Giveaway: Smartshake Slim (new from Smartshake)

April 27, 2014

A quick blog post for a rainy Sunday. Who fancies a giveaway? Why not!

Smartshake have recently launched their Smartshake Slim shakerbottles – smaller, slimmer, tapered versions of their classic and ever-popular stacking shakers.

(I reviewed the regular sized Smartshake neon range here).


I have this blue Smartshake Slim to give away to one of you. I promise you’ll love it: I’m using a combination of the black/gunsmoke and pink ones and already can’t be without it. Look at it – that’s another thing I love about Smartshake bottles – you can mix and match all the components!

smartshake slim giveaway

At 500ml and with a slim tapered shape, it’s the perfect size for travel or cardio. It fits car cup holders (most shaker bottles are too big), gym bag pockets, handmags (man bags?!) and even the smallest bottle compartments on gym cardio machines.

As with all Smartshake products, it’s BPA free, dishwasher safe, etc, and has the classic “extra” screw on compartment for the bottom of the shaker, so you can carry a serving of protein powder, or supplements (or food, or hair bands, or your jewellery…)

To enter, simply
1) like Smartshake UK on Twitter and
2) tweet a link to this blog post with my Twitter name (@thefitwriter) and Smartshake UK’s Twitter name (@smartshakeuk) in it.

Something like:

“I’ve entered @thefitwriter ‘s giveaway for @smartshakeuk NEW Smartshake Slim (shrink the URL)
Closing date 10pm Tuesday 29th April – get cracking!

Giveaway: Smartshake Slim (new from Smartshake) 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 hosts a running magazine giveaway

April 10, 2014

TheFitDog has a big head at the moment. And I’m not talking about the generous proportions he was blessed with by mother nature. He’s puffed up with pride, far beyond his wrinkly jowls and square brain-box.


He’s in a magazine again.
nicola joyce running magazine

Eagle-eyed readers may have spotted him (and me, but that’s by the by) in the current issue of Women’s Running magazine. Remember when we went on a caniX training session? This article is the result*


Anyway, Frankie thinks that absolutely everybody should have the opportunity to gaze upon his handsome face and marvel over this athletic physique. So he’s offering one of you a brand new, slobber-free copy of May 2014 Women’s Running magazine.

To be in the mix – do these two things

1) share this blog post on Twitter (with my Twitter name @thefitwriter in your tweet somewhere)
share this blog post on Facebook (with my FB page link in the post)
2) leave a comment on this post to let me know you’ve done one of the above!

Frankie and I will pick a winner on Monday and get the magazine sent out to you ASAP.

Open to readers anywhere in the world 🙂

*In case you think I’ve gone a bit quiet with the “where you’ll find my byline this month” posts, I don’t do much journalism these days – it’s mostly copywriting. I put a fair bit of client news on my website newspage, when possible.

TheFitDog hosts a running magazine giveaway 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.

Giveaway winners – Kinetica Sports protein

March 25, 2013

Just a quick one to announce the two winners of the Kinetica Sports protein giveaway. Thank you to all of you who entered, I wish I had enough samples to send something to you all! Sadly only two people can win and they are:

colm bourke and Mattay Dunn

(I used an online random number generator thingy this time – Frankie says he is too tired to select the winners this time)

You both win a sample of the Complete and the Oat Gain.

Congratulations Colm and Mattay, please email me (there’s a contact me box top right on the blog home page) to give me your postal address.

Thanks to everyone for taking part 🙂

Giveaway winners – Kinetica Sports protein 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.

Giveaway! Kinetica Sports protein

March 22, 2013

It’s cold, it’s dark and it’s Friday. Perfect excuse for a little giveaway!

The folk at Kinetica Sports recently launched a few new products and sent them over for me to try. Trouble is, a couple of them don’t quite “fit my macros” (as the cool kids say) so I thought you guys should have them instead. Simple!


The new products include:
– Pro-Release (a really smooth-tasting blend of whey isolate,milk protein concentrate, whey protein concentrate and egg albumin protein for fast, medium and slow digesting proteins) – I tried this in both strawberry sundae and chocolate brownie flavour and loved it. It’s a very smooth and rich casein blend, perfect for bedtime.
– a new banana flavour whey protein – I also tried this and wasn’t too keen on the idea, as I don’t usually like banana whey at all, but this was actually very nice, not overly sweet and a great flavour. Nice and thick too.
Complete in banana smoothie flavour – this is a high-quality whey protein with organic virgin coconut oil, Creapure® (99.99% pure creatine monohydrate), a high-and low-GI carbohydrate blend and a digestive enzyme (Aminogen®)
Oat Gain in orange and mango flavour – as the name suggests, this is more of a “mass gain” product, with plenty of carbs and cals from ground oats, MCTs (from organic virgin coconut oil) as well as a protein blend and Aminogen® digestive enzymes.


I wasn’t able to try the Complete or the Oat Gain myself but I’d love you to try them! Click through to the links to check that they suit your particularly goals at the moment. I have two sample sachets of each, so will send two readers one of both the Complete in banana flavour (30g), and the Oat Gain orange and mango (80g). You lucky devils!

To enter, follow Kinetics Sports on Twitter, tweet something like “I’ve just entered @thefitwriter blog giveaway to win @kineticasports samples” and include a link to this blog post. Then head back here to leave a comment letting me know you’ve done that, so I know to put your name into the hat.

That’s it! I’ll pick a winner at random on Monday 25th March at 9pm.

Giveaway! Kinetica Sports protein 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.

Giveaway winner! Razzy roo hairband (don’t forget 20% discount for all)

March 11, 2013


Just a quick one to announce the winner of the Razzy Roo hairband giveaway

Sorry I know I said I’d do it at 9pm but I’m not sure I can keep my eyes open!

I thought about doing some techy online number generator thing but opted for something much funnier (to me, at least): the canine name-selector.

Frankie donned his favourite Razzy Roo headband to survey the names.

Then swapped to another to select the winner (by lying down on the bits of paper with his nose on one).

I opened it to reveal:

FI! 😀

Well done Fi, please email me (top right of the homepage) or contact me any which way and I’ll put you in touch with the folk at Razzy Roo 😀

Everyone else – thank you for entering – and remember there’s a great 20% discount on offer to blog readers. Just put the code THEFITWRITER in at checkout (code will expire on 1st April 2013).

You can find razzy roo on Twitter and razzy roo on Facebook as well as their own website.

Giveaway winner! Razzy roo hairband (don’t forget 20% discount for all) 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.

Smartshake winners!

July 18, 2011


Hi guys, a quick post to let you know who’s won the five Smartshake shakers Claire Harper kindly agreed to giveaway in this post. I numbered the entries then picked at random and the winners are:

Kristen of Following Fit who said:
I would most definitely put creatine pills in the bottom. But I would seriously consider cramming some post-workout carbs in there as well… do you think I can mush a slice of bread into it?
” (You’ll have to let us know about that!)

John who said:
“Since I work at a high security prison as a guard, I’m always working on gaining weight, so instead of putting my protein mix in a zip lock bag, it would be great to have a more convenient place for it. The smartshaker sounds like the best idea ever, and I would love to have one. Thank you
.” (Well, you got one!)

Yvonne Higby who said:
“I am always in need of a hair clip or pony tail holder. I would put a few in the bottom of the shaker. Then I would be ready to go! Thanks for the good read, I found your blog from Bikini or Bust. I am very new to this, I have my first competition Oct 1st. I love to read as much as I can about fitness to get motivated. Thanks
.” (Congrats Yvonne and best of luck with your comp)

Flick Williams who said:
“Tiny ziplock bags of protein, to last me throughout the day to have in my SmartShaker!” (Congrats Flick)

and Lisa Kedian who said:
“…Defo have to keep
 a bobble, kirby grip and my car key in the bottom.
Then a small 40g Carbs – oats to have in my shake!” (Congrats Lisa)

OK you five, I will email you now so you can send me your postal address. I’ll then pass the addresses on to Claire who will choose you a Smartshake colour at random and get your Smartshake off in the post. Please bear in mind that sending overseas will take a little longer – but your Smartshake will soon be on its way to you.

Well done to the winners and a big thank you to everyone who entered!

Smartshake winners! 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.

My favourite swimming books (giveaway)

October 7, 2010

I like reading. And I like swimming. So the shelves in my office are full of books about swimming. Want to know what some of my favourites are? And, better still, want to win a brand-new copy of one of them for yourself? It’s your lucky Thursday! 🙂

Swimming to Antarctica by Lynne Cox (Knopf)
Lynne is my hero. She broke the (men and women’s) record for swimming the English Channel when she was 15. She was the first person to swim the Cape of Good Hope (and, yes, she encountered sharks). And she was the first person to swim the Bering Strait (between Alaska and Siberia). This book is an amazingly evocative account of what it is to be a solo open-water swimmer: the cold, yes, but also the mental challenges, the loneliness, the exhilaration… Lynne’s writing will draw you in, whether or not you’ve ever swum in cold water in nothing but your swimsuit, hat and goggles. Oh, and she replied to an email I once sent her. So I kind of love her even more.

Open Water Swimming by Penny Lee Dean (Human Kinetics)
aka An open-water swimmer’s bible. I devoured this when I was training for my first Channel swim. Although it focuses more on OW swim races (rather than solo swims), it’s invaluable to anyone preparing for any kind of OW swim, in my opinion. It covers training, technique, safety, kit, psychology, tactics and final preparation. Oh, and you should listen to Penny Lee Dean. She’s held the World Record in, like, 13 open-water swimming events.

Swim Workouts in a Binder by Gale Bernhardt and Nick Hansen (Velopress/Cordee)
I never go to the pool without this book. It’s great: a ring-bound, waterproof set of dozens of swim sessions, broken down into speed, endurance, form, anaerobic endurance (and more) and well-structured with warm-up, drill, swim down, main set, etc. It even stands itself up at the end of the pool, so no worries if you haven’t got anything to prop it on. And I’ve found that, when I have this book at the end of the pool, other lane-users take me a bit more seriously (and let me turn/pass at the end). It’s everything you’d expect from a swim session, without the scary coach walking along the side of the pool. Each session has two options, one slightly shorter and one hard-core. Highly recommended (see my giveaway at the bottom of this post!)

There’s also a Workouts in a Binder for Swimmers, Triathletes and Coaches version, (available from Cordee, RRP £20) which is perfect for any triathlete. The workouts are divided into sprint, middle distance or distance, with IM and stroke work, too. There’s even a suggestion of how to work the sessions into a realistic training plan over a matter of weeks. A really useful resource jam-packed with valuable training information which you can go and put into practise straight away. Both Workouts in a Binder books are available from Cordee in the UK (01455 611185).

The Art of Swimming by Steven Shaw (Collins and Brown)
Steven is an ex-pro pool swimmer and a proponent of the Alexander Technique. This book explains his approach which marries both, with the aim of learning swimming in a way which really looks after your neck and spine (whilst making you a better swimmer!) It’s a really interesting look at how our bodies can interact with, rather than fight against, water. The book details basic drills and practices, before going into how to apply the technique to all four strokes. Even fly (Steven’s butterfly has to be seen to be believed). It’s well-illustrated with photos of real swimmers carrying out all the drills.

Triathlon Swimming Made Easy by Terry Laughlin (Total Immersion Inc)
Total Immersion – TI to its fans – is a popular method of swimming particularly favoured by triathletes (although anyone could learn it). It basically teaches you how to slow down your stroke and position yourself in the most streamlined way possible, so you slip through the water rather than thrashing around getting nowhere. It’s very gentle and very effective. Terry is the master of TI and this book is his guide for triathletes, although anyone could use it. There’s a ton of info in it, all very detailed, but very useful.

Swimming Anatomy by Ian McLeod (Human Kinetics)
If you find the human body interesting then you might like this book. I’m not scientifically minded in the slightest but I do find anything about sport and physiology fascinating and this book gives a detailed and illustrated breakdown of which muscles are used during swimming and how we can use strength and conditioning to improve our swimming. It’s focused on the explosive starts, turns and racing strategies of pool swimming but open-water swimmers will still find plenty of inspiration for off-season gym drills.

Swimming book giveaway

Would you like your own copy of the Workouts in a Binder I describe above? You should do. It’s really good. And its RRP is £20.

The nice folk at Cordee publishers have sent me a new copy (cos I wouldn’t give mine away). Leave a comment below telling me what you’d like to improve on in swimming – it could be “learn to breathe properly during front crawl” or “be selected for the 2012 squad” (if that’s the case, can I suggest you get some sleep, since you’re probably at the Commonwealth Games right now 😉 )

You have until midnight GMT on Sunday 10th October, after which I’ll pick a winner at random and send the book out to you in the post. 🙂

My favourite swimming books (giveaway) is a post from The Fit Writer blog.

R2 drinks giveaway winner

August 14, 2010

Hi all, I’m currently down in Kent enjoying the first few days of being an Auntie 🙂 but jumped online to pick a winner for the R2 drinks competition as promised.


Congrats Jason C! 🙂

Please send your address to nicola AT nicolajoyce DOT co DOT uk and I’ll get the R2 sampler box in the post to you

(The box will be posted out sometime in the next week, because I’m currently in a different county to it!)

Thanks for all your comments.

Riding the Little Woody course (and R2 giveaway)

August 12, 2010

And the Little Woody looms closer. It’s a half-Ironman/middle distance triathlon in the Forest of Dean and I can’t remember when (or why) I signed up to it, but it’s now only a few weeks away. I’ve done a half-Ironman distance triathlon before, so it’s not a first, but I would like to get a better result than at the Vitruvian in 2005. Although, of course, it’s impossible to compare different races.

Little Woody is a 1900m lake swim, 98km bike and 21km (aka half-marathon) run. The bike is renowned for being somewhat hilly, and the run is a mixture of trails, paths and other surfaces. Good-oh!

I’ve been quietly freaking out about the bike course, despite making great improvements in my bike confidence and performance this year. (You can read some of my sportive reports here, here and here). So, this weekend, whilst we were visiting my inlaws in Wiltshire, we decided to drive over to the Forest of Dean and ride the Little Woody bike course.

I was wibbling before we even got on the bikes. I don’t know why. It was horrible, reminding me of the bad old days when I’d send myself spiralling down into a whirl of negative thought processes about road-riding even on simple sunny jaunts around my local roads. Just outside the carpark, cars were flying past on an A-road, and I remembered some of the hills our car had groaned her way up to get here. I honestly nearly said “let’s not bother”, but then I got over myself.

We set off, joining the course at what will be about the 20km point on the actual race. The busy A-road road almost immediately pitched steeply, sending me careering downhill at more than 25mph before I’d had time to settle into the ride. As a car passed too close, my bike started wobbling crazily. I skidded to a halt, shouted my husband’s name until my throat hurt, and started to walk. Surely there was something wrong with the bike? Maybe I hadn’t put the wheels on properly? That wobbling was terrifying.

Husband arrived back (having had to come all the way back up the hill) and checked my bike carefully, even riding it up and down the hill himself. No wobbles. I must have hit the rumblestrip, or…something. I don’t know. 6 minutes into the ride and I was already close to crying with nerves. So far, so 2003. I had to get on with it.

Once we were off that A-road, things got a thousand times better. A good road surface, much fewer cars and stunning scenery. I was even down on my aero-bars.

From Five Acres, near Coleford, the route took us through Park End and Bream before joining the A48 at Alvington. Then it was a long stretch of the A48, through Blakeney and Newnham, before turning off for Micheldean. I nibbled my jam sandwiches in Nibley and we were buzzed by two buzzards near Flaxley Abbey. I reached 33mph going down a hill.

We got caught in a couple of heavy rainstorms which flooded the roads and filled my shoes with water in a matter of seconds. Passing cars sent waves of water over me, one of which soaked me to the waist, and conditions got a bit hairy.

The final third of the route was a beautiful stretch along the River Wye before a cruel climb up to English Bicknor. I’d heard this was the toughest climb on the course (we have to do it twice in the race!) so I was feeling pretty pleased with myself when I got up it feeling great. Then I realised there was another bit to do. A sneaky sharp bit, just when you think you’ve done it all.

Just over 75kms of riding, with 841m of climbing and a max elevation of 239m.

I was really glad to have ridden (most of) the course. It wasn’t as tough as I’d imagined, and I coped well, which gave me a massive confidence boost. It’s a hard, hilly course – hardly any of it’s flat – but nothing I can’t do. I’m not sure I could have said the same a few months ago!

Of course, this being triathlon training, I couldn’t stop once I got off the bike. A quick change in the leisure centre (big up Forest Leisure for letting us use the car park and changing rooms) and then I was off on a (very short!) run. I had no idea where the Little Woody run course was so didn’t bother trying to find it. I just ran round the field for a bit, and threw in a couple of chin-ups on the school equipment just for the hell of it.

I arrived back at the car just as husband was laughing his head off at my bike wheels. The rear one had filled with water during the rainstorms and was hugely heavier than the other one. I hadn’t even noticed. I’d just assumed I was getting tired. Training with a wheel full of water: perhaps some new resistance technique that British Cycling could adopt?!

Here’s me stuffing my face after a long ride and a short run. My mother-in-law made us a breakfast cake which was perfect for after a ride (and, er, before it too). Here’s the recipe.


That bottle of drink next to me is grapefruit and orange R2. R2 is a nice choice for rehydrating because it helps replace vitamins, minerals and electrolytes as well as fluid. I wouldn’t rely on it for energy during exercise (although I have used it during pool sessions, and I have used it on the bike – one bottle of R2, one bottle of energy drink), but it’s great for afterwards. I prefer to water it down a bit (R2, please don’t now tell me I’m wrecking the electrolyte balance!), but that’s just how I roll.

The goodly folk at R2 have sent me a nice taster pack of the three R2 flavours (full size bottles, in a nice presentation box). They’re yours for the taking. Just reply in the comments, or send me a message on Twitter (@thefitwriter) using the hashtag #r2comp telling me: what’s your favourite thing to eat or drink during exercise?

Entry closes midnight UK time, Friday 13th August. I’ll number the entries and pick a winner at random. 🙂

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