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Archive for June, 2013

Review: Nutrition Centre’s Solgar Vitamin D3

Friday, June 28th, 2013

Vitamin D

Recently I was sent a number of health based supplements by The Nutrition Centre, many of which I had not perviously tried.  One of the supplements that they sent through to me was a bottle of vitamin D3, so I was very keen to start using it and see what affect it had on me.

Vitamin D3 is a key fat soluble vitamin in the effective absorption of calcium  this helps to develop a strong bone structure and teeth.  This vitamin is also an important factor in maintaining a strong immune system.  We are supposed to produce this vitamin within our bodies from the UV rays that we get from sunlight.  However in the UK with our limited amount of sunlight many individuals feel the need to supplement  especially during winter months.  The limited amount of sunlight has led to many people in the UK being deficient in this very important vitamin, meaning the need for supplementation is very common.

The Solgar Vitamin D3 400iu soft gel capsules have undergone molecular distillation to help to remove all harmful contaminants. The capsules are oil based, this format helps to aid optimal levels of absorption.  The recommendation is to take one capsule per day with a meal.

I added the vitamin D3 supplement to my normal vitamin intake over the course of a month and found that it did help me to keep my immune system topped up.  I found that it was a great addition to my diet, and although I had no concrete proof of the fact it was aiding my effective absorption of calcium, I felt that it was working effectively.

As this supplement is cheap and easy to add into your current intake I thoroughly recommend it, especially during the winter months.


Do I need a vitamin D supplement?

Wednesday, June 26th, 2013

Recently there has been much talk about if we need to supplement our vitamin D intake.  In the UK there is to say the least a shortage of bright sunny days (especially for those of us who live in Manchester).  The big problem in the UK is the limited number of sunlight hours, and this can then effect how much Vitamin D that we produce.

When we go out in sunlight the body stats to produce vitamin D from the UV rays from the sun.  This stock of vitamin D can then be stored within the body to be used as and when needed.  In winter time this vital source of vitamin D may be severely lacking, this has led to a move towards supplementation particularly in winter months.

The following groups of people may be at an increased risk of deficiency:-

  • People who spend little time in the sun or those who regularly cover up when outdoors;
  • People living in nursing homes or other institutions or who are homebound;
  • People with certain medical conditions such as Celiac disease and inflammatory bowel disease;
  • People taking medicines that affect vitamin D levels such as certain anti-seizure medicines;
  • People with very dark skin;
  • Obese or very overweight people; and
  • Older adults with certain risk factors

Vitamin D is a fat soluble vitamin that is responsable for the effective absorption of calcium that helps maintain strong bones and teeth and also acts to support a strong immune system.  The current recommendations are that individuals under the age of 50 take approximately 10 micrograms per day.  The maximum recommended dose is 50 micrograms per day.

For the average person it is possible to get all the vitamin D needed from a healthy diet and some moderate sun exposure.  However an increasing number of people are supplementing this vital vitamin, due to poorer dietary habits and limited sun exposure.

It is possible to get vitamin D from the foods that we eat, the following foods contain small amounts of vitamin D:-

  • oily fish, such as salmon, sardines and mackerel
  • eggs
  • fortified fat spreads
  • fortified breakfast cereals
  • powdered milk

If you are unsure if you need a vitamin D supplement or if you have any questions please feel free to post them below!


How good is you balance?

Monday, June 24th, 2013

Review: Activate Nutritions CLA (Conjugated Linoleic Acid)

Friday, June 21st, 2013


CLA or Conjugated Linoleic Acid is an unsaturated fatty acid that is commonly found in meat, full fat milk and cheese. It is commonly marketed as a weight loss aid, and is said to work by aiding the release of  fat from the fat cells (this is done by stimulating the hormone lipase) or blocking the fat being stored in the adipose tissue (fat cells).  It is more commonly believed that CLA works as a fat storage blocker by stopping fat cells filling up, therefore reducing levels of adipose tissue within the body.  CLA has also been shown to speed up the bodies metabolism and therefore increase the number of calories burnt throughout a day, this can have a great effect in the management of body fat.

It is recommended that CLA (Conjugated Linoleic Acid) is taken in quantities of between 2-5g per day split over 3 doses.

The Activate Nutrition CLA (Conjugated Linoleic Acid) capsules come in a standard bottle size of 90 soft gel capsules.  The capsules are easy to swallow with each one containing 1000mg, this means that each bottle should give you an approximate 30 day supply of this supplement.

As with most Activate Nutrition products the CLA (Conjugated Linoleic Acid) is very reasonably priced, and the customer service is second to none.  The supplement is well worth adding to your stack for those who are looking for weight control and/or fat loss.

As usual please do comment below and let me know if you have any thoughts on this product or if you have any questions regarding the use of CLA (Conjugated Linoleic Acid).


How coordinated are you?

Monday, June 17th, 2013

Whey Protein: Isolate, Concentrate or Hydrolysed?

Friday, June 14th, 2013

I often get asked about the key differences between using whey isolate or whey concentrate, or is there something even better? So I thought a short article on the subject may be useful to you guys out there.  So here it is:-


Whey Concentrate

Whey concentrate is one of the most basic forms of protein, and tends to be a cheaper method of supplementing protein into your diet.  It can be used both pre and post workout, as well as to supplement protein intake throughout the day.  Due to the lower cost of whey concentrate it tends to work out cheaper per serving.  However some people tend to have more of a difficult time digesting the stuff and can end up feeling bloated and gassy.

Whey concentrate tends to be anywhere between 34-80% protein (even if the label says 100% whey protein), so make sure you have a good read of that nutritional information on the back of the packet and make sure that percentage figure is talking about the contents not just the source of the protein used.

Whey Isolate

Whey isolate tends to be purer, as such also a little more expensive.  As the molecules tend to be a little bit smaller these products tend to mix a little better.  With very low levels of fat and lactose they also tend to be good for those who are watching fat intake, also for those who are lactose sensitive.  They also tend to be absorbed very quickly making them perfect for pre and post workout.  Whey Protein Isolate contains 87% to 95% protein.


Hydrolysed Whey

This is protein that has been  hydrolyzed, producing small chains of amino acids called peptides. Several studies have shown that protein hydrolysates containing mostly dipeptides and tripeptides.  These are absorbed very rapidly than free amino acids.  These whey hydrolystate’s tend to be the most expensive but due to the fast absorption rates  and the growing evidence that they have a greater anabolic effect, they really are the best of the best.

Please feel free to comment, and ask questions below!





What is a drop set?

Wednesday, June 12th, 2013

Hi All,

A drop set is a technique typically used by bodybuilders to encourage muscle growth (hypertrophy) by fatiguing as much of the  muscle without recovery.  This is done by  dropping the amount of weight after reaching  failure at the end of a set so that you can continue an exercise using a lighter weight.  This allows the individual to do a larger volume of work, promoting a larger hypertrophy effect.

So at the end of a set, so when you fail you should drop the weight by 10-15% so you can carry on into a new set.  When failure occurs you should repeat this system, it is normally done 3-4 times before the set is ended.

Like any method of strength training that fatigues the muscle, drop sets can help to greatly increase muscular size. Muscle size and strength are correlated, muscle growth can occur without increased strength gains.. but this is a topic for another article.

Why not throw in some drop sets into your next workout and let us know how they go!


Review: Multipower Professional Whey Isolate

Friday, June 7th, 2013



A few weeks ago the guys at Mutipower Professional sent me a tub of their chocolate flavoured whey isolate, so over the last few weeks I have been using it to see how it stacked up against other proteins I have used in the past.

But before I start looking at this particular product I thought it might be useful to have a quick look at the theory behind the use of whey protein for increased performance, speedy recovery and to aid hypertrophy.

Whey protein is derived from milk and is a commonly used to increase protein intake.  Whey due to its high concentration of essential amino acids and it’s easy absorption by the body makes it useful as an aid to reduce muscle breakdown post exercise and encourage muscle growth.  It is recommended that strength athletes take on board 1.4 to 1.8g of protein per kg of body weight, whey supplementation can be used to make sure that individuals meet their desired protein levels and keep intake regular when eating full meals is not available.

The fact that this product is an isolate over a concentrate means that the body will be able to absorb the protein much more rapidly and therefore much-needed amino acids will make it to the muscles faster (aiding recovery  post workout.  Look out for my article next week identifying the key differences between concentrate and isolate.

The Multipower Professional brand is one that I had not previously used, but after trying this product I will be looking in more Multipower Professional range.

I used the whey isolate powder over the course of a week, to see what I thought of it.  I found the protein itself was a really good product, it was packaged well in a super bright bottle (easier to find in the gym bag).  The powder stood up to my pet hate test and mixed really well with both water and milk.  The powder was a tick mix (just as I like it) and also and probably most importantly tasted great!  I am not normally a chocolate fan, but the Multipower Whey Isolate was good, not to choclatey…. if that makes any sense at all!

I would strongly recommend the Multipower whey isolate, so have a good look at their site and see what jumps out at you.

As usual any questions please do ask away in the comments box below.