Clermont Florida Triathlon Training - Guide To Swim, Bike, Run - Cycling Orlando, FL

Strava Heatmap of Clermont FL
Swim, Bike, Run
Clermont Florida is a popular destination for active endurance athletes who like to participate in triathlon or swim, bike, and run. It is just 25 minutes from downtown Orlando and the Orlando International Airport (MCO). It is a popular training destination and camp for many professional athletes including track & field, rowing, wakeboarding, water skiing, golfing, fishing, motocross, and triathlon. Clermont isn't your typical pancake flat Florida and is quite rolling and it makes for some great riding. Beautiful spring fed lakes make for great open-water swimming and the famous Clay Trail make for great running.

Numerous athletes have made their homes in Clermont including track and field Olympians Tyson Gay and Justin Gatlin. Gwen Jorgensen, winner of the 2016 Rio Olympics Triathlon gold medal was a frequent visitor to Clermont along with permanent triathlon residents Sarah Haskins, Alicia Kaye, and Jarrod Shoemaker.  Many other world champions including: Richard Murray, Andreas and Michael Raelert, Mario Mola, and Katie Zaferes have all made Clermont a frequent training place. Many amatuer triathlon teams and camps have also visited including QT2, Base, and AJ Baucco Coaching.

This guide is primarily focused on those that are coming to Clermont for triathlon but is also applicable to anyone just swimming, biking, or running. If you have something to add or notice an error (even grammatical) please leave a comment below.


Swimming Resources & Pools 

Swim - NTC Pool
NTC Swimming Pool
Long-Course Configuration (50M)

Clermont is home to the National Training Center (NTC) which features an oversized outdoor Olympic Pool (50m). The pool is typically heated in the winter to 80-81 degrees and features the automated Thor-Guard Lightning Detection system in the summer to handle objective pool closures and reopenings. The NTC has a day pass at the cost of $15. Cheaper options may be available for longer stays.

The pool has great hours on weekdays and is open to 8pm. On weekends the pool is only open to 4pm. There is always a lane available except for rare regional swim meets. The pool switches between long-course (50M) and short-course (25Y) depending on the day and time of year. Long-course has typically been Thursday - Sunday during the past few years and primarily only in the winter.


Swim - Open-Water - Lake Minneola

Waterfront Park
Open Water Swimming
Clermont is home to super clean and beautiful springfed lakes. While many triathlons have taken place at Lake Louisa State Park, people generally prefer (myself included) to swim at Lake Minneola in Downtown Clermont. Specifically people swim at Waterfront park. There is a set of 11 poles that is roughly 200 meters longs. The poles are an equal distance apart and allow for athletes to structure workouts in open water. Alternatively you can just swim around the poles for a continuous swim. The water depth at the poles is generally 5-6 feet deep. The water is very clear for a Florida lake but has a strong orange tint to it.

Water temps in the winter can vary widely but usually range from 60-75 degrees. Water can get colder for a brief period in January but is usually fairly mild otherwise. In the late spring, summer and fall, the water temp is between 78-88 degrees but the lake can get considerably hotter with no rain and plenty of sun.

You will find lots of kids and families swimming in early spring thru late fall. While the lake is not free of alligators, generally the city will remove any alligator once it reaches a certain size. With that being said, please swim at your own risk. Pros have generally worn wetsuits in Dec, Jan, and Feb. Here is a strava file of mine.

Open Water Swimming @
Waterfront Park, Clermont FL


Swim - Open Water - Lucky's Lake Swim

Lucky's Lake swim is another popular option that has a daily swim that is attended by many people of many levels. A waiver is required to be signed but it is free to all. The swim is 1k and takes place in the morning.


Running Resources 


Waterfront Park - Downtown Clermont - 330 3rd St, Clermont

The lakefront path stretches 5 miles west of downtown Clermont and you can run 14 miles east to Winter garden. Many athletes, do brick workouts and park at Waterfront park. There are 4 sets of water and toilets in and around the Clermont section of trail but outside of Clermont you are on your own. Here is a strava file of mine.

Waterfront Park Run


Clay Trail Loop - 5 min south of Clermont - Intersection of 5 Mile Rd & N Bradshaw Rd

Runners at the Clermont Clay
The famous Clay Trail is one of Clermont's best assets featuring a 9.3 mile loop on soft clay roads that was once all orange groves. The course is very rolling and challenging and can be a few degrees hotter than you expect on a sunny day.

The clay trail is frequented by many runners on Saturday and Sunday mornings if you are looking for company. Parking at the Clay trail is free but please be considerate of the land. There are no porta potties or water.

The trail is easy to follow. Going in a clockwise direction (keep taking right turns) it is impossible to get lost. The loop is 9.3 miles in total but there is more soft clay out there if you want to explore and extend the run. Here is a strava file of mine.

Clay Trail Run Loop



Lake Louisa State Park - 5 min south of Clermont - 7305 US-27, Clermont

Lake Louisa State Park offers a quiet peaceful place to run, either on the road or thru the trails. Open 8am to sundown, 365 days a year. $5 to enter whether on bike or by car. Here is a strava file from a runner.


Green Mountain Scenic Overlook Trail - 15 minutes northeast of Clermont - 20700 County Road 455, Minneola

Green Mountain Overlook Trail is another soft surface trail that is a popular spot for athletes in the area. Often times it is where people do their long runs. Expect to see Florida wildlife on this run. There is parking and facilities at the trailhead. Here is a strava file from a runner.

Green Mountain Trail


Clermont Park Run @ Lake Hiawatha Park - Downtown Clermont - 450 12th St, Clermont

Clermont Park Run is a weekly free 5k that is done every Saturday morning at 7:30am. You must register prior and complete a waiver and and bring your barcode in order to race. Registration is handled online only. The course starts and finishes at Lake Hiawatha Preserve, 450 N. Lake Minneola Shores, Clermont, FL 34711.


Cycling Resources

Bike - Ferndale - Montverde Loop 

The Ferndale loop is a popular loop for people all around the state to come ride. It is very rolling and is 12.5 miles around. In the dab smack middle is Sugar Loaf Mountain.

An easy way to access the Ferndale route is Waterfront park. Take the trail East until you get to your first stop and go light (Hancock Road). The trail splits and goes two different directions. Take a left on Hancock will take you north to the Ferndale loop. Take Hancock till it ends out in the country and take another left. You will be now be on the Ferndale loop going in a clockwise motion. Here is a strava file with a Ferndale loop in it. Alternatively you can also ride and do all other rides from the NTC.

Ferndale Loop

Bike - Centerhill 

Centerhill is an easy add on to the Ferndale loop ride and adds another 33 miles or so. You have a short ride on a busy SR-19 before turning on to a remote and rolling Dewey Robbins road. Then you have 1 mile stretch on US-27 before getting back on a nice quiet road and rolling into Centerhill where the is a Dollar General to refuel. A lot of people will ride intervals and park at the corner of Dewey Robbins and SR-19. There is also a church a few blocks away on SR-19. Here is a truncated strava file of mine.

Centerhill Ride



Bike - Van Fleet Trail - 72 miles round trip

The Van Fleet is a multi-use path that goes thru the heart of the green swamp and is pancake flat. You are likely to see plenty of wildlife on this ride including alligators, snakes, and many turtles. There is easy access to the start of the Van Fleet just 12 miles west of Clermont and right off Highway 50. The trail is highly shaded in many parts and makes a great place to beat the summer heat.

There are bathrooms, water and parking at the trailhead start. Heading south, it is about 10 miles to the next bathroom and benches but there is no water there. It is another 10 miles south to the next bathroom, benches and water. Then it is further 14 miles to the end where there is a bathroom, benches, and water. There is also a couple of convenience stores just another 1/2 mile away if you need something additional.

Van Fleet Trail


Bike - Winter Garden Coffee Ride

Park at Waterfront Park in downtown Clermont and ride to Winter Garden to enjoy some coffee at Axum Coffee. You can take a multi-use path trail the entire way. Route is about 26 miles. This is ride does have quite a few stop signs and makes a great recovery ride.

 Clermont - Winter Garden Coffee Ride



Bike - Sugarloaf Mountain

Riders ride up Sugarloaf mountain
Sugarloaf is the highest point in Florida and the closest thing we have to a mountain. A lot of athletes will do intervals out there. Like many Clermont rides you can park at Waterfront park or the NTC and take the trail system out to the country or use the bike lanes too. People also park out at Sugarloaf but please be considerate of those who live out there. There is a family at the top of the hill that provides water to athletes via a small water station.

The following ride file is from some intervals I did with the Base camp at Sugarloaf and leaving from the backside parking lot at the NTC.

Riding out to Sugarloaf
 from the NTC

Bike - Lake Louisa State Park

Many people will bike at Lake Louisa state park. The cost is $5 to enter and there are a lot of other activities you can do as well. The park itself is quiet and the roads are in great shape. You will be limited to loops of about 10 miles.


Events - Triathlon, Running and Endurance Events

Clermont is home to quite a few triathlons, swims, bikes, runs, aquathlons including:

- Florida Ultraman
- The Great Floridian
- Cool Summer Mornings Triathlon Series
- Girlz on Fire Triathlon
- Great Clermont Triathlon
- Lake Minneola Sunset Triathlon
- Clermont Splash n' Dash Aquathon Series
- Clermont Clay - 15k & 5K


Triathlon Camps Clermont (Jan-March)

- QT2
- AJ Baucco Coaching
- Base


Other Resources

The following are some resources that you might enjoy while in the Clermont Area

Pool Swim - NTC National Training Center - Clermont FL right off 50

Mobile Bike Shop - JPR Mobile Services - He comes to you

Bike Shop - Winter Garden Wheel Works - Downtown Winter Garden FL

Bike Shop & Coffee Bar Epic Cycles - Downtown Clermont FL

Triathlon Run Shop - Dash Sports -  Downtown Clermont Fl

Chiropractic - Dr. Sorchy (works with a majority of the athletes in town) - Clermont FL right off 50

Sports Massage - Maria Arrendondo - Maria give amazing sports massages and has travelled as a staff masseuse with team Australia. Originally from Columbia, Maria has worked on many World Champions and Olympic Gold medalists.

FoodLucky's Market - No Whole Foods but we have a Lucky's Market with lots of healthy eats. Makes for an easy stop either going to or leaving the NTC.

Cortisone Shot for Runners with Plantar Fasciitis Heel Pain

Should you get a cortisone shot for plantar fasciitis heel pain? The short answer for most is no. While it is true that cortisone shots can temporarily remove inflammation and pain associated with an acute injury like plantar fasciitis, the reality is the often times cortisone shots do more harm than good. Research has been shown that cortisone shots can actually permanently weaken the tendon leading to reinjury and even worse, complete tearing.

Often times people with plantar fasciitis are desperate to fix it. In my experience it is usually runners I hear from, whose only outlet is running, and they can't stand not being able to run. The reality is that plantar fasciitis is an injury and your body produces pain and inflammation to protect itself. Masking pain is rarely a good idea because it gives us a false sense that a hurt is now healed. Getting a cortisone shot is just ignoring what your body is telling you. You need to stop doing whatever you are doing that makes it hurt and focus on letting the body heal itself

A better approach would be to stop worry about getting back to running and focus on what you can do. Find a pool and do some swimming or jump on spin bike / peloton. Find something that doesn't aggravate it as much as running. Plantar fasciitis can be a very nasty injury, especially if you have never had an injury before. Don't be surprised if it takes 3, 6, or even 12 months to heal. I will write a separate article about how I have healed from my own plantar fasciitis but in the meantime here are few things that may help:

Foot exercises designed to strengthen your feet
to both heal and prevent reinjury of plantar
picking up stones with your foot 

is a great exercise regardless
of whether you are injured or not
Heating pad - I liked to use a heating pad to heat the area. This can be done in the morning before getting out of bed when your foot is extra stiff or at night as you are winding down and watching tv, reading etc. In my experience ice is not as effective. Part of the goal of plantar is keep it relaxed, loose, and supple.

Buy Irregular marbles / stones - the best thing you can do is start to strengthen and rehabilitate your foot. Buy a set of marbles and stones, slightly irregular is better and dump them on the floor. One by one pick them up with your feet / toes and place them into a container. I like to do this twice a day for 5 minutes.

Foot Log Massage Roller - the following is a foot log backed by a simple money back guarantee. Buy two, carry it with you and put one under your bed. Before ever placing your foot on the ground from either sleeping or sitting, make sure you gently roll your plantar for a few minutes to warm it up and lighty break up any scar tissue without causing significant acute stress that you would get from getting up and standing on it. A soup can works too.

Plantar Fascitis Boot - the boot can be a great device that keeps the calf /achilles / plantar slightly stretched at night. Don't be surprised if you wake up and you removed the boot in your sleep. This can be especially important device for anyone that sleeps on their stomach and keeps their toes essentially pointed

Strassburg sock - same idea as the boot but in slightly less bulky design


Best Iron Supplement for Anemia & Low Ferritin Levels

The best iron supplement for low ferritin levels is going depend on each specific athlete and their nutrition views. Many smart and experienced people would say that eating a diet rich in foods, that provide good sources of iron, is the best way to raise your iron and ferritin levels. Some of those foods include meat while other include nuts, seeds, legumes, and vegetables.

Others might say that taking a heme form of iron is the quickest and most effective way of increasing your iron and ferritin levels. Keep in mind that heme iron supplements are derived from animals. Others that don't consume animals products might suggest a non-heme form of iron.

What I can say is that as a professional athlete I have had my blood tested numerous times to optimize my blood and my body for athletic performance. I use a super simple service called Athlete Blood Test to do this and here is a link to all my blood work posts where I post my actual iron test results, ferritin test results, and all my other blood biomarkers (testosterone, thyroid, you name it).

Heme IronGrass Fed Beef Liver
As you can see from those tests, I have been low on iron a few times and have used various supplements to increase my iron, sometimes almost too well. Too high of iron level can be just as bad or worse than too low so make sure if you take a lot of supplements to get your blood checked periodically. Regardless here are a few of my favorite iron sources that have proven to raise my own iron and ferritin levels effectively.

Heme Iron Supplement Recommendations - animal-based supplement, typically much more expensive but offers better bioavailability and is absorbed better to potentially raise levels faster.

- Proferrin ES Heme Iron Polypeptide
Ancestral Supplements Grass Fed Beef Liver

Non-Heme Iron Supplement Recommendations - basic iron supplements not derived from animals. Less expensive but typically not absorbed as well heme iron.

- Amazon Elements Iron
- Nature's Made Iron

Iron Rich Foods


Best Swim Goggles For Triathlon Swimming

Best Swim Goggles
for Triathletes
The BEST swim goggles for triathletes are going to depend on the specific athlete, their specific face and the specific swim venue that they will be swimming at. One best pair of goggles that works for one athlete may not work at all for another athlete as each goggle has a specific fit.

As an uber-geeky and long-time professional athlete, that was also an adult onset swimmer, I have formed some strong opinions in terms of what you want in a goggles. These opinions have been formed using 40+ different pair of goggles from many different companies including: TYR, Speedo, Roka, BlueSeventy, Aquasphere, Swedes, and many more.

If you know me, you know I am a huge fan of cheap things, but cheap goggles is not one of my things. You want goggles that make swimming as enjoyable as possible. Many triathletes struggle to swim enough and bad goggles are just one more road block to more swimming.

Universal Basic Features I Require

The following are basic featureas I require for all my goggles:

- Soft gaskets that won't leave deep marks around your eyes and hurt
- Slim profile with good suction that won't fall off your face with the push off the wall
- Durable
- Won't leak
- Won't fog easily
- Good and easy adjustability 

Lens Options

Then there are some basic features of swim goggles that are situational. Not every lens is the right lens for every particular situation. Each lens has a purpose.

Mirror Lens of the Aquasphere Cayenne
Mirrored lenses - Mirrored lens swim goggles are best for swimming outside at the pool or in a race when you are swimming into the sun. However, mirrored lenses tend to be the least durable lenses and often times require frequent replacing.

Clear lenses - Clear lens swim goggles are best for low light visibility days, early morning racing, and night swims. Everyone needs a pair of clear googles.

Polarized lenses - Polarized lenses offer some of the benefits of mirrored lens in helping cut glare from the sun. They also allow me to see buoys more clearly and have the benefit of being more durable than mirrored lenses. You won't have to replace polarized lenses as often as mirrored.

Tinted lenses - I prefer to have polarized or mirrored glasses over tinted, but tinted work fine too. They are more affordable and still can meet all my other basic requirements. The idea is they bring down the level of light just like sunglasses.

Goggle Recommendations

Here are my top goggle recommendations. Keep in mind, I am actually sponsored by BlueSeventy. You can save 20% off all BlueSeventy products with discount coupon code: Gerlach2020. In my experience both personally, and talking to others, these are the goggles that work for the most amount of people and is a good place to start your goggle search. Many people with smaller faces will benefit from the small-fit version of goggles. Personally, my preference is for small fit goggles but I am definitely a tweener.

Aquasphere Cayenne Swim Goggles - This is hands down my all-time favorite goggle. First the field of vision is larger than most goggles but without being overly bulky. The field of vision is specifically helpful in open water when trying to site buoys. They come in mirrored, polarized, clear, and small-fit frames. Personally the small-fit frames are the perfect size for my face and is a big part of why this is my go to goggle.


TYR Special Ops Swim Goggles - Great goggles that come in variety of lenses and colors. Super soft gaskets that are durable. Come in a women's fit too.

TYR Special Ops

BlueSeventy HydroVision Swim Goggles - Comes in polarized and mirrored lenses that offer crystal clear vision. Great durability and easy adjustability. My only wish is they made this in a small fit version.
BlueSeventy Hydra Vision

Summary

Anyone that definitively says their goggle is the best is full of it. There is no one goggle that is best for everyone. Spend some time and money trying out different goggles and find what fits your face best. The best fitting goggle will often be the best goggle for you. Here are links to the following goggles that I recommend.

- BlueSeventy Hydra - Clear
- BlueSeventy Hydra - Smoke Tint
- BlueSeventy Hydra - Mirrored
- BlueSeventy Hydra - Polarized 

- TYR Special Ops - Polarized
- TYR Special Ops - Clear Transition
TYR Special Ops - Women's Fit Clear
TYR Special Ops - Women's Fit Polarized

Aquasphere Kayenne - Clear
Aquasphere Kayenne - Polarized
- Aquasphere Kayenne - Mirrored
Aquasphere Kayenne - Smoke Tint

Aquasphere Kayenne Small Fit - Clear
Aquasphere Kayenne Small Fit - Polarized
Aquasphere Kayenne Small Fit - Mirrored
Aquasphere Kayenne Small Fit - Smoke Tint



Black Friday Compression Boots Discount Coupon Code Sales - Normatec vs Speed Hound vs Air Relax

The following Black Friday / holiday discount coupon code sales exist in the recovery compression boot space for Normatec (Save $210), Speed Hound (Save $100), and Air Relax (Save $45).

Normatec - Save $210 on Normatec thru Black Friday weekend, no coupon necessary. This is an extra $50 off for the Black Friday weekend, then the promotion will revert back to $100 off for the rest of the holiday season up thru New Years. If you purchase via Amazon and use their Amazon Prime Visa then you can save an additional 5% off for a total of $210 off and effectively makes them $1085. Purchasing via Amazon also offers Amazon's outstanding customer service, longer holiday return period (Jan 31st 2020), and potentially same-day delivery.

Speed Hound - Save $100 with Speedhound Black Friday coupon code for $100 off is TG100. Sale runs thru Dec 8th. Beyond those dates you can still use RecoverFaster20 for $50 off for the rest of the holiday season. Speed hound recovery boots can only be purchased from Speed Hound's website. Side note, I really like this brand of boots as they have a super slick user interface and the owner is actually a triathlete himself. He is really adamant that you love your boots even if that means you end up in a competitor. If you support small business Saturday then Speed Hound is a great option for this cause. I did a short review against Normatec here.

Air Relax - Save 10% (~$45) with Air Relax Black Friday coupon code BMT87. Starts 11/28 at 11:00pm EST and runs thru 12/02. After Black Friday, monthly coupon for 5% saving - coupon changes monthly - can be found here.  Air Relax is much more affordable than Normatec ($400 vs $1085) and they have gotten tons of solid praise over the years. Purchasing Air Relax is also supporting small business Saturday. Although the owners are not triathletes, they have been a blessing to work with over the years and it has been a wonderful family run business. I'll add that for the skinny-lean triathlete the Speed Hound boots width can be more appropriately sized. Air Relax really started as a medical device for a typical larger body in my humble opinion and has a more relaxed fit. Air Relax can only be purchased at their website. I did a review of Air Relax and Normatec here.

Relevant Links

- Normatec - No code necessary
- Air Relax Website - Use code BMT87 to save 10%
- Speed Hound Website - Use code TG100 to save $100

20% OFF at Competitive Cyclist Coupon Code - Discount Sale.

Click to go to Competitive Cyclist
Here are all the official Competitive Cyclist coupon codes and discount currently available.

Please note, this list is automatically updated and generated direct from Competitive Cyclist so it is always up to date. If this page is blank (frequently) there are no discounts coupon codes sales available.

You can also check Competitive Cyclists email sign up. Usually there is a one-time use code if you sign up and give your email and they will automatically apply 20% on a single item. Some restrictions apply.


The auto generated discount coupon code feed direct from Competitive Cyclist below (blank means no currently available offers):

Normatec Pulse 2.0 Review - Detailed Recovery Compression Boots

The Normatec Pulse 2.0 recovery compression boot system is here and today I'll review it and see how it stacks up against its predecessor, the Normatec Pulse.

The Skinny

I'm just going to come out and say it, I have always been a fan of the Normatec Pulse system. However, as the highest price unit on the market I am like a tough-love parent and expect nothing but the best. I am hard on it because I want to see them produce the best product they can and at the best price for consumers.

To watch the Normatec MVP shrink in size and price to the Normatec Pulse has been amazing. To see it shrink in price and size again for the Pulse 2.0 is truly impressive in a day of age where many companies are pushing back and increasing prices. In addition, they have included new features like Bluetooth connectivity which some will highly value.

However, the pressure has never been higher for Normatec. Rapid expansion by less expensive brands like Speed Hound and Air Relax have now forced Normatec to get more lean and efficient. Simply put, competition is good for consumers and while I do appreciate the lower price point and smaller size, it is still hard for me to ignore less expensive brands. Ultimately access to recovery shouldn't be afforded to the super rich and Air Relax and Speed Hound make a great affordable alternative. With that being said, Normatec claims that 97% of all professional sport teams are using Normatec.

As for the Normatec Pulse 2.0 system, my recommendation is on hold for now. While the Normatec Pulse 2.0 system is a very nice device with some nice features and upgrades that I will go over, I did have some problems with the legs. I am not sure if this issue is unique to me, or maybe it was the first couple of batches and it is now corrected, but my legs consistently had the zippers jamming making for late night frustrations as I tried to clear the jam.

With that being said, I will update this review when I get confirmation the issue has been either fixed or was an isolated incident. I have reached out for comment but have received none. In the meantime, I highly suggest making your purchase thru Amazon if you want to purchase the Pulse 2.0 system. This way you have 30 full days to use the system and make sure you aren't having the same zipper problems before your Amazon return window closes. In addition, you save 5% if you are an Amazon Prime Visa card holder. Normatec offers a 14-day return window (restocking fee applies) thru their own website and I did not test the generosity of their direct return process. Note, if the regular leg system is out of stock consider the hips + legs,

With that being said, let's compare the two units.


Little Bit of an exaggeration on size between
Normatec (see above)
Size & Weight - The Pulse 2.0 is 27% smaller and 6oz lighter

It is hard to argue with a device that is claimed to be 27%  smaller (not verified) and 6oz lighter (I verified this) than its predecessor. Although the original Pulse can be operated with one hand, a smaller and lighter device always makes it even easier to handle and that is a nice feature.

The smaller size is also nice for traveling. However,  I must admit it is hard to tell from a direct photo comparison (see above) and Normatec's own illustration greatly exaggerates the size difference.

Price - The Pulse 2.0 is $200 less 

While the original Pulse debuted at $1695, the price was more recently lowered to $1495. Normatec has moved the price down even further with the Pulse 2.0 all the way to $1295. In addition, you can save $65 with your 5% off Amazon Prime Visa card.


Useability - The Pulse 2.0 has a new LCD touchscreen 

The Normatec Pulse 2.0 maintains the exact same user interface as the original Pulse except the Pulse 2.0 has smaller buttons that are inline with the smaller device size. The buttons are no longer tactile buttons but are faux tactile buttons that use a touchscreen. In addition, you can also control the device via Bluetooth and an app that is available for Android and iOS devices. The touchscreen does not provide any additional functionality and I actually preferred the larger tactile buttons of the original Pulse.


Battery Life - Battery life has decreased from about 3 hours down to 2 hours

I put the battery under the same testing that I did for the original Pulse which consists of continuous run at pressure level 5. The Pulse 2.0 was tested with the Bluetooth on and I received 2 hours of continuous battery as opposed to ~3 hours with the original Pulse. I suspect both the Bluetooth and the LCD touchscreen consume more power and it is possible the battery is smaller too although I didn't confirm this with Normatec.

Connectivity - The Pulse 2.0 has added Bluetooth connectivity

At first I balked at the idea of Bluetooth, but I must admit it is strangely convenient to use once setup. For younger generations that are glued to their phones while in the boots, well, it is simply natural to have the ability to control the unit with your phone.

Even though the device is right next to my bed and easy to adjust I did find the phone app to be much more pleasing than expected. The phone app also has a lot of additional functionality that you don't get with the original Pulse. I'll talk more about those features below but in it is a nice upgrade to have the Bluetooth.

Pairing the Pulse 2.0
was pretty straightforward


Massage Pattern - The Pulse 2.0 has one additional massage pattern

The new Pulse 2.0 gives you the ability to use either Normatec's patented Pulse mode or Sequential. The original Pulse only has Pulse mode. Sequential mode is slightly different in that it squeezes each leg zone one by one, from bottom to top. and holds the pressures of all zones. The pressure only releases after the cycle is complete. Pulse mode inflates essentially one bag, then another, and then release that first bag, while moving on to third bag. It repeats this all the way to the top.

Pulse 2.0 offers two
different massage patterns

Zone Control - The Pulse 2.0 allows you to deactivates zones.

The new Pulse 2.0 allows you to disable as many top zones as you would like. Previously this feature was only available on the Pulse Pro. Note the operative word "top". For example, you couldn't have say zones 1, 2, 4, 5 operating, while skipping 3. But you could set it up to do zones (1 only) / (1, 2) / (1, 2, 3)  / (1, 2, 3, 4). This is useful if you share a pair of longer boots with someone who is too short for them. Also you could use it for say an ankle injury and only focus on zone 1 and 2.


Setting the legs zones

Rest Time - The Pulse 2.0 allows control of the rest time

This isn't a super big feature in my opinion, but the Pulse 2.0 allows control of the rest time between one cycle finishing and the next cycle starting. By default it is 30 seconds but can be adjusted from 15 seconds all the way up to 90 seconds. 


Reporting - The Pulse 2.0 adds reporting

The Pulse 2.0 allows you to record your session activity and automatically submit it Strava or Training Peaks. Now coaches can call out athletes for not doing their recovery as prescribed. It is a small feature, but I am sure the data geeks will rejoice.

Please note, you must be connected thru Bluetooth in order for the data to be logged. This also goes for all the other software features listed above. There is no way to customize these features or get the reporting on the actual device, you must use the app.




Compatibility - all the hoses and attachments are compatible with the the previous Pulse system.

Pressure - there have been no pressure changes. The max pressure is still 100mmHg plus 10mmHg boost to 1 zone of your choosing

Summary

While the Normatec Pulse 2.0 has some notable improvements including the smaller size and weight, added Bluetooth connectivity, and features that were previously only found on the much more expensive Pulse Pro, I would still like more feedback from others and Normatec regarding my boot issue. While I suspect this could have been an isolated issue with early manufacturer runs, I can't recommend a pair of boots that is constantly jamming at the zipper. The last thing I want to do after coming home from a 20 mile run is fight a zipper.

However, I know that Normatec will fix this issue if it truly is an issue. I will update the review if I hear back and can confirm. In the meantime I really suggest making the purchase via Amazon so you can return it if need be. If $1300+ is too much for you, know that Speed Hound makes a really amazing system for $650 that goes to higher pressures (250mmHg vs 100mmHG) and has a super-slick user interface.

Discussed Links

- Normatec Pulse 2.0 Leg System - $1295 on Amazon
Normatec Pulse 2.0 Legs + Hips - $1695 on Amazon
- Normatec Pulse 2.0 Legs + Hips + Arms - $2295 on Amazon
Normatec on eBay - Used and New (Various prices, generally $700-$1200)

Amazon Basics Zero Gravity Chairs - $39.99 - perfect chairs for compression boots recovery if you are on the go or even at home on the patio.

Speed Hound vs Normatec Review
Air Relax vs Normatec Review
Normatec Pulse vs Pulse Pro Review
Normatec Pulse vs Normatec Pulse Gen 2 Review - quiet upgrade to original Pulse that was never heavily advertised and pushed by Normatec but fixed a few issues with the Pulse

Theragun G3 Review vs Tim Tam Trigger Point Percussive Recovery Massager

Bivi (Tim-Tam Style) vs Theragun G3
Percussive Recovery Devices 
Theragun is one of the leading percussive recovery massagers on the market, but how does it stack up against more affordable options like the Tim-Tam style of massagers? This percussive review shootout will hopefully answer that and help you make a more informed buying decision.

The Skinny

Recovery devices continue to be all the rage among athletes and non-athletes alike. Everyone is looking to recover faster, feel better, and the lack of time (and cost) for regular massage is being replaced by recovery compression boots, foam rollers, and percussive devices like the Theragun, Hypervolt, and Tim-Tam.

After extensive testing I found generic Tim-Tam style massagers (I tested the Bivi) performed better in many categories than the Theragun G3 at nearly 1/3 the price. In short, the Bivi massager is faster (when turned all the way up), lighter, more adjustable (1-6 speeds), comes with two 2 batteries (you will always have a fresh battery), and a head that adjusts 90 degrees so you can target every last place on your body.

However, it was louder than the Theragun and the Theragun wins with being able to change tips faster. Both devices are good devices and either one should be in your recover toolbox.

If you want the quieter device go with the Theragun. Otherwise the Bivi gets the job done.

Here is how the two devices stack up in their respective categories:


Price - Advantage Bivi


One of the clear advantages of the generic percussive devices is they are much more affordable than more name-brand products. I purchased the Theragun G3 off Amazon for $399 and with tax it came out to $426. The Bivi massage gun was $145 to my door.


Noise - Advantage Theragun


On the surface the Theragun is definitely the quieter device, but it is still loud. And keep in mind that it isn't a true apples-to-apples comparison either as the Bivi has a higher maximum speed and more speed produces more noise.

Bivi does advertise the device as being loud and powerful in their description and that is partially why I went with it. I wanted a powerful device. However, at the end of the day I did some basic sound tests with a decibel meter and the results are as follows:

Noise test - tested approximately 1 foot from the decibel meter at full speed
- Theragun 85 dB at speed 2
- Bivi 95 dB at speed 6 (87 dB at speed 1)

Regardless of which device you go with, I would still recommend getting some sound protection. The following are inexpensive and effective noise reduction safety ear muffs that can reduce the dB level by 28dB.


Batteries - Advantage Bivi

Bivi - 2x Batteries + charger

The Theragun G3 has one built in battery that is not replaceable. Theragun claims that it lasts 60 minutes, but in my testing I found that it only lasted for about 50 minutes at level 2 (highest level) and that was without any resistance being applied to the unit. In addition, just like your phone, that battery is going to continue to degrade with each charge cycle until it will barely hold a charge.

From a workflow perspective this makes it a little tricky because if you always charge the device after use then you are going to shorten the lifecycle, but you also don't want to pick up a dead Theragun or one the dies half way into your recovery session either. Their Pro model does include replaceable batteries but it is $200 more.

Bivi comes with two batteries and a separate charger unit. In my tests it lasted for 56 minutes on level 6 (highest level) but again without any resistance being applied.

From a workflow perspective you can easily forget about charging after each session knowing you have a fresh battery always ready to go. This will effectively lengthen the life of the batteries.


Ease of use - Advantage Bivi


The Bivi massager features a pivoting head that allows you to adjust the head to better target certain areas of of your body with maximum leverage. The Theragun G3 only has a fixed head position. In addition the Bivi goes to much higher speeds which I really enjoy. From an ease of use perspective I found the Bivi head moved more smoothly across my skin than Theragun G3. It was a subtle difference but nonetheless positive.

Bivi - 3 different head positions


Tip Heads - Theragun


The Bivi has a standard threaded tip design with screw on tips. It comes with 3 different tips with 1 additional standard tip for a total of 4. Specifically they include two different round balls and a triangle tip for more specific and aggressive targeting.

The 4 included Bivi Tips


The Theragun G3 comes with a pop-and-lock sort of design and 4 different tips.


The 4 included Theragun Tips


In my experience I prefer the pop-and-lock sort of design as it is a few seconds quicker to change tips than unscrewing and screwing on another tip.

I could see the Theragun tips breaking as there is a specific track which allows the tip to come on and off quickly but remain secure while in use. Those tracks are made of plastic. However, the Bivi threaded design also could lead to some occasional loosing during use which requires a quick re-tightening as well.


Durability / Warranty - Advantage Bivi


I experienced no durability concerns after six weeks of solid testing with an estimated 30 hours into the units. I do have to occasionally screw back on a tip with the Bivi but given the massive vibration I am not shocked by that. Given the non-replaceable battery we know the Theragun is going to die, or at least become functionally unusable at some point down the road. How long it takes will depend on your usage, number of charge cycles, etc. When the batteries dies on the Bivi you can buy new ones or just buy a whole new unit for a fraction of Theragun's price. Regardless both companies have 1-year warranties on their products.


Weight - Advantage Bivi


Both devices are reasonably heavy and it may not be an issue for some, but holding a vibrating weight for 15-20 minutes could make the lighter Bivi a more desirable unit to some.

Bivi - 2 lbs 5 oz
Theragun - 2lbs 10oz

Theragun weight vs Bivi 


Speed / Power / Force Mode - Advantage Bivi


Six power levels
Speed is not the same thing as power and force but I am lumping these in together for simplicity. Without expensive equipment I can't adequately test these aspects but what I can say is that anecdotally I prefer the speed and power of the Bivi when it is at its highest setting. I do feel that on the lowest settings the Bivi lacks power when applying the gun with firm pressure to a spot but I did this just for testing. In true use application I find I use both devices at their fastest settings.

Bivi has an adjustable speed level from 1-6 on a dial, while the Theragun G3 has two levels of speed (high / low). Theragun claims that it is 40 pulse per second or 2400 RPM on high (1740 RPM on low), while the Bivi claims 2600 RPM. Again I didn't objectively verify this but I feel like the Bivi is noticeably faster than the Theragun when at their max.


Summary


The Bivi is an extremely powerful and much more affordable alternative than the Theragun. It has a larger feature set including more speed levels, replaceable batteries, and a pivoting head. The Bivi is also built much more like an actual industrial tool such as a jigsaw while the Theragun is a more refined consumer product.

The one defining feature the Theragun has is in the noise department. Again they are both still loud, but if you have pets, family members, and neighbors, then it might just be worth the additional cost for the Theragun. The faster tip exchange is a nice feature as well that I routinely benefit from on a daily basis. Not earth-shattering but nice nonetheless as I do routinely switch up the tips.

Regardless I believe the percussive devices are a versatile tool in the recovery toolbox and you can benefit from either one of these devices. I have links to these products below and more recovery reviews you might like like as well.

Discussed Product Links 


Theragun G3 - $399 on Amazon
Bivi Percussive Gun Massager - $145 on Amazon
Mpow Noise Reduction Ear Muffs - $11.99 on Amazon
- 3m Worktunes Noise Reduction Ear Muffs w/Bluetooth - $46.97 on Amazon

Theragun G3Pro - $599 on Amazon
Tim-Tam Recovery Massager - $150 on Amazon
Hypervolt Recovery Massager - $370 on Amazon
Generic Hypervolt - $230 on Amazon

Other Recovery Reviews You Might Like


Rapid Reboot vs Normatec
Speed Hound vs Normatec
Air Relax vs Normatec

$50 Off - 2020 Hyperice Hypervolt Percussion Massage Gun Discount Coupon Code

Click to purchase
Hyperice Hypervolt
Save $50 on Hyperice Hypervolt percussive recovery massager with Hyperice Hypervolt discount coupon code HyperVolt50. Discount coupon code expires December 31st 2020

This special discount coupon code promo sale is only valid at Hyperice.com and only on the Hyperice Hypervolt.

BUT Save $70 when purchasing via Amazon. Amazon already has it on sale for $299 - no extra Hyperice Hypervolt discount promo coupon code needed. Plus save an additional 5% ($20) with your Amazon Prime Visa. And you get the benefit of easy returns all the way to January, 31st, 2020 and you get Amazon's unbeatable customer service.

Code not valid on Hyperice Hypervolt Black Friday holiday thanksgiving sale, Cyber Monday deal, or Christmas sale

More ways to save
-  HyperIce via eBay. (all listings)
HyperIce via eBay - (recommended seller $276)
Theragun G3 vs TimTam Style Massager Detailed Review - Complete with loudness ratings - $145

$10 Off - Vybe Percussion Massage Gun Discount Coupon Code

Save up to $10 on VYBE Percussive Recovery Massager with Hypervolt discount coupon code VYBE20. Promo Sale expires December 31 2019.


This special discount coupon code sale is only valid at Amazon on the Vybe Massage Gun

$10 Off - Tim Tam Massage Gun Discount Coupon Code

Save up to $10 on Tim Tam Recovery Massage Gun with Tim Tam discount coupon code . Promo sale expires December 31 2019.
TimTam10


This special discount coupon code sale is only valid at Amazon on the Tim Tam Massage Gun.

Rapid Reboot Review vs Normatec Pulse 2.0 Compression Recovery Boots

Rapid Reboot vs Normatec Pulse 2.0
Recovery Compression System Shootout
In this comparison review I will review the Rapid Reboot recovery compression boots system vs the Normatec Pulse 2.0 recovery compression boots system. Any current promo discount coupon codes can be found at the bottom of this review.

The Skinny


I first noticed the Rapid Reboot recovery system shortly after writing my original Normatec vs Air Relax review and I quickly became familiar with them as they attended all the Ironman Triathlon expos around North America. At their current price of $995 they fall into an awkward category of being more expensive than other brands that I prefer, including Air Relax ($444+) and Speed Hound ($695), but less expensive than Normatec ($1195).

They are a particularly tough sell against Speed Hound because they are $300 more expensive but are made by the exact same manufacturer. Speed Hound actually has a couple of nice features that I prefer too. In short, those features include a quieter unit, cables that come out the top of the legs instead of the bottom, and the unit is smaller.

However, Rapid Reboot still makes a good unit that is $300 cheaper than Normatec. They also have a hip short that I much prefer over Normatec's hip system. Here are some more specifics on each system in comparison to one another.


Rapid Reboot ($995)

Normatec Pulse 2.0 (bottom) vs
Rapid Reboot (top)
- Larger footprint - Of all the units I have reviewed Rapid Reboot is the largest unit by volume and it is considerably larger than Normatec. The unit weighs 5lbs 8oz and complete with large legs it is 9lbs 8oz. This can be an important feature for people who travel with the unit.

- Best in class user-interface. Rapid Reboot has in my opinion the best and easiest to use user-interface panel and should look nearly identical to Speed Hound.  Regardless I really like the pressure graph compared to Normatec as it helps new users visualize it better. Note, more pressure is not necessarily better. However I have heard at least a few people who prefer to see the actual time tick down which only the Normatec features. Regardless, you can always end your treatment session at anytime even if not complete.

- 3 easy select time cycles of 10, 20, and 30 minutes. You can of course do more than one cycle. Normatec adjusts in 5 min increments from 5 minutes to 2 hours.

- 10 easy select pressure levels ranging from 20-200mmHg. Normatec goes to 100mmHg over 7 levels. Again, I really like the visual of the increasing pressure here for new users.

- 2 easy select modes including: Flush (A) and Massage (B) while Normatec has their single proprietary Pulse mode.

- 4 programmable zones with the ability to shut off zones. For instance if you had just a lower calf issue you could run just zone 1 and zone 2. You only get this feature in Normatec's Pulse Pro model which is insanely expensive at $2500.

- Features hidden hoses sewn in the legs with dark fabric. Their Gen 2 legs have a very similar "diamond" pattern/texture to Normatec, while the Gen 1 legs have a smooth finish. However, the hoses come out the bottom of the legs on Rapid Reboot. This leaves the cords very long and I find myself getting tangled in them as I get into and out of the boots. I much prefer Normatec's top hoses over Rapid Reboot in terms of ease of use.

- Volume: I found that my Rapid Reboot unit was the loudest of all the units I have reviewed. I am not sure if it is just my particular unit, but once I get above 80mmHg the loudness really kicks up. It is fine at 80 and below, but above that it is louder than Normatec.

- Comes in 5 sizes (versus Normatec's 3) and each set of boots has two separate zippers so that one set of legs can accommodate different width legs. Those sizes include:
Leg Sizing Comparison
  • XS (5' and under)
  • S (5' 1" - 5' 3")
  • M (5' 3" - 5' 10")
  • L (5' 10 - 6' 3")
  • XL (6' 3" and above)

- Sizing Note Hack - because you can turn off zones on Rapid Reboot, you can actually use a longer set of boots with a shorter person by deactivating the top zone. You can do this as well on Normatec's more expensive Pulse Pro model ($2500). You can always buy a second set of legs too instead of an entire second unit. Legs are $295.

- Carrying case is included so no need to buy an optional $150 carrying case like Normatec.

- 2-year warranty. 30-day return policy with Amazon. Rapid Reboot boots don't use YKK zippers. Normatec does use YKK. YKK is the gold standard in durability.

- Optional attachments for hips and arms. Rapid Reboot has a vastly superior hip system than Normatec. If I were targeting the hips, I wouldn't even consider getting into my Normatec hip system.

- Available direct from Rapid Reboot on Amazon for $995, but if you are an Amazon Prime Member you save 5% ($50) which brings the total to $945. Amazon offers their outstanding return process giving you comfort, safety, and convenience on this big purchase.

Normatec Pulse 2.0 ($1195)


- Slim design that can be used and moved with one hand versus two hands for Rapid Reboot. Total system weight is 4lbs 10oz for the system with ac/adapter and hose, and 8lbs 10oz complete with the standard legs.

- Has a battery for use when power is not available. Only Normatec features a battery.

- Has Bluetooth connectivity - you can control the unit with Bluetooth connectivity and the downloaded iPhone/Android app. I don't use this feature at all and prefer to use the display to adjust the time and pressure levels. It also tracks your usage stats which I think could be beneficial for coached athletes. I have talked to people that use the Bluetooth and like it, but for me it isn't a huge selling point.

- Comes in three sizes:
Normatec Pulse 2.0 System includes:
Pulse Head Unit, 2 legs, hose, AC Adapter
  • Short (under 5' 3")
  • Regular / Standard (5'4" to 6'3")
  • Tall (over 6' 4")  

- 7 pressure levels with a max of 100mmHg. One zone can be boosted with the ZoneBoost feature to 110mmHg.

- 1 mode of squeezing that Normatec calls Pulse, hence the name.

- Time increment is controllable in 5-minute increments from 5 minutes to 2 hours.

- 5 zones with no ability to program them off or on.

- Features hidden hoses sewn in the legs with dark fabric that won't show dirt. Hoses come out the top of the legs which I prefer. This is the biggest selling point feature for me in choosing Normatec over Rapid Reboot. It is hard to explain until you get into and out of the boots.

- Optional attachments for hips and arms.

- Optional travel case. $150 for a hard-shell case.

- 2-year warranty for the Pulse 2.0 and includes durable YKK zippers.

-  Available direct from Normatec via Amazon for $1195, but if you are an Amazon Prime Visa Member you save 5% ($60) bringing the effective total down to $1135. Amazon offers their outstanding return process giving you comfort, safety, and convenience on this big purchase.

Final thoughts


Compression boots are an absolute must for any serious athletes and are even becoming mainstream among non-athletes as well. Rapid Reboot is a more affordable alternative than Normatec. They have a nicer hip system and go to higher pressures with a better boot size selection than Normatec. However the system is much larger and louder than Normatec and doesn't feature a battery for on-the-go convenience. Most disappointing is the fact that the compression hoses exit out of the bottom of the boots which can make for harder entry and exit - think USB cable tangles.

It gets really hard to recommend to Rapid Reboot to anyone when Speed Hound has a very similar device (made by the same manufacturer) that is smaller, quieter, and has more user-friendly hoses that come out the top of the boots and are $300 cheaper. So if you are thinking about Rapid Reboot to save money then I really think you should be looking at Speed Hound instead. The only downside to  Speed Hound is they are NOT available on Amazon for one-click purchase and have to be purchased direct from Speed Hound.

Discussed Product Links:


-
Rapid Reboot Legs on Amazon - $995 - Save $50 w/Amazon Prime visa card.
Rapid Reboot Legs + Hips on Amazon - $1290 - Save $65 w/Amazon Prime visa card
- Rapid Reboots Legs + Hips + Arms on Amazon - $1495 - Save $75 w/Amazon Prime visa card

- Normatec Pulse 2.0 Leg System on Amazon - $1195 - Save $60 w/Amazon Prime visa card
Normatec Pulse 2.0 Leg System + Hips on Amazon - $1595 - Save $80 w/Amazon Prime visa card

- Speed Hound Compression Boots - Save $50 with discount coupon code: RecoverFaster20. 

Amazon Basics Zero Gravity Chairs - $39.99 perfect chairs for relaxing in your recovery compression boots either at outdoor events or on the patio

Normatec on eBay - Used and New (Various prices, generally $700-$1000)

Other Related reviews of mine


Speedhound vs Normatec Review
Air Relax vs Normatec Review
- Normatec Pulse 2.0 Detailed Review