Life at the Gym: Asics Gel-Fit Sana Review

I am one of those lucky people who get to spend more than half of their life at the gym. I work there. I work out there. I teach classes, I go to classes, I…well, you get the idea. I’m at the gym a lot, and I’m on my feet a lot.

Asics Gel Sana 6For years I wore my retired running shoes. Yes, I admit it. My old Kayanos took me a long way on the road, then a quick wash and they were off to work with me. I finally figured out though, that as much as I love them, old running shoes probably weren’t ideal for teaching classes, working out, and standing on my feet all day.

When I learned about the Asics Gel-Fit Sana I was happy to try out a shoe from a company that I have trusted for years to take care of my feet. The Gel-Fit Sana is designed to be light and flexible, and has an inner lining that supports the foot from heel to forefoot. And they are very good looking too.

Asics Gel Sana 1So good looking in fact that I’ve pretty much had them on my feet since the first day. From teaching a fitness class, to training clients at work, then off to lunch or to the market, they are fashionable and comfortable.

When I first slid my feet into the Asics Gel-Fit Sana I let out an audible sigh. Yes, they are that comfortable. Thanks to the inner lining, they fit like a glove. So light and flexible that you can almost forget you’re wearing shoes. Like barefoot with benefits.

Asics Gel Sana 7Because I spend so much time on my feet, I really need a shoe that will cushion and support my feet, and the Gel-Fit Sana does that. At the end of the day, instead of needing to rip off my shoes as soon as I get home, I’ve actually been keeping them on, just because my feet feel so good. And that is quite an accomplishment.

While comfortable is great, since I am using the Gel-Fit Sana while teaching group exercise classes, it is really important that I have a shoe that will keep my feet healthy and cool while I’m working hard. I don’t teach high impact classes, but I can still feel how the cushioning in the heel helps absorb the shock, and the mesh upper is breathable, so my feet don’t get sweaty and overheat.

Asics Gel Sana 2The sizing seems accurate, or at least what I wear in my running shoes. And Asics realizes that women’s feet don’t stop growing in half sizes once we get over size 10 (size 11.5 and proud here!). While they have a glove-like fit, my feet don’t feel constricted in anyway, and instead feel supported and secure.

The MSRP is $80 and the Asics Gel-Fit Sana is available in a variety of pretty colors.

Asics Gel Sana 14Hmm, I’m trying to pick my next pair! It’s difficult.

I really like the Asics Gel-Fit Sana. It is the perfect shoe for me.

Do you wear one type of shoe to do everything? Or do you have specific shoes for each sport or activity? What color of Gel-Fit Sana to you like best?


This post is sponsored by FitFluential on behalf of ASICS.

6 Women (and a Man) I Can’t Wait to Meet at Blogfest

Blogfest starts on Thursday and I’m pretty sure I won’t getting any sleep Wednesday night. I am that excited. Just in case you haven’t heard, Blogfest is a health and fitness blogging conference that takes place during the IDEA World Fitness Convention, which also starts Thursday, in Anaheim, California.


This will be my first blogging conference so that is one more reason to be excited. It will take place on Thursday and Friday, then I get to stay on for the last two days of the IDEA convention. Fun (and education, of course) times ahead! With speakers like Kelly Olexa of Fitfluential, and Rita Barry of Blog Genie (who is also my Blog School instructor), workouts led by Chalene Johnson and Tara Stiles, keynote speaker Jillian Michaels, and tons of real time social networking, this will be a blogging and fitness event to remember. You can still get a free pass to the expo here!

This is all well and good, and I am super thrilled about all of the classes, speakers, and workouts, but to be honest with you, what I am looking most forward to is meeting the people. There are so many people that I have “met” over the internet, through our blogs or social media, and now I will finally get a chance to meet them in real life. Here’s the short list of the women (and one man) that I’m looking forward to meeting at Blogfest.

Carla Birnberg. MizfitOnline, Carla’s original blog, was one of the first blogs that I read regularly. I found her funny, human, brilliant, and inspiring. She continues to support other bloggers, create original and interesting content, and set an example on living a balanced life. I’m proud that I am working with Carla as part of Team Eleven by Venus, and I am ecstatic (I’m trying to use various synonyms for excited so I don’t get too repetitive) that I’m finally getting a chance to meet her.

Kelly Olexa. As the founder and CEO of Fitfluential, Kelly has made an impact on my life and my blog. She not only created a company that helps bloggers and brands connect, she leads by example, and inspires those of us who are Ambassadors to step outside of our box and really go after what we deserve. I almost met Kelly about a year and a half ago at another convention, but got stuck in Las Vegas traffic and missed my opportunity. Not this time.

Katy Widrick. Katy is my blogging hero. If I have questions about creating a media kit, disclosure laws, working with sponsors, or basically anything you can think of related to blogging and social media, Katy’s blog is where I check first. Not only does she write all these informational posts, she is also helpful and gracious enough to answer questions and make suggestions. And her daughter makes my heart smile.

Rita Barry. I credit Rita with teaching me about blogging. I was one of the first students at her Blog School , and I learned so much. Her blog is also full of helpful tips and tricks, and she does amazing blog design as well.

Gigi Dubois. Rarely do you find the combination of beautiful and hilariously funny that Gigi embodies and serves up on her blog. Her videos make me laugh, and I love her bright and humorous outlook on life. I look forward to when I can say, “I knew Gigi when…”

Jody Goldenfield. I find Jody inspiring because we are the same age and she works so hard to keep fabulously fit. She is also very kind and it shines through in her blog. I almost forgot to put Jody on this list because I feel like I’ve already met her. I’m still not sure she’s going to make it to the expo, but Jody, if you read this, you must come!

Pavement Runner. This post was going to be about the women that I was looking forward to meeting, then I found out that Pavement Runner was going to be there and I had to change my plan. As an enthusiastic and talented marathoner (and beyond), Pavey (as we call him), inspires thousands of people to get out and run. His Boston Strong Runs went viral as groups around the country formed to run in support of those killed and injured at the 2013 Boston Marathon. I just missed him in June at the Rock and Roll marathon, but this time it’s going to happen.

There are so many other interesting, funny, inspiring bloggers out there that I can’t wait to meet that I’m sure that I missed someone. Plus, I have the opportunity to see and catch up with some of my favorite people that I have already met in real life including:

Kelli Davis: It was Kelli, who, a couple years ago invited me to become an IDEA Inspired Advisor. In her role as Social Media Manager at IDEA, Kelli gathered us together, picked our brains, and basically created Blogfest. I did see Kelli a few months ago as we both were strolling the aisles at the IHRSA Convention trade show and I can’t wait to see her again.


Tiffany, Gina, Alyse, Kasey: A few of my fellow Inspired Advisors, we met at IDEAWorld 2013. I did just see Tiffany in July, but I’m still excited to see her again. Gina will be speaking and Kasey will be leading a Bootcamp on Friday. Alyse, as one of the founders of Fit Approach and Sweat Pink was a driving force behind the planning of Blogfest.


Melissa, Carrie, Jill, Jamie: I think I may be most excited about getting our Ragnar team together again at Blogfest! I met most of them for the first time last April when we occupied the same van (go Van 2!!!) at Ragnar So Cal. Nothing bonds women together like spending 35 sleepless hours or so cheering each other on. Jamie is also an Inspired Advisor and co-founder of Fit Approach, so she was working alongside Alyse to help plan this event.


Kymberly and Alexandra: I first met the Fun and Fit twins last year at IDEA, and then Kymberly and I hung out at IHRSA back in March. We are all “of an age” and they truly live up to their blog name as they represent the Boomer crowd.

Williams Sisters I could keep going on and on until this post was way too long. I know that as soon as I hit publish I’m going to remember yet another person that I’m looking forward to meeting this week. I can hardly wait to meet so many new and old friends!

Will you be at Blogfest? If you could meet another blogger or person who you’ve met through social media, who would it be?

Training, Rock and Roll, and RAGNAR

Well, I finally did it. I’ve been talking about it for a month, but on Friday I finally pulled the trigger and signed up for the Rock and Roll Marathon in San Diego on June 1!


Whew! Now I guess I’d better create my training plan and get going. I signed Alan up too, so it was not a cheap endeavor, though I did get a discount code from Kristen. Still, I spent just shy of $300.

Shortly after I signed up, I received an email from promoting a one-day 50% off sale. So I went ahead and spent even more money! Great service, by the way. I ordered the skirt on Friday and received it in the mail on Saturday! Too bad it was too cold to wear it on Sunday.

Running SkirtNot sure if this will end up being my race outfit, but I love the color and the fit.

I’ve been saying that it has been seven years since my last marathon, just guestimating, so I decided I should look it up. I ran the Los Angeles Marathon on March 19, 2006, so it’s actually eight years. My last Rock and Roll marathon was on June 1, 2003, so it will be 11 years to the day when I run my next one!

SunriseThis wasn’t a running day, but it was such a beautiful sunrise. This is the view over the tennis courts behind my fitness center.


On Thursday I received an email from Melissa asking me if I would be interested in joining her So Cal Ragnar team. She had to pull out, and was trying to find a replacement. It will start in Huntington Beach on April 4 and finish in San Diego the next day. Pretty perfect time and location-wise.

Now, while I know a lot of friends and bloggers who have done Ragnar, and I understood that it was a long, relay type race, that was really all that I did know. Before I jumped in I decided I’d better look where I was diving.


Ragnar is the overnight running relay race that makes testing your limits a team sport.


From the Ragnar website: “You and 11 of your craziest friends (or 5 of your crazier friends for an ultra team) pile into two vans and tag team running 200(ish) miles, day and night, relay-style. Only one runner hits the road at a time. Each participant runs three times, with each leg ranging between 3-8 miles and varying in difficulty. So, from the elite runner down to the novice jogger, it’s the perfect race for anyone.

Okay, I thought, I can do this (I think). In April I’ll be well into marathon training, so the mileage should be fine (it looks like I’ll be Leg 12, with a total of about 18 miles). I checked with Alan to make sure we had nothing scheduled that weekend, and it was clear.  So, I guess I’m in! Ragnar here I come!

According to Melissa, most of the team is made up of women who met at Fitbloggin’ (and includes Carrie, the one person that I have met). I look forward to meeting the rest of the team. I have a feeling that by the end of the second day, I’ll have 11 new friends.

The Week in Training


Finally, I had a good training week, though not quite as many miles as last week. With my half marathon next weekend, I decided to cut back a little on mileage for my long run, so I ran 10 miles. My legs felt beat up this week, so even 10 miles was a challenge. I attribute the sore legs to a couple tough classes that I taught, plus the general increase in mileage and intensity I’ve been adding. It served to remind me that I need to work on a good recovery plan alongside my training plan. More on this later in the week.

Tuesday I got out late (as usual) and only managed two miles. Well, at least I got a run. And it made Penny happy.

Wednesday, after taking Penny for about a half mile, I headed out for my tempo run. As I mentioned, my legs have been sore/tired all week, so it was more challenging that it should have been, but I did manage six miles total, with three at about half marathon pace, averaging 9:03 per mile.

Saturday is our regular trail run. Alan and I ran a little over five with Penny and Buddy, then I took the little girls for a mile. I stretched afterward (then slept about two hours!), but I still felt tired.


Sunday, still fighting those tired legs, I took Penny for two miles, then headed out for another eight. I felt like this 10 miler was more difficult that last weeks 12 miles, but at least I got it done. Next week I’ll be running the Palm Springs Half Marathon, but mostly as a training run, giving myself a chance to run 13 miles as I really get started on my Rock and Roll marathon training.


It was really cold in the morning too. After last weekend when I bragged about wearing short sleeves, the temperature as about 30 degrees colder. It was 31 degrees when I started my run!

I did have a dog rescuer moment as I was finishing up my long run. I was running uphill, less than a mile from home, I saw two dogs run across the fairly busy street about a quarter mile ahead of me. When I got there, two dogs were standing there, looking at me. I could see that the larger dog had a tag, and the other had a collar, but they wouldn’t let me get close.

Finally, the smaller of the two dogs started to head back across the street. I went into the street to stop traffic, then when the dog just kind of wandered down the middle of the street, I chased him toward the (safer) side. The other dog followed and they both ran into the front yard of a house. As I rang the doorbell, I noticed that the gate was slightly ajar. Both dogs went in through the gate and I shut it behind them. Nobody answered the door. I hope that it was their house, because otherwise the homeowners will be coming home to two new friends.


I also taught two challenging strength classes, and a stretch class. So I’m feeling pretty good about my training. And excited that I’ve actually signed up for the race, not to mention Ragnar.

So much excitement! What exciting things did you do last week? Will I see you at Ragnar?

Jackfruit Chili Recipe. Vegan, Gluten Free, Whole (and Delicious!)

As you may (or may not!) know, I’ve been playing experimenting with jackfruit recipes ever since 1) I tasted it for the first time last spring and 2) I actually found jackfruit locally at an Asian market in Cathedral City.  Since first trying out Jackfruit Carnitas (recipe from a favorite blog), I have since made jackfruit burritos, jackfruit salad, avocado stuffed with curried jackfruit, and more jackfruit burritos.

Jackfruit Chili

I love the versatility of jackfruit. It has very little flavor of it’s own, so it absorbs the seasoning that is used for any particular dish, while having the texture and “mouth feel” of shredded chicken or pork. Jackfruit is not a fake meat, it is a real fruit, and therefore is completely natural and unprocessed.

The one possible downside of jackfruit is that it a very low calorie food, which while that sounds pretty good, it means it does not have a lot to offer in terms of macro-nutrients. A one cup serving of jackfruit contains only 157 calories and 2.8 grams of protein.  That is why most jackfruit recipes will incorporate beans or tofu to make this “meat” as nutritious as it is delicious.

Jackfruit Chili3

That being said, jackfruit is high in vitamin C, vitamin A, riboflavin, vitamin B6 and folate, and is also quite abundant in a wide range of minerals especially magnesium, potassium, copper and manganese, is also high in calcium, iron, zinc and it provides a small amount of selenium. (source) Other health benefits of jackfruit can be found here.

Jackfruit Chili Recipe

5.0 from 1 reviews
Jackfruit Chili. Vegan, Gluten Free, Whole (and Delicious!)
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Recipe type: Main
Serves: 6-8
  • One can green jackfruit in brine or water
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 2-4 cloves garlic, minced
  • ½ yellow pepper, seeded and chopped
  • 1-2 Serrano chili, seeded and chopped
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • ½ teaspoon red pepper
  • ½ teaspoon chili powder
  • 1 15 ounce can kidney beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 15 ounce can white or pinto beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 27 ounce can chopped tomatoes, with liquid
  • 2 teaspoons Tabasco or other hot sauce
  • 1 cup corn
  • 4 cups water
  • 1 bottle beer (I used non-alcoholic because that's what I had on hand)
  • Salt/Pepper to taste
  • Optional condiments: Avocado, vegan cheese, cilantro, tortillas, salsa
  1. Drain and rinse the jackfruit. Using a fork, shred the jackfruit. Mix in the cumin, red pepper and chili powder and set aside.
  2. Heat the oil over medium heat
  3. Add the onion, garlic and yellow pepper. Cook for about 3 minutes, then add the Serrano chili(s). Cook for several more minutes, until the vegetables are soft.
  4. Add the jackfruit and cook for about 5 minutes.
  5. Add the tomatoes and beans.
  6. Add the water. Increase the heat to medium high and bring to a low boil.
  7. Add the corn and the beer and return to a low boil.
  8. Add Tabasco
  9. Reduce heat to low and simmer for 15-30 minutes.
  10. Add salt and pepper to taste. If needed add additional hot sauce to taste.
  11. Serve with desired condiments

Jackfruit is available at most Asian markets. In a pinch, it is also available on Amazon (because everything is available on Amazon!) Do remember to purchase green or unripened jackfruit. Ripe jackfruit is very sweet and sticky. It would make a wonderful dessert, but not taste very good at all in this chili. Note: My Amazon link is an affiliate link, and honestly, the jackfruit is a lot less expensive if you can find it locally.

Jackfruit Chili2

Jackfruit Chili is vegan, gluten free, and completely unprocessed.  While I used vegan cheese on my Jackfruit Chili, which is technically not an unprocessed food, it would have tasted just as good without it.  The recipe made a huge batch of chili, enough to serve six to eight people. For the two of us, there was enough left over to freeze two separate containers (hurray!).

Join Fitfluential!

Many of you know that I’m a Fitfluential Ambassador. I am really proud of that. I have made so many friends and had so many great opportunities in the past two years because of Fitfluential. Guess what! ANYONE can join Fitfluential. There are no fees or requirements to join the Fitfluential family. Just access to an incredible community and great perks like exclusive discounts, giveaways and access to special fitness events in your area. Oh, and when you sign up, tell them that Debbie at Live from La Quinta sent you!  Join Fitfluential here.

YMX by Yellowman Review plus an Indoor Cardio Workout

As an athlete who, besides running, spends time cycling, hiking, and practicing yoga, I love the idea of fitness wear that can multi-task. Clothing that can go from my run to the yoga studio, and even stop at the store on the way home.

I had the opportunity, through my connection as a Fitfluential Ambassador, to receive and try out an exercise top from YMX by Yellowman. I was sent the Elemental Earth Tri-pocket jersey in purple (my favorite color!). It is designed for cycling, and has three large pockets in the back, ideal for carrying gear and nutrition on a ride.

YMX by Yellowman

Since I am training for the Costume Party Run, my recent focus has been on running, not cycling. Plus, the last few days have been so hot that on Saturday I was forced to bring my workout indoors. I thought it would be a perfect time to see if my YMX top would be a great multi tasker. In the video below, I will show you my favorite way to make an indoor cardio workout interesting, plus give you the lowdown on the YMX  jersey.


YMX by Yellowman - Review

I also had a chance to take my YMX top out for a run. I’m on the tapering end of my half marathon training, so I ran seven miles on Sunday. I thought that I’d take advantage of those big deep pockets, so I put a gel, my earphones and my phone there. Everything was good except the phone. It bounced a little too much, which bothered me, so I switched it out after about two miles.

YMX by Yellowman - Review

YMX by Yellowman - Review

It was a very warm day, but the MadKool fabric did its job and kept me comfortable and dry for seven miles. In case you didn’t watch the video, let me tell you about this (practically) miracle fabric.


Madkool technical fabrics are designed to enhance your athletic performance. Madkool actually moves the sweat away from your body into the outer layers of the fabric, where it can dry quickly.

Madkool is silky soft, but tough; stretchy, but the fabric holds its shape and resists abrasion, and designed to receive prints with clarity and permanence. You can wash your YMX tops over and over and they won’t fade.

MadKool will help you stay warm when the weather is cold and help you cool off when your heart is pumping.  Some of the fabrics (those designed for outdoor wear like running or cycling) come with UV protection.

From my personal experience, I can tell you that my YMX top felt so light and delicate that it was a joy to wear. It seemed to keep me dry and cooler on my run in 85 degree weather.  It actually felt dry to the touch when I finished!

When I first put the top on, it seemed kind of short and I thought that it might ride up, but it did not. It stayed right in place through my whole run. The pattern and colors are beautiful, so pretty in fact that I wore my top home from the gym, made a few stops, and never felt that I was wearing “gym clothes.”

All in all I was really happy with my YMX top. They are a little pricey, but for a top that is beautiful, fits well, does the job, plus lasts through wear after wear, it is worth it.

Have you tried YMX before? What do you look for in your workout wear?

Disclosure: YMX by Yellowman sent me a top to review. I received no other compensation. All opinions are my own.

Friday Fitness: The Balls Only Workout.

I love a good, intriguing title, don’t you? Of course, if you know me, you know that the balls in the title refer to stability and medicine balls. No extra equipment needed.

Before we get to the workout though, I want to talk a little about the What’s Beautiful campaign, which is a sponsored program by UnderArmour, in which I was selected by FitFluential to participate. My goal is to run my first post 50 year old sub-2:00 half marathon. On my profile page, you can track my progress, see the challenges that I have completed (so far just one, but I’m working on it!), and send me encouragement.

Underarmour Collage2

Anybody can join, compete, and be rewarded for their efforts.  All you need is to sign up , choose a goal, and share your journey. You can also be a part of a team, either by forming your own, or joining a team of women with similar goals. My first What’s Beautiful post has a ton more details about the program and how you can win cool stuff.

Yesterday I read a post by Lindsay called “Strength is What’s Beautiful.” In her post, she introduces us to the women whose strength and dedication motivate her, talks a little bit about their fitness goals and accomplishments and explains why she is inspired by them. It is a wonderful tribute to a group of amazing women, and she truly shows us that strength is what’s beautiful.

In turn, I am inspired to write about another group of beautiful women, the ones who come to my Superball class. There are a few men in the class, but as with most group exercise classes, it is made up mostly of women. The youngest actually just had a birthday. She is 54. The oldest, well, I don’t ask but upwards of 70 years old old be my guess.

Ball Class

These women come to class for a variety of reasons, but the main one, which I see frequently with people that are a little older, is that they just want to be stronger. They have noticed that they have lost some strength over the years, and they want to turn that around. There are several golfers in class, who realize that the best golf tool possible is a strong, flexible body. There is also a strong sense of community in class, the social aspect of coming together for a class is very strong with this population.

With very rare exceptions, my students don’t come to class because they want to look better. They don’t want six-pack abs, or a rock-hard butt. They want to be healthy, fit, strong, and that is what keeps them coming to class.

Susan Bloom 3

They also love the challenge. These men and women don’t try to do only the easy stuff. They do the exact same workouts that I post here. When given a choice of exercises, as in my “Students’ Choice Workout,” I find that they tend to select the toughest exercises from the list. I frequently tell them that they are who I want to be when I grow up. They inspire me, and I can only hope that I inspire them, too. They are beautiful.

This workout is “Superball Class tested and Approved” for your exercise pleasure. As indicated in the title, you only need a stability ball and a medicine ball.  In the video below I run through a quick demonstration of each exercise, with some form pointers. Enjoy! Or I guess I should say, “Have a ball!”


Balls Only Workout

Have you picked your goal and signed up for What’s Beautiful yet?

Disclaimer: Although I am a certified Coach and Personal Trainer, I am not YOUR Coach or Personal Trainer. Always adapt workouts to suit your body and fitness level. Always consult your doctor before beginning a new exercise program.