My Vegan Month: The Start

November 1, 2017

So, I’m “going vegan” for a month. This month, specifically.

Back in September, I got a press release informing me that November is World Vegan Month. “Hm,” I thought, as a fledgling idea popped into my brain.

Eat vegan for World Vegan Month.

And then – because I’d about it – I basically had to see it through. Because that’s how my brain works.

I’m going to post a lot about this during the month:

  • what I expect/hope to get out of it
  • my worries/doubts/concerns
  • any challenges I come up against
  • tips/recipes/brilliant ideas* I come up with (*if relevant)
  • what I learn from this experience
  • whether my macros have to change and/or how difficult it is to keep them the same
  • whether or not I’ll stay eating vegan afterwards

I’m also planning on interviewing a few vegan athletes, bodybuilders, and generally sporty people so you can get some really useful and substantial advice from people who are actually real vegans!

A quick note before we go on: no, I am not a vegan. I am doing this as a personal experiment. That doesn’t mean I think veganism is a joke. I will be taking this seriously during the month, avoiding any animal products, and eating/drinking only 100% vegan. I won’t be extending my temporary veganism to leather or anything like that. (I’m not planning on buying any shoes or handbags in November anyway tbh). I will not be getting into any discussions or debates about the ethical side of veganism. It’s beyond the scope of this blog series. Please trust that I am a decent person, I care about the environment, I love animals, and I won’t even kill a wasp ๐Ÿ˜‰

Phew!

My initial thoughts as my first day of veganism comes to a close.

These are in no particular order; I’m really tired and want to get this post up.

  1. If you haven’t prepared for veganism, you won’t have much to eat. Obvious, perhaps, but I discovered this by lunchtime today. Breakfast was barely different to normal (my usual “protein porridge” but without the splash of liquid egg whites, and with a vegan blend protein powder instead of whey. I use this vegan protein powder from Bulk Powders – who kindly sent me it in support of this blog series. I will do a review another time). If you’re going vegan, go food shopping first, and cook up some beans and pulses!
  2. It is more of a challenge to eat protein (than on a non-vegan diet). This is because vegan proteins are all “connected” to other macros. So if you just ate chicken (say), that would be mostly protein with a tiny bit of fat. White fish would be basically pure protein. Egg whites are also pure protein. But there seem to be very few pure protein sources from plants. Most of them are also quite carby. This is fine, it just means you need to think a bit differently about meeting your macros.
  3. Food shopping is an eye opener. I dashed to Tesco after training tonight, because I had no vegan food ready for dinner. Shopping for vegan food really made me realise how people might feel when they first start “eating healthy”. You have to think hard about everything. Read labels. Compare things. My subsequent vegan shopping trips will be much faster, but this one took ages! And even things you assume are vegan – like Quorn – are not, unless specifically labelled as such. There were vast areas of Tesco that were totally irrelevant to me as a vegan shopper. Most of it, actually, apart from the fresh fruit and veg part.
  4. Thank god I really like vegetables, salad, and fruit.

Here are the questions I hope to answer by the end of this vegan month:

  • did I feel any healthier eating 100% vegan?
  • am I sleeping better?
  • has my body changed at all (composition and/or size?) I’ll be weighing myself and taking waist measurements
  • is my training performance affected at all (better/worse)?
  • do I feel hungrier?
  • how easy (or not) is it to hit my normal macros? and, if I can’t, how do I feel/perform/look on the new macros?
  • what kind of recipes/meals do I end up cooking, and will I keep any of them in my regular diet?
  • will I carry on with all or any of my vegan food choices after 30th November

Right, I’m going to bed!

I hope you’ll find this interesting. If you have any questions, or want me to focus on anything in particular, please leave a comment (or contact me on Facebook or Insta).

Also… if at any point you realise that I’ve totally screwed up and eaten something that’s not actually vegan, please for the love of God tell me gently. I don’t think I can take it! ๐Ÿ˜‰

Nicola Joyce โ€“ the Fit Writer โ€“ is a freelance copywriter and journalist with 13 years experience in writing content and direct response copy for the fitness industry. Get in touch via Facebook, by sending a message here.


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.


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.


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.
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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 ยฃ7.99 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: 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.


Tested this week: Activate Nutrition Diet whey protein powder

January 4, 2015

Today’s fitness kit I’ve reviewed this week is a diet whey protein which might be a great fit for your New Year’s Resolutions !
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I was first contacted by Mark, the guy behind Activate Nutrition, via the naturalmuscle forum – turns out we are both members. So that told me straight away that here was a guy who is involved in the gym, bodybuilding and physique sport world, who really understands what we need, and who cares enough to contribute to online forums (as himself, not as his company). A good start!

Mark offered to send me some of Activate’s Diet Whey Protein Plus, which I’ve been using since coming off my contest diet (I didn’t want to add anything new in at the latter stages of prep).

Active Nutrition’s products are all developed, made and tested in Britain and the Diet Whey is part of their weight loss range.

Mark says: “Even though the shake is a โ€˜dietโ€™ shake, itโ€™s what I use years round. If Iโ€™m focusing on gaining more size, then in goes the oats and a spoonful of nut butter! Or sometimes I make flapjacks.”

(I think we might need that recipe, Mark… !)

I haven’t been anything like as creative. I’ve literally been having the protein powder with water as a post-workout protein shake. I’ve noticed that it’s a lot thicker than many other shakes (even just mixed with water). I’m not sure if this is due to the blend of proteins (including whey and casein), but it makes for a great mouthfeel and makes the shake feel more filling, too. It’s very milkshakey!

Here are the nutritionals (per serving of 39g scoop):

kcals: 148
carbs: 3.9g
fat: 1.1g
pro: 30.8g

It has over 79g protein per 100g which – according to the website – is the highest protein content per 100g of any lean/diet protein powder out there.

So what makes this a “diet” shake?

Diet Protein Plus is low in fat and carbs and high in protein, but you’d kind of expect that from anything except an MRP or “mass gainer” type shake. It also contains certain ingredients which claim to assist in the mobilisation and/or “burning” of body fat. These are: CLA (conjugated linoleic acid) at 585mg/serving, Acai Berry 4:1 530mg/serving, Green Tea 156mg/serving, L-Carnitine 195mg/serving and Taurine 1170mg/serving.

Some of these are pretty well researched and are now accepted as helpful to “lean gains” and fat loss efforts (CLA, green tea, l-carnitine). But I know that there are some who are always skeptical about “diet” ingredients in protein powders. As always, best thing is to do your own research about the ingredients and the levels per serving. My best resource for reading up on this kind of thing is examine.com.

I can’t say that I’ve noticed any “diet” effects from this shake but I am not dieting at the moment, and am not using it as any kind of cutting or fat loss nutrition regime.

My personal feeling would be that the CLA and green tea would be helpful to fat loss (in fact, I take both as a supplement in their own right), and the others certainly won’t hurt.

Just one other thing to mention – the protein blend in this product is whey protein concentrate 80, milk protein concentrate 85 (micellar casein) and soy protein isolate 90. I know that some people prefer to avoid soy (whether or not they are correct is another matter and again probably down to personal choice!)

It comes in 6 flavours – I tried the raspberry which I am really enjoying (it’s not a flavour I’d ever choose for myself, so the fact that I like it says a lot!)

Thanks for the protein, Activate Nutrition chaps!

You can find Acvitate Nutrition on Facebook, Google Plus and on Twitter.

Tested this week: Activate Nutrition Diet whey protein powder 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: Enhance Drinks natural fruity water flavour drops

December 5, 2014

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Today’s fitness kit I’ve reviewed this week is something to liven up your water during these chilly days.

We all know we should drink plenty of water (at least 2 litres, although frankly I think 3-5 litres is more like it, particularly for active folk). Plain, filtered water is always going to be best. But sometimes it’s tough to chug tons of water, especially when the temperature is cold and the weather is grim.

I often use sugar-free flavour drops for my water so, when I was sent this lovely presentation pack of “Enhance”, I was happy to give them a mention on the blog.

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They’re little squeezy bottles of concentrated flavour, made from real fruit juice, with no added sugar or artificial colours/flavours. So technically they’re not sugar-free, but they don’t have any additional sugar, and no Sucralose or other sweeteners. And because you only need a tiny amount, the fructose/carb load is minimal (barely worth mentioning). You can (indeed I have) pop them in your gym bag/handbag if you want to top up your water during the day, and they seem to be lasting for ages because you really do only need a small amount.

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There are four flavours: apple & blackcurrant, strawberry & kiwi, lemon & lime, orange & passion fruit. All are lovely!

I’ve been using them in cold water and also as a hot drink (the apple/blackcurrant and strawb/kiwi are best for that).

Sadly you won’t get them in this lovely box when you buy them from the shops, but I can tell you that they’re on offer at the moment – ยฃ2 each instead of the usual ยฃ2.49. You can get them from most supermarkets and direct from Enhance’s website.

And for every bottle sold, Enhance will make a donation to the charity Just a Drop, which will provide a child in Africa with clean and safe drinking water for a month.

Thanks for the sample box, Enhance Drinks people!

You can find Enhance Drinks on Facebook and on Twitter.

Tested this week: Enhance Drinks natural fruity water flavour drops 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.


Fitness kit I’ve tested this week: myvitamins.com BCAA powder

November 6, 2014

Today’s fitness kit I’ve reviewed this week: BCAAs powder (2:1:1) from myvitamins.com.
powdered BCAAs
I was contacted by myvitamins.com – an online store which offers a range of fitness, health & beauty products – to see if I’d sample and review some of their goodies. I explained I was deep in contest prep but that I could probably stretch to BCAAs.

As I’m sure most of my readers know, BCAAs (branch chain amino acids) are three amino acids (leucine, iso-leucine and valine). They’re referred to as essential amino acids because the body can’t synthesise them from anywhere else, so we need to get them from diet (difficult, at least in the optimal amounts and ratios) or supplements.

Powdered BCAA is a popular choice with bodybuilders, who often choose to take a serving in water before cardio (particularly fasted cardio) or pre/intra workout. People in muscle and strength sports tend to like BCAAs because these three aminos help protect muscle mass (particularly when in a caloric deficit). And leucine is currently thought to be the mac-daddy of amino acids (it plays a key role in muscle protein synthesis).

myvitamins.com BCAAs are a ratio of 2:1:1, which is what I’d consider a basic or “general” ratio. 4:1:1 and even 8:1:1 BCAAs do exist, but 2:1:1 is the most common ratio.

My feedback? These 2:1:1 BCAAs mixed well, were gently flavoured (berry) and went down the hatch just fine without causing me any digestive issues. And my Mum liked the taste, too (cue a mini monologue on “BCAAs 101” in her kitchen!)

Take a look at the myvitamins.com site – there’s lots on there including a range for active kids.

Thanks, myvitamins.com for the sample (and for your patience in waiting for this review!)

Fitness kit I’ve tested this week: myvitamins.com BCAA powder 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.


Latest favourite training, nutrition, health podcasts

October 26, 2014

It’s been a while since I listed the podcasts I am currently enjoying. I listen to tons (as well as audiobooks) because I walk so much (dog owner living in a beautiful part of the country!)

This will be the third of these types of blog posts I’ve written; my previous podcast recommendations are here:
favourites from last year
more from 2013
and podcast recommendations from 2011 (many of which are no more)

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The Ben Pakulski Podcast
For those who don’t know who he is, Ben Pakulski is an IFBB Pro bodybuilder (he was in Generation Iron). I came across his podcast when Mark Coles of M10 (whose social media content I absolutely love) was a guest. I listened to that podcast episode, applied some of the ideas to my next leg session, had DOMS for about a week, and was hooked. Ben and co-host John Meadows interview athletes, coaches and experts in bodybuilding, strength and muscle hypertrophy about practical applications and ideas in various areas.
Ben Pakulski podcast on itunes

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Elite Muscle Radio
Phil Graham is another guy whose social media content I really enjoy, and now I can listen to his podcast too. The Elite Muscle Radio podcast explores nutrition and training in pretty high-end detail but does so in a way that won’t leave you feeling lost (or bored). I was once stuck in traffic on the M25 and listened to almost 80 minutes all about dietary fats and insulin sensitivity for sports performance and body recomp. I’m not a prep coach nor do I have a scientific mind but those 80 minutes were fascinating and I was grateful for the traffic jam. All of the episodes are similarly interesting. I truly feel like I’m “getting my learn on” when I listen.
Elite Muscle Radio on itunes

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Physique Science Radio
I’m sure you’ve heard of Layne Norton. Well, here’s his podcast. He co-hosts with Sohee Lee, a smart woman who has just released a reverse-dieting book. Layne and Sohee are known for their work on flexible dieting, reverse dieting and health-based contest prep and off-season nutrition. Expect lots of evidence-based nutrition and training advice.
Physique Science Radio on itunes

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Real Nutrition Radio
I really like this nutrition podcast, hosted by Clinical Sports Nutritionist, Martin MacDonald and his co-host, Mike Sweeney. Between the two of them, they are able to discuss and dissect nutrition topics from two angles, bringing loads of experience not just from academic study but “from the trenches” of actually treating people. It’s not all fat loss and contest prep, either, which I really like. They set out to dispel myths and misconceptions and bring real talk about nutrition for health, sports performance, muscle gain and body composition.
Real Nutrition Radio on itunes

Do you have any podcast recommendations for me?

Latest favourite training, nutrition, health podcasts 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.


“Thank you” reviews for birthday pressies from The Protein Works, Monkey Nutrition, Muscle Mousse & Meridian Foods!

July 6, 2014

What a lucky lady I am! My generous industry pals at The Protein Works, Monkey Nutrition, Muscle Mousse and Meridian (the nut butter people) heard it’s my birthday soon (…21 again) (and again) and very generously sent me some pressies. Thank you all! When you’re old and live by yourself like me, you don’t get a lot of surprise presents (unless you develop amnesia after a late-night internet shopping spree). This was a lovely treat.

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Let me tell you what they sent, and what I thought of the various products (I’ve sampled them all – they arrived some time ago ๐Ÿ˜‰ )

The Protein Works
Huge box of goodies from The Protein Works, online sports supplement people renowned for their crazy (and crazy-good) protein powder flavours, huge range of supplements, and innovative things like zero-cal syrups. I’m kind of embarrassed by how much they sent but hey I guess you only celebrate your 18th birthday once ๐Ÿ˜‰

What’s in the box?

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CLA Do you take CLA? I know some bodybuilders absolutely swear by it, some have tried it but don’t think it does anything for them, and others haven’t ever used it. I’ve used it on and off in the past, but am big on using healthy fats particularly during a prep diet, so I was really pleased to received a good quality CLA.

Whey protein in banana smooth flavour. I’d never choose banana whey for myself (just not a favourite) but it worked out well for The Protein Works to send me a flavour I don’t usually choose – cos it’s lovely! This is their whey protein concentrate 80, with added “Aminogen” (an enzyme system which helps the body digest the product better and absorb the aminos). And TPW’s whey protein concentrate 80 is tested by HFL, which is an added bonus for athletes tested against the WADA banned substance list. Anyway – this banana whey is very yum and might just have converted me to the flavour!

Greens powders Greens powders are another product which people either use and swear by, or disregard. Personally I think greens powders are a great thing to include whether you’re dieting down or not. They’re just such a quick and easy way to pack tons of raw nutrients into your daily diet (and far better than a multivit IMO). This one is flavoured and quite sweet but does also come in an unflavoured option. You may prefer an unflavoured greens powder, particularly if you like adding it to savoury dishes or mixing it with oils to make salad dressings.

Milk protein aka casein in chocolate smooth flavour. I have casein/milk protein most nights as a before-bed snack – I tend to blend it with a ton of ice and a bit of xantham gum to make a sort of icecream. The Protein Works’s milk protein is really nice, blends up well and tastes rich and creamy without being too sweet.

Creatine I’ll be honest – I haven’t actually started on this creatine monohydrate from The Protein Works, because I’ve still got some on the go. But I’m confident it’s great quality, and I do think creatine is a very useful supplement particularly for bodybuilders and particularly during a diet, to help maintain strength.

The Protein Works’s preworkout “Raze”. I love a preworkout, and this one is great! Check out the ingredients: AAKG (Arginine Alpha-Ketogluarate, Beta Alanine, Creapureยฎ (the best type of creatine mono available), l-tyrosine, citrulline malate, taurine, caffeine and instantised BCAAs amongst other things. Totally safe for drug-tested athletes, tastes great – and works! I’m pretty resistant to caffeine (I drink a lot of coffee) but Raze still gave me a little boost when I needed it (for instance when I had a big squat session to do on the hottest day of the year… ) No jitters, no crash or energy slump afterwards. Good stuff!

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Monkey Nutrition

I’ve reviewed a lot of Monkey Nutrition products on the blog before (all reviews are on this page) and I really rate the quality of their supplements. They sent me their new whey protein concentrate – Primal24 whey protein. It’s Monkey Nutrition’s more affordable whey but still has 24g protein per serving (and a full amino acid profile). It’s 80% protein by weight even after being flavoured, so you know exactly what you’re getting. It’s a lovely vanilla flavour, not too sweet (as some can be) and I’ve been enjoying it mixed with a (cooled) espresso and a bit of ice in the mornings. Yum!

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Muscle Mousse
Muscle Mousse probably needs little introduction, but in case you’ve somehow missed the buzz: it’s an amazing casein-type protein which mixes up very quickly to make a super-thick mousse which is really like a certain Delightfully Angelic dessert you may have enjoyed as a child. There are loads of flavours, but I was sent the peanut-choc caramel flavour – very tasty! Muscle Mousse is a combination of micellar casein/milk casein, whey protein concentrate and egg protein which gives it its unique moussey texture, and the casein and whey are from grass-fed cattle. The latest formulation has a higher level of BCAAs than previously and more probiotics. It’s 100% gluten and soy free – and HFL tested. I’ve been loving this as a treat!

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Meridian Foods new nut butters

Oh, this was a wonderful but dangerous birthday present for a dieting bodybuilder! Happily I seem to be able to exercise more self-control around nut butter this year than in any previous diet/prep. The little jar size helps. I was sent the new cashew butter, smooth almond butter and crunchy almond butter – all are fantastic but the crunchy almond is my favourite by far. Meridian’s nut butters are 100% nuts – no palm oil, no nasties. Just nuts.

Thank you, friends! What a lovely load of birthday surprises ๐Ÿ™‚ The (protein) drinks are on me ๐Ÿ˜€

“Thank you” reviews for birthday pressies from The Protein Works, Monkey Nutrition, Muscle Mousse & Meridian Foods! 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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