It was nearly impossible for an 8-year-old boy in the summer of 1992 to not idolize Michael Jordan. Especially if that 8-year-old boy lived a mere hour and a half from the United Center where the Chicago Bulls had recently pulled off their world famous “3-Peat”. So, when the autographed picture from number 23 showed up in the mail, (remember the days before the internet?) it was studied for hours. It was a simple photo. Jordan in the locker room after a practice, looking into camera, and signed with an indecipherable scribble.
The actual photo is in the attic of my mom's house. This will have to do. Sorry.
But, curiously, he seemed to be wearing 2 pairs of shorts at once in the photo. Asking my parents why, they couldn't come up with an answer that would satisfy the mind of a child. It would take years before I could comprehend why.
Showing off the Secret Weapon... Compression Shorts
In almost every commercial you see for a fitness product, there's a quick-cut montage of a person training in extremely tight work-out clothing. Guys in shirts so tight they have six-pack abs visible through their shirts running up the stairs of the empty arena. Women in yoga pants gracefully suffering through the most strenuous poses, showing off their curves. Glamour shots of muscles working underneath impossibly tight exercise clothes.
Thinking back to my MJ autograph, I considered clothing like that to be merely for the ultra-serious athletes, and for those with ample bank accounts. I was more of a gym shorts and cotton t-shirt kinda guy. Then, (Shameless self-promotion coming) I found Proozy.com and with it the glorious employee discount on such products. I wanted to experience all that serious fitness clothing had to offer. Compression t-shirts, shorts, pants, and even sleeves.
Quick sidebar for the benefits of compression gear:
- They help to keep muscles warm, even during brief resting periods to prevent muscle strain.
- The materials they are frequently made of help to wick away moisture to prevent chafing
- They help to stabilize joints
The other thing that no one ever mentions is how they make you feel. When you're wearing compression clothes, you can't help but keep better posture and even keep moving in little steps or rolling on the balls of your feet. It's a constant reminder of the athlete you are. No matter how gawky you may or may not look.
Go ahead and get this shirt for yourself: Here
Or any kind of compression gear from Proozy: Here
With the golf season upon us here at Proozy.com, the latest round of golf hats are coming in by the pallet. Check the rest of the site for one that works best for you, but for now let's have a little fun with them.
White Is A Brave Choice.1. You enjoy the reflective nature of the white hat.
You can't go wrong with this classic black hat, but that could also be an issue. It seems everyone has this hat and it's (pardon the pun), "par for the course" to have it.
Middle of the road.
Not white, not black, just right down the middle. That's probably how you drive the ball. Safe, controlled shots down the fairway.
You're from Minnesota!1. It's golf season
1. Your wardrobe on the course is more than likely color coordinated.
2. You pride yourself on your short game.
Leans more Bro than Pro...
1. You like the functionality of the brim.
2. You don't like how a hat will matte down your hair. (Gotta look good in the clubhouse).
1. You're not into skin cancer.
2. You're likely content with how you shoot.
Could go either way...
1. Over 40 - You're not into skin cancer and likely didn't iron your pants today.
2. Under 40 - You're also not into skin cancer AND you probably brought your own booze onto the course.
Again, could go either way...
1. Over 50 - Cool, classy, good attitude, unrushed player.
2. Under 50 - "Just here for the beer"
You're like me. You love the driving range, but can't put from beyond 5 feet with any accuracy. And, you're the "hip guy" that wears a trucker hat on the golf course.
1. You're a bold individual.
2. The sun isn't slowing you down.
So, there you go. We've got plenty of other hats to check out HERE: , but these are some fun ones that will help your game this season.
We see a lot of cool products at Proozy.com. Outside of the bare essentials for athletic activities, or outdoor gear, a lot of them tend to be functional to help you live a more practical life. For example, we carry a lot of T-shirts that just work better than an average cotton T-shirt for most workouts. (This was covered in a previous blog post. If you haven't read it, please do. Just scroll down.)
But recently, we brought on board a new product for us at Proozy.com that's caught my eye, and that's the LifeStraw Portable Water Filter Survival device.
I've known about this product for a few years but have always thought it was for Green Beret-Military-Survivalist types. It was only after seeing the product in person that I realized the value of it. I personally could have benefited from carrying this small product on at least 3 vacations I've taken.
1. Indonesia - 2014
I completed a 3 day volcano hike where we had to carry all of the water for the trip with us. This thing would have lightened my load considerably.
2. Alaska - 2004
On a 4 day fishing trip with a few guys and supplies were running low. Two of us ended up driving an hour into town to get a few gallons of water.
3. Panama - 2015
In the middle of an all-day cave tour, everyone in the group was feeling the midday heat and finishing their water off early. I was no exception. Surrounded by freshwater, but not a clean drop to drink.
While this isn't something that would play a vital role in my day-to-day life, as I have the privilege to live in a land that has clean and readily available drinking water at the turn of a handle, it serves a purpose as a motivational tool.
Having a LifeStraw sit on my desk for a couple of days now reminds me of the privileged life that I lead. A life that allows me to travel to places where this product is designed to make the inhospitable accessible.
It is like a post-modern trophy of a life lead outside the cozy walls of Proozy.com. The very presence of the LifeStraw on my desk is a reminder that there are adventures waiting for me. It also is a sure bet that nearly half of the Proozy team will be offering one up for the next office holiday party gift exchange we do.
Reading up on this product, I quickly got a sense that they are truly saving lives and reducing suffering across the globe for over a dozen years.
Early on I was given some advice that I frequently pass on to anyone trying to prove their value to a potential mate. Simply put, "Everyone should know how to cook 5 dishes really well". Lately, I've amended that to include 2 or 3 side dishes that are a little off the beaten path of dinner table standards to surprise people and possibly open their minds.
(Fair warning: This is only a side dish. Entrées are a whole other blog.)
First of all, it looks like the successful business merger of United Celery Association and Amalgamated Collard Greens of North America.
A. It's super cheap, so long as you aren't shopping at a store with either "Foods" and/or "Whole" in the name.
B. It's familiar enough that most everyone has either had it or heard of it, but probably rarely outside of some sort of Asian dish.
C. Nutritionally, I have no idea but it grows in the ground, so how could it hurt?
About the amount you'll need.
It's here that I'm going to make a clear distinction. Go with Baby Bok Choy for these 3 reasons:
Wash - Unless you're into dirt. (Who am I to judge?)
Break apart the branches
Quick quality check - go through everything and cull anything that looks suspect.
Sautee for like 10 minutes, flipping/stirring occasionally.
With about 3 minutes left:
Add minced garlic
With about 30 seconds left:
Add soy sauce but not too muchon the plate:
Add sea salt/pepper
That's the long and short of it. They should be soft and pliable and not too salty. It's easy to over-do it with the salt and the soy sauce, so be careful.
There’s nothing worse than a distraction during your workout, unless that is one of your strategies of getting through your workout. If that’s the case for you, then check this out: 6 Ways to Distract Yourself While Running.
Now that we’ve cleared out the troublemakers, here is a somewhat honest review of all the ways we have to keep your hair in place or at least cover your head during your workout.
Under Armour Mini Headband (7/10)
Let's call this the thong bikini of headgear. Short of a rubber band or a scrunchy, this is the minimalists version of securing your hair. It does the job, but little else.
This is a step up from the mini, and offers a little more control, simply from the increased width. The other benefit is the bits of reflective material to help be seen.
Asics Fitness Visor (7.562858/10)
This solves 3 major issues and simultaneously creates the potential for another.
1. The Sun - The bill can reduce the fatigue on the eyes.
2. The Sweat - The band minimizes sweat from running into the eyes.
3. The Security - The band can immobilize hair from bouncing around, also into the eyes.
Issue 1. - People may think you are a fitness-minded blackjack dealer, on a break.
Asics Running Hat (9.8675309/10)
The finest fitness hat we could find. This hat does literally everything for you to complete your workout except: throw you a towel on you cool-down, pay your gym membership, wipe down the machines after you sweated them up, or shout at you "One More! One More! YOU GOT THIS!". But really, it protects you from the sun, wicks away sweat/moisture, contains your hair, and/or covers your skull from a sunburn if you're a little thin on top, and also just makes you look like a running pro.
Columbia Sun Drifter Straw Hat (10/10)
Sun Protection - Check
Breathable - Check
Secures hair - Sort of
Let's people know you know how to party - Yeah, I guess, but in like a Jimmy Buffett/Jason Mraz-kinda way
Mammut Women's Sally Beanie (10/10)
Ok, in all sincerity, these are great for cold weather. They have the classic knit exterior and on the inside, there is an inner, smaller hat made from fleece that feels very nice on your skin. It doesn't get itchy the way that a plain knit hat would. They would definitely be out of place on the treadmill, but essential on the ski hill.
Sometimes in the middle of a run, your brain can be your own worst enemy. Your thoughts are overwhelmed by your joints exaggerating their levels of fatigue, or even worse, sheer boredom. These are a few ways to get you through the process.
Seems like an obvious choice, but it's surprisingly effective. Depending on the length of the run, it helps to have music with different tempos. Keep one playlist with a similar beat to your pace, and another with a faster beat for when you need to pick it up a bit. This probably isn't the best time to listen to anything for the first time, as you don't need to be distracted to that level. Also, you want the music to be reliable. If the next song is a down-tempo ballad about the singer's dead dog, it doesn't exactly motivate you to get moving up that next hill. Nobody has ever said "That Gordon Lightfoot song 'Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald' gets me so pumped! It's on all my gym playlists!"
It's as simple as it sounds. Engage the brain enough so that you're keeping your form and breath control, but keep your head up and really check out your surroundings. Take a look long look at things around you. Notice the license plates of car and try to figure out why a person would pay for vanity plates reading "2LGT2QT".
Full Disclosure: this works really well at a race, or even just running around the neighborhood. Not so much if you're just grinding out on the treadmill.
It sounds silly, but creating a little reward system for yourself can work wonders. If you, or some external force is marking off the mileage set little goals at every mile or half mile. A sip of water ever mile, a notch louder on the music volume, anything. I've even heard of someone putting the corresponding number of rubber bands on his wrist as the miles in the race, and taking one off every mile. Kind of strange, but it works for some people. Keep track of your mileage with this pedometer.
This may not be the best tactic for your mental health, but it will help you keep your eyes on the prize. The trick is to focus entirely on the end goal. If you're in a race, think about the finish line and getting your weird space blanket that they hand out. If you're tooling around the neighborhood, think solely about that drink of water when you get back home. Or even just about how weird that feeling is when you step off the treadmill after a long run and suddenly your surroundings change when you move and you get a slight feeling of vertigo.
Start with your toes and think about each body part one at a time. Assess how much stress each area is under at the moment. If your ankles are bothering you, check in with your knees and make sure they're feeling ok. If your hips are bothering you, think about your hand position. Don't clench your fists. Kind of like a mental hot potato of pain.
Sometimes it helps to just let you mind wander and think about things you would normally categorize as being low priority thoughts. Like silly things you could use as small talk at cocktail parties. Even if it's made up, things that are conversation starters help. "Oh, I don't need to work. My grandfather and his uncle invented the straw."
"Did you know the name of the things on the ends of your shoelaces, "Aglets" are named after inventor's mother, Agnes?" (Completely made up, by the way).
In my younger and less caffeinated years my father gave me some advice that I’ve been turning over in my mind ever since. “Whenever you feel like criticizing anyone”, he told me, “just remember all the people in this world haven’t had a sufficient amount of coffee today that you’ve had.”
At that point in his life, he was very much accustomed to drinking coffee on a daily basis. Usually 2 to 3 cups per day. I however, was not accustomed to a caffeinated lifestyle. That habit would take another decade before it set in. My allegiance fell in favor of hot chocolate over Hills Brothers, Folgers or even Maxwell House.
So, in late August of 1996, I set out on what was sold to me as a hunting expedition for moose and caribou. What it became was a camping trip with my father and 3 of his friends.
Our trip started with the last cup of coffee poured into a travel mug at 9:27 AM. Driving nearly 4 hours put us at the base of a mountain range on a piece of land owned by a friend where we would make our camp. With ATV’s in tow, plus all of the provision for the week we settled in for an early start the next morning to stalk the valley for moose and caribou.
We started early. What would have been eggs, bacon, and coffee cooked over the fire turned into cold bagels and colder water. It seems my father’s friends were anxious to get a move on, it being the opening day of hunting season. To my father’s credit, he did not protest too much about not getting coffee before heading out. I have distinct memories of grown men yawning while looking through scopes looking out over the valley.
Again, we started early, but my father was prepared. He started his camping coffee pot over the fire before the others awoke. The fatal flaw came when he attempted to stir the cast iron pan of corned beef hash by flipping it like an expert pancake chef. His follow through caught the edge of the grate and toppled the coffee pot, spilling it’s contents over the wheel of the ATV. True heartbreak is knowing full well what could have been, and watching it dissolve. The men decided to break camp to hopefully catch the last of the morning grazing moose in the valley.
The consensus was to break camp early yet again. This time, the coffee would be made on site using a portable cookstove. Packing all of the necessary provisions, we made our way in the early morning hours up into the valley we had spent the previous few days. So, there in our lookout point, while the other men scoped the valley, my father made his well-deserved first cup of coffee in 3 days. Not having a set of binocs, I turned and looked back where we had come. There standing a mere 50 yards away was a confused caribou looking at us quizzically.
I spoke softly to the group,
“What about this guy over here? I could probably make that shot. He’s not far”.
This comment confused the men, confusedly pulling their binoculars from their faces.
There wasn’t much drama to it. One shot too high, one kill shot. But in all the excitement, the attention had shifted away from the brewing coffee. So much so, that I went and turned off the flame as we were now on the move to the site of the downed animal.
“Go have the boy [me] pack the rigs and bring ‘em over here. We’ll split up the load.” I overhear one of the men say. I quickly loaded the gear onto the machines and in doing so, poured the now cold coffee out onto the tall grass.
It was late morning before thoughts of the coffee reoccurred. I had to explain that the coffee was “no good anymore. It’s was cold” to a group of tired men in their mid 40s.
Rain had moved in during the night, which meant brewing coffee over the fire was a lot less desireable. On the drive back home that morning, we stopped at the first gas station and a single cup of coffee was purchased, (and a hot chocolate). Upon setting the coffee into the cup holder between us, my father told me
“This is the first cup of coffee I’ve had in 4 days. If you spill this, it will be YOUR last day.”
I did not spill it.
And so, we brew on, travel mugs against the current, bourne back ceaselessly into the past.