Vangoddy Workout Band Review

When I made the switch to the Moto X, I was in the market for a new workout band. My previous one only fit an iPhone 4 so I knew I needed to something completely different.

If you listen to music or use a mobile app while running or exercising, a good workout band is a must. It’s definitely not something you go cheap on because replacing a mobile device is not in my budget (and probably not yours).

When I started shopping, I had a couple of key requirements: a cover that goes over the face of the device and it has to be black.


The cover is important because it can protect from sweat or rain. My iPhone would consistently get something on it: rain, snow, or sweat. My iPhone never broke down because of it, but I didn’t want to chance it with the move to Moto X.

The color black is important because, well, it just is. I thought about red but then it would match my running shoes, and I have a few red running shirts. I don’t want to be that guy that’s decked out in all matching running rear. I digress – let’s move onto the review!

First Impressions of the Vangoddy Workout Band

I came across the Vangoddy workout band and liked the neoprene material. I have found this material held well against sweat. It’s also breathable and comfortable on the skin.


The cover that I was so keen on was what I was looking for. The plastic cover responded well to touch and even prevented moisture from reaching the Moto X. I ran a number of times in snowy and rainy conditions and never experience any issues with moisture.

On the Run

The workout band was secured nicely to my arm. It was also easy to access while running or while working out.


The touch screen was a little finicky though. I found I had to be pretty exact when I pressed. During the extreme cold, the cover did manage to sense my touch even with my running gloves. I still had to press firmly but I was able to still toggle songs or settings on Strava.

The workout band performed fine if I didn’t need to touch it. Where I did experience some issues was putting on the band. As mentioned above, the workout band was secured nicely to my arm but takes a few tries. The Velcro doesn’t adhere cleanly or securely as I would’ve liked. Actually, part of the Velcro was exposed so it kept getting caught on my shirts.


The slack bar moved a lot. It was a challenge to properly pull the band tight with it moving horizontally when it should’ve remained vertical.  This became an issue on a few runs. I wound up having to readjust to secure it.

Final Thoughts

The Vangoddy workout band is just OK. I can’t give a high review because of the fit. I love the moisture protection and the overall look of the band. The slack bar is just a pain to deal with if you can get it just right. For the money, you might want to consider another workout band that’s a little less maintenance.

You can find the Vangoddy Workout Band at Amazon.

TomTom Runner Cardio Preview

The TomTom Runner Cardio brings impressive tracking to the GPS watch market. The watch hosts a number of features that make it easy for it to be a runner’s only device. Here’s a quick look at what the TomTom Runner Cardio can do:

  • Information display includes
  • Indoor modes for treadmill use (I could’ve used this winter)
  • Lightweight and slim design
  • QuickGPSFix Technology
  • Vibration alerts
  • Multi-platform capabilities
  • Built-in heart rate monitor

TomTom Runner Cardio First Look

The obvious big selling point is the heart rate monitor. Anyone else seeing the chest strap for heart monitoring becoming a thing of the past? With an internal sensor on the watch, the TomTom Runner Cardio can measure blood flow in your wrist.

Another feature to call out is the QuickGPSFix Technology. That long wait to acquire a GPS signal might also become a thing of the past.

This GPS watch also turns out to be a true runner’s tool. It’s not really geared for swimming or cycling, hence the name Runner Cardio. Moreover, runners will have a few different intensity zones to choose train: Sprint, Speed, Endure, Fat Burn, and Easy. Engaging in these training zones will allow the Cardio Runner to coach you allow with vibrations to speed up or slow down.


Here are a few technical specs on the TomTom Runner Cardio

  • Battery: 8 hours; Lithium Ion
  • Sensors: Bluetooth
  • Training: Race, Goals, Laps, Intervals, and Zone
  • Alerts: Beeps, Vibrations
  • Measurements: Heart Rate, Speed/ Pace, Distance/ Calories
  • Colors: Black, White

The TomTom Runner Cardio is available starting April 30. For more information or if you’re interested in pre-ordering, check out Amazon.

The Future of Exercise is All about Data

I came across this video that nicely describes what the future of exercise will look like. No surprise, it’s all about data.

The video summarizes why data helps us stay fit and the various technologies that can be used. The many that are mentioned, I’ve covered in detail from fitness trackers to mobile apps. There are a few that I haven’t covered, but you can be sure I will be soon.

It’s a short video so take a look and leave a comment below on what you think the future of exercise might look like.

Running Playlist for Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Inductees: KISS and Nirvana

The Rock and Roll of Fame Induction Ceremony took place on April, 10. It wasn’t available for public viewing unless you were at the event, but it’ll air on HBO on May, 31. Makes sense, rights? Fans follow bands for year:  pay lots of money for cassettes, CDs, mp3, iTunes, concert tickets, t-shirts and yet what should be a big deal has to wait month and half to really celebrate. This post isn’t a rant about how flawed the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame is so I’ll get down from my digital soapbox.

I want to honor two of my favorite bands: KISS and Nirvana. I’ve compiled two playlists perfect for a run that also details each song’s beat per minute. These are my favorite songs from each band. You’ll find some well-known tracks and some pretty deep cuts (for the real fans). I love running with music so this was a really fun post to put together.


I discovered KISS well after they took of the make-up. I must’ve been about 8 years old (circa 1984) when I found “Dressed to Kill” in a record store (remember when you could buy records and cassettes?).  The cover art totally hooked me in. I didn’t even know what KISS sounded like but I was already a fan.

Panned by most critics, KISS never received the credit they deserved in the music industry despite selling over 40 million records in the US alone. Their touring efforts were and still are legendary. I’ve seen them twice and felt like I didn’t pay enough for the show – they are that good live.


I’m a fan of the make-up era and after. As with any band, KISS had their peaks and valleys. At their best they were electric. Once and while I’ll surf YouTube for KISS concert footage circa the mid-late 1970’s and still gets me going. The fire breathing, blood spewing, explosions, fireworks, and oh yeah, the music – it’s all a blast.

KISS Running Playlist

  • Calling Dr. Love (127 BPM)
  • Shout It Out Loud (138 BPM)
  • Deuce (131 BPM)
  • Parasite (126 BPM)
  • I Love it Loud (90 BPM)
  • Plaster Caster (137 BPM)
  • X-Ray Eyes (130 BPM)
  • Shock Me (127 BPM)
  • Let Me Go, Rock and Roll (131 BPM)
  • Heaven’s on Fire (124 BPM)


In the early 1990’s I was in full metal head mode. I was big on Metallica, Megadeth, Anthrax, and Guns n’ Roses. Primal screaming, monster guitar riffs, and frenetic drum beats – that was my appetite for destruction. Then I heard “Smells Like Teen Spirit” and I found a new way to listen music. Nirvana was edgier, angrier, and raw. I was hooked and Nirvana was a gateway into a new world of rock music (i.e. Pixies, Mudhoney, Melvins).


I loved the Seattle sound and Nirvana was the face of it. Unfortunately, they became way bigger than they should’ve been. Nirvana was forced to become a pop band but had a garage band mindset. Club shows were their natural habitat for performing, but the pressure to start filling arenas and become bigger was probably the beginning of the end.

It’s hard to find someone who doesn’t appreciate Nirvana’s contribution to music. They created a revolution that went well beyond what anyone could’ve imagined. Personally, I loved the fact they upset the rock apple cart. I only wish my kids get to experience something similar in their lifetime. Rock music today is safe and pretty vanilla, and it’s ripe for a new band to upend it.

Nirvana Running Playlist

  • Smells Like Teen Spirit (115 BPM)
  • Aneurysm (131 BPM)
  • On a Plain (133 BPM)
  • About a Girl (121 BPM)
  • Stay Away (82 BPM)
  • Dumb (109 BPM)
  • Very Ape (152 BPM)
  • Lithium (123 BPM)
  • Been a Son (154 BPM)
  • Come as you Are (119 BPM)

The Runner’s Guide to Technology

Do you want to run with technology, but don’t know where to start? Doesn’t matter what your running experience level is because any runner can benefit. That’s why I wrote “The Runner’s Guide to Technology”.

This short and easy-to-read guide steps you everything you need to know about the most popular technologies for runners. In the “Guide” I discuss mobile apps, activity tracking, and GPS watches. All are excellent technologies but do have their strengths and weaknesses. Use this guide to get informed and gather requirements of what technology suits you best.

Why I created The Runner’s Guide to Technology

I created “The Runner’s Guide to Technology” for two reasons: 1. I love running with technology and want to share it with others and 2. I want to help you in your buying process. Technology is expensive. The latest and greatest does come at a price. However, if you know what to look for you might also save yourself some money.  If I can help fellow runners make an informed purchase, then more runners will have a positive experience with technology.

Have you ever asked yourself these questions?

You’re not sure where to start with technology. You’ve downloaded a free mobile app but frustrated with the ads or limitations. Is the premium version worth the price?

Or maybe you want to buy an activity tracker but overwhelmed by what’s in the market. Why would wear it on your wrist instead of your belt?

Maybe a GPS watch fits your training needs but the sticker shock has you second guessing the purchase. How do you know what to look for?

Have you asked yourself: “How do I get started?” The answer is simple: The Runner’s Guide to Technology.

Start Right Here for Running with Technology

For $2.00 you can download this straightforward eBook that will help you make sense of technology for runners. It’s a small price to pay especially when you think about activity trackers can be as much as $200 and GPS watches can go over $500. For $2.00, you can get piece of mind that you’re running with confidence.

Download this guide for FREE when you provide your email address for Amplify updates. You can trust your email address with Amplify as I will never sell it or distribute it to third parties. By subscribing, you’ll receive timely updates about running with technology.



Anti-Odor Technology

Last week Jeremy over Running Groove Shark posed an interesting question about running clothes: do yours smell or stink? My answer was both. My answer was dependent on the weather. If it was warm, then oh yeah! If it was cool to cold, not so much. This question got me thinking about what kind of technology exists to prevent running clothes from smelling? Or what is anti-odor technology?


Why Do Running Clothes Smell?

Running clothes smell because of the smell our bodies produce. The sweat created while running exacerbates the smell; but it’s not the sweat the smells. That’s an important distinction.

To get a little more precise, our run clothes smell because we smell. Our smell is contributed by a few factors:

These seems to be the highest contributing factors. If smell really seems to be an issue for you, take a look at changing your diet. For me, I eat high carb, moderate protein diet – so I don’t smell – I think my wife would challenge me on that one.

The other way to go about dealing with the smell in running clothes is to find clothes that have anti-odor technology.

What is Anti-Odor Technology?

Most running apparel brands tackle anti-odor technology in similar ways. It’s some kind of anti-microbial or molecular approach that resists or kills bacteria from forming while you run.

The other approach seems to be tied to strategic venting. If running clothes are properly ventilated in the first place, this decreases the chances of a smell developing.

I’ve compiled a few brands and some of their anti-odor gear for your information:

Under Armour HeatGear

HeatGear offers Moisture Transport systems to keep your body cool and dry. Odor Control proactively keeps bacteria from forming.

Under Armour Tech

Under Armour Charged Cotton

Nike Dri-Fit

Nike uses a microfiber and polyester compound for it’s anti-odor approach. While it doesn’t have specific anti-odor technology, the ventalation system is its strategy.

Nike Dri-Fit Pro, Legend, Miler, and Tailwind


Patagonia has anti-odor technology called Gladiodor (the best name in my opinion). This technology uses “molecular spears” to puncture cell walls to prevent smells. Plus, there are also “carbon particles” that absorb the bacteria. This dual approach ensures clothes stay comfortable and fresh as possible.

Patagonia Capilene Baselayers

Final Thoughts

I always like to come across technology that’s outside the digital realm. Anti-odor technology is no doubt a nice to have. You could certainly live without but maybe for a few bucks more you can go the anti-odor route.

In my research, it looks like the apparel I’ve mentioned has been out for a while. Has it taken the world over? Not really. It’s there if you want it. If your running clothes smell or stink, you certainly have options. Most technical t-shirts are designed to breath pretty well to keep you dry. The anti-odor tech is just a plus. Still, it’s pretty cool technology.

So now that this technology is available, it is safe to assume that people smelled really bad back in the day? Like in 1985?

ZQuick Review

Interested in a shoe that’s responsive, lightweight, and quick? You need to consider the Reebok ZQuick.


I was fortunate enough to win a pair for ZQuick’s from a contest held by Bonnie Pfiester’s PFit Blog. Quick aside, if you’re not following Bonnie’s blog sign up today. She covers great health and fitness topics, recipes, workouts, and reviews. I highly recommend her 31 days of motivation series to help meet your fitness goals.

ZQuick First Impressions

Right out of the box, the ZQuick is a light show. For someone who primarily runs in supportive, stability shoes, the ZQuick is an eye opener when I held it my hand. At 8.0 ounces, it certainly lives up to its claim.


The basis of this ZQuick was inspired by Z-Rated tires. The concept of the shoes is performance and control in your workout. Upon inspection of the sole, it’s pretty evident the direction of the ZQuick.


Before I even put on the shoes, I wondered if I could even run in them. They’re minimal and don’t offer much support in the forefoot. However, I like the performance concept and envisioned getting use in non-running activities.

I took the ZQuicks for a quick spin around my living room. I immediately noticed the characteristics of the shoes mentioned above. It felt like fluid and quick – like not wearing shoes at all. The real test would be running in the them.

ZQuick on the Run

The light and responsive nature of the ZQuick shoe had me limiting my run to a three mile tempo. I had concerns that a light shoe like this might present some discomfort – I was right. I didn’t receive much of an energy return in my stride – something I’m used to in my Wave Inspires and M2’s. Also, the lack of stiff sole made a flapping sound with each stride. I started feeling stress in my chins about the time I ended my run.

The ZQuick isn’t necessarily a running shoe for someone who needs stability, but I’m a resourceful person and found an even better purpose for this shoe. When it comes to strength training and low impact cardio this shoe excels.


I found the responsive quality of ZQuick an immediate asset in my strength training program. On the elliptical or stationary bike I felt more control and performance. I’m at the point where if I forget to bring my ZQuicks to the gym , I’m a little bummed.

ZQuick Technology

The ZQuick technology is why I entered into Bonnie’s giveaway in the first place. ZQuick uses a technology called Nanoweb. This technology provides support and structure for minimal shoes (i.e. ZQuick).


For a runner that is more familiar with minimalist shoes, this is a nice-to-have. Nanoweb supports quick movements (great for speed work) and flexibility. The synthetic plastic construction provides that durability and flexibility you’d expect in a minimal shoe. What’s missing is the repeated overlays on the upper and that’s good. Nanoweb isn’t restrictive at all as much as it conforms to your foot.


Experiencing Nanoweb for the first time, it felt like my foot was cradled in the shoe. It is a nice supportive feature that pays off in my strength, but not my running.

ZQuick at a Glance

Here are the facts on ZQuick straight from Reebok:

  • No-Sew upper with light and flexible NanoWeb PU cast for breathable protection and support
  • Low-cut for mobility with lightweight Bootie fit system for comfort
  • Light, low profile EVA midsole designed with a radical new geometry for outstanding handling.
  • Medial and lateral underfoot grooves allow midsoles to flex and expand, increasing ground contact for a smooth, quiet ride
  • A sleek new last allows the foot to move naturally, while keeping foot stable on the platform
  • CRTek high abrasion rubber in key wear areas for lighter durability

Final Thoughts

I found a use for ZQuick beyond running. While it might be branded as a minimalist footwear, its Nanoweb technology lends itself to other uses.

Strength training has become a major part of my training, and the ZQuick is an ideal training partner.

To my fellow stability running shoe friends, don’t count this shoe out for your training. Shoe rotation has many benefits as it can reduce injuries. Consider the ZQuick for your non-running needs.

Save on ZQuick at Amazon.

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The Sitting Epidemic

As if you don’t have enough to worry about already. Now even sitting is bad for you. The sitting epidemic has been gaining momentum for some time. More like the dangers of a sedentary lifestyle is what’s dangerous. The sitting epidemic is more of a vehicle to get your attention.


Problem + Reaction = Solution (i.e. The Sitting Epidemic)

The cynic in me thinks that the sitting epidemic is part of the classic Problem + Reaction = Solution formula. Rampant consumerism at it’s best.

Some marketing pro creates a problem for the public. The public doesn’t know it’s a problem until they’re told it is which results in *gasp* the reaction.

There’s outrage on social media (the 19th century version of pitchforks and torches). Something must be done – something *gasp* but what? Enter marketing pro with his (or her) solution that will ease your sedentary mind.

Wondering what I’m referring to? Well, check this out:

The Sedentary Life

I’m not going to kid myself, I know a sedentary lifestyle is bad news. I have a desk job that if I didn’t have any meetings I could easily be at my desk for long periods of time. The sedentary lifestyle is not a good one; it’s a big contributor to why our nation is dealing with obesity.

Even as a runner, I’m still at risk for the side effects of the sedentary lifestyle. That desk job I mentioned isn’t the problem. The problem is me actually. Even though I’m running about twenty miles a week, I’m not entitled to sit for long periods. The same logic holds for runners who think that because they run a bunch of miles can eat whatever they want. Doesn’t work that way.

Combating the Sedentary Life

To a certain degree, I’m lazy. It’s easy for me to sit at my desk and stare at my computer screen. Lately, I’m challenging myself to get moving. It helps me stay in engaged at work, reduce my appetite, and remain social.

I’m accomplishing this by taking water breaks where I take the long walk to the water fountain. I might actually do a lap around the floor to get this done.

I take the stairs even when I don’t want to.

I actually try to walk over to someones desk instead of sending an email or making a phone call.

I know what you’re thinking, “Chris, that’s pretty archaic. Why not get the standing desk?”

Because when I look at the standing desk, I see this:


and this



Plus, this silent killer also has it’s own infographic. Check it out.



Sitting is Killing You

I don’t want to diminish the seriousness of sedentary lifestyle. It can lead to a lot poor health. Technology has given us a lot but it has also given us some twenty-first century problems. Sitting is an issue but it’s not the boogeyman many experts make it out to be. We’re our own worst enemy. When we choose to sit down for hours at a time and not move around – that’s a problem. I’m afraid the only to rid ourselves of this twenty-first century boogeyman is to do it the old fashioned way – actually get up and move around.

Don’t start moving around until you signed up to receive FREE Amplify updates. 

Guest Post: 5 Great Reasons to Gamify Your Workouts with a Story Running App

Please welcome Rafael Mazuz to Amplify. Rafael is the developer of the super-immersive BattleSuit Runner Fitness story running app. There are both full and free versions available for iOS and Android mobile devices. Follow him at:

The wearable tech that seems to be all the rage lately has its place, but compared to expensive gear, story running apps are incredible motivators that give the average user way more bang for their fitness buck.  Story running apps like the super-interactive BattleSuit Runner Fitness are the latest evolution in the “gamification of fitness” trend.

If you aren’t familiar with the genre, there are some variations but basic gist is this: An adrenaline-infused audio adventure unfolds through your headphones while you exercise. Depending on the app, your changes in speed may affect the storyline. The goal is of course to motivate you and increase the length and/or intensity of your workouts.


Story running apps can really be used during any type of exercise—but they lend themselves especially well to outdoor aerobic workouts because your phone’s GPS is utilized to varying degrees. This genre is not for everyone, but here are five reasons why you should at least give it a try:

1. Exercise and entertainment: Two birds with one stone

Developers of story running apps don’t always engage multi-million dollar studios to produce workouts, but the consensus is that the entertainment quality is pretty engaging. For BattleSuit Runner Fitness, I work with a Hollywood writer, NYC-based Silver Sound, and an international team of voice actors. One Zombies, Run! reviewer wrote, “The writing and voice acting in this game is simply spectacular. It is so good that I want to consume it in one huge binge like I would do with a television series or a good book.”

I’m not suggesting that you give up Titanfall for a BattleSuit Runner jog or skip The Walking Dead to take a Zombies, Run! power-walk. But it sure is convenient to have an app that gives you solid entertainment value while you get fit.

2. You can’t beat the cost

Compared to hi-tech apparel, smartbands, personal trainers, and expensive gym memberships, story running apps are a steal. Check it: Runtastic is just $0.99 cents per workout, Zombies, Run is just $3.99 for the basic package, and BattleSuit Runner Fitness is just $0.99 for the full version, with a free version available that has a few workouts. In fact, story running might be the most cost-effective fitness innovation since the pull-up bar.

3. Story running increases workout intensity

 One of the main ways that story running apps differ from traditional audiobooks and podcasts is that every aspect from plot to dialog to sound effects are designed to help you push yourself harder during workouts. Whether it’s escaping from Alcatraz, outrunning a Zombie horde, or rescuing hostages from an alien raid, the context of story runs is intended to give you a sense of urgency and adrenaline boost while you workout.

BattleSuit Runner and Zombies, Run! even take the thrill a step further with certain interludes that require you to sprint in order evade enemies or in activate a special ability.

4. Gamification during and in between workouts

There are two kinds of gaming elements in story runs: during workouts and in between.

BattleSuit Runner Fitness throws epic, turn-based alien battles on top of your music playlist during certain interludes. There are also choose-your-own-adventure aspects of the workouts that you can affect at various times by changing your speed. One of the main gamification aspects is when you are prompted to “supercharge” by sprinting (you can adjust the intensity), which unleashes a power move on your surroundings.

In Zombies, Run! certain interludes incorporate “Zombie Chases” with a similar goal of increasing your speed to avoid the zombies catching up to you.

Runtastic’s story runs are definitely the least interactive in terms of gamification. But as long as you use your imagination, you can still reap most of the story running benefits.

In between BattleSuit Runner and Zombies, Run! workouts, you can utilize resources collected during missions to upgrade your battlesuit or build your zombie base. This aspect makes for a fun little mini-game while you wait for the bus or stand in line. It also incentivizes you to reach your sprints during the game so you have enough resources to spend on the upgrades.

5. You don’t need to ditch your favorite fitness tracker or playlist

Prefer logging your miles with Endomondo? No problem. Enjoy challenging your friends on Nike+? We’ve got you covered. Just continue using your fitness tracker of preference at the same time as your story running app. Make sure to mute or turn down the sound on the tracking app so it doesn’t get in the way of the story.

BattleSuit Runner Fitness and Zombies, Run! integrate your music playlists into the game. In fact, your typical story run will probably have more minutes of music than voice acting. So no need to ditch your power songs, either.

If those five reasons weren’t enough to convince you to try an immersive story running app, hopefully this short video will motivate you to take one for a spin during your next run or walk:

Have you tried a running story app? What’s your experience with running story adventure apps? What do you like or dislike about them? If you aren’t a fan, what would it take to get you into the genre?

Leave a comment!

Mio Alpha Analysis

Forget the chest strap when it comes to heart rate monitoring. The Mio Alpha is a solid choice when it comes to heart rate training. This sports watch is a solid trainer for those looking to get the most out their training intensity.


  • Continuous heart rate monitoring offers a real time assessment
  • No uncomfortable chest strap – so you can train with heart and comfort
  • Tested accurate at performance speeds
  • Customize your workout with 3 user-settable heart rate zones
  • Connect to your favorite fitness apps & devices with Bluetooth® Smart (4.0)*
  • Mineral glass display shows time, exact heart rate, & exercise timer, so you can have to-the-second visual data on everything you need to know
  • Comes in 1 size (Fits wrist sizes 5.7”-7.8”)

Where the Mio Alpha might come up a little short is the lack of GPS. It’s possible to sync up with a number of smart phone apps to make up for the lack of GPS. However, with so many wearable tech devices gained ground on features, heart rate monitoring will be one of many.

Check out Mio’s website for more information on the Mio Alpha and other devices.

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