The JogBlog Guide To Gear and Gadgety Gifts


Just kidding, come back, I have things to show you! Pretty things! Please?

You’re still here, hurrah. Good, because below are a few things you might want to put on your list for Santa, or buy for yourself.

 College Custom Sports Clothing

College Custom Sport Clothing

Embrace your inner (or not so inner) narcissist with customised clothing. College Custom are a Brighton-based company that designs and creates custom made hoodies and sports-wear for schools, colleges, and universities; as well as sports teams and societies. Luckily, they’ll customise sportswear for bloggers too, as you can see from my fab bag. Nice, innit?

As well as looking great, as you can see, it’s made by Nike but what you can’t see because of the crappy lighting conditions what with it being November and that, is its functionality.

This is a large bag – ignore what it says on the College Custom website about it being 14cm long – it’s approximately 18″ x 9″ x 10″, which means you can fit a ton of stuff in it to take to the gym.

As well as the spacious main compartment, it’s got a zipped front pocket and in that zipped front pocket are two more zipped pockets, and a clippy thing for, um, clipping things onto. There’s also a zipped shoe pocket on the side into which you can put shoes and/or sweaty gym kit to stop your shopping getting minging if you nip into the supermarket on your way home.

I can’t fault College Custom’s service. After I chose my bag, they sent my logo off to their design team and then sent me back a pdf with a mock up of my bag with the logo in yellow, red, and white. I liked the yellow one but couldn’t quite decide between that and the white one. I showed the mock-up to Shaun and he said the yellow one was best.

But, because I’m indecisive I asked if I could be a pain in the arse and see another mock-up showing the bag in pink and purple, and they were happy to oblige. Then I still couldn’t decide and apologised once again for being a pain in the arse and asked if I could see it in orange and a new mock-up was sent to me without even a hint that I was being a pain in the arse (which I totally was).

And as you can see from the photo, I went for yellow. Yes, the first colour I looked at. Yes, the colour I liked first. Yes, the colour Shaun liked. Yes, the colour in which I got the bag that I’m very happy with. I’m sorry yellow for doubting you. Yes, I am a div.

If you’d like a bag – or other sports apparel – like mine (you don’t have to get JogBlog printed on it but if you want to give me free advertising, I’m not going to complain), visit the College Custom website to obtain a quote.

Epson Pulsense Heart Rate Monitor

Epson Pulsense Heart Rate Monitor

There’s so many heart rate monitors around, aren’t there? And they all do the same sort of thing don’t they? They all measure heart rate, anyway.

The Epson Pulsense Heart Rate Monitor is, yes, yet another heart rate monitor but unlike other heart rate monitors I’ve owned in the past, I’ve actually been using this one.

The reason I’ve been using the Pulsense and not others I have is because it’s so easy to use. For a start it doesn’t have a chest strap or an armband; it has a sensor on the underside and you simply wear it as a watch.


Epson Pulsense Heart Rate Monitor

Sensor means there’s no need for a chest strap

As well as measuring your heart rate, the Pulsense also acts as a normal watch and it’s small and comfortable enough to wear all day, which is just as well as it counts your steps too. It looks so nice, one of the instructors at the gym stopped me and asked me about it.

You might be able to pair it bluetoothly with your phone. I couldn’t, as I’ve only got an iPhone 4 and no recent apps seem to support the iPhone 4 because it’s obviously so antiquated and should be consigned to history along with the Nokia 3210.

You can look at all the pretty graphs and stuff online though.

Epson Pulsense Heart Rate MonitorEpson Pulsense Heart Rate MonitorEpson Pulsense Heart Rate MonitorAnd you thought Epson only made printers, eh?

For more information on the Epson Pulsense Heart Rate Monitor, visit the Epson website.

Miiego AL3 Freedom Wireless Headphones

Miiego AL3 Freedom Wireless Headphones

One thing my stoneage iPhone 4 can connect to is the Miiego AL3 Freedom Wireless Headphones. I don’t know how many times my headphone wires have been ripped from my ears when I’ve been on the rowing machine but it’s more than once. It’s probably more like fifty, and each time it’s a) bloody annoying; and b) embarrassing, because when it happens it makes me jump and everyone turns and stares at me (they don’t really).

So, wireless headphones are ‘yay’ for when I’m on the rowing machine. They’re also ‘yay’ for any other time you don’t want wires in the way when you’re listening to music. I wouldn’t advise wearing them on the train though, as there’s quite a bit of noise leakage and people who wear leaking headphones on the train need booting off the train at the next station, if not before.

The Miiego AL3 Freedom Wireless Headphones are easy to pair with your phone and easy to control using the buttons on the headphones themselves. They also come with a cute little carry case.

For more information on the Miiego wireless headphones, visit the Miiego website.

Chaffree Underwear
Chaffree underwear

Not the kind of undies for *that* sort of hot date

Chaffree Underwear is something you’ll probably want to buy for yourself, should you need it. That is, unless you don’t mind letting people know you’re a sweaty chub-rub sufferer.

Personally, I don’t suffer from chub-rub but I’m not going to pretend I don’t sweat when I go to the gym. If you’re not sweating at the gym, you’re either a) not putting enough effort in; or b) you’ve had all your sweat glands removed and if you fall under category b) you probably have some kind of medical condition that means you shouldn’t be in the gym in the first place.

Chaffree Underwear is seamless underwear that relieves chafing and sweating. These are Bridget Jones-esque big pants but, let’s face it, no one goes to the gym in sexy underwear, do they? Or do they? Wouldn’t that be taking a ‘hot’ date a bit far?

Chaffree underwear is available in women’s knickerboxers, women’s briefs (as pictured) and men’s boxers. For more information, visit the Chaffree website.

Cellulite Crusher Leggings

Cellulite Crusher leggings

Now here’s a weird thing. Leggings with 1200-1600 little wooden beads sewn into them to massage your thighs, improve your circulation and eliminate cellulite, while you’re working out.

You can wear them while cycling, running, walking, yoga, pilates or just doing the housework and while any physical activity happens, the pressure of the beads increases as your muscles contract against them.

They’re heavier than usual leggings but you don’t notice the heaviness once they’re on and they’re comfy and fit well. I did briefly (okay, for quite a long time) wonder if I looked stupid and if people would stare at me but I decided to be brave and wore them to the gym. No one stared at them or even gave them a second glance, so yay. They were slightly uncomfortable at first as I used the rowing machine but I soon stopped noticing them and I didn’t notice them at all in the spin class. In fact, I forgot I was wearing 1200 little wooden beads until I took the Cellulite Crushers off and saw my legs covered in little round indentations.

The washing instructions say to handwash only, but I’m not handwashing anything – let alone sweating gym kit – so I put them in the washing machine and they seem to have survived.

For more information, visit the Cellulite Crusher website.

I’ll be giving away a pair of Cellulite Crushers soon (and also a pair of (unworn, don’t panic) Chaffree knickers), so keep a look out for more news on that.

Thanks go to all the above companies for sending me their products to review. All opinions my own and honest, blah blah blah. 



The JogBlog Guide To Training For Your First 5k

A friend on Twitter recently challenged himself to train for his first 5k in just 14 days. On top of this, he further challenged himself to run it in under 30 minutes. And guess what? He did it! Hardcore.

However, us mere mortals tend to take more than 14 days to train for our first 5k, so here’s my guide for new runners.

Get a training plan

In the olden days, before smartphones (yes kids there was such a time), we couldn’t download apps like the Kiqplan coaching app and had to make do with plans in books or printed off from the internet. I can’t remember where I got my first training plan from but it was one of those Couch to 5k plans that starts off with run/walk and progresses to 5k at the end of the plan. These plans usually last for 8 weeks or so but it took me twice as long to get through mine, so if you have to redo a week, don’t worry about it. Everyone progresses at different speeds.

If you want a laugh, go to the beginning of my blog and you can read all about my early running days back in January 2006, including endearing little snippets such as:

It was the first of the 3 minutes running / 1 minute walking (repeated 6 times) schedule today and doing 3 minutes non-stop was surprisingly easy, seeing as when I first attempted to run a few weeks ago, a minute nearly killed me.

As you can see, we all started somewhere.

Get comfortable kit

There’s no need to go out and buy the most expensive kit, especially if you’ve just started running as who knows if you’re going to continue with it? I would advise not doing what I did when I started running though and buy something more comfortable than thick, heavy tracksuit bottoms, a normal cotton t-shirt, two normal bras worn at the same time, a thick, heavy, hooded fleece, and a stiff pair of trainers that cost £10 from Shoezone. You can get perfectly decent kit at bargain prices from Sports Direct although you should probably go to a specialist running shop and get them to advise you on the right running shoes for you. Be warned though – proper running shoes aren’t cheap, although Decathlon‘s own make, Kalenji, are reasonably priced and I was very happy with the ones I had a couple of years ago.

Get gadgets

Running is more fun when you know you’re going to get home and see pretty charts and graphs and stats and stuff. There are millions of fitness apps to download and try and you can even run away from Zombies if Zombies are your thing, or you can just be old school and get a good old Garmin like my Garmin Forerunner 405 (other GPS watches are available, such as the Tom Tom Runner also pictured below).

Garmin and Tom Tom Runner

Or you can be even more old school like I was in the early days and just use a stopwatch and pedometer. Or you can be really really really old school and not use anything. That would be weird though.

The other gadget I don’t run without is my iPod. Lots of people don’t listen to music when they run but maybe they sound more elegant than I do when I’m running.

Get a race booked

You could do a parkrun, but it might be more rewarding to do a ‘proper’ race and get a medal at the end for all your hard work.

5k medal

Will run for bling

You will be nervous and you will be scared but, trust me, you’re going to fucking love it and you’ll cross that finish line with a massive grin. My first race was the Crisis Square Mile Run and I still smile when I remember how I felt when I’d finished.

Get clued up on nutrition

I’m joking. It’s 5k; eat what you want.

So, that’s my tips for new runners. Enjoy your first 5k!

Review: KS Active+ Bluetooth Remote

KS Active+ Bluetooth Remote

If I’d owned my iPhone when I first started running, I wouldn’t have run without it. Like most phones these days, it can play music, run GPS fitness apps, has maps in case I get lost and a camera for any cow-based photographic emergencies. However, I didn’t have my iPhone when I started running so I used to take out with me my massive Garmin 301 (I think it was a 301 – the one that took up half your arm), a massive video iPod (which promptly broke as I don’t think it liked being run with) which took up half my other arm, a little camera tucked into my back pocket and a printed paper map if I was trying out new routes. I can’t remember what phone I owned at the time but I didn’t take that out running with me as it was a weird phone that could only be used for making phone calls *shudder* and sending text messages.

I still don’t usually run with my iPhone because a) I don’t use any running apps; b) I’m happy with my iPod Shuffle for music; and c) they’re impossible to use through those armbands no matter how much the blurb for them says you can, so if, for example, an unwanted U2 album that was FORCED on to your iPhone against your will comes on, I’d have to stop and take the phone out of the armband to stop Bono from squawking down my ear.

But then Three Mobile sent me the KS Active+ Bluetooth Remote to try.

As you’ve probably guessed, the KS Active+ Bluetooth Remote is, um, a Bluetooth remote. It’s compatible with all stereo Bluetooth devices though, not just iPhones, despite me banging on about my iPhone in the previous 250 words.

KS Active+ Bluetooth Remote

In the box you’ll get the KS Active+ Bluetooth Remote, earphones, 3 sets of earbuds (although mine only came with one), USB charge cable and a user manual.

Setting it up is easy – the remote and my iPhone paired quckly, then all I had to do was plug the earphones into the remote, clip the remote onto my waistband and shove my phone into my Roosport Fitness Pouch (these pouches are great – so much better than an armband for carrying your phone), then I was ready for my run. Well, I would have been if the earphones had a better sound quality but I’m afraid to say I hadn’t even made it as far as the front door before turning back and swapping them for my usual Sennheisers.

KS Active+ Bluetooth Remote

Once you are out on your run and you’ve got used to knowing where the buttons on the remote are, play/pause/fast forward/rewind/volume control are all within easy reach without you stopping what you’re doing. You can also take phone calls with it but no one ever rings me so I didn’t get to test that bit.

I’m not sure it’ll take over from my iPod completely but if I did want to take my phone out running or walking with me to use music or apps or just so I’ve got my phone with me in case of emergency, I’d be happy to use the KS Active+ Bluetooth Remote. Just not with their pretty yellow but pretty rubbish earphones.

The KS Active+ Bluetooth Remote is available in black, pink or blue at various prices from Amazon.

Review: Lumo Lift Posture Activity Coach


Do you slouch? I know I do. I keep trying to remind myself to sit up straight because a) slouching is bad for you; b) I don’t want to end up looking like Gillian McKeith and c) um, let’s just stick with b, shall we? Flippancy aside though, there are more benefits to good posture than purely physical ones. If you stand up straight and walk tall, you’ll feel more confident and this should filter down into the way you act, for example, when using the phone, at job interviews and asking for a custom-made sandwich in Subway.

But what do to about it? You could stick a plank down the back of your top (please don’t do this while you’re ordering a sandwich in Subway. You’ll look weird), set an egg-timer to remind you to sit up straight, get a special chair that forces you to sit up, or you could buy a Lumo Lift Posture Activity Coach. I know I don’t need much of a reason to get another gadget but buying a gadget which stops me looking like Gillian McKeith sounds like a damn good reason for buying one if you ask me (which, admittedly, you didn’t but, hey ho). I’m not sure it’ll ever give me the confidence to allow me to venture into a Subway again and relive the horror of being interrogated about what bread I want, what size I want it, what fillings I want, what salad I want and what sauce I want though. I only wanted a sandwich. I’ll stick to ordering pizza facelessly and silently online in the future.

As you’ve probably gathered, the Lumo Lift Posture Activity Coach is a gadget that helps you to correct your posture.

Lumo Lift Posture Activity Coach

Sensor, strap clip, Windows dongle (supplied separately), magnets, charger


In the box is the sensor which you affix to your bra strap (hang on, men, I haven’t forgotten about you – bear with) with the supplied strap clip or – if bra-less – hold in place with one of the two supplied magnets. Personally, I don’t like the look of the magnets (although glitzy ones are available on the website, if glitzy things are your kind of thing), so I’ve been testing the Lumo Lift with the strap clip which is easy enough to put on and has a strong magnet and doesn’t fall off. These magnets are strong; this is why everything’s far apart in the photo. Any nearer and they gravitate or magnetate or whatever it’s called towards each other.

Lumo Lift Posture Activity Coach

Lumo Lift sensor

Lumo Lift Posture Activity Coach

Lumo Lift magnets

Once the sensor’s attached, it’s easy to align. Just stand up straight and double press it. It’ll buzz to let you know the coach has started. Each time you slouch, it’ll buzz to tell you. It buzzes a lot. I also found that it buzzed when I moved my arm up to drink a cup of tea so maybe I should have had it on the other side but then maybe it’d buzz each time I used the mouse, I don’t know. It also buzzed when I was making food but it’s easy enough to turn it off if you’re doing something where you won’t be sitting up straight – you just just press and hold.

I’m not really sure I got the hang of it, despite there not really being anything to get the hang of in the first place. But I get the impression it’s not something you keep on all day – just when you’re at your desk for a long period of time and want a reminder to unMcKeith yourself.

It’s also an activity tracker which will track your steps, distance and calories so if you want graphs and charts and statistics and stuff, then you can sync it with your iPhone and other iThings and find out how far you’ve walked and it’ll also tell you for how long you had good posture. Although, if you’ve got an ancient iPhone 4, like mine, you’ll need to get a Windows dongle, which is supplied separately.

Lumo Lift dongle

Windows dongle. Not actual size



Must try harder.


Okay, I confess (don’t really have a choice, do I?) I haven’t used the Lumo Lift for a while but it’s a great way for those who have desk jobs and are in the habit of slouching to be reminded to sit up straight and I am going to try and get into the habit of using it.

For more information, visit the Lumo website.


Review: Polar Loop

Polar Loop

Considering my original review was going to consist of simply, ‘Fuck it, can’t be arsed’, the Polar Loop is my new favourite glorified pedometer (also known as wearable tech).

So, what caused my initial angst and frustration?

This, that’s what.

Adjusting the wrist band on the Polar Loop

Meccano meets wearable tech

Before you can play with your new toy, unless you have wrists as big as your thighs, you’re going to have to cut the wristband down to size and reassemble the buckle with pins and stuff. I spent about a quarter of an hour trying to get the damn buckle on before feeling like I was auditioning for a job at Timpsons and giving up and throwing it at Shaun when he got home to put together. Shaun, of course, put it together in about thirty seconds (after re-cutting down the buckle three more times – the measuring guide that comes with it isn’t accurate).

After it was ready to use, I started to really like it. While it was charging, I had a play on the Polar Loop website and found out I could stalk people all over the world.

Polar Loop world map

Been spendin’ most their lives, livin’ in the stalka’s paradise

You can zoom in on any of those little dots in squares and see where people have been running and cycling and walking and stuff. When I say ‘zoom in’, I mean ‘zoom in’. You can click on any of the people who appear in the column on the right hand side and click on ‘relive’ and it’ll replay their activity. RIGHT FROM THEIR HOUSE AS VIEWED IN STREETVIEW. Blimey. I clicked on a local man and had a nose (if you’re reading this, hello, you have a nice house) at his house and said ‘ooh’ when I was taken past the park in which the local parkrun is held. Obviously, it would be a rather sad person who – when given a zoomable map of the world to play with – only stalked their local area, so I also had a nose at a man called Igor in Russia. Russia seems rather bleak, I must say. I thought I’d get some marathon tips from a Kenyan, but the only person I could find near Kenya was called Keith. Cue disappointed face.

I should point out that all my stalkees had Polar-something-elses, not Loops, so you can’t relive your Loop steps on here, as it’s not a GPS device, but if you want to spend some time looking at the beautiful lake a girl in Tanzania ran round, then you can fill yer boots on the Polar website. I should probably also point out that it’s not the whole route that’s replayed in Streetview, just the beginning and a couple of points in between.

Anyway, enough about Igors and Keiths, what’s the Loop like? I love it. What I especially love about it is that it also functions as a watch and if it wasn’t for my Bounts points* that my FitBit and Jawbone UP collect for me (Bounts isn’t linked to the Polar Loop), I’d ditch those and just use the Loop instead.

The Polar Loop has a clear LED display which can be tapped to show different screens: Time, calories, steps, activity, and to do (which shows you what you can do to reach your daily target).

As with all these wearable tech thingies, you’ll have access to the bit we all love the most – yes, I’m talking about stats. We all love stats, don’t we? All those pretty charts and graphs and, um, inactivity stamps to humiliate you.

Stats and stuff

It’s low because I take it off when I wear my Garmin. I can only wear so many pieces of tech at once.

Ignore the bit about sleep – I haven’t set it to monitor my sleep, unless it knows when I’m asleep.

The activity stamps of shame

The inactivity stamps of shame

To sum up then; if you want a multi-purpose bit of wearable tech with the added bonus of stalking people all over the world, then the Polar Loop’s for you. As with all these things, there’s an accompanying app but only for iPhone 4s upwards (and some Android devices), which meant as I only have a lowly iPhone 4, I couldn’t play with this. Whatever happened to backward compatibility, huh? Still, there’s plenty on the website to keep you occupied if you haven’t got a compatible smartphone.

Thanks to LV for sending me the Polar Loop to review.

*Points add up really quickly on Bounts – I’ve just ordered my fifth £5 supermarket voucher. If you sign up with my referral code (white1136), we’ll both get 100 points. Hurry though, Bounts are going to start charging for membership soon – at the moment it’s free and will stay free for anyone who signs up before they start charging. Although you can’t link to the Polar Loop (they keep adding stuff though, so they might in the future), you can link your account to FitBit, Jawbone UP, Strava, MapMyRun and plenty of other apps and gadgets.

Review: Promixx Vortex Mixer

It’s not very often I have a protein shake but when I do, unless I mix them in my blender, they’re full of powdery lumps. The last one I tried, I shook up in one of those custom-made shaker things that are supposed to prevent any lumpage but it obviously lied as it was as lumpy as the rice pudding you got at primary school. In other words, bleurgh. Okay, that was only one word but you know what I mean.

So, what do we need to help us through this lumpy protein shake world? Yes – a gadget, of course. We always need more gadgets in our lives, that goes without saying.


The Promixx Vortex Mixer is a hand-held vortex drinks mixer, perfect for protein shakes and sports drinks, etc. It also says on the box it can be used for cocktails, juices, instant soup, eggs, milkshakes and baby formula. The mention of instant soup intrigued me but I can’t see anywhere on the website or in the instructions if that means you can pour boiling water into it and whizz up your cream of asparagus. In fact, I would prefer the instructions to be more detailed as there’s no mention of what you can and can’t put in it but as it’s designed for liquids, you’ll just have to use your common sense and not try to liquidise a pizza in it.

After taking the Promixx out of the box, the first thing I noticed after thinking how pretty it is (other, less girly colours of black and white are available) was the blade, which appeared plastic and flimsy. My choice of Barbie-pink probably didn’t help in this respect. (Is it just me, or does the blade look like someone standing on their head?)


Still, it only had to mix up some liquid but to be honest, I wasn’t holding out much hope that it was going to do a decent job, especially as I was going to make a milkshake using Choc Shot, which is thick and gloopy.


The instructions advise you to fill the Promixx with your liquid of choice (my liquid of choice being some soya milk), then switch the Promixx on. I thought it was going to splatter everywhere but it stayed safely in the tumbler, doing it vortexing thing. While the liquid’s spinning around, you then add whatever it is you want to add to the liquid.


Here’s a video of it doing it’s vortexing thing.

And as you can see, it’s done a great job at mixing all the Choc Shot into the milk. There was only a tiny couple of lumps left, which probably would have been mixed up, had I left the Promixx running for a few more seconds.


Cleaning the Promixx couldn’t be simpler. Simply fill it with water and a little detergent, switch it back on, and it’ll clean itself. Yes, I said it’ll clean itself. As you can see in the video, it’s picked up the two little lumps that were left.

A bit of a rinse and as you can see, it’s sparkly clean. Cool.


I’ve got to say, although I think the Promixx is brilliant, it’s not cheap at £18.89 on Amazon, at the time of writing this review, especially as it doesn’t even come with the batteries (2 x AAA) included. Although, if you do use a lot of sports drinks and protein shakes, you will get a lot of use out of it and you will also absolutely love it. It comes supplied with a lid which is 100% guaranteed leakproof, so it’s also perfect for taking out and about with you.


If you don’t want to mess around with batteries, an upgrade pack will soon be available, containing a rechargeable motor with USB charging cable, a fully integrated NUTRiPOD supplement storage container and a spare Promixx leak proof sports cap.

For more information, visit the Promixx website.

Review: TomTom Runner GPS Watch

Although Garmins have got more attractive over the years, no one’s ever going to accuse them for putting looks before functionality. So, when a pretty watch comes out, there’s a collective gasp of (at least from the more shallow amongst us) ‘ooh, pretty watch’.


The TomTom Runner GPS Watch definitely comes under the ‘ooh, pretty watch’ category, despite it being not exactly dinky. I do like chunky watches though. Just not as chunky as my old Garmin 301 which took up most of my arm. The Garmin being compared below to the TomTom is a Garmin 405.


(Now is probably a good time to confess – as you’ve probably spotted the date in the photos – this review is a bit overdue. Oops. If you didn’t notice the date in the photos, well, um… as you were.)

If you get bored of your chosen colour, the screen snaps out of the strap so you can change this, as I found out when I was playing with it (I’m assuming that’s why it snaps out, anyway – it could be for a far less girly reason than this).


It’s easy to set up. You just plug it into your computer and set up TomTom MySportsConnect desktop application and it asks you a load of stuff like what do you want to call your TomTom Runner. I unimaginatively called mine Tom. I know, I know… It also asks you your date of birth so your performance is measured more accurately, and if you have an account with one of the MapMy thingies (Run, Fitness, etc.) it’ll link you up automatically.  If you don’t have a MapMyThingy account, you can see your stats in MySports or download them in various formats.


But what about the actual functionality of it? The actual ‘how does it work on a run’ bit? Well, it got a signal as quickly as my Garmin and gave a little vibration when it was ready to go. This means you don’t have to stand there staring at your wrist – you can just stand in your front garden in your running gear like that’s a perfectly normal thing to be doing.


As you can see from the photos (no, not the one with the girl staring at her wrist – the ones further up the page), it’s got a big, clear screen which you can change to show the usual distance, speed, calories, etc. I wore my Garmin and the TomTom together and the results were almost the same, only the calories burnt were shown to be higher on the TomTom.

The TomTom doesn’t have the multitude of functions a higher spec Garmin has (it’s purely for running, no option for cycling) but if you want a basic GPS watch for running, then the TomTom is a good choice and not just because it’s pretty.