Today’s Fitness kit I’ve reviewed this week blog post has been split in two (because I am incapable of editing myself when writing my blog). As mentioned, I recruited two freelance eating consultants: my husband (Head of Bread Consumption) helped with this morning’s Village Bakery post and my sister (CEO, Protein Bars) kindly contributed her expertise to this post.
Bio Synergy Skinny Protein Bar
Skinny Protein Bars are small protein bars designed to be a better – and more protein-rich – choice than chocolate bars. They can even help you lose weight, say Bio Synergy. How does that work, then? The bars contain ingredients which promote calorie burn, boost energy levels and provide a thermogenic effect: green tea, guarana, chromium (said to help squash a sweet tooth) and l-carnitine.
They’re a decent source of protein (not as good as a bit of chicken, or a hardboiled egg, but I do understand that some people would rather carry a little bar around in their handbag than an egg). You can get caramel or vanilla flavour, and I tried the caramel.
I don’t really eat bars (if I do, I prefer to make my own concoctions) and would caution that these are still very much on the “candy bar” end of protein bars, being covered in chocolate. However, they are certainly a better choice than an actual chocolate bar if you want a sweet treat. That’s precisely how I sampled mine: I waited til I had a sweet-tooth day, made myself a coffee and took a quiet moment to enjoy the bar and cuppa.
I know you’re all keen to know what my sister has to say on the matter. A bit of context for you: she is new to higher-protein eating but has been making small but effective changes to her eating habits over the past six months. Sista has a pretty sweet tooth, historically being a lover of Galaxy and Dairy Milk (other milk chocolate bars are available). Here are her words of wisdom. “The Skinny Protein Bar is really nice, although I could only eat half of it, it was quite sickly. But for something “good for you”, it was very tasty and I would definitely eat more of them! So far, that make (Bio Synergy) is by far my favourite of anything you’ve given me.”
Per 32g bar:
8.8g carbs (1.2g sugars)
2.3g fat (1.6g sat)
Bio Synergy Green Tea capsules
I love green tea, so I was keen to try these Green Tea capsules to see if they gave the same effect and if I found them more convenient than an actual cup of green tea. I keep these in my kit bag and take a couple just before training. On non-training days, or during the day, I still like drinking green tea for the actual act of drinking something warm, but these capsules are brilliant for actually getting the beneficial effects of green tea (polyphenol antioxidants, digestion and energy). We all know the benefits of green tea (if you don’t, click through to the capsules where there’s a good summary) but suffice to say that I found these capsules a really convenient and effective way of getting those benefits. A great addition to my kit bag!
Bio Synergy NO2 Pump capsules
No2 Pump contains Arginine Alpha-ketoglutarate (AKG/arginine), a nonessential amino acid, as its main active ingredient. The liver needs AAGK to make nitric oxide, and both AAKG and nitric oxide amplify the muscle-building effects of training and supplementation. Hence the “pump” part of this supplement’s name.
Because it helps the liver break down by-products of training, some people take AAKG to improve performance: it can help people exercise longer by offsetting soreness and stiffness.
L-arginine stimulates protein synthesis and increases nitric oxide production in blood vessels. The theory is that, when blood vessels dilate, more blood reaches the muscle, boosting levels of carbohydrates, proteins and various muscle-building hormones. You can get L-Arginine from red meat, but these capsules are easier to carry around in your kit bag!
My verdict? I’m probably not lean enough at the moment to notice differences in pump between taking these and just training normally (plus, it’s been really cold and I’ve been training in long sleeves and trousers). However I did notice that, when I took them for few sessions in a row, I felt less soreness. I’m going to keep these for later in the season!
New supplement company on the block, Pro-10, kindly sent me a couple of items to sample, including their 2:1:1 BCAA powder. I like to take BCAAs when I’m feeling a bit depleted, or if I have to train without getting a decent meal down me first. PRO-10’s BCAA product uses a clinically-tested 2:1:1 formulation. I really liked this product – if you’re used to flavoured and sweetened BCAAs, you’ll want to add something like flavour drops or add them to another product, because they do have that bitter BCAA taste. But it’s no biggie and they’re certainly palatable in water, and blended very easily (which can’t be said for all BCAAs). At just £19.99 for 500g, I think they’re pretty good value.
Pro-10 soy protein powder
I wouldn’t usually choose a soy protein powder (I try to avoid soy) but tested a serving of Pro-10′s Soya Protein Isolate in strawberry flavour (it’s also available unflavoured). As a soy isolate, this product has 90% protein content and is low-fat and low-carb. It’s naturally high in arginine and l-glutamine and is lactose-free. I thought it tasted great, very creamy and not too sweet, and mixed up really easily and smoothly. I simply choose not to consume soy, that’s all. If I did, I would consider buying this. At just £15.99/kg for the strawberry and £9.49/kg for the unflavoured, it’s good value and a good choice for vegans. Here are the stats:
per 30g serving:
0.9g carbs (0.3g sugars)
Pro-10 have a huge range of products from protein powders, aminos, recovery products and all the rest of it, so head over and take a look around.
Nicola Joyce – the Fit Writer – is a freelance copywriter and journalist who writes for the sport and fitness industry. Her main website is here.