From time to time, I get sent stuff (or invited to things) so I can review them on these pages. It might take me a little while to get round to it, but I’m always happy to do it and will always give you my honest opinion.
So without further ado, here is the “Fitness kit I’ve tested this week”.
Trixter Xdream bike
“Exergaming” – the trend which blends exercising and gaming – is big news. Trixter’s Xdream bike is a fine example: the UK’s first indoor interactive bike that accurately simulates the experience of riding outdoors. I had the chance to try the Trixter out at the London Bike Show this week and found out just what a challenge it is!
I was invited to take part in the Trixter challenge which involved a mile “off-road” race. My heart was pumping and I crashed several times! This is actually a very accurate description of my experiences of real-life mountain biking, so there you go….! I thought the Trixter was a really great simulation of mountain biking – the controls are sensitive and it takes a lot of skill and concentration to follow the line you’ve chosen.
Here’s the blurb:
An LCD screen mounted in front of the Xdream’s handlebars allows you to steer through more than 400 cycling trails, from arid desert to densely forested highlands and race alongside virtual competitors who set the pace and push you to your limits. Riders use the unique laterally-moving handlebars to negotiate corners and avoid potential hazards along the route. Sensors are embedded in the seat, handlebars and pedals, so your every movement is replicated on screen. When you turn right, your virtual avatar turns right on screen. This is gaming technology at its best, allowing users to become fully immersed in their workout, shifting their focus towards completing the courses and beating the other riders rather than on the hard work they are doing. The Xdream provides a full body workout, helping to tone the arms and strengthen the core and burns more calories than a standard exercise bike.
The Trixter Xdream bike is available in Virgin Active clubs so lucky you if you’re a member. Jump on one next time you go to the gym and give it a go – then come back and let me know what you thought!
Aaaand breathe. So I was sent a can of OXYfit, which is 99.5% oxygen in a can. My husband – a scientist – laughed at me. But everyone knows that oxygen helps you perform better and recover faster, and OXYfit has some great feedback from professional athletes. I’m told that “Training with oxygen-enriched air spares muscle glycogen by as much as 30%. This equates to a greater level of output, lower muscle fatigue, improved recovery time and enhanced muscle fibre fullness.” Sounds good to me!
Here’s the blurb:
OXYfit’s portable oxygen can has been developed to assist athletes in their quest for success. Supplemental oxygen has many benefits for those participating in exercise, which include speeding up the body’s recovery process, boosting energy levels and promoting healing.
Elite athletes in a number of demanding sports, such as 2010 British Sprint Triathlon Champion Daniel Sims, have been using OXYfit products to enhance performance for some time. As well as helping athletes at the peak of their sport, OXYfit products can also give the average fitness enthusiast a real boost, increasing performance output by an average of 15%.
OXYfit is pure oxygen compressed into a light canister – available in 2, 5, 8, 66 and 110 litre sizes – and is simple to use. The product comes with an inhalation cap that clips onto the top of the can and allows the user to press the lever to release the oxygen.
Now, I’ve had a really busy, exhausting week. In fact I can’t remember when I last felt so tired. But on Friday night I had to go to the gym, after work and a series of long meetings. What’s more, I had to train legs: the most painful and demanding session of my week. What better time to try the OXYfit can?
I used the product just before my workout, immediately afterwards and then when I got home. It did make me feel a bit perky, but then the instructions do tell you to inhale and exhale 8-10 times, so perhaps I was just hyperventilating a bit. I honestly can’t say whether or not it helped me – there are so many variables to take into account, after all. But I dragged myself out of the house to train, and ended up having a great session, with a personal best thrown in. I was also able to get up the next morning and go and train again, despite not getting a great deal of sleep. Was it the OXYfit? Was it what I ate? Was it simply that I’m a type-A personality who will train come hell or high water? I don’t know! Tell me, readers, have you tried OXYfit? What did you think? I’d love to hear your feedback.
I make no secret of the fact that Zoggs’s Predator goggles are my all-time favourites. You only have to take a look at any of my Channel swimming photos to see that (why the amber lenses? Psychological – if everything looks yellow, I find I don’t feel as cold!)
So when Zoggs sent me a couple of pairs of goggles this week I dragged myself (see above!) to the pool to test them. It was a good incentive!
First of all I tested the super-smart Predator Flex Polarized. These are like the superhero big brother of my beloved amber-lensed Predators. The “flex” part means they are…er…flexible, flexing four ways across the frame for a great fit. But the polarized bit is what’s really new here. I’m sure you know about polarized lenses from your sunglasses or ski goggles or whatever. Well here’s that technology but in goggles – great for open-water swimming.
Here’s the blurb:
As many triathletes and open water swimmers will know, glare can be a big problem. Glare off the surface of the water can create an annoying and sometimes dangerous intensity of light – an annoyance at best and a serious obstacle at worst to many swimmers.
The lenses on the Predator Flex Polarized are designed to help reduce this obstacle. They contain a special filter that blocks the intense reflected light from the water, reducing glare and improving visibility, helping swimmers to focus solely on the task in hand.
This technology has been widely used in sunglasses, but until now, there have been no goggles available with polarized lenses. With a distinctive, standout colouration of red and white, this goggle is a market first. The Predator Flex Polarized comes with a handy carry pouch and will be available exclusively at Wiggle.co.uk during January 2011, then goes on general sale from February 2011.
Then I tested the Fusion Air women’s goggles, designed to be really comfy and do away with the “panda-eye” problem. I did indeed find these very comfy, completely non-leaky and nice and light. Job done.