Friday, December 19, 2008

Hammer Time!

Yes it's Hammer time...nutrition that is! After a few requests we have received large canisters of Perpetuem and Recoverite at the shop. For those of you not interested in the big canisters of Hammer, the single serving option is available as well. Oh, and though it isn't hot, don't forget the Endurolytes! They are great throughout the year to keep your body well balanced throughout any workout.

While we are on the topic of Hammer time, I am happy to report that I am riding weekly and consistenly at that! Right now a minimum of one ride a week is at the gym in a spin class. The spin workout makes me feel like I am hammering and the mental aspect is key. At least the group is getting me through an hour ride which says a lot since my ride time consisted of a 35 minute commute while I was in marathon training. Even though it is off season time it is always important to set goals. For me that is incorporating several rides a week while I increase my run mileage and prepare for Boston. Yup. I changed my mind and decided I would race Boston. So...what's your goal?

Get out and swim, ride, run, or just do something!

P.S. We got a great new energy bar in this week: 1st Endurance EFS Peanut Butter Chocolate Bar. It is gluten free and yes it taste good! Check out 1st Endurance's cool website.


Thursday, December 18, 2008

J&A Swim Center Part 1: Swim Fins

Do you want to improve your kick strength, ankle flexibility, body position and increase your speed in the water? Just add fins to your swimming workouts!

First of all, wearing swim fins increases the amount of resistance your muscles experience as you kick, guaranteeing you'll put your leg muscles to full use. Stronger legs, and that additional strength will carry over into normal swimming when you're not wearing your fins.

A second thing you gain by using fins is improved ankle flexibility from the extra force the fins place on your ankle as you kick. Increased ankle flexibility will result in a more efficient flutter kick through better angles of attack on the water. When you are unable to fully flex your ankles into a streamlined position the ankles remain somewhat bent, catching water instead of propelling the body through it. Wearing swim fins actually forces the ankles to fully extend into a straight line, similar to a ballet dancer on point. This new found flexibility, just like the increased strength, will still be there when the fins come off.

Another benefit of using fins is the ease of holding a better body position. This allows you to focus on other parts of your technique, such as body roll or timing. The strongest swimmers achieve a fully horizontal position in the water, which leads to the most efficient kicking and paddling, moving them along at optimum speed. On the other hand, a weaker swimmer's back half tends to hang lower in the water than the upper half. So instead of achieving good forward thrust, the swimmer is continually thrusting partially upward, rather than fully forward.

Since wearing swim fins increases leg strength and flexibility, the lower half of the body is better able to remain level with the upper body, a much better position for achieving forward thrust. This posture automatically improves speed.

Fins, as you probably know, come in all different shapes, colors, fastenings, and sizes. And all of these different fins do different things for you. We carry three types of fins at J&A: CrossBlade Training Fins, SplitFins & FlexFins (all made by TYR).


CrossBlade fins are an multi-purpose training fin. The intermediate blade length combines the attributes of both short and long blade fins. These fins increase tempo and speed while still offering increased resistance to build leg power. Whether you seek technique work or increased power, the CrossBlade is a great training fin.

Unlike conventional fins that force the foot to push water in a flat plane, the unique split blades slice through the water with two winged surfaces creating lift and forward propulsion much like a propeller. SplitFins operate more efficiently than 'paddle' bladed fins by mimicking a user's natural kicking cadence. This ensures a more even distribution of resistance during the upswing and down thrust motions of the kicking cycle, working both muscle groups equally to help build leg strength and power output.

Flexfins are designed to increase leg strength and foot flexibility. Designed for fin swimming & training, they provide a stiff foot pocket while maintaining a flexible blade. They help to build leg strength as well as increasing ankle & foot flexibility.

Let me know if you give fins a try!




Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Product Review: Barton Springs in the winter

I know what some of you are saying right now, "Are you crazy? I'm not going to swim in the cold water when it's cold outside!"

On the other hand, there may be those of you out there who know the secret, Barton Springs doesn't seem cold when the air temperature is only 40. Not only that, it's free, it's close, and there are a lot fewer people in the water on the weekends.

Actually, it's not only the weekends when there are fewer people. I went to swim at lunch time and realized there are a group of people who all swim at lunch and know each other. How cool is that?... people in this town are so friendly!

My second trip to Barton Springs last week was flubbed up a bit by the trail of lights. Keep this in mind if you head out there for a fun-filled evening of training, you'll have to park at the South Hill lot. The South Hill lot is small and might be filled with people who aren't actually swimming. We ended up parking on Barton Hills but I have some friends who sweet-talked their way into the "full" lot by showing off their wetsuits.

Although swimming at Barton is fun, it's more fun when you have friends to join you. Unfortunately, there are still people who are hard to get into the water. For those people we have three tactics...

(1) Logic: "Swimming at Barton is good open water practice."

(2) Peer pressure: "Everyone else is swimming."

(3) Fun: "If you swim with us, you can jump off the board when you're done."

You may think tactic 3 might not work, but I can't vouch for it, we managed to get Michael in the water that way.

Winter is by far the best time to swim at Barton Springs. If you have a wetsuit it's even better. Wetsuits will help get you into the parking lot, they'll keep you warm, and they'll help keep you afloat. If you don't have a wetsuit, you might consider stopping into the shop in the next few days, wetsuits are 40% off right now. SWEET!

- michelle

PS: If you do swim at Barton Springs, please wear a bright swim cap. It helps others spot you in the water, which decreases likelihood of mid-water collisions.


Friday, December 12, 2008

Nutritional Treats for the Holidays

Wednesday felt like Christmas at J&A's! We received lots of goodies. We are now stocked on chocolate Powergel, plain Powergel, tangerine Powergel, Pure Sport Recovery kit, Luna Moons in all flavors and lots of other nutritional products. We even have the seasonal Clif Bars- Iced Gingerbread, Spiced Pumpkin Pie, and Pear Apple Strudel. Heat one of these up in the microwave for a tasty warm treat on these cold winter days.

And now is the time to buy! Get 15% off all nutritional products in our holiday sale. Stock up for yourself or grab a few for healthy stocking stuffers!

There are so many things going on with the holiday season! Don't forget to save some time for yourself and get a workout in...even 20 minutes counts. It is going to be a great weekend so get out and ride!



Thursday, December 11, 2008

J&A in NY Times

Pro Triathlete, Michael Lovato, was spotted yesterday wearing the Jack & Adam's logo for a story in the New York Times.

Michael tested five very cool watches in the story titled, "Physical Culture - Gear Test, Twin Digital/Analog Watches" in the Fashion & Style section of the paper. You can check out the full article HERE.

I wonder if he gets to keep all the watches, especially when one is valued at almost 2k!

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Product Review: Action Wipes

What do the people in these pictures have in common? They all like bikes but more importantly they all smell from a lack of bathing.

Good news, I have a solution for those of you who have encountered this problem, Action wipes ( Action wipes are these great wet wipes that allow you to clean off the sweat and grime without taking a shower. I'm a little disappointed I didn't have them at the time when any of these pictures were taken but better late then never.

I secretly tested the action wipes the other night after a core workout. It was kind of fun to look at all the dirt those things wiped off my skin without wasting a drop of water.

They worked so well Michael didn't even seem to notice I hadn't showered. This is a good thing b/c he is always quick to complain that I smell like a swimming pool, smell like the back yard, etc. I therefore conclude the action wipes did their job.

Action wipes are also great for those of us who like to fit in workouts during the lunch hour. Your workout to desk transition will be improved significantly without the need to shower. No worries as you run an extra mile, you now have the time.

The biggest negative I found was the residual chemicals on my hands. Since I was about to cut veggies for dinner I didn't feel the action wipes got me adequately prepared. But, if you don't have water around these will do the trick.

The key here is to think outside the box with these wipes. We see the obvious post workout benefits but I want to point out another target audience, Mr. Gold_for_Life. Yes, you know who you are, the person who has racked up a life time of frequent flyer miles due to 20+ trips to Asia. If this is you or you know someone like this, listen up...

These wipes are essential for your trans-Pacific flights. Have you ever landed in LAX and thought to yourself, "Do I really smell that bad?" The answer is YES and the kid next to you on your flight to Austin is going to notice the guy who smells. No problem, your action wipes are not a liquid and you can bring them on the plane. You should use them! It will definitely increase the likelihood of getting hug from your spouse when you arrive home.

- michelle

PS: I'll buy a Clif Bar for the first person who identifies each of these pictures (No, you can not identify a picture you are in).

Friday, December 5, 2008

The New Perfect Stocking Stuffer: "The Thinksport Bottle"

Okay, so I am having the post-marathon blues since my race mid-November. The training/racing ended just in time for the holidays and of course just in time for some self pity. Everytime some delicious looking food is near me I think to myself, "You earned it from your marathon, you can enjoy." In reality my Monday post race was dedicated to just that...overindulging. I had a delicious shake from P. Terry's along with fries, and a burger. YUMMY! But I am still eating like I just finished a marathon and of course Thanksgiving didn't help either. Time for a reality check! I am suffering from wanting to eat everything and not knowing what my next athletic endeavor is to keep my focus and motivation up...

My next step towards getting back on the fit and healthy "bandwagon" is to honor this great new product we received this week: The Thinksport 750 Silver Stainless Steel Bottle. Sweet! The bottles were created with the safety issue in mind regarding chemicals occuring in polycarbonate based products. The cool thing about this bottle is that it holds hot or cold beverages and you can brew your own tea!!! Good bye to the milk shakes and hello to healthy tea!

Happy Training!



Thursday, December 4, 2008

A Few Good Books at J&A

The Triathlete's Training Diary & The Cyclist's Training Diary

Whatever your goals are as an athlete, you need a place to record your workouts & a place to record how your body responds to training from day to day. These diaries can be used to:

(1) Monitor daily vital signs - sleep, fatigue, stress, and soreness to protect against over training.

(2) Plan a full calendar year of training and racing on a fold-out spread.

(3) Record every detail of each cycling, cross training, or strength workout, with space for weekly and monthly summaries.

(4) Highlight your accomplishments by tracking race results.

The Athletic-Minded Traveler: Where to Work Out & Where to Stay When Fitness is a Priority

Do you like to work out when you travel? The Athletic-Minded Traveler takes the guesswork out of exercising on the road. This book (which has reached Amazon best seller lists) recommends the BEST hotels, health clubs, lap pools and running routes in more than 75 of the most popular travel destinations across the U.S.

Triathlon for Women

This books aims to guide, educate and inspire women of any level how to get the most out of their triathlon endeavors, whether they are getting started with triathlons, moving on to develop as a smiling finisher at longer distance events, or emerging to a higher level of excellence in triathlon racing.

Waterproof Triathlete (by Thomas Denes & our very own Desiree Ficker)

Over 10,000 different combinations of triathlon workouts! The workout pages split into 3 sections: swim, bike & run. You can mix & match these pages to create a new workout every time you train.

Look for these books at the shop too...

Big Blue Book of Bicycle Repairs

The Art of Wheel Building

Zinn & the Art of Bike Maintenance

Not only are these books good for your own personal library, but they make great gifts, too! Happy reading!



Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Product Review: Lemon Chai U

The other day Stacy handed me something new to try. At quick glance I thought to myself, hmm... nuun has changed it's packaging for this new flavor.

I read the flavor on the label, Lemon Chai. I laughed a bit at the flavor, for years I didn't even know the name "Chai." Instead I just knew it as "yogi tea" flavor. Although I really enjoy Chai, especially after yoga, I didn't think it sounded like the flavor I'd pick on a long ride.

So, I did a bit of investigating...

Our friends over at nuun have come up with something new, U. U hydration is similar to nuun with a few vitamins replacing some of the electrolytes. There are three flavors to choose from: Lemon Chai, Tangerine Ginger, and Goji Berry Green Tea. As you may now have guessed, these new U hydration tablets are designed to give you an extra boost when you're out for light exercise or giving yourself some tasty refreshment throughout the day.

Sounds good but the real test is to see how it tastes when you are actually on the go. I decided to use the nuun as an excuse to go battle the afternoon winds and plopped a nuun into my water bottle. Or... maybe I just wanted a reason to watch the nuun fizz. After all, who doesn't like fizzy bubbly?

It tasted pretty good on the ride so I grabbed myself another one to drink as I write my blog entry. Maybe I'll go treat myself to some much needed yoga after I finish writing.

Kudos to nuun for their new product.

Available soon at J&A!