Friday, April 18, 2014

Surge dynamic fluid resistance trainer review

More often than not, triathletes tend to overlook strength training. Most are lucky to get the required swim, bike and run workouts in, but strength work can be just as vital to a triathlete. Strength training can enhance body control, increase power, stave off injuries and mix up an otherwise dreary training existence to name a few benefits.

Now, whether you hit the traditional weights, go to crossfit or do a combination, there’s right ways and wrong ways to go about it. You don’t want to hit the weights so hard as to bulk up and lose flexibility if your goal is to improve your triathlon performance. You also don’t want to go too heavy and possibly injure yourself. There are many plans and variations that triathletes can find on the internet.

The other obstacle is getting a gym membership or buying home gym equipment. If you have children, then your weights and racks will be competing with doll houses and motorized jeeps for storage space. Some just can’t afford the gym membership just for the weight lifting component.

That’s where this review on the Surge Dynamic Fluid Resistance Training tool by Hedstrom comes in to play. Its design and applications address a lot of tough questions faced by triathletes about space, price and proper workouts. We tried one out and read on to find out what we thought.

Packaging / Shelf Appeal / Marketing

We were sent the Surge in the mail, in an appropriate sized box and packed neatly and securely in the box with the directions and marketing materials. When looking online, the Surge is available in a few brick-and-mortar stores, but we have yet to see what they look like on the shelf. Pure speculation would be that it would sit on the shelf with the instructions attached to it without any other packaging since it’s a pretty big.

Form / Construction

The Surge is sturdy. As soon as you unbox it, you can see that it’s made from thick durable plastic and the last thing you will need to worry about is the device breaking or leaking. The opening for adding water is a heavy duty thread with a thick plastic cap that screws on securely with a water-proof seal. No worries about this leaking on your carpet or hard woods.

The marker lines for how much water to add to determine how much weight you are working in are permanently raised marks on the exterior of the surge. You won’t need to break out your science book to figure out how much water you need to add to get to 15 pounds.

On minor setback might be the seams on the exterior where the two parts of the Surge are fused together. It’s probably unavoidable during manufacturing. The seam is a little raised and can be rough and possibly snag on clothes or leave a nice scratch on your skin. The issue is readily solved with a little sandpaper, so no problem.

Another nice feature is the texture of the Surge. It’s not a truly smooth plastic cylinder, but rather a little grit is present so when you go to grab the Surge to move it or workout, it won’t just slip out of your hands. Speaking of getting your hands on the Surge, the handles are excellent. They are built in, so no protruding parts to catch on walls, doors, clothes or body parts while working out or transporting. It also makes storage easier with less space needed to account for handles that stick out. The design is also smart and has two different handle positions on opposite sides to allow for different hand grips to work different muscles. Hedstrom did their research.

Fashion / Appearance

The Surge is what we would call no frills. It doesn’t have a race car paint theme or neon colors. It comes in utilitarian grey-ish blue with the Surge logo. Wouldn’t you rather have a solid strength training tool at a lower cost than pay more for a slick paint job? Let’s be honest, you won’t be taking the Surge out on the town to show off at the bars.

When you see the Surge, it looks tough and functional. It begs you to pick it up and see what it’s all about. It’s not a sissy plastic cylinder, but rather a tough and rugged resistance trainer.

Fit / Function

We tried out the Surge with a variety of workouts that came on a DVD that accompanied the Surge and a few online videos produced and distributed on YouTube by various coaches.

At first, we were a little skeptical and only went with 15 pounds of water in the Surge. Honestly, can water in a plastic tube be that difficult? Yes. After 50 minutes of following instructional videos we were sweating, panting and shaking from muscle fatigue. The Surge makes you use stabilizer muscles you didn’t know you had and probably wouldn’t want to use unless you had too. Now, you get out as much as you put in. If you take a lot of breaks and don’t take it seriously, you won’t get much out of it much in the same way as traditional strength training. You have to stay active and try to keep it under control.

We got adventurous and added more water to get to 25 pounds and it was almost too much. As with any weight program, you can definitely add too much weight too soon and the Surge is no exception. If you have too much water in it, you can hurt yourself trying to accomplish the workouts.

The dynamic fluid resistance concept might be akin to pilates reformer work or exercises with low weight, high holding times. But, unlike movements just using body weight or smaller weights, the Surge adds in the dynamic component of water swishing around. There’s even movements were the objective is to get the water moving as fast as possible and then counteract the movement to stop it.


On the Surge site, they list the price direct from them at $179.99 and online it ranges from $179.99 to $199.99. That’s before tax and shipping. All bets are on that it’s most cost effective to buy direct from the Surge site.

When looking at other workout gear, such as TRX or kettlebells, you could spend $150 to $300 for a kettlebell set with different weight options and $200 to $250 for the TRX set. For $179.99 you can get the Surge which can be filled with varying volumes of water to achieve different weights and resistance levels. You don’t have the storage issues as with kettlebells and you don’t need to tie the Surge to the wall or ceiling like with TRX.

Final thoughts

When we broke open the box for the Surge, we weren’t sure that a water filled tube would offer much resistance training. When performed properly, workouts with the Surge can be more than challenging. You will have to do some searching for movements if you are not creative enough to figure out moves of your own, like us. But, there are plenty of offerings on YouTube and the Surge comes with a DVD compilation of workouts.

The Surge isn’t cheap, but you get what you pay for. It is very sturdy and appears to be very quality construction.

For those looking for functional strength without needing a costly gym membership or space for racks and benches for free weights, the Surge could be a great option. All you need to do is pour in more water for more challenge and shake your way to getting stronger.


Writer’s Note – Surge sent a unit for this review for no charge and in no way influenced this review.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014


So here I am, traveling for work relishing the past weekend of racing...

...where yours truly pulled a miracle out of my rear and posted a new half marathon PR at the 2014 Rock the Parkway Half Marathon in Kansas City.  With everything going on with traveling for work, home, family, family medical emergencies, Ironman Texas training and no taper whatsoever and riding my bike to the race to get a bike ride outside for once, how did I pull this off?

Well, it wasn't a walk in the park.  I wish I could say with all of my LA Marathon training and Ironman training that posting a new half marathon PR was cake, but it wasn't.  Everything past mile 1 sucked and hurt.  Going out I had a tailwind, but hills.  Coming back was more downhill with a headwind, well, more like a breeze.

So I worked going out to build a comfortable pace cushion and used it up dealing with headwinds coming back.  I would not recommend my training regimine at this point to anyone.

From jamming dinner in for me and the kids and family over to watch the kids the night before to getting all the bike and running gear together AND getting it to fit in my Camalbak, there wasn't really any rest involved with this race.  That's life now these days.

I woke up earlier than I usually would to get food and enough time to ride to the race.  I ate as standard as I could but packed a PB packet to scarf an hour before the race since it would be about 2.5 hours from when I ate to race start.  It was just an akward expereince making this happen, but I did it to myself.  Remember, the goal is Ironman Texas, it wasn't a Rock the Parkway PR unless conditions allowed it.

So there I was, after running a mile warmup and getting elbowed at the start line with people trying to wedge into the start chute, hoping I had enough nutrition and reminding myself to drink up on gatorade on the course.  It was actually one of the warmest days in KC yet this year, topping out near 80.  I knew running hard I would sweat like a pig and I needed electrolytes and fluids.

Off we went and I was trucking to keep 7:15 min/mile pace as long as I could.  I ran the aid stations chugging as much gatorade as I could keep in the cup and only taking an extended break at mile 6 and 10ish.  I knew I needed more fluids than was sloshing out of my cup running.

Luckily I found a tallish dude to draft from the headwind at miles 10 to 12.  Thanks.  Hopefully you didn't mind my clodding feet and out of breathe breathing.

Mile 12 started the downhill into the finish and I knew if I hauled butt, I could have a new PR.  Mile 12 was 6:35, my best mile by 18 seconds.  I was leaving it all out there.  Thanks to that effort I have a new half PR by around 2 minutes at 1:35:53.  Rock the Parkway has proven to be my A-game race for half marathon PR's.  I don't know how I keep pulling it out... maybe I'm so excited to finally run a race outside in KC after a cold winter?

Who knows, I'll take it.  Then I took a 5 mile run to finish my mileage for the day and THEN preceeded to ride my bike home taking what I thought was a direct trail to my house.  Turns out I missed a turn, found a trail that worked and rode into a headwind all the way home.  It's been a while since I have seen a 13 mph average over 20 miles on the bike.  Barf.

At any rate, the race was successfull.  The training day was successfull... but I took Sunday off as I felt ran over and sore.  I missed having a peak week of training volume wise, but as I sit in my hotel room writing this, I'm eyeing my running gear and 60 degree weather for tonight's run on the traveling road.

There are no excused to not getting it done.  Before the kids get up, after they go to bed, pack your workout gear, find a hotel with a treadmill... make it happen.  ;)

Monday, April 14, 2014 #GIVEAWAY No. 1 for 2014 Results

The first week giveaway results for ReInfinitize recovery formula.

After tracking the donations, there was no need for a drawing for week 1 as there were only 2 entries and it was the same person.  Congrats!  Easy win!  Enjoy your Evolution Solution!

Hopefully next week's raffle draws a little more interest.  ;)

And now, we return to lovely spring weather in Kansas City.  April 14, 30's and snowing.  Yeah.  Time to turn on the ole sprinkler system... or not.

Friday, April 11, 2014

2014 Rock the Parkway half marathon preview

Races are just popping up all over the place now!

Saturday is Rock the Parkway half marathon.  It's quickly becoming one of the biggest half marathons around Kansas City.  I have been racing in the event since its start in 2010.  The first year I ran the 10k (when they had it) and every year after it's been my PR race for the half marathon distance.  Well, except for last year when I missed my PR by 43 seconds... oh the agony.  Not really.  I didn't think I could come close to matching my PR last year, but 43 seconds off isn't half bad.


Would I like a new PR?  Sure.  Would I like a sub 1:30 half marathon?  Sure.  Do I think I can pull it off with the LA Marathon training under my belt and the added training from Ironman Texas coming up in May?  Maybe.

I have not tapered at all for this race.  I'll take it easy Friday and maybe just swim, but IM Texas is the focus and I'm going to make sure I get that in before I drop workouts to get a PR at Rock the Parkway.

My goal is to get a warm up run in, run the race hard, and then get the rest of my miles in for my scheduled 21 miles for the day.  It'll be interesting, but I did set my current half PR of 1:37:13 after I rode my bike to the race 17 miles from my house and then rode back home.  Contemplating riding to and from this year as well.  Nice long brick training day.


76 for a high?  58 for a low?  Yes please!  There is a chance of rain and some breeze, but that's a heck of a lot better than 40's and rain.  Makes riding to the event much more tempting.

Why am I racing it?

At this point it's become tradition.  I used to work where the race started and it was sweet to park at the building and stay inside until it started.  Now, I've ran it every year and I figure I should keep running until I've been in it for like 30 years, right?  Be one of those legacy people that could say they ran it every year.  That would be cool, eh?

That and it's a fast course.  It gives me a reason to stay on my running game in the winter to be ready to pound the pavement come April.

Happy running this weekend!

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Are you trying out X2PERFORMANCE?? #teamX2 #spon

You may recall... I did a review not too long ago.

Here's where I went into depth about X2 and what I thought about actually using the product.

For me, it was an overall positive experience and I'd do it again, no problem.  Just look how happy I am after the LA Marathon using X2.  ;)

For you doubters out there, they are letting you reserve your seat to connect with elite strength and endurance coach and 6-time IRONMAN World Champion Dave Scott during a live web event on Saturday, April 12th at 5pm EST. Dave Scott would like to answer your questions on training and nutrition for improving your performance. Please send him your questions by submitting your question onTwitter/Facebook with hashtag #AskDave and @X2PERFORMANCE.  If Dave Scott's backing it, it's got to be good stuff, right!?

Sign up at

Check out X2PERFORMANCE to get a free trail. You will need to select a subscription plan and pay $5.95 shipping charge, but you can cancel the subscription (even before your first shipment) at any time and still receive your free trial.


Writer’s Note – Ryan is participating in a sponsored campaign for X2PERFORMANCE. He received compensation for this post, but the opinions are his. These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent disease.

Monday, April 7, 2014 #GIVEAWAY No. 1 for 2014! Evolution Solution ReFinitize Endurance Recovery Formula

It's time... time to give some stuff away!

So those that have followed this blog, you have noticed I do a fair share of product reviews.  Some are great, some are good, some are so-so and some don't happen since the product didn't work out for one reason or another.

Well, those people that have sent me the products are on board with helping me reach my fundraising goals for Ironman Texas ($1500 goal), Ironman 70.3 ($600 goal) Kansas and Ironman Chattanooga ($5000 goal).   Check out last week's post for the update on the numbers.  It's coming along, but we need more!  This is all a part of my master fundraising scheme for 2014.

I have a shelf in the basement full of stuff to give away to my readers, followers, fans and supporters.  I'm taking a huge leap of faith setting up online raffles will result in contributions and not be a bust for the great people that sent me products.

This week kicks off a giveaway hopefully EVERY WEEK!  That does require me to get some reviews done asap to review the product before giving away the extra.

How do you get in?

Each giveaway entry is counted by a contribution to one of the fundraising pages.  Each giveaway will have a unique amount to donate so I can keep track of what's an entry and what's a regular donation.  I get emails from each page when someone contributes, so they all get counted.  You can enter as many times as you want.

You can contribute to either page:

How do you win?

I will number each entry and hit to randomly generate a winner. I will keep generating numbers until someone gets 3 hits and then they win!

How do you get your prize?

Pay attention to this blog and the Facebook page -  Winners will be announced and I will have you email me your address for shipping.

Who is eligible?

Anyone in North America.  No overseas shipping UNLESS you are in the armed services and you have a North American shipping address that ships items to you.

What's up for grabs this week?

Evolution Solution ReFinitize Triple Chocolate Explosion Endurance Recovery Formula, 3.59 pound serving, expires 11/14

Check out my reviews:

In recognition of LA Marathon a few weeks ago, entry will be $2.62 at either site.  Enter as many times as you want!  Entry closes 11:59pm central time on Saturday, April 12.

You can contribute to either page: