, they’re now old and could probably do with being shown the bin. That simple wet foot resulted in trainers that offer me a very smooth ride.
The mesh sections of these trainers are designed to help the shoe fit well on your feet as well as to keep your feet cool. So far I’ve only been jogging in very low temperatures (stupid weather), but I must say that I can really feel the air moving around and through the shoe, keeping my feet happy while jogging.
I’m very pleased with my choice. These trainers are comfortable, offer decent support and cushioning, and I think they look great. I might have only done relatively short distances in them so far but I hope to build that up over the next couple of months as I get fitter, and I have no doubt that these trainers will help me do that.
If you’re anything close to normal then you will like to snack. Snacking is one of those things that can be very bad for us – especially if it’s chocolate, cheese, crisps, sweets. But it can also be good for us too, and I am always looking for nice healthy things I can be munching on between meals.
These are new – a superfood called Goldenberries – also known as dried physalis.
These dried fruits boat 166% more antioxidents than cranberries (which also make a great snack), twice as much fibre as prunes or fates, more potassium than four bananas (per 100g) and are a rich source of vitamin C, iron, magnesium and phoshorus. As a result they are good for maintaining healthy blood sugar levels and a healthy immune system. Not bad.
Goldenberries come from the foothills of the South American Andes – they have been used for centuries as an antioxidant-rich folk medicine, reputed for their value in sustaining nutritional sufficiency. These particular ones are organically grown and processed in Ecuador and Colombia, cultivated on Fairtrade farmland to the highest standards and for the best return for local farmers and their communities.
And boy do they have some flavour! They are sweet and sour – starting nice and delicately on the tongue before turning sour like the sourest of sweets you have ever tasted, returning to a sweet after taste. They take a little getting used to. The first one you try will make your face scrunch up… but they get better the more you have. Totally unique to anything I have tried before. You should definitely try them.
This is The North Face’s Women’s GTD Long Sleeved Shirt. It is a lightweight running top designed for comfort and protection. Mad from synthetic microfibre fabric it offers UV protection and promotes wicking to keep you cool and dry.
I have been using mine for a spot of jogging over the last couple of weeks and also some walking, and I have to say it is indeed very comfortable. Long sleeves are a necessity at the moment and this top can be layered up on very cold days or worn on its own to keep you at just the right running temperature. I’ve already used it a lot – it also makes an ideal layer under my motorcycle gear.
I wanted to show you a picture of me wearing the top – it really does fit well and looks great (I think so anyway!) – but I look particularly awful in all of the shots and the top is in the wash (again) now so I’m not posting them here. Sorry.
The lady who sent me this top to review said it’s her favourite top at the moment, and I can see why. The shape is flattering, it is a lovely colour – much more interesting than boring black, it has reflective bits and bobs which helps keep you visible, and is made from a comfortable fabric that has good technical specification.
The only problem I have is that it keeps catching when I wash it. It has loads of little pulls and nicks in it now, which is quite disappointing. I suspect this is totally down to my washing machine rather than the top as everything made from this kind of material (including all my thermals) seems to come out with a catch or two. Such a shame as it now looks far less than perfect; I should learn my lesson and hand wash this kind of thing. Ho hum.
Anyway, that aside, I really love the Women’s GTD Long Sleeved Shirt. I’m no long distance running but it matches the claims The North Face make on the website as far as I can tell, and does its job very well. I evem enjoy putting it on and getting out for a little jog! It comes with a big recommendation from me. I shall have to treat myself to another one.
I have never been a girly girl. I don’t remember ever doing the pink thing. My mum can probably confirm or un-confirm this, but I’m sure that I have always much preferred green or blue or brown or black to pink, and have always preferred getting out and about than painting my nails or wearing dresses. It’s just not my thing; I always prefer a different option.
So when I opened my latest shoe box from Hi-Tec my first thought was… wow… they’re pink. So pink. So very pink.
These are the Hi-Tec Sierra Lite Original, a lightweight suede and mesh walking boot.
Colour aside, they have a great retro walking boot look to them, and are indeed very light. The suede and mesh upper is thin in most places, but they have a padded collar around the ankle for support and comfort. There is a removable sockliner for cushioning and a (bright white) rubber outsole for grip.
And did I mention that they are bright pink?
Hey, I’m up for pushing my fashion boundaries because let’s face it I’ve never actually been fashionable. So I got them on my feet, laced the bright white laces up, and went for a short walk with my sister.
My first impressions were actually very good. Our chosen route was four miles up a steep grassy path onto the ridge close to my house, along the muddy Viking Way, and back down the hill on a tarmac pavement. The mud meant the soles are not so white and the upper is not so pink any more, but they gave me good support and kept my feet dry in the squelchy conditions.
I want to give a specific mention to the laces. Strange, I know. But I found the laces on these boots were a) plenty long enough to tie in a double bow – something that is often not the case and then really annoys me, and b) sat really well on the boot giving me a good and secure fit. The eyelets are in exactly the right place – I had total control over how tight the boot was over the top of my foot and around my ankle, without one being dictated by the other.
Since that first walk I’ve worn them a fair bit around and about, including one Friday when I wore them to walk home from work. I actually ended up walking over seven miles that afternoon, mostly on pavement, and I found them very comfortable for that. I did have a problem with the rubber outsole, though… when it’s damp underfoot that sole turns any metal and even cobble stones into an ice skating rink. I had a few dodgy moments when stepping on manhole covers and nearly ended up on my backside when I stood on a metal strip embedded into the paving slabs – eek! It’s strange because on the grass, gravel and muddy footpaths I was provided with steady grip. Just be careful when walking on normal pavements in the rain…!
I don’t think Hi-Tec have designed the Sierra Lite for long distance treks across peaks or full day hikes on all terrains – they haven’t got the cushioning or support needed for that. What they are is a walking boot absolutely ideal for low level trails and rough ground over short to mid-distances. Think walking the dog across fields, Sunday afternoon walks in country parks and nature reserves, long strolls along coastal paths, that sort of thing. The price certainly reflects that – £49.99 is a perfectly reasonable amount to spend on a pair of decent walking boots for general outdoor use.
If I am totally honest I would never have chosen these for myself – colour aside, I would generally go for something with additional support and more cushioning. But I will say that I do like them. I like the retro-esque styling (they also come in a beige colour!), and they fit really nicely and are comfortable. I’ve even grown to like the pink. A bit.
Using protein after exercising isn’t something that I consider is designed for people like me. I’m not interested in bulking up my muscles, or becoming super strong, and I don’t spend hours (or any time actually!) using the free weights at the gym.
Protein is, however, a key nutrient we all need in our diets. It provides the building blocks for growth and repair.
1lb of body fat is 3,500 calories. In order to lose 1lb fat per week you need to create a 500 calorie deficit each day. Ideally made up of exercise as well as cutting back on bad food groups. A lot of women are afraid to try protein out of fear that it will bulk them up, it won’t! A high protein diet keeps you fuller for longer, increases metabolic rate, enhances recovery and muscle repair and can preserve lean muscle which in turn increases resting energy expenditure.
Maxitone have a range of protein products aimed at women, and I was asked if I wanted to give them a try. After explaining that any exercise I do is aimed at general fitness and toning, they sent me a handful of their Definity bars to try out, explaining that they’re higher in protein to encourage recovery and muscle repair when working out and are currently being used by our very own GB Netball team, which is a good advert I reckon.
The snack bars are designed as a post workout snack or for the mid-morning munchies. The fact that it’s not a shake makes it more accessible to begin with, and so I decided to give them a go. I ate my bars after cycling and after doing the 30 Day Shred DVD.
Taste wise these are actually very nice. They are quite small and have cranberries in them which give a lovely flavour. Each bar contains just 83 calories and so they don’t take up a massive chunk of your daily allowance.
Am I more toned as a result of using them? Well no, probably not, but then I only had a handful of them. But I would say they helped with my energy levels after eating, noticeably better than a standard cereal bar. And if they were also doing my muscles some good in the process then all the better.