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Archive for the ‘Review’ Category

Review: Body Refinery Fat Burners

Thursday, July 10th, 2014

I recently was asked to take a look at some fat burners that have been formulated by Body Refinery, a Manchester based personal training and emerging supplement company.  They have a growing and effective range of sports supplements.

Fat Burner Review

The first thing to look at is the formula, here is what I found… The Body Refinery fat burners have a number of key weight loss ingredients, that most importantly are all legal and proven!

Caffeine Anhydrous 200mg – This well used ingredient helps to boost energy levels and a great deal of research supports the use of caffeine as a pre workout energy boost and general stimulant.

Bitter Orange 150mg – this ingredient is a documented metabolic booster and helps to indirectly mobilise fat.

Green Tea 40% Extract 10mg – this is a widely used metabolic booster and more recently has been shown to help, particularly men tackle obesity.

Guarana 10mg – described as an extra powerful coffee is a great source of caffeine and therefore boosts energy.

Niacin N-Act 16mg – is a form of vitamin B-3 and acts as a powerful energy booster, tis vitamin helps to allow your body to more effectively produce energy.

N-Acetyl L-Carnitine 2mg – this helps to oxidise fat and therefore fight body fat.

Next I looked at the reasons why they work, most fat burners (including the Body Refinery ones) work on a number of levels. Firstly they tend to have metabolic boosting properties, next they tend to increase energy levels with the aim of increasing activity, finally they tend to work to help to mobilise stored fat. These three things come together to form a powerful fat fighting tool used as part of an active lifestyle and a healthy diet.

So finally to look at the product itself, it is packaged well and has strong and distinctive branding. One of the most reassuring things about this product is the detailed instructions regarding use, this unfortunately is often lacking with many supplements. The instructions clearly outline pre-workout, and general weight loss usage. The standard sized pack comes in 30 day supplies, so 60 capsules.

The Body Refinery capsules can also be used as a great pre-workout supplement, just take 2 capsules approx 45 minutes before training.

Have a look at the Body Refinery Website for more information on the Fat Burners or their range of CLA and Proteins.

To help maximise results, use with Body Refinery Diet Protein + and Body Refinery CLA.

Review: Gym Boss Timer!

Thursday, January 9th, 2014


Gym Boss Timer

I have recently been using a Gym Boss timer, not used one before and 08I have always gone with the propping up of the phone and watching the clock!  This clumsy method is now a thing of the past…  I have been getting so much use out of it that my personal training clients now groan when they see it come out and even my students on the personal training course I teach are sick of the sight of it!  The gym boss timer is an excellent way of  allowing you to set a timed interval (with set rest periods) and forget about watching the time.

The timer is designed to be used when you are doing interval training, which over the last few years has become a very popular method of training…. not to mention effective!  I will be doing an article of interval training in teh next few weeks so look out for that on the blog!

As a personal trainer I have seen that it allows me to move away from counting the clock and allows me to focus on motivating the client and ensuring good form!  The deign of the device makes it perfect for the trainer too as it can clip onto the belt or any other clothing and vibrate rather than beep, making it ultra discrete!

As a exerciser it has allowed me to focus in on my workout again without having to keep checking the time, this relatively simple thing has totally changed my workouts.

All in all I can not rate the Gym Boss timer highly enough! Great product and should definitely make it into every PTs and regular exercisers kit bag!


Review: Clif Nutrition

Friday, December 6th, 2013

Clif Image

Recently while looking into energy gels I came across a website that I thought was amazing, it is so different to the usual sports nutrition brands that I ended up spending a hour or so looking round.  The site was the on-line home of the amazing Clif Nutrition, who have been making innovative sports nutrition products since 1992.  They are a  company that is built on the story of Gary the owner who after a long bike ride where him and a friend had been using another brand energy bar came to the conclusion that he could make better… so that is what he did and Clif was established.


As soon as I read this story I was immediately fascinated by the promise of a better range of energy products that would not only deliver on results but also on taste.  Lets face it, it is normally the second aspect that is the problem with a lot of sports nutrition products and in my experience especially energy gels!

I was lucky enough that the guys at Clif sent us a range of their products to road test and here is what I thought!

Clif Bar


The first thing I tried was the original Clif bar, this is the brands organic oat bar.  The bar is a good source of energy designed to be used n and around times of intense exercise.  It comes in a variety of flavours but by far my favourite was the Crunchy Peanut Butter.  The best thing about these bars in my opinion is that they taste real, not like many of the energy bars that you get on the market.  They are made with quality and well thought-out ingredients to give the user a quality and also effective energy boost.



Clif Builders Bar

I also tried the Builders Protein Bar, as opposed to the standard Clif energy bar this is designed to give a boost of protein when needed.  The bar itself contains a good serving of 20g of protein per bar it will help with the maintenance or growth of muscle.  Again one of the hey things I was blown away with by the Clif brand is the taste, these bars do really taste good.  They do not have the artificial taste that you find with a lot of protein bars on the market.   This is really the best protein bar I have tried in a long time!

Clif Shot Blocks

Next on my list from Clif was their Shot Blocks, these are jelly blocks used to boost energy levels during long duration exercise.   Initially when I tasted some of the blocks it took me back to my distant childhood eating jelly at parties!  They tasted fresh and sweet, they were really easy to have on you during an event and contain a good 33 calories per block.  This controlled calorie release was just right to keep your energy levels up during periods of extended exercise.

Clif Shot Gel


The Shot Gels are a extension of the theme of the Shot Blocks, they provide a quick release of energy in a easy to carry packet.  Rather than a solid Jelly type block it is more of a thick gel.  I enjoyed the shots but found the Chocolate flavour a bit too sickly for me.  The gels did help though to get my energy levels up and allowed me to keep up my energy levels.

All in all I have been very highly impressed with the Clif range of nutrition products, I would defiantly place Clif in my top 2 nutrition products of all time!  The branding is awesome, the taste is good and most of all the products are QUALITY!  So if you have not tried the Clif range yet… why not?

Review: Naked Ape

Friday, November 29th, 2013

For the past few months I have been hearing more and more about Biltong, I like many had heard the word many times form mainly the Paleo camp but had little idea what it was all about.  So as I usually do I went looking for some answers, and I came across an amazing UK based company called Naked Ape.  After a conversation with the guys I found all the answers I needed with regard to what Biltong is and what its benefits are.

Naked Ape - Review

So what is biltong? I found out it is a cured meat that originates in South Africa, it is produced from a range of meats including beef, ostrich, and other game.  It is very similar in nature to Jerky as it is a spiced dried meat, with key differences being the larger portion size and Biltong generally has a sweeter flavour.  These are a great source of protein, that are easy to store so need to be refrigerated and have an amazing 6 month shelf life!

The Naked Ape bran is awesome, they sent me a couple of their varieties including Coconut, Cherry and Mango.  When I had my first taste I had no comprehension of what I was about to experience, for some reason I felt the the flavour would not be enjoyable… but boy was I wrong.  I really enjoyed the interesting flavours that The Naked Ape have produced, and the fruit/meat combinations should really not work in my mind… but they do!


So if your looking for a durable, lasting and easy to store source of protein I would definitely look deeper into the Naked Ape!

Review: SmartShaker

Friday, November 15th, 2013

I have been lusting after a SmartShaker for a good long while, it is one of those things that when you look at the you think ‘that is a cool idea’.  The guys over at Smart Shaker UK sent me a lovely one from their Neon range!  It has become one of those shakers that I actually care about, making sure I do not lose it!  In fact SmartShaker is probably one shaker of choice to be used on a daily basis!

SmartShaker Review

For those of you that are still in the dark ages and have not seen a SmartShaker the idea is a simple one and addresses a problem many supplement users face on a regular basis.  What happens if I want to carry enough protein to have more than one shake or I have tabs that I take?  The usual solution is to throw into your kit bag a collection of tupperware tubs containing your powders and tabs, those as we all know inevitably split open and cover everything in powder!  Well SmartShaker came up with a much simpler solution to the problem and they attached to the bottom of the shaker two screw on compartments that allow you to store whatever you wish.

The tubs that screw onto the bottom of the shaker are secure and hold a couple of shakes worth.  This compact design makes it much easier to transport and have on you all the supplements you need.



Review: Matrix ZMA

Friday, November 8th, 2013

Matrix ZMA

Over the years I have tried a wide range of ZMA blends, I have always found that it helps me recover post workout and gives me the best sleep ever!  For those of you that do not know what ZMA is, it is a mixture of Zinc, Magnesium and B6 the full name used is Zinc-Magnesium Aspartate.   The ZMA formula itself is claimed to boost testosterone levels within the body, which will have an anabolic effect (muscle building) and also boost post exercise recovery, strength and muscular mass.

There is also a strong link to the use of zinc in order to improve cell growth and production where as magnesium acts to reduce the levels of cortisol which is a catabolic hormone (muscle breakdown).

Recently I was sent a bottle of ZMA from Matrix Nutrition, the bottle contained 240 capsules so that is a massive 4month supply.  I have been using these instead of my normal brand for the past few weeks,  the Matrix blend has 120mg of ZMA formula, 120mg Zinc, 27mg Calcium, and 12mg B6.

The ZMA pills themselves are a lot smaller that the ones that I usually take allowing them to be swallowed much more easily.  I took them as usual just before bed , on an empty stomach and they had the effect of helping me drift off into a deep sleep.  They also helped recovery after those heavy gym days, and as we are all aware the better you recover the better the growth.

I have used a number of the Matrix products and always found them to be very high quality and most importantly they work!  If you have not tried ZMA before, give it a go, you will not be disappointed!


Review: Activate Nutrition Tribulus Terristris

Friday, November 1st, 2013


I have been giving the Tribulus Terrestris a try over the last few weeks, as you get a little older you start to need a bit more of a boost in the testosterone department to help you develop and maintain lean muscle tissue.  This supplement that comes from the Tribulus plant, which is native to Bulgaria, is considered a natural testosterone booster.  The active ingredient in this product is a substance called steroidal saponins.  In average testosterone boosters you get a rate of about 45% steroidal saponins, in this very potent version from Activate has a rate of 95% giving you a real big bang for your buck.

Historically this plant was know as Ayurvedic herb or more commonly as the Puncture Vine.  For centuries it has been used to boost physical performance, with the side effect of a boosted sex drive (not sure if that is good or bad)!  This extract then helps to boost the levels of testosterone in the body.

The tub has 120 capsules that is enough for 30 days taking a couple in the morning followed by a couple at lunch giving you a 1400mg dose.  While I was using Activate Nutrition Tribulus Terrestris I found that this dose gave me a massive energy surge, and it helped to boost my performance and lean muscle tissue.

Review: Bobble Bottle

Friday, October 25th, 2013


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!


Review: Activate Diet Plus Protein

Friday, October 18th, 2013



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.

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