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ZEMbassador Bren Tompkins ‘Anything Is Possible’

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We’re delighted at ZEM to be inspired by our ZEMbassador Bren Tompkins who just keeps upping his game and WOW’ing everyone one his achievements. Here is his story:

Hi, my name is Bren Tompkins and I love to run. How I started running is kind of funny; in 2010, I quit smoking three packs of cigarettes a day and gained a good bit of weight. My back went out shortly after and the doctor told me I would not be able to ever run again. Up until that point in my life I hadn’t run at all, and I almost took it as a challenge. I slowly started running 1-3 miles every other day until I could run 3 miles straight through. It’s funny; I remember driving to Daffin Park near my house, run-walking the 1.5 mile loop, then driving home exhausted. Now I take a 2-3 mile detour and then run 3-4 loops before running home.  Through running I’ve met some pretty amazing people who have helped me along the way; Dan Hernandez comes to mind because I remember him talking about running 6-7 days a week and running ultra-marathons, and recall how I didn’t realize it was possible at the time.  Because of him and other people like him, I started doing it myself.

 

I train a little differently than most. I’ve found that six to seven miles a day is the sweet spot for me, and quality miles are more important than quantity.  I do hill and speed work every week.

Ido tempo runs every two to three weeks. I try to get in a longish run on the weekend, but I like to use races as long runs if I’m training for a big race like a 100 miler or a 24 hour. I believe core work is essential to running because as you get tired your core will hold you together. Leg strengthening is also something that I use in my regimen three to four days a week. Working on your form is very important and with ZEM I’m able to do that easily because I can feel everything.  Without the amazing support I’ve had from the Savannah and LowCountry running community I’m sure I would not have been able to accomplish the things I’ve done this year. ZEM has also been behind me with their amazing shoes that are perfect for me, and I hope others will begin to enjoy them as I do.

What I like so much about running is you get what you put into it, just like with life. In 2013, I ran my first 50k and suffered through it terribly. I kept working and listening to my body; now I sit here having finished my 2014 racing and just completed One Epic Run 24 Hour in which I covered 100 miles in 22:52 and finished first overall.  I truly believe there is nothing that anyone cannot do if they set their mind to it. There will be people telling you it’s impossible-the worst one will probably be yourself-but you really can accomplish your goals as long as you put in the work to do it and give it your best. It will not be easy, but anything is possible if you try.

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Race Results 2014

Jan 11, 2014  Savannah Rails to Trails – 50K  Overall:3  GP:3         4:27:34

Feb 8, 2014  Delirium Ultra 24 Hour Run- 24hrs  Overall:5  GP:4          100.01 miles

Mar 30, 2014 Running Dead Ultra – 50 Miler Overall:1 GP:1       8:29:14

Apr 26, 2014  Fort Clinch – 100 Miler Overall:6  GP:5   24:32:35

May 24, 2014  The Great Savannah Endurance Challenge – 24hrs Overall:5  GP:4       101.80 miles

Jun 21, 2014  Bad Marsh Night Ultra – 50K Overall:6  GP:5           4:49:21

Jul 19, 2014  Cremator Ultra – 50 Miler Overall:4  GP:3           7:22:12

Aug 3, 2014  Hot to Trot – 8hrs Overall:7  GP:7          47.2536 miles

Aug 23, 2014  Homestead 10 x 5k – 5K Overall:3  GP:3          3:51:13

Sep 20, 2014  Chase the Sun Ultra – 6hrs Overall:1  GP:1            44.88 miles

Sep 27, 2014  The Georgia Jewel – 50 Miler Overall:3  GP:2       10:03:29

Oct 11, 2014  Under The Oaks – 10k Overall:1  GP:1    38:25

Oct 25, 2014  The Asylum Ultra – Variable Distance Overall:2 GP:2           94.6 miles

Nov 22, 2014  Mad Marsh – 50K Overall:2  GP:2      4:04:07

Dec 6, 2014  One Epic Run – 24hrs Overall:1  GP:1        100.0 miles

Photography by: Tim Easterday

New App Is All About How To Live Life Lean

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PaulineLiveLifeLeanJust in time to think about starting something designed for you!

ZEMbassador Pauline Nordin, creator of NBC’s ‘The Butt Bible & the famous Fighter Diet, as well as leader of the winning Biggest Loser team Scandinavian edition, has recently released her new program LIVE LIFE LEAN. LLL is a ‘a no nonsense approach to lose fat and sculpt a lean body.’ Pauline says ‘it’s easy to get lean, when you follow these rules.’

 

LIVE LIFE LEAN is an easy to use solution for EVERYONE, and aims to provide YOU with tools you will use and tools you will have with you EVERYWHERE, on your mobile device. Live Life Lean is a fitness app that will be powered by Nordin’s  Fighter Diet. The ultimate goal of the new app is to defatten America by giving users weight management tools and professional fitness advice. 

 

 

We at ZEMgear were of course thrilled that Pauline now has this app and headed over to download it right away. We can honestly say it might be the best app and program to start ASAP. Everything you need is on the app so that if you’re at a loss for how to do an exercise, the video is there alone with your workout tracker, meals, diet tracker, articles to move you and so much more. Nordin hopes the app will empower users to take control of their lifestyle now, not later.

 

This is not a transformation, it’s a LIFESTYLE CHANGE.

Nordin started her career as a trainer in her native Sweden. Her work caught the attention of the Biggest Loser producers and brought her on as the trainer, diet coach and eventual leader of the 2006 winning team on the Scandinavian version of the Biggest Loser. Nordin kept her love for winning and training alive by brining her message over to America. Pauline’s choice shoe in her fitness training are ZEMs which she’s told us when we first met that she wears both inside and outside the gym! Her words of encouragement and passion to get everyone moving certainly align with our goal to live in the Zone of Endless Motion.

B. Dumbbell Lunge“I want everyone to do the best they can with the ability they’ve got. There are no excuses,” said Pauline Nordin, creator of the Live Life Lean program. “I’m fed up with the Photoshopped photos in magazines. I will not be part of that culture by having my own photos Photoshopped. I show you the real deal in my videos and I take pride in it. I want women to understand that looks are not important at all unless you focus on the inside too. Muscles are built with a strong mind, a chiseled body is built by a strong mind. You see where I’m going with this?”

The app is  available on the App Store.

Need more reason or info on Pauline and the Live Life Lean app? Check out this review .

 

Achieving Fitness Glory At Any Age

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We’ll start off by warning you that you’re about to be inspired…ZEMSPIRED. This isn’t just about fitness. This is about coming to a fork in the road and making the tough choice to either  take a path to a downward spiral or a path of well-being whose end is unknown but has more of an optimistic outlook than the former.

image6Brenda Taylor describes herself as a “wife, mom, homeschooling (her) boys, strength training, contracted armwrestler with The Ultimate Armwrestling League and a Zembassador for ZEMgear.” But before becoming becoming an arm wrestling champ, Brenda experiences an event that would change her life. She lost her mother tragically on May 1st 2010 in the Tenessee flood waters. Devastated, Brenda says “this event shook me to my core. Psychologists say there are 5 stages of grief. I think I cycled through them and got stuck in the anger stage.” It was then that her friend Nicole Spitzack (owner of CrossFit SolaFide),  encouraged Brenda to workout with her. Having decided that life was too short to be angry and depressed Brenda agreed. She didn’t want to medicate her feelings and rather began to lift heavy weights for therapy. After making this decision, Brenda joined Crossfit. And through a series of coincidences & meeting people, which we blogged about this past summer, at the age of 40 Brenda became a contracted athlete.”I’ll never forget when my Armwrestling Coach, Jeff Janes, contacted me. I thought he was nuts…me…an armwrestler?! I accepted the challenge.” The two things Brenda says she learned at her first tournament were:

 

1. she needed to learn more about arm wrestlingpropic

2. Never underestimate your competitor.

Brenda advises when starting out lifting weights, start light. “Figure out the lift before going heavier. I’ve been lifting for awhile, I’m not perfect. I often times need someone to push me to lift heavier. Recently, SolaFide got a new Coach, Russ Bohlinger. He’s awesome. Russ has been helping my friends and I on our newest journey…StrongWoman Competitions. StrongWoman competitions…even crazier than crazy…but, I had a friend that needed a new path. I told her that she’d be great at StrongWoman lifts. She then said “I’ll do it, if you do it.” I accepted her challenge and got another friend involved as well. I enjoy encouraging others to try new things. Don’t be afraid to fail. Push yourself to your max. You may not be good at certain things, but have the guts to say you tried.

Lift editedEarly next year, Brenda will begin competing. “When competitions come closer…I will be more strict with my food…I hate the word diet. I am not a size 2. I will never starve myself to be a size 2. When I step up to the Armwrestling table, I am usually a healthy 176-lbs. I eat meats, veggies, rice, & power crunch bars. I do try to stay away from carbs…like bread…but If I want pizza, I’ll eat it. I train hard. Why not?! People have got to start finding self acceptance. Redefine your beautiful. Take chances.”

Brenda recalls taking the chance to contact ZEMgear over the summer about being a Zembassador. She had purchased a pair of ZEM 360′s and was ‘absolutely astonished’ at how they were grabbing everyone’s attention with them! “I love my 360′s!!! I joke and say they keep me grounded…humble…but they do keep my feet flat, balanced in my lifts and at the armwrestling table. I have ran several miles in my 360′s, 2Cinch, and Ujanes. I’ve also lifted weights and rowed in all three styles. In my opinion, the 2Cinch were best on the rower. I’m excited that ZEMgear is “coming” to the StrongWoman Competitions with me too. Let’s take the step into the Zone of Endless Motion together. Have courage and MOVE YOUR BODY! 

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Brenda said “I always tell my sons, Cooper and Cameron, that everyone has a story…good and bad….but, it defines who they are.  Life changing events happen to everybody” and we’re so very proud that ZEMs were part of Brenda’s story of inspiration and perseverance. Good luck Brenda!

image7I am wife, mom, homeschooling my boys, strength training, contracted armwrestler with The Ultimate Armwrestling League and a Zembassador for ZEMgear. I’m not a young athlete. Many people want to know my age. I’m 41-yrs old. I became a contracted athlete at 40-yrs old. CrossFit was crazy…armwrestling was even crazier! I’ll never forget when my Armwrestling Coach, Jeff Janes, contacted me. I thought he was nuts…me…an armwrestler?! I accepted the challenge. My first tournament I learned a lot…1. I needed to learn more about armwrestling. (I wasn’t that fantastic! Haha…) 2. Never underestimate your competitor. I am fortunate that I have not had any injuries in my sports. It’s my opinion when you start lifting weights, start light. Figure out the lift before going heavier. I’ve been lifting for awhile, I’m not perfect. I often times need someone to push me to lift heavier. Recently, SolaFide got a new Coach, Russ Bohlinger. He’s awesome. Russ has been helping my friends and I on our newest journey…StrongWoman Competitions. StrongWoman competitions…even crazier than crazy…but, I had a friend that needed a new path. I told her that she’d be great at StrongWoman lifts. She then said “I’ll do it, if you do it.” I accepted her challenge and got another friend involved as well. I enjoy encouraging others to try new things. Don’t be afraid to fail. Push yourself to your max. You may not be good at certain things, but have the guts to say you tried. Anyhow, my strength training continues and early next year I will compete. When competitions come closer…I will be more strict with my food…I hate the word diet. I am not a size 2. I will never starve myself to be a size 2. When I step up to the Armwrestling table, I am usually a healthy 176-lbs. I eat meats, veggies, rice, & power crunch bars. I do try to stay away from carbs…like bread…but If I want pizza, I’ll eat it. I train hard. Why not?! People have got to start finding self acceptance. Redefine your beautiful. Take chances. Speaking of taking chances, I remember contacting ZEMgear over the summer about being a Zembassador. I had purchased a pair of Zems…360′s…and was absolutely astonished with how many people noticed my shoes. I love my 360′s!!! I joke and say they keep me grounded…humble…but they do keep my feet flat, balanced in my lifts and at the armwrestling table. I have ran several miles in my 360′s, 2Cinch, and Ujanes. I’ve also lifted weights and rowed in all three styles. In my opinion, the 2Cinch were best on the rower. I’m excited that ZEMgear is “coming” to the StrongWoman Competitions with me, too. Let’s take the step into the Zone of Endless Motion together. Have courage and MOVE YOUR BODY!

 

Thanks for letting us be part of your story Brenda! Good luck and we’ll be watching!

Pro-Runner Reviews ZEM 360′s

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Our ZEMtastic ZEMbassador Sarah Saffie Bouchard, recently reviewed the 360 ZEM line. Sarah is a Canadian middle distance runner joined the  Zemgear team on July  of 2014  at the start of her  new masters    semi pro athletics career . In addition, Saffy is a fully qualified personal trainer and athletics coach and has recently adapted the minimalist training approach  and foot wear hence joining ZEMgear.

We’re so happy to get Sarah’s input, her personal bests include:

-800m track 2.04 1500m track 4.17 3,000m track 9:18.10 1 mile road Madrid 2005 4.49 5000m road 16.28 10,000m road 34.44 (2004)
-current 1500m track master April 2013 4.51
-current 1 mile road race California 2013 5.25
-Current 5000m road 18.37 2014 , 40 year old master

Sarah’s Shoe Review
360 Round 360  round version
  I first ran in the original 360s  at alttitude in Guadalajara Mexico in June this year.  I wasn’t sure what to expect as I received them from a good buddy of mine who is into fitness and complained to me that they were a little on the thin side as she wasn’t used to minimalist running shoes yet! I laughed and said “ok thanks why not”. So I gave them a whirl and too be honest they were a little under padded! however to my delight they made a great track workout shoe for me, although I thought they could be better with a slightly  thicker sole. I put in a thin insole and wore them for my first race in Cancun Mexico Temptation resort 5km Augsut 2014 and won 1st female. So maybe they are pretty good lol. So I gave them a 7.5 out of ten. My concern with this shoe was not the function or performance but just the durability. However I would defiantely recommend these shoes for track workouts where the track itself has cushioning anyways and prehaps to race only 1 mile on the road. If you can handle a few small stones going into shoes as you run or you don’t mind adding an insole then I would certainly give them a whirl!
360XT-Black-Black-Reflective-Med360 XT Round Toe 

ZEM Gear have given me the opportunity to work with them via training and racing in their product so when I was told  that the shoe  I will be running in was substantially changed via its durability I was very excited to go run hard and fast in them. Upon looking excitedly at this blue (red in picture)  patterned lightweight shoe  it was clear that this shoe had indeed undergone a top-to-toe makeover and  my happy feet liked what they felt.

My first  tempo run in the shoes absolutely sold me that ZEM Gear had produced something special in the ‘let’s be as light on my feet range as I can be and still achieve a smooth fast ride.
It was one of those tempos where everything just felt perfect  and I ran  very relaxed almost like I was barefoot. This time  with no little stones jumping  in and certainly no wear and tear like perhaps the originals would show too quickly . After my 5 miles total workout of which 2 of them were race pace ( 5km runner) I was taking them out on  a pretty fast ride. They didnt look like I had been out the door in them and my feet returned happy and unharmed lol. They are so light and comfortable  it’s like they are an extension of my feet! I can honestly compare these to my 2 year ago run in my nike free and tell you that ZEMgear you nailed it..Sorry, but I am defiantely a fan of as light as possible please. Between  the much improved reinforced outer sole yet still feeling the ground so keeping the proprioception in tact and the good fit it’s pretty hard to beat this shoe..hang on but what about the ninja style! Well I am a 5km low elite master runner who also enjoys competing on the track as well as racing the mile on the road so ofcourse I must try out the ninja style version! In the meantime before telling you how my track session went with the ninja style my rating was ……I gave this shoe a 9 out of ten. What’s missing, you may ask, well prehaps just a different version as not all feet perform alike.
360 XT Black-Silver Reflective TOP360XT  Ninja 
 This year ZEMgear  released  one of its  new improved version the 360s XT shoe ninja style.
 It was definitely not an attractive shoe at  first  glance to some due to the way it’s been cut ( not the smoothest look however seems more roomy for my other toes to splay) so I was told  by some athletes at the Cancun Running track. However a true athlete  should be concerned with performance not aesthetics.  A non skeptic as I am I shrugged my shoulders and went on to try  out these yellow and black wonders.
I am a pretty chatty Cathy but oh my goodness for once I was almost speechless..hold on it’s all good. I was so taken back by the way the split toe forced me to be on my toes I knew my somewhat compromised gait was receiving a much wanted improvement.
I ran 100m x 5 followed by a decent 800m run. Each 100m run was amazing I was so fluid like I was using spikes. It was taking me less effort than normal yet I was running faster. This is why I was attracted to minimal style running shoes in the first place , excellent ground feel and a natural help..I was truly ready to put these to a massive test. I am going to race in these on the track and use them like  a track spike in November at my next race.
I have gone through many shoes  in the last 24 years and was supported by Nike in my younger days. This is the 2nd shoe  next to the  Nike mayfly in my years of  serious running that I would be pretty disappointed if they were discontinued as they are soon to be my new racing gems both on and off the road!
 The non lace system was such a secure fit as I am a very nervous fidgety athlete,  it’s best for me not to deal with laces , even in training especially on quality speed sessions!
If you enjoy short fast workouts or short races or you are looking at HIIT Tabata style running workouts including sprinting these ninja styles are they way to go..Perfect secure fit, very light weight, fantastic durability and propel you on your toes hence making you naturally run with a better gait and faster with less effort. Who wouldn’t want that? I have butterflys when I put them on because I am excited to see my speed workout improved simply due to the way the shoe are made encouraging more efficient running styles. I am a 40 year old low elite master 5km and shorter distance runner and believe me I cannot wait to see and experience how these perform in my 1500m track race. I have already rated these shoes a 10 out of 10 and I haven’t even raced in them. To enjoy the quality and performance in these shoes don’t hold back! Let your body go with the new way in which you run on your toes, just be aware if you aren’t used to running in this manner you will be sore but very happy. I should know.

Christopher Blazosek – Competing to Excel

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Via Mariam Demian (a ZEMspired writer, runner and producer)

If there’s one thing that we’re proud of at ZEMgear it’s the wide variety of athletes that love our shoes. We’re not gloating, but it’s a testament to how many sports ZEM’s are perfect for. The types of sports where the last thing you want to be zem3thinking about is the pain or discomfort of ill fitting foot attire.

 

Think about it, how often do you watch a sporting event and think ‘I wonder what the athlete’s choice footwear is that’s helping them excel in their field of sport?’ How about for bodybuilding in particular? Well, Christopher Blazosek is sharing some insight with us on this topic! He is a NASM Certified Personal Trainer as well as NGA and USBF Natural Bodybuilder. He told us ‘when I train, I need to be comfortable and ZEM has definitely helped me elevate my game.’ He continued to explain that the lightweight and flexibility of the Hero’s really helped improve his dead lift and in his words he ‘can’t picture’ himself performing that lift without a pair of ZEM’S on his feet!

 

Chris spoke about his motivations and inspired us, hopefully you as well, with these few words: ‘you are only as good as your last meet or workout. Come that next meet or workout, whatever happened before doesn’t matter. To me, there is no ceiling and there is always some aspect you can improve on. In the end, you are only competing against yourself and that is what is so addicting about it.’

 

WOW right? Let’s all get out there and continue to train while living in the ZONE OF ENDLESS MOTION!!

Kelly Schumacher’s Mad Skills!

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Via Mariam Demian (a ZEMspired writer, runner and producer)

 

Why does Skee-lo’s song ‘I wish I was a little bit taller’ instantly play in my head when I read about Kelly and Aurora’s noteworthy accomplishments?

 

Well, first there’s Kelly Schumacher, she’s is 6’5”, and this writer is a mere 5’4”. Although, I have a sneaking suspicion that height alone did not get her to where she is in athletics. The words that actually come to mind when learning of Kelly and Aurora’s accomplishments are, tenacity, commitment, determination and of course, let’s not forget ‘mad skills’!!

 

Kelly is a two time WNBA champion, NCAA champion, Spanish League Champion who’s recently switched gears and entered the world of pro beach volleyball.

 

Then there’s Aurora Davis, member of the 2014 USA Beach National Team and 2014′s AVP’s Rising Star.

 

Did you raise your eyebrows in awe like we did?

 

image (1)As with any athlete going pro, there is undoubtedly an incredible amount of effort, sweat, blisters and pain that go into the kind of training it takes to get to the point these ladies are at! There is a lot of trial and error with gear when you’re at any level sport let alone on the professional level. In fact, Kelly told us since playing on horribly blistered feet, and pain so bad it kept her up at night she has worn ZEM socks that prevent blisters and help her focus on the game rather than the pain that could possibly throw her off her game. Or worse, have her end up getting surgery on her toes again! She said “It was a terrible experience that I do not want to re-live! So you can say I’m pretty strict about wearing socks now!’

 

It was quite wonderful to hear about what Kelly and Aurora are up to this Labor Day Weekend because they’ll be teaching skills to the youth at the Pros Beach Volleyball Clinic at Grand Sands in Loveland, Ohio following the AVP Cincinnati. The idea is to not only teach the youth, but to be able to ‘answer questions to kids and parents and help provide advice on what it takes to be collegiate and professional athletes.’

 

Being that ZEM is the choice footwear of beach volleyball players, we’re so glad to play a part in this clinic by being Kelly Schumacher’s choice apparel!

 

ZEMbassador Michelle

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We are excited to introduce you to our ZEMbassador Michelle Otero. Michelle is a true believer in a healthy balance between mind, body and soul. As a licensed mental health therapist and psychology professor, she encourages her clients, friends, and family to try and work on having all three dimensions equally balanced

She has a very diverse athletic background. Most recently, she has been actively involved in competitive figure, competitive dragon boating and paddle boarding. She is competing in the IFBB North American to win her Pro Card in figure. It takes true dedication and constant striving to achieve her athletic physique and abilities. ZEMgear’s main ethic is to encourage all of you to find your Zone of Endless Motion and we believe that this is what Michelle has been able to achieve. We hope she inspires you and enables you to feel empowered to achieve your own personal fitness goals.

Michelle travels and works out in her ZEMs and we’ll be following her throughout her various athletic endeavors.