The following post is sponsored by FitFluential LLC on behalf of Puma.
As a marathon runner who goes for long distance and needs support, before this summer, I haven’t had much occasion to try out lightweight racing shoes. But after reviewing the Mizuno Wave Sayonaras a few weeks ago, I was excited when Puma offered to have me try out their new shoes, the Formlite XT Ultra Fluo Women’s Training Shoes.
Just as with the Wave Sayonaras, the Formlites stunned me with their color right out of the box: a beautiful bright peach with a darker neon orange racing stripe on the side! (And while I know this is totally superficial, I should add that I was very impressed by the packaging too: a cool design where half of a regular shoebox fit into a red reusable bag, so that less cardboard is required.)
While the Wave Sayonaras were designed as racing flats, the Formlites are meant for training. They weigh in at only 5 oz per shoe, but even though the outsole design is “inspired by a feather,” I didn’t feel quite as light on my feet in them. While they seemed to feel a little bit heavier (strange, given that they’re 2 oz lighter than the Sayonaras), I actually appreciated that they gave me a little bit more stability. Having learned my lesson by getting sore feet running the Boilermaker 15K in the 7 oz Sayonaras, I stuck to a short trial run of only three miles with the Formlites, but they held up well – I could definitely see going further. For now, though, I was content just to stretch on my favorite pier overlooking my neighborhood.
After reading up more on Formlites’ design features, I learned that the cutouts on the outsole reduce weight while also providing extra flexibility – so it’s easier to move laterally in these and navigate twists and turns. Puma brands this as “moveCELL” because of its highly adaptive design engineered to enhance and maximize your body’s natural movement. For evidence of just how flexible these are, check out they fold up to fit in my laptop bag when I’m traveling!
While I again wouldn’t use such lightweight shoes for marathons or long distance, I thought these held up well to be a non-marathon-travel shoe. They survived the 3 mile run just fine (and I could see them going all the way up to 10K or so without a problem). Furthermore, the flexibility makes them multi-purpose – so I could wear them for a run but also for weightlifting (which is one activity where you really want lightweight shoes!). I might also wear them for Zumba or another dance activity (and the fun colors are perfect for something like that), but I’d steer clear of wearing these for a sport like basketball, soccer, or something where you need a lot of stability for lateral movements.
But the Formlites weren’t all that Puma sent me to try! I’ll admit, when I first pulled the Performance Bodywear Tech ACTV Long Tights out of the box, I wasn’t too psyched. It was the middle of summer, and I was going to have to wear long high-waisted tights? But these aren’t tights in the “I’m a cold runner in the middle of winter” sense of the word; they’re ultrathin, almost like ballet tights (though a little less sheer). And rather than keeping you warm, they instead have amazing interior “taping” that works like KT Tape to provide compression benefits and micromassage! Since I’m now trying to work standing as much as possible, compression tights like these are exactly what I need to keep my blood flowing and prevent fatigue.
I’m not going to lie – the tights were a bit tough to get on. The tape is pretty darn “grippy”, and it can be quite tricky when you’re trying to slide your legs into the stretchy form-fitting tights and adjust the tape to be in the right spots. But the end result was tights that fit me like a glove and were giving comfort in all the right places. I am so sold on these! They are fantastic for everyday standing at my desk, weekly flights with my legs in cramped positions, and of course, post-running race recovery. The material is lightweight enough that I’m comfortable wearing it in the summer. At least, indoors – I wouldn’t exactly go for a run outside in the 80 degree weather with them. In the winter, they’re thin enough to use as a base layer without adding bulk. At $100 a pair, these aren’t cheap, but I’m actually considering buying a second pair so that I don’t have to go without when I inevitably want them every weekend in fall marathon season and don’t do enough laundry to keep up. (Stay tuned for my fall marathon schedule and a big announcement coming tomorrow!)
Puma also asked me to put together a workout that would highlight the products – and while most people seemed to write running workouts to showcase the shoes’ speed, I was so in love with the tights that I decided I wanted to create a barre workout to go along with the graceful and lithe bodies for which jungle cats (like the puma) are known. As part of my August breathe challenge and to supplement the fact that I can’t do heavy strength training with my neck injury, I’ve been doing a lot of barre workouts these days. But even if you aren’t injured, strengthening your legs and trying something new can be a great way to prevent injury! The inner thigh muscles and outer hip muscles are some of the least-used leg muscles (compared to the quads, hamstrings, and calf muscles), but they help prevent knee injuries and allow for quick direction changes without ACL tears.
Front attitude lift: With your left hand on the bar, right arm overhead, and both legs turned out, lead with the right knee and bring your right foot up, bending your right leg so that the knee forms a right angle and your foot is pointing slightly down. Keep your leg as turned out as possible, as if you were trying to maintain that knee bend while bringing your right foot up as high as your knee. From the top, lift your leg one inch, then lower it one inch. Each lift/lower is one rep.
Back attitude lift: With your left hand on the bar, right arm overhead, and both legs turned out, lead with the back of the right ankle and bring your right foot up, bending your right leg so that the knee forms a right angle and your foot is pointing slightly down. Again, keep your leg as turned out as possible and resist the urge to drop your knee and turn in – you should feel this in the outside of your right glute. From the top, lift your leg one inch, then lower it one inch. Each lift/lower is one rep.
Arabesque lift: With your left hand on the barre (or other stable surface, like a chair or counter), extend your right leg behind you, pointing your right toes on the floor. Hinging forward at the hips slightly, Lift your right leg up behind your hip, ideally to ninety degrees, but as high as you can comfortable get it is fine. From there, lift your leg one inch, then lower it one inch – keeping your toe pointed and your leg straight. Each lift/lower is one rep.
Curtsy lunge: Stand with your feet hip-width apart with toes turned out, arms out to the side. Take a big step back with your left leg, crossing it behind your right. Bend your knees and lower your hips until your right thigh is nearly parallel to the floor. From there, lower down one inch, then raise back up one inch – keeping your back straight, hips square to the front, and chest pointed forward (not down). Each lift/lower is one rep.
Plié pulse: Stand with your feet about two feet apart with toes turned out, arms out to the side. Lower down until your knees form a right angle (adjust the distance between your legs as needed). From there, lower down one inch, then raise back up one inch. Each lift/lower is one rep. (For extra challenge, try raising one or both heels off the ground in releve position, making sure to switch sides if you are doing only one.)
Plié / relevé: Stand with your feet about two feet apart with toes turned out, arms out to the side. Lower down until your knees form a right angle (adjust the distance between your legs as needed). Straighten your knees to stand up and immediately rise up onto the balls of your feet, bringing your arms over your head. Each plié counts as one rep.
Plié jump: Stand with your feet about two feet apart with toes turned out, arms out to the side. Lower down until your knees form a right angle (adjust the distance between your legs as needed). Using the ground to push off from the heels, jump into the air and point your toes, straightening your legs out so they continue to extend slightly to the side, then roll back through the balls of your feet and return to the plié position. Each jump counts as one rep.
Lying leg lift: Lie on your right side – you can either stretch your right arm out on the ground directly under you, or bend at the elbow to prop your head. Stack your left leg on top of your right, with both legs straight and toes pointed. Now, engage the outer thigh and slowly kick the leg up to 45 degrees (any higher and other muscles take over from the hips), then lower back down, hovering just about the right leg so your leg doesn’t get a rest. Each lift/lower is one rep.
Clamshell: Lie on your right side with hips and shoulders stacked in a straight line. Bend your knees up toward your chest so that your thighs are at about a 90 degree angle to your body, placing your hand on the floor in front of your chest for extra stability. Keeping your heels touching and both knees at the same right angle, rotate your left leg to open the “clamshell” and bring your knee up in the air. Return to the starting position, tapping your left knee but not letting your foot rest. Each open/close is one rep.
Don’t be alarmed by the high number of reps on this workout – since you’re doing bodyweight instead of resistance, it can take a lot to reach exhaustion. But when your legs start to quiver (and they will!), don’t quit – that’s supposed to happen, and that’s where you need to stay to make it count.
If you’d like to purchase either the Formlite XTs or the ACTV Tights, visit http://shop.puma.com to buy online.
Disclaimer: Puma provided me with shoes, apparel and compensation for an honest review, but I was not pressured to write a positive review and all opinions expressed in today’s post are mine alone.