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Archive for October, 2013

Video: Movember

Monday, October 28th, 2013

Review: Bobble Bottle

Friday, October 25th, 2013

bobble_sport_wet-on-blk_blue_MC-logo-CATEGORY_75x127

Over the years I have (well I thought I had) seen every conceivable design for a water bottle you can imagine, most I have owned and at some point lost in the gym.   Recently I started to place a bigger emphasis on not only getting my requirement of water each day but also making sure that the quality of water that I drink is as high as possible. I have made a conscious effort to make sure that the 60-70% of me that is water, is the cleanest, best quality water around!

Initially I started to look at the bottles I used and looked at buying bottles that were PVC and BPA free.  This was not so much of a challenge with a great deal of bottle manufacturers now producing bottles without these nasties!  Now due to my job I do not want to carry round a massive water bottle with all the good old H2O I will need for the day, I prefer to full it up as I go along.  Spending most of my life in gyms, I am never too far away from a water fountain anyway!

This presents the second problem in that the water I then fill my bottle up with is not filtered, like it would be if I filled it up at home.  The solution I found was Bobble Bottle, an amazing invention.   Definitely on my top 10 of the year!  They have come up with an amazing idea to put the filter into the bottle, meaning I can fill up on the go and also make sure my water is filtered.  This made my year, as it means I am never far from clean, and filtered water.

I have been using a 750ml sport version of the bottle which is small enough to carry round, one of the great things about the sport version is that it has a handy cap that keeps that sports nozzle nice and clean.  The filter itself is a great bit of kit, it lasts 300 fills and then you just replace it, but keep the rest of the bottle I have grown so fond of.

I have found the Bobble Bottle to be a great tool, and it is one of those things that I will have by my side for years to come! Well worth spending a tenner on!

 

Video: Ropes Gone Wild!

Monday, October 21st, 2013

Review: Activate Diet Plus Protein

Friday, October 18th, 2013

 

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It has been a few week since my last supplement review, so I thought I would put one up of an amazing product I have been using from Activate Nutrition Diet Protein Plus.  The guys over at Activate Nutrition sent me a 2lb tub to try, and they know what I like and sent me Strawberry flavour.  Over the last couple of weeks I have been giving it a shot!

The formula is aimed at those that want to keep building lean muscle mass but also has elements that help to mobilise and reduce body fat percentage.  The shake has an amazing 79g of protein per 100g which is a whopping amount, this gives you just over 30g of protein isolate per serving.  This is achieved with only 148 calories per shake.

The active weight loss ingredients are CLA, Acai Berry, Green Tea, L-Carnitine and Taurine, so what do all these bits do?

Conjugated Linoleic Acid (CLA) is a natural fatty acid it works by helping to prevent fat from being deposited into the adipose tissue (fat cells) and by speeding up the body’s metabolism, making you burn calories at a higher rate. There is also some research that shows it helps to mobilise fats, helping you to burn body fat faster!

Green Tea is packed full of powerful antioxidants, a key one is Epigallocatechin Gallate (EGCG) that is really good for fat loss. This antioxidant helps to boost your body’s metabolism via stimulating the central nervous system and which can give that weight loss effort a bit of a boost

L-Carnitine’s is a natural fatty acid that increases the rate at which your body uses fat for energy by increasing the total amount of fat your body uses as fuel.   Taurine helps to improve metabolic function on a cellular level, resulting in an bigger fat burn. Taurine has also been shown to help you prevent lean tissue loss during weight loss phase. It also increases your body’s sensitivity to insulin and increases protein synthesis, these two factor help to promote the growth of lean tissue.

Acai Berry is one of the most effective, natural weight loss supplements on the market. The Acai Berry works by helping to eliminate toxins from your body, and harmful them out of your body.  

The Diet Protein Plus was a great product, as usual with the Activate Nutrition range it mixed well and tasted great.  I found that the added weight loss extras did give me a metabolic boost and help me shed a bit of weight.  This is definitely one for all those of you who are looking at maintaining muscle mass while stripping body fat.

Video: Brain foods?

Monday, October 14th, 2013

Review: Wild Trail Bars

Friday, October 11th, 2013

wholegrain bars

The guys over at Wild Trail foods recently sent me a selection of their incredibly good wholegrain cereal bars to try.  They sent me some of their orange and apricot bars and sour cherry.  The bars themselves are all wholegrain and made up of natural ingredients.  The Wild Trail bars really taste different to the average cereal bar, and you can really taste the quality of the ingredients.

The bars themselves are a good size and make the perfect healthy snack, to go with your lunch.  I really enjoyed the bars and will definitely be putting them on my shopping list in the future.  Currently you can pick them up at your local Sainsbury’s and a number of other quality outlets.

I found the bars to be a really good pre workout snack, with 149 Kcal in in the Cranberry bar.  It gave me enough energy for a good solid workout, and the best bit of all they tasted great!

 

Energy (kcal) 149

Energy (kJ) 624
Fat 2.1g
Of which saturates 0.3g
Carbohydrates 29.8g
Of which sugars 12g
Fibre 2.3g
Protein 2.3g
 

 

Video: Free running master class staring Ben Foden

Monday, October 7th, 2013

Here is a video of Ben Foden doing a free running master class.

Awesome stuff!

Review: Fat Gripz

Friday, October 4th, 2013

Fat Gripz on Bar

I have been talking to clients and students about some of the benefits of fat bar training for a number of years, the key issue that is often flagged up is that most gyms do not have the correct equipment to make fat bar training possible. In fact fatter bars are very expensive making them well out of the reach of the average gym. A few months ago I was talking to a friend of mine and he had just picked up a pair of Fat Gripz, from the moment I heard about them I thought ‘what an awesome idea’!

I found I was even more impressed when I gave them ago, a couple of weeks ago the guys at Fat Gripz sent me a pair. I have been using them on myself, with clients and with students for the past few weeks and I thought it would be a good idea to write up a bit of a review of what i think of Fat Gripz.

Fist of all if we look at the reasoning behind using a fat bar to get bigger arms. A standard olympic bar is very easy to grip and requires a very low level of forearm activation. This often makes the weak link in the strength chain… your grip. The theory is simple the stronger the grip the more weight you can move leading to better results.

Fat Gripz can really help to bust plateau, over the years of training using standard bars your grip strength is often left behind, this often is the cause of a plateau. By moving to using a fat bar you can help to overcome this problem.

 

The key things that Fat Gripz can help with are follows:-

  • Weight is spread more evenly across the bar and across the joints.
  • Increases muscle activation.
  • Help to address imbalance.

Fat Gripz

Having tried the product I can safely say they are amazing and do what they claim to. They fit all the range of bars that i have tried them with and most dumbbells. These are really an amazing product, they are not necessarily needed at the start of your fitness journey but all those who have a training age of over 1-2 years will definitely feel the benefits.

 

 

Interview: Olympian Helen Glover

Wednesday, October 2nd, 2013

Hi All,

We were honoured to do a short interview with Olympic Gold Medallist Rower Helen Glover, at the launch of the new Nissan Note.  Here is what she had to say to us!

Helen Glover

Hi Helen, congratulations on winning another gold at the World Championships! Can you start off by telling us how you got into Rowing?

Thank you very much. It was by chance really. When I left University I was about to take up a teacher training course but my mum saw a Sporting Giant advert in the paper, she called me up and said “why don’t you apply?” The only criteria set was that you had to be over 5ft10, even though I was 5ft9 ∏ I applied and it was a talent scheme looking for tall people to be directed into three sports which were handball, rowing and volleyball. The first stage was the paper application, and the second stage was where they measured you, tested your fitness and your potential to gain fitness. From that, 30 boys and 30 girls got asked to start rowing and 2008 was the first time I sat in a boat and picked up an oar all because I had applied through this scheme. I watched the Beijing Olympics when I had just started rowing and it made me realise what I had let myself in for and what a big task it was. The reason I started rowing was to win Gold in 2012, it wasn’t for fitness or recreational purposes, it was to win.

 

Wow, the Sporting Giant scheme sounds really good, how quick was your progress when you started rowing?

Quite quick really, having already competed in cross country running alongside playing netball and hockey  I was already co-ordinated and quite fit. The first year was a little frustrating and a little slower than I wanted because I was teaching at the same time, which killed me as I was getting up so early and going to bed so late trying to fit everything in. I won my first World Championship medal two and a half years after I started rowing which is very quick. I won Silver in New Zealand and I got onto the senior team two years after I started rowing which in perspective is really quick. So whilst I was teaching it was slow, but as soon as I got a bit of funding, it all accelerated quickly.

 

And how did winning Olympic gold compare to winning World Championship gold?

I feel like the World Championship Gold is something that has been a long time coming and it’s quite strange to become Olympic Champion before World Champion because there are World Championships every year. Whereas the Olympic Gold had huge pressure, excitement and buzz in the UK, the World Championships felt a lot more personal, and I was more determined to get it as it solidifies my position as Olympic Champion. It shows I can back up an Olympic performance and to become World Champion at the same time as an Olympic Champion is something that I feel really proud of.

 

Sounds like an amazing experience! So, moving onto your training regime, how often do you train?

In a training week we have 2-3 sessions every day. In the winter it’s based on mileage and getting our strength, and in the summer it’s about getting our power levels up.

 

And what does a typical session look like?

In the winter we’ll start with an hour and forty minute continuous row in the racing boat for about 24km. The second session will be on the rowing machine and we’ll row about 18km, slow and steady, more endurance based than anything. We’ll finish the day with a weight session, which we do about four times a week in the gym to gain strength and body mass. We do 6 hours a day of physical training, including warming up, cooling down and physio. Our days last from 7.30am till about 5.00pm.

 

What’s your least favourite exercise?

I don’t really like the rowing machine purely because of the monotony of it. It always hurts, whereas on the water you have your technique to work on together with a crew mate. On the machine, you’re pushing yourself as hard as you can and the only reward you’re getting is a number on a screen.

 

What your most favourite workout/exercise and why?

Love to run, but I don’t do much of it now that I’m rowing but every time I run my body seems to think I’m a runner again. I want to keep a certain body mass as I’m a little bit small and every time I run I lose body mass but I love to go home, go out to the sand dunes, stick my earphones in and just run. As a group, I enjoy working in the weight room as you can push each other and help each other lift.

 

And lastly, what do you do with your time away from rowing?

I don’t get a lot of time. When I do get time, I go back home to Cornwall twice a year where I like to Kayak and Surf and do all the outdoor activities I used to do when growing up. When I was growing up I used to run and swim so I just try and do as much sport as I can when I’m home.