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Archive for July, 2013

Functional Core – Bodyweight Circuit

Monday, July 29th, 2013

Using the Bosu to train your core

Monday, July 22nd, 2013

Review: Activate Nutrition ZMA (Zinc-Magnesium Aspartate)

Friday, July 19th, 2013


Over the last few weeks I have been using Activate Nutrition‘s ZMA (Zinc-Magnesium Aspartate) supplement  after being sent it last month to review.  Before I start to look at the product itself I thought I would re-cap on the reasons that ZMA is used as an anabolic and recovery supplement.

ZMA or Zinc-Magnesium Aspartate to give it, it’s full name is a combination of  zinc, vitamin B6, magnesium, and aspartate.  The ZMA formula itself is claimed to boost testosterone levels within the body, which will have an anabolic effect.  ZMA is also commonly associated with a boost post exercise recovery, strength and muscular mass.

Additionally to the above there is a strong link to the use of zinc to improve cell growth, cell production and testosterone production.  Magnesium has the effect of reducing the levels of cortisol a catabolic hormone (muscle breakdown).

Zinc-Magnesium Aspartate is a supplement commonly promoted as an aid to recovery with an anabolic (muscle building effect).

The Activate Nutrition  ZMA tablets came in standard, well put together packaging in 120 capsule jars.  This is approximately 60-90 days supplies depending on the quantity taken.  I took 2 capsules about 30 minutes before bed, each night for a month.  The capsules themselves were easy to swallow and had no side effects.

I found taking Zinc-Magnesium Aspartate had an anabolic effect, and greatly helped me recover especially after those heavy lifting days.  I also found that the supplement helped improve the quality of my sleep, I wake up in the morning feeling more refreshed, and woke up well before my alarm went off on most days.  Improved sleep quality is a much disputed effect of ZMA but I found it very useful in improving the depth and overall quality of my sleep.

At less than £10 for a months supply of ZMA and the high quality of the product supplied by Activate Nutrition I would highly recommend this product.

Please feel free to leave your feedback, questions please leave it in the comments box.


TRX and the core!

Monday, July 15th, 2013

Review: Nutrition Centre’s Solgar 5-HTP

Friday, July 12th, 2013



Over the last few weeks I have been using some Solgar 5-HTP (or to give it it’s full name 5-Hydroxitryptophan) by the Nutrition Centre.  I had never heard of this supplement before, I had been aware of the use of L-tryptophan as a mood enhancer, sleep and a precursor to serotonin.  As I normally do when I come across something I have not heard of before I did some research on  5-HTP.  The key principle that the use of 5-HTP is based on is the boosting of Serotonin which is a neurotransmitter that helps to relay signals within the brain, and is closely linked to regulation of mood and reduction of anxiety.

There has also been some discussion that 5-Hydroxitryptophan may also act as a sleep aid, these properties have made it an increasingly popular supplement in the modern stress filled world.  To find out more about 5-HTP and the theories behind it have a read of the article ‘What is 5-HTP (5-Hydroxytryptophan)?’ here on the blog.

I decided to take the 5-HTP supplement before bed for a month and see what effect it had on me.  Bearing in mind I consider myself to a be a happy, healthy person, I was not expecting much of an effect based on what I had read on the subject of 5-HTP.   However I was massively mistaken, after about 4 days the first thing that I noticed was that I felt that I was sleeping much more deeply and waking up feeling more refreshed than I normally do.

After a few more days I found that I was starting to get what felt like a more regulated sleep cycle and even better I even started to wake up before my alarm went off, which I was very impressed with.  I am normally a bit of a snoozer, with my alarm going off multiple times.  The other good aspect about my sleep pattern was that when I woke up I felt immediately alert and ready to go, again before taking the 5-HTP it would take me 30 minutes r so to fully wake up.

In terms of my mood state, I did not really notice a difference in myself, however I did receive several comment from friends and family and even my partner mentioned she had noticed that I had been a great deal more upbeat while taking the 5-HTP.  So this obviously went down well!

The Solgar tabets were easy to swallow in a soft gel capsule, and B vitamins to promote nervous system health and the herb Valerian.  They are also peak-X-free, which is the substance that was much discussed in the early days of L-tryptophan use.

I would definitely recommend that anyone who experiences sleep issues or mood issues try 5-HTP, making sure you have cleared it with a medical professional first.

Let me know your experiences.


What is 5-HTP (5-Hydroxytryptophan)?

Wednesday, July 10th, 2013

What is 5-HTP (5-hydroxytryptophan)?

Over the last few months I have been looking into the use of 5-HTP or to give it, its full name 5-hydroxytryptophan.  This is a chemical made within the body from the essential amino acid tryptophan, and ultimately become serotonin.

Serotonin is a neurotransmitter that helps to relay signals within the brain, and is closely linked to regulation of mood and reduction of anxiety.  There is also some discussion that 5-HTP may also act as a sleep aid, these properties have made it an increasingly popular supplement in the modern stress filled environment.

Over the years there has been some controversy over the use of 5-HTP supplementation, in the late 1980’s a contaminant was found in tryptophan supplements that lead to a number of health issues.  This at the time lead to the removal of tryptophan supplements from the market.  However research suggests that 5-HTP is a safer alternative over direct tryptophan supplementation as the contaminant, known as PeakX is not found in sufficiently large quantities within 5-HTP blends.  Some more modern blends are also marketed as PeakX free, massively reducing the risk.

One of the key reasons that supplementation of 5-HTP is increasingly popular is that it is not found directly in the foods that we eat, and has to be produced from the amino acid tryptophan.  However research suggests that eating foods containing tryptophan may not have a massive effect on increasing levels of 5-HTP readily available within the body.  This has led to many people using a supplement to gain the benefits of 5-HTP.

As stated above we can not gain 5-HTP directly rom the foods we eat, but the precursor tryptophan can be found in the following food stuffs:-

  • turkey
  • chicken
  • milk
  • pumpkin
  • sunflower seeds
  • seaweed

 What can 5-HTP help with?

Over the years 5-HTP has been used to help/treat people suffering with a range of illnesses, mostly conditions linked with low serotonin levels.  Some of these are discussed below:-

Depression – there has been a limited amount of research into the use of 5-HTP as an antidepressant, used on people with low to moderate depression.  5-HTP works in a similar way to  selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors which are more commonly known as  SSRIs.  Some studies (based on very small populations) suggest that 5-HTP has a similar effect to prescription medications but with fewer of the side effects.

Insomnia – some studies suggest that taking 5-HTP prior to sleeping help people sleep more deeply when taking the supplement.  However it was noted that a period of about 6-12 weeks of taking the supplement may be needed in order for it to be effective.

Weight Management – there has been some limited research to suggest that people who take 5-HTP tend to eat fewer calories, rresearchers believed that the supplement led people to feel more full after eating. 

How do I use 5-HTP?

It is recommended that 50mg of 5-HTP is taken 1-3 times per day.  However it is important that you do not exceed this dosage as in high levels this supplement can become toxic.  If you are taking antidepressants you should avoid this supplement.


Kettlebell swing progrssions

Monday, July 8th, 2013

Review: Activate Nutrition’s Lean Muscle Gainer

Friday, July 5th, 2013


Activate Nutrition sent me a 2.25kg tub of their Lean Muscle Gainer to try, so over the las few weeks I have been using it.  They even sent me my personal favourite flavour… Vanilla!  I used the shake over the last few weeks after my workouts.

The idea behind the lean muscle gainer is to give you all the building blocks to build lean muscle tissue, this protein shake is made up of pure whey protein concentrate, whole milk protein and Micellar casein.  The combination of these three different types of protein gives a time released effect, this allows you to keep your body supplied with a quality source of protein in both the short and longer term.  This constant supply of branched chain amino acids are a vital part of maximal growth and repair.  

I have been using Activate Nutrition’s Lean Muscle Gainer as a post workout protein shake as it has a great ratio of carbohydrates to protein, making it  the perfect choice for optimal recovery.  The insulin spike caused by the presence of carbohydrates is what is needed in order to create the perfect anabolic environment, leading to optimal muscle growth.  It is vital that a post workout protein powder gives both carbohydrate (in this case dextrose) and protein in order to replenish glycogen stores and fill the working muscles with quality protein to aid the muscle-building and repair process.

All in all I found the lean muscle gainer to have a great flavour, it mixed easily and the price would not break the bank.  As usual I found this product to be another amazing addition to the Activate Nutrition’s range.  Another job well done guys!


British Track Team take to the Track!

Monday, July 1st, 2013

The British Track Team verses an Alfa Rameo, not quite on our usual track but fun anyway!