This blog post is long overdue! Here is the latest in my “fitness kit I’ve tested this week” series.
I was sent a tub of X-plode Hardcore by the good folk at Sci-MX sports nutrition. It’s a powder which you mix with water for a pre-training drink. But this is far from being just an energy drink, oh no siree! Take a look at what it contains and you might understand why I’m loving this stuff 😉
Dextrose monohydrate (lots of glucose to preload the muscles ready for hard work)
Arginine alpha-ketoglutarate (nitric oxide – for extra power and a nice pump)
Citrulline malate (reduces lactic acid and ammonia – and I have to say I have been amazed at how un-sore I feel after a weights session where I’ve used this)
Beta-alanine (for a muscle power boost)
L-lysine (preserves muscle nitrogen)
L-taurine (important building block of muscles)
L-glutamine (another important supplement when you’re working muscles hard)
L-tyrosine (gives focus, concentration and determination – rarrrrrgghhhh!)
Siberian Ginseng (stops you feeling knackered)
Guarana (a herbal energiser which contains caffeine)
After reading that little lot you’re probably not surprised to hear that X-plode Hardcore really works. (Don’t worry if the name makes you giggle, it does me too – it’s helps if you say it in a voice like the bloke who does the voiceovers of action-movie trailers.) I can honestly say it helps me lift heavier weights, workout for longer, feel less tired whilst I’m doing it, feel more determined and “up for it” and – critically – recover faster.
The first time I took this (you make it up with water and it tastes of blackcurrant), I went and did a leg session. My leg sessions are pretty immense at the moment – deadlifts, hip thrusters (oo-er) and squats at more-than-body weight, lunges at almost-body weight and a heap of single-legged stuff and then some lovely weighted step-ups to finish off. Hard, hard work.
But with the X-plode Hardcore, I had the best session I’d had in ages! You know I love my coffee. Well, this was a bit like I’d had several espressos but with a load of other good stuff thrown in for free. And you can’t sip on an espresso during your training session. (You’re meant to have the Xplode about 30 minutes before you workout but I sip it on the way there and there’s usually some left over by the time I start). Not only did I have a fantastic training session but I honestly truly didn’t feel sore two days later. Usually, I’m so sore from leg days I can’t crouch down in front of the fridge (well, I can, but I can’t get up again).
I use this for weight lifting but I know people use it for running and intervals/HIIT sessions too. Give it a go! Sci-MX are a really top-end nutrition company who put a lot of thought into their formulas and this is a great example of what they offer. X-plode Hardcore
At least one of my muscle groups is sore at any given time, so anything promising to alleviate some of that soreness is most welcome. Mint-Ease is a minty cream you rub on the afflicted area for a warming (yet cold?!) sensation which increases circulation. Up until recently, it was only supplied to physiotherapists for use on their clients. But then Mint Ease realised that some athletes (including pro triathletes, rugby players and power lifters) had been getting their own tubes of it from their physios, and they decided to sell it to the public via the website.
The folk at Mint Ease told me it’s most popular with endurance athletes, but I guess I’m currently more of a power athlete (lifting heavy weights quite slowly) and I’ve found it great. It really does help with soreness and seems to speed up recovery.
Here’s some of the blurb:
1. It acts as a Vasodilator. When rubbed into the skin it acts to dilate blood vessels which leads to an increase in the blood circulation in that area.
2. It has an analgesic effect. This makes Mint-Ease very useful for dealing with sore muscles post training/competing; the cooling sensation, followed by a soothing warmth not only helps to dull the pain of muscle soreness but it also acts to help it recover faster by increasing circulation to it.
It’s got a really strong minty smell, but it’s not off-putting. I used it before meeting a friend and all he said was “you’ve been using that Original Source shower gel, haven’t you!” I was worried it might smell far too strong, but if all it smells like is someone who’s fresh out of the shower then that’s no bad thing.
As you’d expect from something with 35% pure mint oil, it’s powerful stuff: it gives a tingling, hot/cold sensation and after a few minutes makes me feel very cold. When I used it on my back, I went to bed some hours later and felt as if the bed sheet was made of ice. Some people might find that an unpleasant side effect; I just thought it was a bit funny! I’ll definitely keep on using my tube of Mint Ease and can recommend it if you ever experience muscle soreness or want to recover between training sessions more quickly. Mint-Ease
The Body Rocka
I was sent a Body Rocka to try out at home and I’ve been using it once or twice a week for postural work and core strength.
The Body Rocka is a high tech balance board. You can do all sorts of exercises on it, from quite basic stuff to really challenging things like squats. I say you can; I certainly can’t (the squats, that is!) It works you hard and is great for the core, ankles, backs and general stability. It’s designed for upper body exercises as well as lower body and targetted core exercises and is useful for training, rehabilitation or injury prevention/prehabilitation. My husband had back surgery a few years ago for a slipped disc and, ever since, has sworn by the power of Pilates. He’s been using the Body Rocka too and thinks it’s great (he knows a lot more about proper controlled core exercises than I do!) Here are a few pics of me using it. There’s no picture of me trying to do a squat on the Body Rocka because it would just be a massive blur.
The Body Rocka blurb says it’s ideal for putting in your kit bag. I’m not sure about that – you’d need a jolly sizeable bag – but it is a great product and I have been using it at least once a week ever since receiving it. It comes with a good, basic, guide to exercises you can do on it, including press ups, planks and squats. All the good stuff. Try it out if you want an at-home option for core work, body weight training, rehab or injury prevention. Oh, and if you think the product rings a bell, it might be because the idea began life on The Apprentice. Body Rocka