Tag Archives: Fitness

My Noxor-Androx experiment

I’ve lost a lot of weight since I started boxing back around April of this year.  Back then I weighed around 84 to 86 kg (around 185 lbs) and now, depending on how dehydrated my body is, I weigh 71 to 74 kg (around 156 lbs).

Nothing much in my wardrobe fits me right now including my winter jackets which is a problem because I’m pretty lazy when it comes to clothes shopping and it’s getting cold in Scotland. Working offshore doesn’t help either as the standard issue Brit offshore worker lives in a t-shirt and cargo shorts!

So right now my body looks like this:

I’m not quite in the Gerard Butler “300” or the Brad Pitt “Fight Club” range.

Now I’ve never really used supplements before and the key word being supplements not steroids! However an ESPN article I came across, caught my eye.  The article was on two supplements used together (a process called stacking) in order to promote lean muscle mass.  They are Noxor and Androx.  Pretty ridiculous names I know.  They sound like a Las Vegas male stripper act.

Androx comes in a little tube of 60 pills and Noxor comes as 90 pills.

Androx is a testosterone booster with the instructions to take 1-2 capsules a day with your meal.

Noxor contains various things that make you want to re-take high school Chemistry with the recommended use of taking 2-3 capsules 30-60 minutes before workout.

My intention was to trial these on my last offshore trip but they sadly arrived the day after I left for my work in Malaysia.  When I work offshore, I train everyday free from any kind of distraction whereas at home (which is where I am as I write this) I basically cut down to:

  1.  Monday: An hour long game of 5-aside football (soccer).
  2. Tuesday and Thursday: Boxing training sessions lasting 90 minutes.
  3. Two randomly chosen days where I do a 3km run with 25 minutes of shadowboxing afterwards.

The stuff at home and the offshore training since April has got me where I am right now in physical terms and I’m okay with that.  However there’s a part of me that’s interested if these supplements can make any difference.  They’re not exactly cheap either.  Noxor and Androx are sold together for 88 GBP which is 110 USD.  It’s not exactly Weight-Watchers or the Cambridge Diet but I guess it’s not too far from that principal!

I’m going to basically trial these two supplements to see if they actually do anything to my physique.  I’ll start taking them while I’m at home but only before I do any kind of training.

  • I’m not going to change my eating patterns or the types of food I eat.
  • I’m not going to do any additional fasting.

That’s important.  I’m just an ordinary guy training and eating with this one additional change to my routines.

My next offshore trip starts on the 14th December so there’s some crossover.  I’ll find out if this is 88 GBP worth of placebo or if there’s actually some benefit to this.

True mastery in boxing?

In boxing, the cultivation of  skill requires not only sound mechanics, but also an appreciation of timing, distance and rhythm.  Mastery of these qualities allows a boxer to apply his (or her) techniques most advantageously, when one is in an optimum position to attack or defend and the opponent is not.

Thus, correct application is what governs ring craft and should always be ranked above technique.  Anyone can throw a punch, but not everyone can position themselves to throw an effective punch without taking one in return.  

Controlling distance; mastering timing; setting up the opponent; hitting and not getting hit: that is boxing.

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Did you like that? I read that first from a guy named Lee Wylie.  I was studying a YouTube video of a southpaw boxer named Guillermo Rigondeaux which he made. (His channel name is  LeeWylie1 for anyone interested.)  Brixham Boxing Club have also cribbed a sentence or two.   Maybe Lee borrowed those words from somewhere else or maybe they’re his own but it’s a nice explanation of boxing.

I got back home 15 days ago and yesterday was my first supervised training.  I’ve actually been popping into Lusby’s Gym a few times just training by myself and training at home too.  I was slightly over middle-weight when I came home but a few days ago I managed to get back down to 75kg.  That strange obsession with my weight won’t go away.  Maybe it’s because I’m scared I’ll just pork right back up again.

I’m still enjoying it though.  Something about the training seems to calm me down.  Takes my mind off things.   As sad as it sounds, a lot of my internet time is spent on YouTube trawling for professional boxers training on the heavy bag, shadow boxing and how a person can train just using household items.  I love watching the Ukrainan boxer, Vasyl Lomachenko.  He’s a wonderful boxer to watch.  It’s like he’s on ice skates when he pivots around.  You can see him practicing those movements on a heavy bag.  Mayweather’s another one.  They do these open-training sessions that the press and media can watch and while they’re not hitting the bag full force, it’s just a gentle tap-tap-tap-tap.  You can set a metronome to it.  He’s there for over 10 minutes continuously.  It’s more tiring than it looks.

I find watching videos like that always freshens up your training; gives you new things to try; makes you think about your own form, your own learning.

Back to the one-to-one training Gary, I spent the session doing bag drills with exercises in-between.  So…

4 different bags in total.

2 minutes on each bag and a different exercise straight after the 2 minutes:

Bag#1 – 20 burpees

Bag#2 – 30 push ups

Bag#3 – 30 double-leg mountain climbs

Bag#4 – 30 crunches

That whole exercise was repeated again except it changed to one minute of rapid punching with the exercises halved.  Trust me, together with the punching, I was pretty tired afterwards.  We finished off with 2 rounds of Gary and the foam sticks.

When my hour was up, I spent another 45 minutes on my own practicing what I saw Lomachenko and Mayweather do on the heavy bags.  It was good that Gary got to see me move after 5 weeks away.  I’ll have to ask him later but I wonder if I’m moving a lot smoother and what I look like on the bags.  Do I look clumsy? Do I look like I know how to box? Somewhere in between?  Form is hard to maintain when you’re tired but I guess that’s why you train.  One of these days I’ll get a tripod for that GoPro camera I won and I can check if I’m moving correctly.


Beauty of style and harmony and grace and good rhythm depend on simplicity – Plato.

During the heat of battle a boxer has very little time to think.  Time spent on wasted motion and flashy moves is time spent getting hit.  True excellence in boxing, as in most arts, is achieved through mastery of the basics and doing the simple things well. – Lee Wylie

My coach Gary Morris

10 rounds and some fear factor

I’d already had an hour’s session in the morning when Jim poked his head into the instrument room in the afternoon and asked if I fancied doing some sparring.  That morning consisted of a 4km run and around half an hour of drills on the heavy and double end bag.  I was going to do another session in the evening but I didn’t expect to take my body into battle in the evening.

I had a little more trepidation this time.  Maybe because I knew my body had only just recovered from the 12 rounds on Sunday but I wanted to warm up this time.  Jim has his own 12oz gloves and I tried dropping a hint to him as he was wrapping up his hands mentioning there were some unworn 16oz gloves in the gym but he didn’t bite.  I have my pair of 16oz gloves which I always use but I also have a pair of 12oz I took with me, this time.  I haven’t used those yet, this trip.  Jim has only 12oz and it’s a slight advantage.  I didn’t do too badly last 12 rounds so I didn’t mind doing the same again.

One punch of his came and somehow slipped through a gap in my head guard and partially onto my right eye.  It rocked me back and I had to stop momentarily and shake that off.  I wondered if I was going to have a black eye but I had to put that to the back of my mind.  That was only Round 2.

I’ve been boxing for just shy of 6 months now and to be honest, the time and practice that I’ve put in equates more than what an average person would do.  But if you talk ring-craft, I only hold around 24 rounds of experience.  It shows.  I still have tendencies to turn away, my feet are not always balanced, I’m leaning forward or back a little too much.  There are a few hooks that come my way that I don’t even see coming and although a head guard can block off some peripheral vision, that’s lazy eyes on my part.  It tells me I’m not reading body language or aware enough yet.

Jim had gone for a run right before the sparring as well and I know he felt tired too.  It was near Round 7 we decided just to take it to 10 rounds only (and not 12) but even then I was flagging a little.  The first 12 rounds I practiced in that first week, my footwork was way better – I circled around much more and I was much more active.  This session, by the time I reached the 8th, all I wanted to do was Philly-shell up and keep Jim at bay but you can’t do that.  Even though you’re too tired to throw, you have to look like you want to throw otherwise you’re only inviting the other guy onto you.

I managed to survive the 10 rounds but I have a raft of questions that were in my head, that are still in my head today.  They’re all about how I can improve my balance so I am always in a position to throw punches.  Like someone commented… Boxing is about balance.  Keeping yours and taking it away from the other guy.

The two blows to my right pectoral that stopped me dead in my tracks during the sparring made it painful for me to sit up in my bed last night and this morning but it’s minimal stuff.  I’m going to give myself a week from Sunday before the next sparring.  I’m also going to put on my 12 oz gloves next time if Jim continues to wear his.  That will make it even.  My hand speed will be faster.  Faster to come back and protect my head, faster to jab out and ward him off.

Last night was good but I felt trepidation and I didn’t have that the first session.  Maybe because I knew this time I wasn’t 100% and maybe I knew Jim was faster than me which got into my head a little bit.  The bag work, the running, the jumping rope, the drills… that’s where you go to get the techniques.  Sparring?  That’s where you go to learn to fight.  You come to understand what works in the ring for you and what doesn’t work, what you’re doing good and what you’ve got to improve on.  It can’t be about you and someone else inflicting pain on each other – that’s pointless.  If I match up in glove weight with my opponent that will help me answer some more questions, I’m certain of that.  I won’t make that mistake again next session.  I’m getting hit more than Jim, that’s what I feel at least.  That’s not just down to the weight difference in gloves, of course not.  They call boxing The Sweet Science and in science experiments you need certain variables to remain constant in order to solve the other unknowns.

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Me and more boxing sparring

I was pretty relieved when Gary told me I’d be doing some more sparring today.  It’s another hot day in Glasgow (just for a change) and I’d just spent the whole morning trimming down a large seven foot high hedge, sawing off tree branches and mowing the lawn – all before midday.  I was pretty tired.

I couldn’t have faced another day of doing heavy bag drills!  I would have tried my best, don’t get me wrong but it would have ruined me.

Lewis was in again so I sparred three rounds with him.  He’s smaller than me so I have a height advantage but he wants to fight too so he’ll always come in and take a few shots just to get into my body.  He’s also a southpaw like me so it’s less complicated with regards to movement because my stance will always mirror his.

Umar was a different prospect.  An orthodox fighter who’s a  little larger than me with maybe 10 kg (22 lbs) on me.  He’s got much more ring experience and he moved like it too.  I don’t know – just something about the way a person will carry themselves inside the ring.

I actually know enough theory to know that I need to pivot around and stay on his outside but reading it and doing it is something completely different!  Maybe what’s happening is I’m too pensive.  I should be trying my hardest to dart fast around him and just come in with jabs over the top and leading right hooks.  I know it’s just gentle sparring but that doesn’t mean I can’t move my lazy arse and show some agility and some movement.  I was smaller and I was probably more agile too.  I should have used that to my advantage.  I’d better note that to myself for next time.

I spent a total of three rounds with Umar and it was good to get some practice against an orthodox fighter.  It was useful to experience the problems I’ll have facing people with an opposite stance.

I also practiced a couple of exercises with Gary and Umar… no contact but it was all movement based.  It involved me needing to “hunt down” Umar and keep on him and keep on his outside and Omar would try and evade me.  This felt a little strange and at times, I felt a little off balance trying to chase someone around the ring (probably because maybe I was off balance at times!) but it was useful again.

Umar and Lewis are two very different styles.  Lewis will come in and take a few shots in order to land some on me.  With Umar (maybe because of his experience and size) that was much more tactical.  It involved me wanting to size him up and trying to work out how to get around him so I could land something decent.  I didn’t throw nearly as many punches as with Lewis.  I’d have liked to have seen a video of myself to see what my guard and my movement was like.   But if it was bad, I know Gary would have told me off anyway!

Another thing I need to work on is that I jab and I don’t follow up enough.  It’s just a range finding punch but if it lands semi decent I should be following it up with other punches, pivoting round, and doing all kinds of things to make new angles for myself.  I’m still learning though and it is really enjoyable every time.

At the end I did one more round in the ring with Lewis for good measure.

Seven rounds doesn’t sound much but I was caked in sweat afterwards.  Wore the old face guard again.  It’s like the “condom wisdom”.  I’d rather have one and not need it than need it and not have it.  It’s true that by wearing a face guard, there are some people, who mistakenly think they’ve been given a license to hit you harder.  But as long as they don’t mind me hitting them just as hard, I can live with that.

Right now I’m sitting at home writing this and I’m pretty happy but my right arm is a little tired.  That old injury again where I have to do my old physiotherapy exercises to keep straightening my arm to maintain its range of movement.  It’s sore. Probably tired from jabbing and holding up a heavy-ass electric hedge trimmer.

Omar

Umar practicing on the heavy bag

I’ve moved to a self-hosted site

As of yesterday, I’ve moved from WordPress.com to a self-hosted site.  That basically means that if you’re following my blog, unless you’re following via email, you won’t be notified whenever I publicize a new post.  It won’t appear in the Reader anymore.

If you want to continue being updated you can just go to my website and “follow by email” which is available on the sidebar.

I really enjoy interacting with my readers and try to comment where I can – it always gives me a lot of encouragement to see people replying to stuff so I think it’s really important.  I’ve also struck up some good friendships in the blogosphere and I’d love to carry on doing that as well.  I’ll be sure to log into WordPress regularly and check my reader.  I’ve already started to visit followers sites so I can follow them via email.

Thanks everyone!

 

Heavy bag drills on a hot day

23.1°C was the max temperature recorded by the Met today in Glasgow.  That’s 73.6°F.  Pretty warm for Scotland!  It was hard going in the gym today.  The heat that seemed to hang in the air… my arms weren’t tired from punching but my chest felt really heavy like I was fighting for more oxygen.

My trainer played a dirty trick on me today too.

Gary: Pick a number from one to nine.

Me: Errr, okay… seven.

Gary: Okay that’s seven of the heavy bags.  So you’re going to do a two minutes on each bag followed by 30 seconds of fast punching and then I’ll give you an exercise of ten reps, (push-ups, jumping squats or crunches) and then onto the next bag.

Me: Shit.

I was wasted just after three of those bags.  Imagine how I felt when I looked at the other side of the room at the other four bags waiting for me.  I had very-little to nothing-left when I reached the last bag.

I enjoyed some of the pad work too.  There’s something really satisfying about popping some light shots off a pad that someone’s holding.  I got some slip training in as well – rolling my shoulders so that blows glance off me.  I’d love to do more of that so I can become quicker at it and become one of those really annoying slick fighters with good head movement.  Hard to hit, technically good so I could box my way out of trouble rather than be a brawler.  That was my dream but I don’t think you can pick the type of boxer you become anymore than you can pick whether you’re a man or a woman.  You are what you are and eventually your true nature reveals itself.

I had this moment near the end where I looked at Gary and said… “I’ll do whatever you want  me to.  I’m yours for this hour.  Just call it chief and I’ll do my best.”

Maybe it sounds hokey but I like moments like that.  That’s a warrior’s promise.  Yes I’m paying for Gary’s time but if you give me your time, I’ll forsake whatever physical disadvantages I have and be the best boxer I can be.  A person’s body, your physical beauty  – whether you believe that’s God-given or an act of nature – it has a finite shelf life and because of that, your journey and the destination, you have to think about it a little.  What do I want from this?  – That kind of thing.

I have to admit though… I miss the adrenaline rush and the buzz of being inside the ring.  It’s weird.  Nothing seems to compare to it.  I have practiced Kendo which is a Japanese form of fencing but nothing compares to that feeling I had being inside a ring.  You feel so alive, so wired up.

I miss it and I feel a bit like a junkie wondering when my next fix is going to be.  Gary’s taking some vacation time next week.  He’s back to Australia for two weeks so I’m fitting two one-to-one sessions this week before he goes so I don’t lose training time with him.

I think what I may do while he is away is drive down to SK Boxing Gym down in Govan – they have a couple of nights where they have an hour’s session dedicated to sparring…

… I’m hoping I can find a dance partner.

One thing though… I’m a student of Lusby’s Boxing Gym, Gary’s my trainer and although we’re not a large gym I’m very proud of those roots.  Whatever gym I choose to practice at – whoever I’m sparring against, I never forget that.

Gary on the right, me on the left at Lusby’s Boxing Gym.

Making shapes with shadow boxing

 

I spend a lot of time searching YouTube for pro boxers and their shadow boxing routines.  Something to do with my trainer always telling me to keep loose and keep flowing so I’m always looking for examples.

I started learning to shadow box by reading a guide by Johnny N then watching YouTube videos of Paul Williams, Manny Pacquiao, then Amir Khan, even an Instagram clip of Ivan Delgado.  Yesterday I came across Chris Eubank Junior’s 10-minute warm up.

His warm up was really impressive.  He’s stretching all his limbs and in between he’s shadowboxing – really small arm and shoulder movements at times but what I found impressive was watching him practice shifting his body weight:  A small step back, a little shuffle right, a subtle tilt of his body left.  Really deliberate.  It was like watching a sleek panther limbering up and moving.  Just watching him made me want to  start throwing and that was around midnight.

Like watching performance art.


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You’re always lucky if you find something that makes you feel free.  Exercise can be a horrible thing (I personally hate interval training!) but I don’t think of boxing as exercise (or football/soccer) – more about expression.  Hope everyone reading this has an activity that makes them feel the same.  It’s good to unburden the soul.

My first supervised sparring session

 

The sparring? – That was great!  I can’t even remember the name of the kid I was sparring with – that’s really bad – I went off on a tangent writing this – that’s why my memory has gone.

It was just light stuff – no need for even a gum shield but I chose to wear my face guard because I didn’t know the guy.  I didn’t know how hard he would hit.  Plus I hate it when I get punched in the face and it knocks out a contact lens.  I thought it would be good to get used to wearing a face guard… and lastly in the back of my mind… maybe I thought the face guard would encourage the kid to come at me a bit more.

Hmmm I was catching him in the face a little more than he was catching me (at least that’s how I felt it was going) and I read somewhere that the person who’s stronger should  let up a little and try and encourage the other guy to box more.  So I tried not to discourage the kid completely by unloading non stop and not let him get near me.  I was fitter as well but I knew the kid had spent the week boozing at the T-In-The-Park Music Festival so he hadn’t exactly been conditioning himself prior to today.

I tried to work on my movement a little and tucking into my guard just to get used to taking a few body shots.  I think we had something like a total of 3 rounds of 2-minutes.  I got some good feedback from Gary afterwards.  I was a little stiff in my movement and I need to just relax everything and flow a little better.

I really enjoyed it and I hope it didn’t put off the other guy either.  He’d just started out as well.  (Jeez why can’t I remember that kid’s name!? – Was it Kevin?) – I asked Gary if he was in his early twenties – he was seventeen.  Seventeen.

I would love more practice at sparring.  I told Gary that’s where I wanted to be.  Eventually I’d like to get my medical card so I can box at amateur level, competitively.  There are a couple of clubs that offer days that are just sparring and if I start to go to some of those evenings regularly I’d improve but if Gary can find me regular people I can spar with and help with my ring craft then that’s even better.

I always get a little nervous coming back to my trainer.  I try and reason it out and I think maybe I just care about Gary’s opinion and I wouldn’t want him to look at me training, one day and think he was wasting his time.

In a fantastical, ideal world, I’d be 27 years old (not 37) and I’d at least have a chance to win something where Gary would need to put up a shelf to hang a trophy on. Some small amateur competition or a piece of fighting memorabilia like a fight poster of mine.

There’s nothing wrong with an older man dreaming. 🙂

Some things you do in life are purely for your own selfish reasons – maybe even ashamedly so at times but that doesn’t mean I don’t think about the people close to me… Helping me, training me, putting up with me day in, day out.

Even if they despise this sport I love, or can’t see or feel what I see and feel when I lace up my gloves.

I always imagine my first competitive amateur fight will be alone – I don’t think I’d want anyone I know to see me go through something like that.  But it doesn’t mean they’re not in my thoughts in some deep recess where my heart and guts are.

People can think you don’t care because you never call, or you’re never at some family function/special occasion. Maybe you haven’t taken time to meet a new baby that just popped out but those people are always part of you.  I see their faces and hear their voices for a split second when I’m struggling to push myself up or when I’m crying into my towel.  I love those people.  They don’t know it but I can make their strength my own and even on the bad days when I hate myself, I can convince the damaged part of me that I can still do anything.  That it’s not too late.

Is that being over dramatic?  What was this about again?…

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It was a great feeling being in a ring.  It really was.

 

Back at home

Hmm what can I write about?  You ever get that?

Well I’ve been training away and that’s a normal part of my life now so nothing really new there.  Went to Lusby’s during the open mat slot around 16:00 and I was pretty much on my own but that was fine. I lent my iPod to one of the Filipinos, Sherwin, back on the boat.   Sherwin’s iPod broke down and he’s away at sea for three months at a time and I felt bad for him so that was my good deed but I could have done with having my iPod with me, today.

I always get a touch nervous going to my own gym.  Maybe because my trainer is in there and I don’t want to look like a moron.  I needn’t have worried on this occasion.  I was pretty much alone but I managed to get a decent workout and I needed to get a feel for the place again before I come in again this Thursday.  Different gyms have different atmospheres and vibes.  I need to acclimatize a little.

I’ve done a lot of bag work while I was offshore.  To be honest, this time round I’m hoping to learn more ring craft stuff but I’ll speak to Gary and ultimately he’ll determine when I’m ready to learn more. But like the guy said in the movie Creed…

– Kid’s hungry, you gotta feed him sometimes.

I’m enjoying my writing too, just now.  I sent a manuscript for a short story to a couple of publications for some feedback so I’m waiting on that.  Could be a couple of months though. I find it’s quite an anti-social thing being a writer.  I zone out because I’m concentrating a lot on what I’m writing but that’s not good for Emma because it’s bad enough my work takes me away for half the year.  It’s like the boxing though – I just don’t want to waste any more time because suddenly I’m aware that I’m not getting any younger.  Don’t get me wrong, I’m not all that old either but I don’t have so much time I can casually piss away.  Procrastination is a terrible thing.

Certain topics are easier to write than others.  The boxing stories like The Journeyman I wrote just seem to flow – it’s easier than writing something like a Game of Thrones or Lord of the Rings style fantasy.  You don’t have to imagine whole worlds and  create stuff in your head from scratch.  I was thinking of maybe writing a larger fictional story.  Boxing themed again.  Something cathartic, on the theme of redemption – the stuff I wanted the movie Southpaw to be but (for me) didn’t quite manage.

We’ll see. I’m starting to build up a list of writing projects.  Some of them are more ambitious than others.  I’m not such a prolific writer that I can just crap out works of fiction.  My friend Vicki (a writer) was right… It’s important to finish something.  So many ideas never see the light of day – or the light at the end of the tunnel.  I needed to write some shorter stories so that I could know what finishing a story felt like.

The boxing training’s important to me, too.  I can’t always explain it so gracefully but I want to be good in a ring. I don’t want to go in there and look like I’ve just been taken out of a pub brawl.  It’d be nice to look back on all of this some day and say: Yeah, I could box a little bit.

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My 16oz Winning boxing gloves…

I’ve never actually owned a pair of really nice gloves before these and I’ve certainly never written a review on a pair of boxing gloves.  I’m not going to write massive, long prose on subject matter like stitching, don’t worry!  I think there’s someone on another site that’s done that already! 🙂 – just in case that sort of thing floats your boat.

The quality of the leather is really good.  Soft and feels broken in blahdy, blahdy blah [ Sorry! ] but it’s the feel of the glove that’s on another level.  Before this I was boxing in a pair of RDX T9 bag gloves which are about 37 GBP (about 50 USD).  Putting those on and putting these Winning ones on… it’s like night and day.  The first thing you notice when you’re punching is the balance.  The weight distribution on these is amazing.  I can’t really describe it any other way.  They’re so well balanced that despite being 16oz, you can’t actually feel it.

I managed to pick these up on a good deal on ebay from the seller Kozuji for 220 GBP (288 USD) but I know that for some of the fancier colours you can easily add on another 80 USD. You can guess where the money is going.  Materials (without doubt), craftsmanship (absolutely) but for me it’s the balance.  When you lace those suckers up and they’re on your hands – they just feel great.  It’s like you’ve got the boxing equivalent of Excalibur on your hands.

This is my first lace up pair but it’s actually a nice thing walking up to someone and asking them to help you lace up your gloves.  I don’t know what it is but it can help break the ice if you’re in a different gym and you can use it as an excuse to introduce yourself.

They’re a premium price though – there’s no getting around that but if you’re into your training and boxing’s not just a casual fancy then I’d consider these.  I’ve heard about the longevity and the quality of the padding as well.  I’m pretty sure you wouldn’t regret them.

I love mine.

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