Tested this week: Monkey Nutrition new Primal26 PRO whey protein isolate

March 29, 2015

Today’s fitness kit I’ve reviewed this week is a new product from one of my favourite supplement brands.

Primal26 new whey protein isolate review

I’ve reviewed a few Monkey Nutrition products on the blog. I like the brand for its honest, no-BS communication style and I like the products because they really are great quality (and they have some little gems in the range, like Moodulator the neurotransmittor/hormone support which really helps me sleep).

So when one of the Monkeys asked if I’d try the new Primal26 PRO advanced whey isolate, I said sure! I reviewed the previous version of Primal26 here, but this is a new and improved formula with digestive enzymes.
monkey primal26 whey review blog
I’m off-season at the moment, and have drastically cut down on the amount of supplements I take. Partly for cash reasons, but mostly because I truly don’t think many are needed when you’re eating well, sleeping well and getting enough recovery. Prep is perhaps a different matter. But in off-season, I really don’t use much at all. (Happy to blog about what I do use if anyone’s interested).

That includes protein powder. I work at home, the gym’s not far away. I usually just come home and eat a meal. But there are times when I need a protein powder after training – and on those occasions I will use whey isolate.

Why? Simply put, it’s the best form of whey available.

Monkey Nutrition’s Primal26 PRO whey isolate is a little different to most whey isolates. It contains digestive enzyme ProHydrolase, which helps with protein absorption. Whey isolate is always pretty gentle on the digestion anyway (much less lactose) but the addition of digestive enzymes to Primal26 PRO supports an increase in protein absorption (by up to three times) and helps ensure smaller, non-immunogenic protein peptides are formed. These help lower inflammation (as indicated by decreased CRP levels).

If you sometimes suffer bloating, gas or worse when you use whey protein, this product would definitely be worth a try.

Because your body is able to get more out of digesting this product, it means you can actually reduce your serving size without any loss of protein assimilation.

The product formula is clinically researched (you can read all about the clinical trials here, if you’re that way inclined) and

I tried Primal26 PRO in chocolate flavour, which is sweetened with Stevia and flavoured with organic cocoa. 26g pure whey protein isolate per serving – and that all-important ProHydrolase digestive enzyme.

Thanks for the supplements, Monkey Nutrition guys!

You can find Monkey Nutrition on Facebook and on Twitter.

Tested this week: Monkey Nutrition new Primal26 PRO whey protein isolate is a post from The Fit Writer blog.

Nicola Joyce – the Fit Writer – is a freelance copywriter and journalist who writes for the sport and fitness industry. Her main website is here.

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Defining happiness with Prof Paul Dolan for International Day of Happiness

March 20, 2015

Did you know? It’s International Day of Happiness!

Group hug!

What you might not know is that invest a lot of time in feeling happy. I start every day with journaling, and end it with a spot of meditation (hashtag: ommmm). I walk with my dog every day (at least twice) in the lovely countryside behind my house. I chill out. I do spiritual shit. I try to do more of the things which make me happy, and less of the things which don’t. And when I do have to do stuff which doesn’t make me jump for joy, I try to adjust my attitude about it.

And I’m always up for learning more about how to be happier.

So, when Penguin Books asked me to blog about Prof Paul Dolan’s new book “Happiness By Design” – about how we can design our lives for happiness – I said I’d be overjoyed 😉 How to design your life for happiness – by thinking less and doing more. As well as being a Professor of Behavioural Science, Prof Dolan is also a bodybuilder (<< fun fact!) and has always been interested in the links between healthy lifestyles and happiness.

First up, some stats about happiness and grassroots sport from Join In, a London 2012 charity that puts more volunteers into community sport. (To find out more about volunteering opportunities in sport check the Join In website joininuk.org.)

join in research happiness volunteer sport grassroots
You can read Join In’s research about happiness and volunteering in sport here.

Join In have discovered just how powerful volunteering in sport can be for boosting happiness and wellbeing. According to their research, volunteers who are involved in sports clubs were less likely to feel anxious or worried and less likely to cry (aw!) And they were more likely to feel happy, part of their community and that their life has a purpose.

Purpose!

That little word has a lot of meaning according to Prof Dolan, as he explains in his “Happiness By Design” book. In fact, the tagline of the book is “finding pleasure and purpose in everyday life”.

happiness by design dolan book review
Happiness is difficult to define, as Prof Dolan admits early in the book. It’s completely subjective and highly personal.

But he sticks his neck on the line and offers a definition: the “pleasure-purpose principle” which he details at the start of the book.

“Your happiness is determined by how you allocate your attention,” he writes. “Attention devoted to one stimulus is, by definition, attention that is not devoted to another… The scarcity of attentional resources means that you must consider how you can make and facilitate better decisions… You will be the happiest you can be when you allocate your attention as best you can.”

This book is a great read if you’re interested in happiness and emotional wellbeing. Is it how we think, or what we do? (The book suggests it’s the latter.) You’ll find out how to redesign habitual ways of thinking, to make more of the deliberate choices that bring pleasure and meaning to your world (for it’s that combination, says Dolan, which equals happiness).

Highly recommended, grab a copy on Amazon in paperback or for Kindle. Thank you for sending me the review copy, Penguin Books people!

Happy International Day Of Happiness! What are you doing today which will make you happy?

Defining happiness with Prof Paul Dolan for International Day of Happiness is a post from The Fit Writer blog.

Nicola Joyce – the Fit Writer – is a freelance copywriter and journalist who writes for the sport and fitness industry. Her main website is here.


Tested this week: Fuelify fitness snack box and 20% off your first box

March 13, 2015

Today’s fitness kit I’ve reviewed this week is something yummy! Hands up if you like 1) snacks 2) surprises and 3) deliveries?
fuelify snack box review

Fuelify is a tailored fitness snack box service which sends sports snacks, fitness nutrition, bars, gels (and more) to your door.

And they’ve kindly offered you lot 20% off your first box – scroll down for the discount code!

Fuelify is a tailored service, choosing 6-8 products from the latest in sports snacks and fitness nutrition, customised to your fitness needs. You just tell them how you train, what kind of sport you do and what you need from your snacks and supplements and they send you some goodies.

It’s a great way of discovering new products from established and up and coming brands like Pulsin’, Nakd, Clif, Luna, CNP and more. You can see the entire range of everything they stock here.

I told Fuelify it was OK to send me a very general selection so I could get an overview of some of their favourite products.

Here’s what I got in my box.

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I actually gave the gels to a mountain biking friend, but I worked my way through the bars, electrolyte powder and the energy chews/shot bloks myself. All of them were great – some were brand new to me (the Nom brand) and some I’d had before (Trek).

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My favourite – for what it’s worth – was the Nom protein bar, made with pea protein and coconut oil. It had a lovely texture and was very filling, hitting the spot for me (I prefer fats to carbs, as a rule).

You can get a one-off box (ideal as a present), or opt for monthly or fortnightly subscriptions. I think this would be a great way to discover new favourites and try things you wouldn’t usually come across (or things which you usually have to buy in bulk).

And once you know what you love, you can head to the Fuelify store and buy bulk-boxes of your favourites!

20% discount code for your first Fuelify box

Use code TFW20 at the checkout or when you sign up to Fuelify and get 20% off your first box!

Thanks for the sample box, Fuelify!

You can find Fuelify on Facebook and on Twitter.

Tested this week: Fuelify fitness snack box and 20% off your first box is a post from The Fit Writer blog.

Nicola Joyce – the Fit Writer – is a freelance copywriter and journalist who writes for the sport and fitness industry. Her main website is here.


TheFitDog’s review of his Dog Buff from Kit Shack

February 27, 2015

*This is a blog post from Frankie the office dog*

Hey guys and bitches! How have you all been?

Sorry I haven’t blogged for you in ages (which in Dog Years is Really Ages!)

I’ve got a sweet product review for you all today: ideal for you outdoors-y type dogs who still like to look smart even when you’re muddy.

dog buff

My friends at Kit Shack (online shop which sells mainly outdoor gear, hats and buffs for humans) send me a smart DOG BUFF and asked me to use my handsome good looks and incredible writing skills to review it.

You guys already know that I have a Woof Coat, but what you might not know is that I love my old neckerchief (Nic’s sister had it made for me one Christmas). But the annoying thing about that thing is that it has to be knotted on, and then the knot slips round and flaps in my face, and if I have a drink you can bet your life the flappy bits of the knot will go in the puddle or in my food bowl.

My new dog buff solves all those problems.

It’s thin and stretchy, not at all restrictive, and totally comfy. I really like wearing it and push my head right through it when I see Nic get it ready. I dunno why… it feels comforting and I guess I know I look extra-handsome with it on.

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The one I got sent is blue and yellow as you can see, with cool pictures of bones and balls all over it. But you can get other ones in different sizes too – take a look at the Dog Buff range.

Here are my fashion recommendations if you want my advice (you do):
= black dogs like my cousins LOTTIE and DORA – red buff
= brown dogs like me and my cousin NALA – blue/yellow buff
= white dogs with spots all over like my friend PONGO – yellow buff

dog buff uk

It’s the perfect buff for this Winter/Spring transition time, giving just the right amount of warmth without being hot. The bright print means Nic can see me better even when I try to camoflague in the mud and sticks. And it has two thick reflective strips on it which are really bright when we are walking along the road in the evening.

Those ducks are totally jealous of my dog buff!

Those ducks are totally jealous of my dog buff!

The Dog Buffs from Kit Shack would get two thumbs up if I had any thumbs, but I don’t. So I give them a massive wag of the tail and a big smile instead!

You can check out Kit Shack online</a.

Thanks KitShack for my dog buff!
I really loved reviewing it! Frankie xoxox

TheFitDog’s review of his Dog Buff from Kitshack is a post from the Fit Writer blog.

Nicola Joyce – the Fit Writer – is a freelance copywriter and journalist who writes for the sport and fitness industry. Her main website is here.


Tested this week: Supplemented.co.uk and 10% discount code

February 16, 2015

Today’s fitness kit I’ve reviewed this week is a new UK company with a very useful service.

Meet Supplemented, a no-frills, honest supplements and vitamins company that makes ordering health supplements really easy.
logo

Matt from Supplemented got in touch with me via the naturalmuscle forums, where the company are a sponsor. That immediately suggested good things to me: if the admins at naturalmuscle trust and rate a company, chances are I will too.

Supplemented are a small food supplements company based in London. Their focus is on providing top quality supplements, vits and minerals (they actually use exactly the same UK manufacturers as some big-brand suppliers and popular High Street chains) at very cost-effective prices.

Take a look at the prices, you’ll see what I mean. What I really liked about the Supplemented business model is that delivery is so hassle-free. It’s all sent directly from London, foil packed and letterbox friendly. So you won’t need to take time off work to sign for a parcel, or “discover” it behind your bin or with a random neighbour.

And the products are safe for tested athletes, too (a big selling point for me). Supplemented.co.uk’s suppliers are Informed Sport registered and audited, which means their products are all produced at a facility that has full compliance for both ingredients and the manufacturing process.

The guys at Supplemented sent me:

CLA (conjugated linoleic acid)– 1000mg per capsule
Green tea extract – one of my must-have supplements all year round
BCAA tablets – I’m not sure of the ratio but I’d guess 2:1:1, at £7.99 for 90!
Creatine mono tablets – 750mg per capsule. Something I’m adding to my stack this off-season!

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As you can see (dog for scale) the packets are small and slimline, ideal for popping through the letter box with your normal post. The products are all top quality, and I really rate this new company and hope they do well.

Their range goes well beyond the sports supplement and bodybuilder type stuff – there are vitamins, minerals, joint care products, omegas, probiotics… etc.

10% discount code

Supplemented.co.uk have a discount code for thefitwriter readers – add MEMBERSDISCOUNT at checkout for 10% discount on your already very cost-effective order! Delivery is free regardless of order size.

Thanks for the supplements, Supplemented guys!

You can find Supplemented on Facebook and on Twitter.

Tested this week: Supplemented.co.uk and 10% discount code is a post from The Fit Writer blog.

Nicola Joyce – the Fit Writer – is a freelance copywriter and journalist who writes for the sport and fitness industry. Her main website is here.


Tested this week: Emergen-C vitamin drink launched in the UK

January 24, 2015

Hands up who’s had that tiresome virus this Winter? Yeah, me too. Hands down if it lasted a week. Two weeks? Yep my hand is still in the air… I was more or less wiped out for three weeks by the dull visitation that was This Winter’s Super-virus. SO BORING.

However, the folk at Emergen-C vitamin drink sent me a bumper pack of EMC samples and the timing couldn’t have been better.

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I can’t claim that the Emergen-C cured my cold (I refuse to call it flu because, let’s face it, it wasn’t. It was just a bad cold virus). But I definitely felt better after a few days of drinking it. And I handed out sachets of EMC to friends and family who were also ill and they said the same.

What is Emergen-C? I’m sure I recognise the name…?

If you’ve been to the USA you’ll probably have seen it. It’s been an American favourite/favorite for years, but we haven’t been able to get it here in the UK. Til now! EMC launched over here at the end of last year and is now widely available (Boots and other major retailers).

It’s essentially a slightly fizzy Vitamin-C drink, available as flavoured powder, with added B-Vitamins and other nutrients.

It’s a great thing to have on hand for a drink in the morning or throughout the day, or you could add it to any smoothie or protein shake concoction.

Each serving Emergen-C has 1000mg (that’s 1g to you and me) Vitamin C as well as Vitamin D, six B-Vitamins (B1 – thiamine, B2 – riboflavin, B3 – niacin, B5 – pantothenic acid, B6, B12) and potassium, calcium, magnesium and zinc, manganese, and chromium.

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The ingredients list is pretty lengthy, so super-clean eaters might want to put their specs on and scrutinise: fructose is the first ingredient, and cane sugar, gelatine and soy bean oil are all on the list.

The little sachets are ideal for stashing in your handbag, gym bag or desk drawer for daily use or when you feel you need a pick-me-up. I’m glad I’ve still got some left – although I’m happy to say I’ve now banished the bug this time round!

Head over to the Emergen-C UK website for recipe ideas and your free sample. You can also find EMC UK on Facebook.

Thanks for the EMC samples, Emergen-C people!

Tested this week: Emergen-C vitamin drink launched in the UK is a post from The Fit Writer blog.

Nicola Joyce – the Fit Writer – is a freelance copywriter and journalist who writes for the sport and fitness industry. Her main website is here.


Tested this week: Lewis Moody’s SuperVitality nutrition range

January 7, 2015

The bits and bobs I’m reviewing in today’s fitness kit I’ve reviewed post came to me directly from former England rugby international, Lewis Moody. Well, maybe not actually from his own sizeable hands (although I’d like to think so). But they were developed by him and the company is run by him.

SuperProtein Blueberry

SuperVitality has a range of sports supplements including protein powders, smoothie blends, electrolytes and bars aimed not just at sports people but at anyone wanting to supplement their gym performance, support a healthy lifestyle (or lose weight) with no-nonsense products based around healthy, natural ingredients. That said, the company do support plenty of high level and elite athletes, in sports including tennis, football, polo and arm-wrestling! You can read more about SuperVitality’s ethos and how it came about here.

Lewis has ulcerative colitis (it’s OK, he said I can tell you) and the range is backed by dietician Barbara Cox which might give you an idea about the all-natural basis of the product development and ingredient selection. There are no artificial ingredients or sweeteners – any product which is sweetened contains Stevia (SuperVitality are one of the first UK companies to develop Stevia into supplements).

Granola

The range includes performance and protein products including high-energy granola, good quality protein powders, BCAAs, creatine, pre-workouts and energy bars – all designed to be both nutritional and with natural ingredients and sweeteners.

Much as I was tempted by the granola, I opted to test out the Super Protein in Raspberry, and in Blueberry Smoothie, and three of the flapjack-style bars: Cherry & Almond, “Full of Fruit” and Apple & Ginger.

So, what’s the verdict?

The bars are an easy review! Delicious, very tasty, very moreish! Tastes differ but personally I liked the apple/ginger, then the cherry/almond, then the fruity one, although I’d buy any of them. I’m not a mad flapjack lover, by the way, so don’t think that I’d rave about any old flapjack. I usually find flapjacks waaaay too sweet, too big and too stodgy. These come in at 60g (weight), and around 250-260 kcals each, high in carbs as you’d expect and with a fair bit of that from sugar. They are, however, flapjacks, so let’s not be too surprised by the carbs! I liked that they are relatively small, and not too chewy and dense. Fantastic for endurance athletes I reckon, or as a treat snack!

On to the powders. I knew right away that these weren’t just whey protein powders, and they don’t pretend to be. In keeping with the theme of the SuperVitality range, they contain extras (including “superfoods”). As always I’ll encourage you to do your own research and form your own opinion about the ingredients.

What I noticed is that these powders make a thicker, tastier, and much more satisfying shake than plain old whey, even when just mixed with water.

The raspberry diet protein contains calcium caseinate and whey for the proteins, raspberry powder, and acai berry, CLA, l-carnitine and raspberry ketones, along with Stevia for sweetening.

The blueberry contains calcium caseinate and whey for the proteins, blueberry powder, flavourings and Stevia for sweetening.

Both are sold as a post-workout option (which is how I had them) but they’d be great as a shake during the day too as taste great and feel filling. I imagine they’d also be lovely in oats if you’re a proats kinda guy/gal. They really do have that smoothie kind of texture and taste.

Both are low in fats and carbs per 30g serving (around 1.5g of each) and give about 24g protein.

Thanks for the protein, Lewis and the SuperVitality team!

You can find SuperVitality on Twitter at @superprotein.

Tested this week: Lewis Moody’s SuperVitality nutrition range is a post from The Fit Writer blog.

Nicola Joyce – the Fit Writer – is a freelance copywriter and journalist who writes for the sport and fitness industry. Her main website is here.


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