Born Primitive: X-Factor Sports Bra

Born Primitive is an athlete favorite brand for most gym workouts. They typically make gear for CrossFit gyms, but, their clothes are generally sturdy enough for tough OCR-based workouts. I’ve noticed that their clothes don’t stretch, and colors stay nice and vibrant, even through most washes. Not only that, but BP fans can get a kick out of a multitude of variety in their selection, which is arguably some of the sexiest apparel that is also completely functional.

One thing that I appreciate about the brand is that they keep us pretty in-the-know when it comes to releasing new products. One of their more recent products is listed in the title: the x-factor sports bra.

As soon as I saw it, I thought that it looked perfect for what I needed. It almost has a similar build to the new Human Octane “superhero” series bra. The Born Primitive sports bra itself focuses on a more supportive build, with a longer band and thicker straps. The backing also has many straps so you can ensure that everything is going to stay in place. When I noticed that the website advertised it as something that also can be doubled as swimwear, I thought it would be fantastic for staying in place in the dunk wall.

Product Features

 

The X-Factor sports bra is 87% nylon and 13% lycra for a lightweight and comfortable feel. The edges of the back (not where the “x” is formed) is made out of a mesh material; between that and the open back look, the sports bra is really breathable, even given it’s thicker material. The length is longer and the straps are thicker to provide more coverage.

This Sportsbra also features a slight v-neck, and there are removable pads for those who prefer to have even more support in the sports bra. Because this sports bra provides an emphasis on support, if you are not expecting it, it may feel a little tight around the waistband. I like to save this sports bra for wearing to a race or during intense workouts, but maybe less for lazing around in big t-shirts.

I was a little concerned with my original thought of it being doubled as a swimsuit, I was thinking it was going to be more of a dry-fit material (never-mind that the website clearly has the other material listed, I just wasn’t paying attention!). This sports bra held up very well in the dunk wall, mud, and whatever else I threw at it in the Spartan Race.

Product Usage

I first wore this sports bra to a few workouts. I like to use Yancy Camp to train, which can combine many vigorous exercises into one beautiful, terrible, monstrosity. A lot of times with cheaper, or less specialized sports bras, when you hit a certain level of sweatiness, you feel like your sweat is bleeding through. I did not feel this way about the Born Primitive X-Factor; I felt dry and supported throughout the entire workout.

This was purchased the for race day specifically. I don’t know about you, but once I establish some kind of “race day” outfit, it gets me in the zone. The black X-factor sports bra looks pretty intense, so I got my hands on that one. I put it on and instantly felt ready to take on the day. The first race to which I wore this was the Spartan race in Virginia. First of all, the way it makes me feel is awesome. It looks really cool being paired with even more black.. but that’s just me.

One of the first obstacles that we encountered was the dunk wall. This was the one that I was the most nervous about. I jumped in and, other than the fact that the water was seriously cold, I felt great. Actually, the thicker band made me feel a little bit warmer than I could have otherwise.

Another obstacle that I noticed a difference on throughout this obstacle was surprisingly the bucket brigade. I’m one of those women who usually wear sports bras as my top if the weather allows. On the bucket brigade, I like to hold the bucket close to my torso. This is usually helpful for my grip, but it pulls at my sports bra. Maybe that’s just me. Because the X-Factor has a slight v-neck to it, the bucket did not pull on it at all! I thought that was really awesome.

Lastly, the X-Factor just looks cool. I got several compliments on it, especially for the way that the back of the sports bra looks. If Born Primitive knows how to do anything, it’s making cool-looking sports bras.

Pros

  • Cool looking back design that features a big cross and meshing
  • Longer band for more coverage
  • Small v-cut in the front that prevents slipping on that dang bucket carry
  • Very supportive design
  • Durable; can maintain shape and structure throughout long races and difficult workouts
  • Comes in multiple colors.

Cons

  • Not necessarily dry-fit material
  • Thicker; although great for colder races, may not be the best if you are looking for something lightweight
  • Can’t buy in stores; if you’re interested, you have to buy online. So, you would not be able to try it on before you buy it.

Conclusion

Born Primitive’s X-Factor Sportsbra is fantastic for high-intensity workouts. It has really high support with a longer band for durability, and an open back that includes a mesh detail for breathability. I would not wear this if you were doing something more relaxed, or just around the house. I wouldn’t want to wear this with a lot of layers, because the long line would be uncomfortable. But, for wearing this as a top for an OCR, the X-Factor has shown what it takes to compete in an Obstacle Course Race.

Buy one here

 

Rehband 5mm Knee Sleeves Review


Rehband 5mm Knee Sleeves
3.8 / 5 Overall
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I was sent the Rehband 5mm knee sleeves to try about a month ago. They came in at the perfect time because I had just started to have some knee “stuff” happening. I wouldn’t call it pain, but hill runs, leg day, speed work, etc. had all become a little too much for my knees, particularly my right one. It just so happened that the Peachtree Road Race was just a few weeks away so my running volume was steady but I played it safe on runs so as to not exacerbate the problem. When I first slipped the Rehbands on, they fit like a glove and provided almost instant relief. These particular sleeves also were branded with the Spartan logo, which gave me even more motivation for my first Spartan Sprint in October here in Atlanta.

Rehband 5mm Knee Sleeves Features

Fit- The knee sleeves contour the leg and fit the knee better than any other sleeve or brace I have used. Once I slide them on, I don’t have to adjust them. The material isn’t as breathable as I would have liked particularly when paired with the Georgia heat, but in order to get the amount of support that these bad boys offer, it is an understandable compromise.

Compression – Just the right amount of compression to provide support without feeling like you have tourniquets on each leg. I was able to run, jump, squat, hip thrust, lunge, and carry heavy buckets without feeling any strain on my knees at all. While the compression is tight, I still had optimal range of motion and never noticed wearing them.

Versatility – Most of us don’t training for races by running alone. To train for an OCR, you are running, lifting, carrying, etc. These sleeves transitioned incredibly well from runs to gym and vice versa.

Rehband 5mm Knee Sleeves Usage

I used the sleeves during runs, Crossfit style WODS, traditional bodybuilding splits, and OCR workouts. Each time I used the sleeves I was impressed at how well they transitioned from one style of workout to the next. Unlike most sports specific gear, such as a lifting belt or wrist straps, I didn’t have to constant take them off and put them back on, and despite the compression I hardly noticed they were on. The only time they were slightly annoying was in the midday Georgia heat. They got a little sweaty but didn’t retain any moisture, they just made me a tad more hot.

Rehband 5mm Knee Sleeves Durability

The durability of these sleeves aregreat. I had them on throughout workouts where I was on the floor, on ropes, etc. and they still look brand new. They also haven’t stretched at all and I haven’t washed them yet (and no they don’t smell).

Rehband 5mm Knee Sleeves Pros and Cons

Pros

  • Amazing compression
  • Fit anatomically around the knee for optimum comfort
  • Transitioned well between sports
  • Felt the benefit the first time I wore them

Cons

  • In 90+ temps, they were a little hot

Similar Products

Iron Bull Knee Sleeves

Rock Tape Knee Sleeves

Rehband 5mm Knee Sleeves Conclusion

All in all, I loved how the Rehband Knee sleeves instantly relieved the pressure when running. I had a hard time recovering in between lifts and runs and wearing these made a huge difference in recovery. I was worried that running without them would be difficult since I had gotten so use to using them, but I ran and lifted without them for a week and while I had to work harder to stabilize, wearing the sleeves doesn’t leave you dependent on them. I ran without any nagging knee tension. The technology in the sleeves has me excited to try other Rehband products, particularly their compression pants when they come out. If the sleeves have this much support and contour, I imagine their pants will be well received. These sleeves are a staple in my workouts now for both OCR training and strength training.



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Sarah Hetzel

Sarah is a special education teacher from Greenville, South Carolina. She has experience in running from cross country and track in high school and two years in college. It wasn't until her friend Janet introduced her to obstacle racing that she fell in love with the fitness. Now she's trying to do as many different OCRs as she can, while encouraging others to do the same.
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Second Skin QUATROFLX Compression Tight Review

Second Skin QUATROFLX Compression Tight
4.3 / 5 Overall
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Finding the perfect compression pant is like a quest for the Holy Grail. There are so many brands out there claiming to be superior to all the others that it gets exhausting. I stumbled across several OCR athlete’s wearing Second Skin, Marena, 2XU, and Human Octane, to name a few, on social media and in race photos so I had an idea where to begin. I bought a pair of 2XU compression pants to start, however they weren’t super comfortable and I didn’t want to race in pants that I was constantly worried about so I kept looking and stumbled across a pair of Second Skin QUATROFLX Compression Tights at Dick’s Sporting Goods. These pants fit incredibly well. The compression was tight, yet comfortable, providing instant relief for tired legs. The contour waistband was a nice departure from either extreme low-rise waists or muffin top inducing bands on other brands. These pants were so comfortable and effortlessly stayed in place during workouts, runs, and muddy races, that they literally felt like second skin. Cheesy, I know, but so true. These pants also kept me incredibly warm, despite the ice buckets and frigid water I ran in and out of during races. The best part about these pants is I had ZERO chaffing, zero!

Second Skin Women's QUATROFLX Tights Review

Second Skin QUATROFLX Compression Tights Features

Compression

These pants boast double layered panels for support in key areas like quads and hamstrings, reduced chaffing, increased recovery, breathability and a hidden pocket which is great for storing a gel or a key. While there is nothing super innovative, these pants perform as described, unlike competitors who list more features. A prime example is Second Skin’s contoured waistband. Other companies list similar features, yet fall short in fit and comfort when it comes to the waistband. Female athletes deserve a great fitting compression pant that doesn’t leave them looking like a busted can of biscuits at the waistband.

Fit

I really appreciated the length on these. At 5’3, it is difficult to find OCR or running pants that aren’t too long. With a 27.25” inseam and lots of flexibility in the fabric for a compression, these pants are great for shorter females as well as average height. I purchased them in a small and they fit true to size and fit extremely well through the thighs and butt, accommodating those of us who lift weights as well. I really liked the fact that there was no awkward waist gap as well. The compression factor on these was perfect. You don’t have to pry them on and peel them off, but they are definitely tight and supportive and I felt the difference.

Quick Dry

While these pants do a good enough job wicking water and sweat, this is where they have some room for improvement. Wicking is decent, however if you get wet or sweat a lot, they fall short at being a quick dry pant. To Second Skin’s credit though, they don’t claim that the pant is a quick dry, just wicking. I would really love to see Second Skin improve on the dry time on these pants.

Odor Control

True to their word, Second Skin QUATROFLX compression pants never got even the slightest bit smelly even through sweat and mud. I have worn these on runs in temperatures between 80-85 degrees in Georgia and you could tell they had been worn. Odor control comes in handy even more when you wash laundry, as I didn’t have to wash them twice to get the smell out. Anyone who runs races knows that you inevitably get that stinky piece of gear and fortunately these pants aren’t them.

Second Skin QUATROFLX Compression Tights Usage

The design of these is nothing innovative, just another pair of black pants, but they felt like much more than that once on. I broke these in on leg day first with the assumption that if I couldn’t move around well in them doing squats and deadlifts, then I certainly couldn’t run or climb over walls comfortably in them. I was pleasantly surprised that I didn’t get overly hot while wearing them since I prefer to wear shorts. I was able to perform lifts comfortably and didn’t even notice I had long pants on due to the breathability. I took them on several runs next to test them out to see how my legs felt after some speed work and longer runs. I definitely felt a difference with the compression support, particularly in my quads and glutes. I really felt like I recovered better after wearing these.

I wore them on several runs from treadmill to trail with temperatures ranging from 40 degrees to 82. During the cold runs, the pants get me much warmer with the temperature regulation and provided ventilation during the hot runs to keep me from overheating. I wore these during my first two OCR events this year, the Bonefrog Talladega and The Georgia Spring Savage. During the Bonefrog, there wasn’t any water or mud, but I did get some water on me at a water station, and it took quite a while to dry. While Second Skin never claims that these pants are designed to be quick dry, they are supposed to be wicking. This seems to be the only drawback to these pants, but they wicked well enough for quick dry to not be a major issue on a drier course. I was super grateful for these pants during the rope climb as I didn’t feel one bit of the rope against my skin. I was concerned though, that I would end up with a rip on my pants at some point due to all the wooden walls and logs I had to climb over and under but they held up tremendously. They still looked brand new afterwards.

Second Skin Women's QUATROFLX Tights Review

Second Skin QUATROFLX Compression Tights Durability

Unlike Bonefrog, Savage was full of water, ice, and mud. These pants were definitely put to the test here. While they never seemed to dry quickly enough, I was pleasantly surprised at how warm they kept me despite being wet. I also had plenty of traction from them when going over walls or up ramps, unlike other brands that get slippery and hinder performance.

I have worn these, washed, and dried too many times to count at this point and they have still retained their original shape. Despite going through two OCRs, being submerged in cold, muddy water, slammed on logs and wood walls, under barbed wire, etc. these pants still look and feel brand new. There has been no stretching of material, no pulling, no nicks or scrapes from wood obstacles, nothing! These pants are more durable than some that are twice the price.

Second Skin QUATROFLX Compression Tights Pros and Cons

Pros

  • Super flattering and functional fit
  • Compress is tight and effective but not suffocating
  • Temperature control is great for OCR races that have extreme temperature shifts
  • Extremely durable against all types of environments

Cons

  • Lacks sufficient quick dry
  • Colors aren’t as innovative as the competition

 

Second Skin QUATROFLX Compression Tights Conclusion

The Second Skin QUATROFLX tights  are a great pair of compression pants that will get through obstacle course races without rips and scrapes. The lack of quick dry wasn’t a deal breaker for me as it provides enough wicking for average sweat during a run. If you are wearing these for OCR, the temperature control outweighs the fact that they take longer to dry since they provide warmth coming out of cold water obstacles and cooling ability for wear during warmer months, even in the south. I will definitely be adding more Second Skin compression gear to my gym bag.

 



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Sarah Hetzel

Sarah is a special education teacher from Greenville, South Carolina. She has experience in running from cross country and track in high school and two years in college. It wasn't until her friend Janet introduced her to obstacle racing that she fell in love with the fitness. Now she's trying to do as many different OCRs as she can, while encouraging others to do the same.
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Zensah High Compression Tights

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Zensah High Compression Tights Product Review

Product: Men’s high compression tights (L/XL in black)
Manufacturer: Zensah
Website: zensah.com
Reviewer: Shyam Sriram

A year ago, I was blissfully unaware of compression garments. I say blissfully because after becoming an OCR initiate in March 2013 and getting hooked, I was then inundated with competing and conflicting information about the “best” gear for obstacle course racing. I heard a lot of positive and negative theories about compression gear (shorts, tights, calf sleeves, arm sleeves, etc.), but knew after scraping the hell out of my elbows and knees at the 2013 Georgia Spartan Sprint that I needed something to cover my knees. I bought my first pair of compression leggings shortly thereafter when I picked up the 2XU Compression Tights. These tights were very thin, but worked as a great base-layer for cold weather races and events where my clothes needed to dry quickly and where my legs needed protection.

However the 2XU tights, while good, didn’t really help with the issue that has crippled me – delayed onset muscle soreness or DOMES, which affects a lot of athletes, but really did me in as a guy trying to get into shape in his early 30s. After some of my longer races – 11-mile Tough Mudder; 6.2-mile Peachtree Road Race; and the 21-mile Out of the Darkness overnight walk – I was barely able to walk. Plus, after using the tights during the 2013 Barbarian Challenge in Gadsden, Alabama, I tore several holes in them from gravel, rocks and barbed wire.

So when I heard that Zensah, a Miami-based company, had a line of custom engineered compression gear that actually decreased DOMES and post-workout muscle soreness, I had to try them out. Corey at Zensah hooked me up so I could try a pair of their Men’s High Compression Tights (L/XL size) and I put them through the paces.

Zensah High Compression tight review

This is an excellent product – no two ways about it. These are thicker tights than the usual, thin compression that many may expect, but it’s thicker and slightly ribbed texture provided a high-level of compression that significantly reduced my soreness. With the unusually cold weather we have experienced in Georgia, I used these tights to stay warm, improve circulation and reduce lactic acid buildup during hikes. They worked like a charm.

Perhaps the greatest compliment I can give Zensah is that they drastically reduced DOMES after a race. I wore them after finishing the recently concluded Mud Mingle 4-mile race in Sorrento, Florida and for the first time in a year of racing, I was not in intense pain after a race. In fact, even a day or two days after the race when the real muscle fatigue usually sets in, especially in my legs, I felt great.

An added benefit of Zensah’s tights is their moisture-wicking and anti-microbial features. I put in over 30 miles of sweaty, intense hikes and rucks at the Chattahoochee River Trails and Stone Mountain Park and these tights still don’t smell and they don’t hold on to moisture. The company’s claims are dead on. The only issue I had with the tights was an issue with fit. They had a tendency to slip down if I wore them without underwear or compression shorts. Otherwise, I loved the texture and feel.

All in all, this is a great product and I am excited to try the full range of Zensah compression gear.

Product Rating: 9/10 stars