milestone running

Top 20 of 2017

In doing some reminiscing about my journey, I realized that I've been a part of the health and wellness universe in a professional fashion since 2005. 12 years of working as a personal trainer, physical therapist, running coach, and yoga instructor. In those 12 years I've been privileged to have been introduced to countless numbers of wellness brands, companies, individuals, and products. Some have been passing trends. Others don't quite live up to the hype. But a few are everything you want them to be, and much more. 

I want to use my platform to be able to share what I've found that I absolutely love. The brands, companies, products, and people that are doing something special, something different, and something extraordinary.

The Top 20 of 2017 was born from this desire. 

Between December 1st and December 20th I'll be profiling each brand, product, and the people behind it on Instagram. Sharing my story of how I came to find the brand and why I love them so much. Not all brands and companies are directly health related, but hey, happiness is part of health as well. Many of these companies have been incredibly generous to participate in giveaways with products and experiences so you can enjoy them too. And no, none of these companies has paid me to be on this list. I reached out to all of them to express my gratitude for what they do.

This blog serves as a round up. A place to find all of the information you could want in one spot. And a sneak peak into which brands you can be snagging sweet rewards from!

Enjoy!

FOOD AND NUTRITION

Wild Friends FoodsDo you love nut butters? Do you love stories of young people following their dreams and building successful businesses from their dorm rooms? If so, than you'll love Wild Friends Foods.

Nuun HydrationIf you're like me, you grew up drinking sugary sports drinks that shall not be named here. Why? Because that's all we knew/had. Well, there's something better. Plant based, all natural, much lower in sugar, and cleaner overall. That's nuun. And that's just a part of why I love it.

RXBARProtein bars that aren't filled with lab grown ingredients are incredibly hard to come by. So when RXBAR first showed up in my life, with it's ingredients clearly labeled on the wrapper, I was stoked - and skeptical. We know protein bars that taste good are even harder to find. Well, they nailed it on both fronts. 

Four Sigmatic - Everyone hears the ads on podcasts and most of the time we tune them out. When I heard about mysterious "mushroom coffee" on Tim Ferriss' podcast, I couldn't get it out of my head. I love coffee and I'm super into other mushroom based supplements...what happens if you put them together? Magic, it turns out. 

101 Cider House - If you're a local San Diegan you know we have a plethora of breweries, but finding good cider is a whole different story. Most cider is sugar laden and ultra sweet. Not 101 Cider House. With buzzword ingredients like activated charcoal and spirulina, this is a totally different experience. 

BoochcraftA local brand that figured out how to take kombucha and make it boozy? That is enough to get me interested. Add in amazing flavors and great people and I'm sold. 

Dark Horse Coffee Roasters - Coffee sure has come a long way. From the days of Dunkin Donuts and Starbucks to a micro roaster on every corner. DHCR is consistently the best - the secret? Great coffee AND even better employees (the vegan donuts don't hurt either). 

Chosen Foods - When a friend goes to work for a new company, ends up loving her job, AND the company makes the best avocado oil on the planet, you take note. 

Beaming Cafe - I'm a firm believer in routine. And part of my routine calls for Friday morning breakfast porridge bowls from Beaming and morning meditation at the beach. A routine that makes me feel so damn good. 

Muir Energy Gel - We've all taken a Gu on a race course. We've all experienced the gut rot that comes along with it. What if you could take a gel, made of real foods, that would give you the energy without the digestive issues? You can. And it's made right here in La Jolla. 

BODY CARE

Schmidt's Naturals - It's no secret, I sweat. A lot. It's one of my favorite parts of working out. And I've heard over and over how dangerous traditional deodorant and antiperspirant can be for you, but can something natural actually work? Yes, turns out it can. 

Saje Wellness - Essential oils can get a bad rap. Many of them are sold through multilevel marketing businesses and use cheap source products, which makes them both shady and unappealing. Not Saje. This Canadian brand has been doing their natural wellness thing for more years than most, and it shows. 

Defense Soap - Wait? So a soap product made to keep wrestlers and martial arts guys from getting nasty things off of sweaty mats can actually be really great for your skin (and for clearing acne) too? This one is perhaps my favorite find. 

CLOTHING AND ACCESSORIES

lululemon athletica - I won't bore you. I LOVE lululemon. The people, the philosophy, the collective, and yes, the clothes. My life would not be the same without them. And I don't mean that superficially. It's true. 

Knockaround - One can never have too many pairs of rad shades. And when those shades are made by equally rad dudes, locally, and for an affordable price, that's even better. 

Milestone Running - We might as well call this my second home. This local running store is so much more. It's home to a community of smart, connected, hilarious, friendly, and special people (and one special dog). Cheers to many more years creating with these crazy folks. 

Ciele Athletics - Introduced to me by some ultra running friends, this small hat startup has nailed the game. Incredible performance, even better looks, and (because they're made in Canada) the friendliest faces ever. 

Stance - When your socks are the coolest part of your outfit, you know the brand is doing something right. From partnering with huge names to collaborating with small groups, Stance has made their debut into the run world a stylish and successful one.

STUDIOS

Spirit Yoga Studio - Fun fact: Spirit was the very first yoga studio that I regularly attended upon moving to San Diego. When they first opened their doors it was all donation based and it was evident that the community surrounding the space made it special. While lots has changed in the years since then, the community feeling has not. And that keeps bringing me back, as both a student and a teacher. 

F45 San Diego Downtown - What? Paid fitness has made the list? Yup. When the paid fitness studio elicits the results like this one has, it deserves a spot. I have F45 to thank for my muscles - and for giving me a space to exercise them once again.  

What I'm Into Wednesday - FUN.

When I compiled this week's list of things I'm digging I was reminded of how lucky I am. My life is "busy", can be "stressful", and I have "adult" things to do...but overall it's really not that difficult. Much of what I do on a daily basis is fun - work and play both fall into this category (and they cross over quite often). And I have to say, for that I'm thankful.

So this week is all about FUN. 

Taste

One of the things I find to be the most fun is eating. And I love trying new restaurants. Angelo and I went out on a puppy-less date on Saturday night and checked out Tribute Pizza in North Park. A few friends had recommended this joint and they were spot on. The space is big, bright, and airy and the food we got was awesome. Foccacia with roasted garlic, a big salad, and a vegan pizza with a squash sauce and roasted veggies. YUM.

Smell

Let's just continue on the food train. Good friends of ours host a Thursday night themed dinner at their house and this past week's theme was "vaguely Asian". So I Googled Asian desserts and an Asian pear crisp came up. Upon further review, the only thing Asian about it was the variety of pears but considering the theme was "vaguely Asian" I figured it worked. Asian pears, orange juice and maple syrup made up the fruit portion. The crumble was oats, coconut, almonds, and crystallized ginger - with coconut oil as the fat. It turned out amazing! And smelled so good. 

See

This Saturday was one of my favorite races in San Diego - the Balboa Park 8 Miler. It's one of the oldest races in town and is a longtime fundraiser for the San Diego Track Club. It's put on by my favorite race directing company, High Performance Movement, and takes you on a serious tour of the roads and trails of Balboa Park. I'd been hesitant to run it due to a flare up of some foot problems in the past few months so instead I planned my normal run to head past the race finish so I could cheer in some friends. My brother in law crushed his race, my Ashley Lane Fitness girls had a blast, and (of course) there were plenty of November Project peeps repping the #grassrootsgear. While racing is fun, watching your friends and family cruise across the finish line was a blast.

Do

That leads into do: RUN! Specifically, run without pain or discomfort. Last week I stopped by Milestone Running and harassed them for about two hours. We talked about all my weird foot pains and problems (and my f-ed up feet) and tried on just about every shoe. In the end, they gave me a returned pair of Hokas to try out. Let's preface this with the fact that I've avoided Hokas like the plague because, honestly, they're pretty ugly. But I'm at the point where I'll try anything. So I tried them for a long run Saturday. AND THEY WERE AWESOME. 14 painfree miles later and I may be hooked (for now). While they won't fix the problem, they are a good part time solution. So I went back to Milestone Sunday and bought myself a pair. If you see me running in them, try not to laugh. I promise to stop laughing at other runners wearing them too.

Hear

When I go on solo long runs I occasionally like to take headphones with me. But I don't listen to music, instead podcasts. So here's another one for you: RadioLab (again) and their episode titled Breaking News. It was all about new technology on the horizon that is basically like Photoshop for audio and video. Yup, you will soon be able to edit audio and video - making yourself (or others) say and do things that never actually happened. While the tech is cool, it's also a little terrifying. They dig into it pretty well here. Give it a listen. 

What I'm Into Wednesday - Holy Hell It's June Edition

All of the sudden it's June. And all of the sudden we have an 8 month old, 50 lb puppy. And so once again, we're back to some Arlo related things on this week's blog. But not all puppy filled, so if that's not your jam, read anyway. Because I think I do have your jam as well.

Do

Let's get the puppy stuff out of the way first. We started using a Gentle Leader with Arlo for training him to heel and to walk on leash without jumping on everyone, eating everything, and laying down for every dog. It's night and day difference. He's an instantly better trained dog. We don't plan on using it forever, but for now it's helping teach him great habits.

Hear

I visited my friends at Milestone Running the other day and Julie had a Hyperice vibrating bocce-sized ball. I borrowed it for about 10 minutes on my foot (where I'm having some residual heel and plantar and calf pain from the marathon) and it's literally the best I've felt in months. So I went to order one, but I'm a little cheap. I opted for an Acumo ball. It's got the massage feature as well as an ability to heat up! That noise of the vibration against the floor is music to my ears.

Taste

Last weekend we went to the North Park Farmer's Market and stocked up on fresh strawberries (cause, duh). Surprisingly, I couldn't eat them fast enough so Angelo had a great idea to mash them up and make them into a jam (told you I had your jam). SO yummy! We literally just did strawberries and a small amount of coconut sugar. I've been eating PB&Js like it's my job.

See

I'm lucky enough to have friends in my day to day life that have been there for almost 14 years. Through college, and relationships, and jobs, and various stages of adulting - we've seen each other grow and change. Sometimes life gets in the way of old routine and habits and you stop seeing the same people the same way you used to. I've had two chances to spend quality time with some of my oldest and most awesome friends this week, and it's been fantastic to see them - and a good reminder to make time for them. 

Smell

I don't know if this counts, but I'm doing it. I love that Dirty Water. The smell of a city. Not a "San Diego" city but a real urban downtown. That's why I'm stoked to be heading out to NPSUMMIT 5.0 in Boston tomorrow. We're lucky enough to have a great person watching Arlo for us so that we can fully enjoy being away. So thanks Mona! Boston here we come!

What I'm Into Wednesday - Marathon Training Edition

The Boston Marathon is coming up on Monday...and I won't be there this year. While I'm incredibly bummed to be missing one of my all time favorite races, I am stoked to be healthy this year and moving forward towards re-qualifying (while feeling good)!

I'm running the OC Marathon on May 7th and I am in the middle of my last big, big week of training. That sparked the idea for this week's What I'm Into post: Marathon essentials.

See

If you're looking for motivation to start running long distance, keep running long distance, or decide to take on a new running challenge, I have an author for you! Christopher McDougall has a few excellent running books. Most of us have (at least) heard of Born to Run - the book that birthed the barefoot running movement. But did you know he wrote another book? Natural Born Heroes is my favorite of the two - running meets nutrition meets history.

Hear

I don't listen to music while I run. I used to but I broke my trusty iPod while training for a race about 4 years ago and just never replaced it. When I do have solo long runs that I need a boost for I listen to podcasts! This podcast plug goes to perennial favorite Tim Ferriss. He interviewed Ricardo Semler, who is a Brazilian businessman known for his radical re-organization of industrial democracy. Sounds boring, right? Totally not. This guy is full of life lessons. 

Taste

My go to hydration brand, nuun hydration, just dropped a brand new product that I'm pretty excited about. Nuun Performance adds back in the carbohydrates necessary for sustained or intense exercise (yup, marathon training falls in there) while still being one of the cleanest options out there. I am a little bummed that they are discontinuing Plus, which was a carbohydrate tablet that you could add to your nuun, but I'm happy with the replacement. Shhhh.... I still have a stockpile of Plus. If you do too, try chewing them instead of dissolving them. It's a game changer. 

Smell

I'm experimenting with diet as I approach the last month before the marathon. One of my explorations is into the world of gluten and dairy free nutrition. While it's not hard to eat that way on a daily basis, finding pre-run (or during run fuel) that keeps with that is more challenging. Last week I made grain and dairy free banana muffins that were perfect for popping a few before a long run. And they smelled bomb. Like the best banana bread does.

Do

You need to go to Milestone Running in North Park. Go to say hi to the guys (and Julie). Or to pet China. Or to try on cool clothes. Or buy sweet Stance socks. Or stock up on your fav hydration and nutrition. OR buy new shoes (duh). May I recommend... the Saucony Freedom! What?? Not New Balance. I know. I'm shocked too. But they are amazing and will be my race day shoe.

 

So if you remember, send me some good vibes on Sunday, May 7th. I'll need them!

xoxo

LP