Thursday, April 7, 2011

Fitness Products Review

Okay, so remember way back in early January when I mentioned some new fitness products I was ordering HERE? Well, this CSN products review is now about 6 weeks overdue. Unfortunately, just 11 days after that post and having ordered my new fitness gear, I slipped in a puddle of water at my local grocery store and pulled several muscles in my back while catching myself from falling. I've been slowly getting back into the groove with some gentle yoga, stretching, massage and physical therapy but I don't quite feel myself yet. Let's just say my grandiose plans of starting 2011 off with a bang in the workout department didn't really materialize the way I had hoped.

Fast forward to today. I am feeling better although still experience a lot of back pain and stiffness so I've had to slowly ease into using my new fitness goodies. Now that I've been able to use each one of them, it's time to post my review! I did have to change out the trampoline I originally was going to order (although I still plan to get one in the near future) due to an order snafu and exchanged it for a new king sheet set which we needed anyway so it all worked out. So, I have 3 fitness items and 2 home items to share with you.

First up, is something I use daily. I am just in love with this Reston Lloyd Calypso 5 quart enamel colander! I've wanted one for a while so I could replace the plastic ones I have and when I saw the marina blue color, I knew I had to have it. Not only does it strain and drain but it's become a prominent fixture on my counter as our new fruit bowl and adds a fun pop of color too. It's easy to wash and the many holes allow things like pasta to drain really quickly which I love.

Next, I've been wanting to get a pair of good workout gloves for a L-O-N-G time. The ones I chose are the Savasa fitness gloves in purple/gray. They have a ventilated area on the palm and fingers, the palm area is actually padded while the top is a stretchy mesh fabric that makes getting my gloves on and off vey easy and they don't slide off or come undone. I wanted a breathable fabric without a velcro closure, knowing that velcro straps can wear over time and become less effective. These bad boys can go into the washig machine too which is perfect, leather gloves can't do that. These are great but silly me, I ordered them with my winter glove size in mind which is medium/ large  instead of the small/medium only because my fingers are so darn long (thanks Dad!), completely forgetting that these cut off half way down the finger area and that part wouldn't matter anyway. They ended up being a bit  to big but because they are so stretchy, they still fit really well despite my error.

What workout would be complete without an exercise/balance ball? I ordered the Body Solid anti-burst ball in red. I'm a big fan of them and think they are great to not only use for stretching or to work out the abs but they also make a great desk chair to help strengthen your core. I owned one previously that wound up being too small, so this time I was sure to order the correct size, which is 65cm for my height- 5'9 1/2" so now my knees are actually parallel with my hips. My big red ball has been really helpful for stretching and strengthening my back muscles as well as balancing exercises which are a big focus right now. This ball came with an inexpensive looking pump which can take a long time and they aren't always effective so I took mine to my gym and used their super duper pump which was the perfect solution.

I've never owned yoga blocks before but always wanted a pair. I've seen many workouts which incorporate the blocks and help to intensify a stretch and also act as a 'helper' when you're not quite flexible enough for certain poses. They also happen to be great in between the legs for squeezing/strengthening exercises and can be used in Pilates also. For anyone that's been considering them, here is a little video with their uses. These have been especially helpful in recoving from my injury where I've been forced to take a step backwards with my yoga and cannot always stretch as far as I used to be able to. I like how soft they are yet made of firm and durable foam compared to others I've seen in stores. I love Gaiam products, my yoga mat and bag are the same brand and I haven't been disappointed. I ordered my Gaiam Yoga Essentials Blocks (set of 2) in purple.

Switching out the trampoline for the king sheets actually worked out great, we were ready for another set that matched with our current bedding since the previous sets were purchased when we owned our older duvet cover. This time we went dark and ordered the Simple Luxury 400 thread count Egyptian cotton sheets set in mocha, which actually looks more like chocolate brown which is what I wanted vs. the lighter colors we have now. While some reviewers mentioned that they wrinkle easily, they are pretty soft Egyptian cotton and weren't any more wrinkly than other sheets I've purchased. Since I don't fold the top of our duvet down to reveal the sheet, it wasn't a really important factor for me anyway. They did claim to be extra deep pockets and after washing and drying I had to really pull at them to fit over the mattress, but other than that, they've worked out great.

CSN was super easy to deal with, some items weren't in stock at the time of purchase so I received each item separately as they were available from each vendor. My packages ended up being a little surprise every few days which were fun to open. When I had questions regarding the trampoline, the customer service representative was very helpful and made sure I got exactly what I wanted. All items shipped from CSN were also packed really well, almost too well in my opinion, a little more packing materials than I needed but most of it was paper so I was able to recycle it all which was great.

I highly recommend them for a wide range of items. While working on a few new design projects with clients I've found myself perusing their site more and more as a go-to source for accent pillows, bedding, accessories and more.

A huge thank you to CSN stores for being their generous self and gifting me with $130 worth of new home and fitness items that I'm already getting so much use out of.

How about you? For those that have ordered from CSN stores, what has been your favorite purchase?

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