Thursday, April 24, 2014

Things that make you go aaaahhhhhh..: ensō Roller, Zim's, and Ambi Review and Giveaway!

Aaaaaahhhh....  yes..  if only to be lounging on a beach right now!   But, Springtime in Colorado means alternating days of sunny/warm, and crazy Spring snow showers..   Summer is coming soon!

In the interim, I've been training the last 14 weeks for my first 50K, which is less than two weeks away!  And during this training, I've been on the look out for anything/everything to help me relax, and to deal with the aches and niggles that come along with a heavy training schedule.

So this post is dedicated to several new products that have really helped me cope, and to keep things moving forward.  Included in this review are the ensō Roller (from EVOFIT), Zim's Max Freeze and Heel & Foot cream, and the Ambi (a portable electric ice cube!).   So... if you are looking for things to make you go "aaahhhh..."  not "AAAHHH!!" then stay tuned, and be sure to enter to win some great stuff as well :-) 

First up is the ensō Roller from EVOFIT.  What is an ensō?  It's THIS

The ensō roller is an amazingly flexible/adjustable roller that you can used for all your aching muscles/tendons.  For those of you that run a lot, you understand the value of a good roller, and the "hurt so good" relief you can get from one.  I've been using a standard foam roller and sometimes an old fashioned rolling pin to really work over my calves and ITB.  The ensō takes it up another notch!

What is cool about this roller is the ability to customize the level of surface you roll on, and to use it in different configurations depending on the muscle type or your personal preference.  Included with the roller is a guide to a variety of configurations you can set, based on what you are rolling.  Below is a quick video showing how adjustments can be made:

The ensō roller has been an invaluable tool during my 50K training, and I look forward to continuing to use it, especially right after!  If you are looking for a better way to roll versus a standard foam roller, this may be a great option.  The ensō retails for $89.99 and there is also a smaller travel version for $69.99. You can find them on their website by clicking HERE.   Granted, this is a bit more pricey than a standard foam roller, but the construction and components are of high quality, and I would expect this roller to last for a very long time. 

In addition to rolling out muscles, I've been trying to take better care of my feet.  Obviously, they should have a lot of focus since I need them to run!  But often I don't take care of them as I should.  In Colorado, we have next to no humidity, so in the winter it's easy to develop cracks in my heels etc.  I had an opportunity to try out a few products from Zim's these last several months, and I've been pleasantly surprised.  

I haven't had the cracking problem this year as much as I've had in prior years, but I did use the cream on my feet.  What I like most about these products are the natural ingredients used.  The cream is really soothing, smells great, and very moisturizing.   What I did discover however, was that applying it to my feet, and liberally between my toes, made my feet feel really great on my longer runs.  Slipping my Injinji toe socks on is really easy, and my feet are just... I don't know... happy!  I noticed less tenderness after my long runs as well. 

I also used the Max-Freeze spray, which is a topical pain relief spray.  I've never had much luck with topical pain relievers, so I wasn't expecting a lot.  What I liked about the Max-Freeze (besides the natural ingredients), was how the quick chilling sensation really took some of the sting out of my chronic achilles pain after a run.  It could be that it was as much as a distraction as a pain reliever, but it really is refreshing to give my ankles/feet a shot of the spray while recovering after a long run.   Anyway, I like the products... to find out if they work for you, be sure to enter to win a bottle of each below! 

Speaking of chilling things down, my final "sigh of relief" product review is for the ambi cooling device.  Now, I love gadgets, so I was more than happy to give this one a try. 

So what is it? I like to think of it as an electronic ice pack.  The ambi uses the Peltier effect of thermoelectric cooling...   and no, I didn't know what that meant either, but you can click on it to learn more! 

What it means is that the ambi will crank down to 50F in 30 seconds without the mess or inconvenience of an ice pack.  Now, initially I kind of thought that 50F just didn't seem that cold...  but in reality when you make an ice pack, you generally have to wrap it or pad it to lessen the intensity.  Applying the ambi directly to your skin chills things down in a hurry! 

The ambi is relatively small and light weight.  It can be operated on 4 "AA" batteries, or by plugging it in.  I found that it is not really efficient to use it with batteries, as they will drain relatively quickly.  Although the ambi still chilled down, I noticed that after a few shorter uses, the blue indicator (showing it is chilled all the way) wouldn't come on.  I would run this with the included cord to be most effective. 

What's interesting is that the ambi seems to be marketed more towards addressing migraines and "hot flash" issues with menopausal women. The ambi can be placed at the base of the neck to provide an overall cooling effect.  I primarily used the ambi as a source for quick relief for my Achilles pain that I experience at different levels.  Much like the Max-Freeze spray, a quick application of the ambi cooling technology brings some immediate relief.   Also, I found it to be effective when our boys get a nosebleed. I will often apply a cold compress to the back of their neck to help slow and control a good nosebleed.  The ambi worked well for the last one we dealt with. 

Besides the battery life, the only minor issue with the ambi (as compared to an ice pack) is the inability to apply the cooling effect in some areas.  The metal plate is rigid of course, and is most effective for flatter areas that aren't too large. You just can't get the same effect as if you wrapped an ice pack around your ankle for example.  But, that issue aside, the ambi is a quick and convenient way to get some quick relief from minor pains, as well as any other issue that could be benefited by a cooling therapy.  The ambi retails for $49.99 and you can find them on their website HERE.   Or... you can enter below to win one of course :-)

Ok.. I think that about wraps it up.  For those of you training hard for upcoming races, don't forget to rest, relax and take care of yourself!  Yes, I'm trying to listen to myself as well...   tapering now and hoping things hold together for the big race on 5/3. 

As always, if you have questions/comments, leave them below, email me, or leave a comment on the Facebook page!

Now to the giveaways! I have a set of the Zim's Foot Creme and Max-Freeze Spray to give away (US Residents only), and one ambi cooling device (open to US and Canada).  Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thanks again for tuning in... and happy trails!



  1. I don't usually use ice because it hurts more than it helps because it's TOO cold.

  2. Great group of reviews. The roller looks like a great product, especially!

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  4. I use ice packs and foam rolling for pain (especially in my calves after running). I don't use any foot cream now, but I wouldn't mind!

  5. I don't use ice for pain relief. It's just too cold!

  6. I could really use the Ambie Cooling device instead of icing for my knee!

  7. I use foam rolling and can't wait to try these foot creams/sprays. Sounds like they really work!


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