Product Review : Zensah Athletic Compression Socks

Recently, I had to eat my own words when it came to a running product.

Time and time again I raved about my various compression sleeves and swore I would never go the sock route. In my mind it would hurt my ankles, make my feet sweat or blister or simply feel too bulky.

Nothing pleases me more than to report I was wrong…very…very…wrong.

Wonderful Corey of Team Zensah contacted me about two months ago and asked if I would be willing to review a pair of their Athletic Compression Socks. At first I was thrilled to be contacted by Zensah, I’ve had my eye on that company for years. Then I was curious what other products they had and if I could/should ask to review those as well or instead. I considered asking for sleeves instead to compare apples to apples, or a top or sports bra. Finally I responded with a simple “yes” and knew the world works in mysterious ways and obviously I was meant to wear these socks.

Look at all the runs I’ve been using them during. I fell in love instantly and brought them to everything from the dry trails of Emerald Crossing to the wet roads of Spring Classic.  The snowy cold morning of April RAINN and the unusual heat and humidity of the Tallmadge Memorial Day 5K. And those are just the races!

People asked me time and again if they were too tight or if they were hard to use or if they were too warm once the weather broke. Here are the thoughts I had while running various routes.

  • Wow these feel really nice under my feet, not too much padding and a sense of ventilation on the tops and sides.
  • I’m trying to find any fault with these…but I keep forgetting I even have them on. I suppose that speaks volumes.
  • My quads hurt. Interesting, I notice that because my calves do not hurt.
  • I can’t believe how easy these are to take on and off. I don’t feel like my legs swelled and now they’re bonded to my skin.
  • Amazingly they keep my skin feeling dry, cool or warm exactly as needed.
  • I’m not used to this type of compression. I can’t feel it? Is it working? (later on) I think the fact I haven’t had any pain means it’s working.
  • This fabric feels fabulous. No itching or digging into the back of my knees.

From the website they are described as follows:

The Zensah Athletic Compression Socks are the most innovative athletic compression socks within the athletic market. Each pair of athletic compression socks is made in Italy using seamless technology to prevent any irritation. The athletic compression socks were designed by a professional athletic trainer and feature ProGrade Compression Technology – the optimal amount of compression for athletes.

The athletic compression socks use graduated compression to increase oxygen blood flow to energize your legs prior to any athletic activity, enhance athletic performance during an athletic activity, and aid in recovery after any athletic activity. The Zensah Athletic Compression Sock will enable you to perform athletic activities at a whole new level.

The Zensah Athletic Compression Socks are the only athletic compression socks to incorporate arch support as part of the athletic compression socks – allowing your legs to last longer during athletic activities. Each pair of athletic compression socks are made with propriety Zensah fabric, which is both anti-microbial and thermo-regulating. The athletic compression socks keep your legs cool in hot weather and comfortable in cold weather.

Sizing is based on shoe size for males and females, and depending on your size your color options may include, white, black, argyle, sand or pink! I think I will order a pair in black and pink. They are currently listed at the site at $49.99 (US dollars).

Compression socks have certainly become a new staple in my fitness performance and recovery. I’m glad I was willing to give them a chance and I’m glad Corey took the time to reach out to me! Stop on over and see what Zensah has to offer for your needs.

You can also follow them on TwitterFacebook or YouTube.

Sound off! Have you worn compression sleeves or socks? Which do you prefer? What is YOUR favorite Zensah product?

Disclaimer : I was sent a pair of Zensah Compression Socks free of charge in return for my review. All opinions are my own.

Week Six Reflections

Well kids, we’re down to the wire with this fitness and nutrition stuff and to perfectly honest, I fear I’m growing redundant, let’s just talk shop and get down to business.

Nutrition

What I realized this week is 10 weeks is not enough time to totally change your living habits if you have far to go. Part of me is frustrated by this for myself, part of me realizes this ties into my work as well. See, we have 8 week classes where we try to teach clients about the disease concept of addiction, family dynamics, defense mechanisms, coping skills, communications skills, stages of change and so much more. Walking in with a blank slate…that is A LOT to learn, comprehend and institute for life long changes.

This is not much different from what I am going through with this series. Maybe I wasn’t a McDonald’s every night girl, but quite honestly, you can still do serious damage without stepping foot in a fast food place. I’m trying to be different now.

Last Sunday I spent the day grocery shopping and cooking. I only used the “approved list”. This week (I’m cheating on my timelines here a little) I did the same. I found planning ALL my meals for the week and building a list based on those requirements helped a TON when it comes to not over buying. I also try to plan meals which use similar foods. So if something calls for 1/2 a green pepper I will make something else where I can use the other half. If all else fails, it goes in a container and into the freezer. I might get the hang of this after all! Honestly as of Sunday night ALL my meals for the week were cooked and ready to go. I can’t express the level of stress this has taken out of my pending week. Especially since we’ve been challenged to use SUPER FOODS in our weekly planning. I’ll let you know next week how that goes.

Fitness

It occurred to me the disservice I’ve done myself by skipping the 3rd day of weights every week. Finally I see a difference. Now if I had only done those other days, I would be at a place similar to another 3 weeks or so! YIKES! My bad. I had this conversation on Monday with my trainer:

Trainer: Does everyone see or feel a difference?
Me : I keep finding mystery hard places on my body.
Trainer : Those are muscles

Yes, I was being silly. Honestly though, it is awesome how my body is changing. I no longer have “chicken wings” under my arms. I can see definition in my chin and neck. Really my whole arm is changing. Still, I’m frustrated by the sides and my lower belly, all in due time I suppose. I WAS able to run in shorts this weekend and wear my cute shorts from last summer, while still breathing. Something must be changing, right?

Also, when I went for my run with Emme on Saturday morning. I tripped over a root and went flying forward. I seriously felt my abs and core engage and keep me from face planting and pulling me back up into a proper running posture. It was one of the coolest experiences I’ve ever had with my body. Nice work muscles!

Here are the work out moves for this week:

3 sets

  • 10-15 walking lunges
  • 12 each side, side twist and reach w/ medicine ball
  • 10 side “step” planks

3 sets

  • 10 bicep curl, 10 kickbacks (or overhead extension)
  • 12 reverse fly
  • 10 alternating chest-press on balance ball

3 sets

  • 12 each side, upper body rotation on balance ball
  • 12 side crunch with medicine ball
  • 45 second plank

Thanks for sticking around through all of this with me. I really do appreciate each and every one of your comments and kind words.

Week Four & Five Reflections

With the excitement of the holiday and all the other scheduled posts, my reflections did not go up as planned. To keep things simple (K.I.S.S) I am combining two weeks.

Week Four

Can you believe it was a month ago I started this challenge? It seems I should be so much closer to all my dreams and goals than I feel or see myself at in this stage of the game. I keep repeating how I am making small steps and they should be life long changes, but I want quicker results. I want to drop 20 pounds and inches upon inches. I want to not be ashamed to be seen or photographed. It’s so frustrating not to be where I planned to be 4 weeks ago.

What have I noticed to keep me going? Well, not much, but here are a few things. 1) I hurt myself with a muscle while sleeping. No seriously I did. My head was on my upper arm and Emme came over and did something to my lower arm. I tensed and tried to move, but in my half awake state I was not coordinated. My bicep muscle poked me right in the eye. THAT was never there before! How rude! 2) I am starting to want to eat healthy snacks. I look for the apple and string cheese. I look for the peanut butter or whatever else protein/carb/fiber mix. Don’t get me wrong, I still love me some sugar…but it’s not my go to snack. I’ve noticed when I feel cranky or hungry I want to eat “comfort food” but if I eat “real” food I get the same result…happy and not hungry. I will have to make better choices more often.

Nutrition

I’ll know better how I did when I get my food logs returned. My teacher was absent this past week, so we had a guest speaker. We learned more about fitness than eating.  I’m still struggling with eating more often and with spending less at the grocery store.

Fitness

We learned a lot this week. Such as…did you know if you’re not challenging your muscles with weights, you’re basically doing cardio and not weight training? It’s true. If you can easily carry around 3-5lb weights so you’re doing Zumba or walking the treadmill those weights are not there to tone and they won’t make you look leaner…it all dumps into cardio because it’s too easy for you. I am infinitely guilty of that and have wondered where my results have been. Now I know!

Also, think about what you want to achieve. Just as various cardio will produce different results, so will different weight training. Do you want to be stronger? Leaner? Do you want to build more muscle? All require a different pattern of weight/reps/sets. Also heavier isn’t always better. Let’s do the math:

50lb weight x 7 reps x 3 sets = 1050 total

25lb weight x 15 reps x 3 sets = 1125 total

Yes, there are more reps, but look it’s using HALF the weight. Decrease your weight initially and up your reps…your muscles will get a better work out overall and your total weight shouldn’t suffer.

Interesting, right?

Well, here is the video for the week. Enjoy!


Do the moves yourself.

45 seconds touching toes to a basketball/medicine ball or running in place (get your knees up). Grab a set of weights and get to a step about 2 standard steps high or an aerobic step, hold weights at your side and step up and back quickly doing 15 for each leg. Lay on a balance ball and walk yourself out, using your core to balance, as far as you can go. Walk yourself back and do 10 reps. Do 3 sets of these moves.

Next, bicep curl for 15 reps. Rows with weights for 15 or pulling the lat bar if you have a machine, and 15 weighted side bends. Complete 3 sets.

Moving on, perform 10 pullups, 10 banded squat walks and 10 side reaches. Complete 3 sets.

Wrap things up with abs. Do 20 balance ball curls and 12 out and up lower body leg thrusts. Complete 2 sets.

Progress?

No inches lost, perhaps 1 inch gained around my middle.

Week Five

This week started off as one of the worst weeks, and ended as one of my best. We did not work out Monday (as it was the holiday) which kinda threw my week off. I did run the Tallmadge Memorial 5K, but I also felt sick. Actually, I’ve been having a lot of stomach issues lately and I think it is my body still adjusting to new food supplies. Increased fiber and natural sources of fuel have to be the reasons (right?). Anyway…so I started the week in a sour mood. By workout on Wednesday I couldn’t smile I couldn’t say anything nice. I felt fat and bloat, I felt worthless and I couldn’t get into pants I liked. After 5 weeks I was NO WHERE and I was mad. Then things started to shift

Nutrition

We didn’t get our food log the week before (guest speaker) so I have not had any feedback. When I finally saw my sheets and had the feedback I was floored. I am barely eating what I need. I KNOW the pattern I should be eating, but I am not following it at all. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not cheating, I’m just not eating. I get distracted easily and hunger isn’t something I tune into a lot. For example, Friday I had rice and veggies and egg whites for breakfast. However I knocked it onto the floor by accident. #Fail, ya know? My coworker gave me a granola bar. See the difference? Then I skipped my snack and have veggie nuggets and a box of frozen veggies for lunch. On the way to work out I stopped to by a string cheese and an apple. The apple was starting to rot, so I only ate the cheese. After my work out I had 1/2 a sub with chicken and spinach. See? Nothing horrible, but so little fuel! Ugg. No wonder I can’t lose weight.

What did I learn from class? More reminders about not drinking juice (better to eat the fruit, more good stuff and less sugar) and visuals on just how much sugar is added to our food. ick. We talked about the grocery store and reading label and not going inside the aisles if we want the freshest and best selection. I actually went shopping today and followed my list from class and did not go into any aisles except to buy the stewed tomatoes. It was actually Really exciting to me. Great now I’m a food dork. And you know what do you don’t see enough of? Frozen fruit. What’s up with that?

Fitness:

Wed and Fri were great days to work out this week. I think I need to really start doing something on Friday even if it isn’t hard core. I’ve decided to start viewing fitness as a privileged not as a duty. More to come on that concept, but basically if I don’t eat right during the day I am only harming myself when I push out a rough workout. You wouldn’t swim without a suit, right? Or ride a bike without tires? Not having the proper fuel is setting yourself up for pain and disappointment.

Wed we did the circuit training and I knocked out half a mile in the pool. Friday I only did the circuit training. Here is the how-to vlog of the week.

 

Circuit training. Start with a 45 second wall sit, run partially around a track (or 30 seconds in place) then do 10 burpees, run to the next station do 10 push ups, run to the next station do 10 leg raises. Repeat. Do 3 sets of 2 reps with a 2 minute active rest (walking) between each set.

Next, do 15 back extensions. Either using a machine or a balance ball. Do bird-dogs either on a mat or BOSU, 12 on each side. 3 sets

Wrap things up with ab work. 30-45 seconds bicycle, 10 “toe touches”, 10 2-part crunches, 10 low ab lifts, finish wish Russian twists, going lower every 10 second for 30 second. Complete 2 sets.

Progress?

One inch off my middle and 1/2 an inch off my hips. Making the total 1 inch off my chest, 2 from my middle and 1 from my hips since initial check in.