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~ Nutrition Info ~ (Maximuscle.com)
Per 60g Bar:
Energy - 206kcal
Protein - 21.6g
Carbohydrate - 17g
Fats - 5.7g
Fibre - 5.7g
~ Review ~
These bars are available from Maximuscle.com for £25.99. However if you search around online you can usually find a discount. They are also available in many supermarkets or health food shops.
The bars come in several different flavours, cookie dough, blueberry smoothies, chocolate orange, chocolate and dark cherry chocolate. I have tried the chocolate orange and the cookie dough and they both taste exactly how they should and are very tasty. The main selling point of these bars are the high protein content. You can get about the same amount of protein in 75g of chicken breast but obviously these bars are ready to eat and don't need cooking. They are very handy to have before or after a workout. They are not hugely filling so you have to make sure you are quite disciplined and don't either eat too many or eat them when you don't really need any more food.
They come in boxes of 12. Unless you have lots of spare money I would suggest only eating them after a workout and when you don't have easy access to any food. If you had one a day it would cost you up to £65 a month. If you are eating them regularly then it is best to buy them in bulk as Maximuscle generally do a multi buy discount.
These are very useful but potentially expensive bars. They have a very high protein content without having loads of extra calories.
This product is priced at £4.99 from Maximuscle.com.
The Maximuscle Shaker is designed to help you mix up your sports nutrition powder with water or milk. You pour in the required amount of liquid into the shaker which is easily measured thanks to the measuring scale on the side of the shaker. You then place the criss cross lid on top of the shaker and on top of this you put the nutrition powder. You then seal this by placing the lid on top and screwing it in place. Then shake it for about 20 to 30 seconds and you should have a perfectly blended sports drink.
This shaker does exactly what you would expect it to. You can get away with making your drink slightly thicker or thinner than the instructions on the nutrition drink suggests so you can tailor it to your tastes. The lid fits perfectly and doesn't leak and it is very durable. The only problem I have with it is the price. At £5 it seems slightly expensive for the job it does. There are other cheaper versions available that do the same job. However if you are willing to spend the money on this then you won't be disappointed when you get it.
~ Technical Info ~
400 watt motor
Detachable blade and jar
Dishwasher proof (except base)
Multiple speed settings
~ Review ~
I paid £25 for this blender. As with all electrical items it is worth shopping around, especially online because you can often find deals or discounts.
I bought this blender originally to make smoothies and milkshakes. I found the blade to be very sharp and would cut through any type of fruit I would put in it. The only problem I found was that quite often the fruit would get stuck under the blade and I needed to shake the blender around and tip it up slightly to make sure it was all blended in properly. This isn't too much of an issue and once I had done this everything was very nicely blended in. I have since gone on to use this for making soups and it has had no problems with any of the vegetables I have put in it. When I make soups I like mine very thick and it has had no problems chopping and blending the vegetables.
This blender comes with 4 different speed settings. The lowest setting is useful for longer jobs and you can just drop items in through the small lid opening on the top. I like to use the fastest setting when I make soups and have a lot of vegetables in it. There is also a pulse setting so you can easily control what you are doing, especially useful if you don't want your food fully blended or chopped up.
The jug will hold up to 1.5l. For what I use it for this is plenty of room. I can make milkshakes for up to 4 people or soups for about 3. The base is very sturdy and is sticky on the bottom which means it will not fall over even on the fastest of settings or if you give it a little bump. It is easy to clean as the jug and the blade are detachable and can also be put into a dishwasher. I think it is quite noisy, especially on the higher settings.
This is a reasonable priced blender that will handle simple jobs and is easy to clean after.
~ Review ~
I bought the Kitvision 7 inch Digital Photo Frame for just under £30 online. I have since seen it advertised for lower so as with all electrical goods make sure you shop around before you buy. If you prefer to buy in shops then take proof of online prices and they may match them.
I choose this digital photo frame because of the price and also the design. At around £30 I think this is good value for money for a nice designed piece of equipment. The photos are surrounded by a black frame which is the set inside a silver frame. It is a very modern looking design which I think works very well. The bracket it sits on is rotatable which means you can view pictures in landscape or portrait.
To view your photos all you have to do is insert your USB, memory card or flash drive into the frame. It will also play music you have stored on these devices. The frame has an in built memory of 8MB which will allow you to save about 10 pictures. I have read reviews where people complain that they want more storage. For me this is more than enough, I wouldn't want to have loads of pictures scrolling through. It also makes me think more about what photos I want in the frame and therefore I use more than I would normally. The frame will support JPEG images up to 10MP which easily works with pictures I take on my camera phone or digital camera. The picture quality depends a lot of the quality of the original pictures but If you have very high quality pictures this reflects well when they are in the frame.
Once you have your pictures on the frame you can easily manage them. You can view a fixed image or set up a slideshow. With the slideshow you can choose how the transition between images and how long each image is viewed for. I normally choose the long, 60 second option as I think any quicker detracts from the picture but it all depends on the situation you are using it for.
For around £30 I think this is a very good digital photo frame. It is very easy to use and has some nice features that makes viewing your digital pictures very pleasant. At 7 inches it is slightly bigger than a normal picture and with the frame it is bigger still but this makes it into a nice feature on your shelf or cabinet.
~Nutritional Info~ (myprotein.co.uk)
Protein (dry basis): 20.5g
Protein (as-is): 19.6g
Protein is a very important part of daily life and is even more important if you exercise regularly. You should be able to get most of your protein from your diet but if you exercise a lot or are looking to put on extra muscle then it can be useful to add extra protein into your diet.
There are many different sites online and shops on the high street that you can purchase protein from. So far this is the best value product I have come across. The price starts from £13 for 1kg up to £41 for 5kg. If you purchase more than one bag you will receive even more savings. It also comes in more flavours than you ever could need! I have tried the chocolate and the strawberry flavours and they are both very tasty. You can mix it with either water or milk. They both taste good but I prefer them with milk. If you are watching your calories and weight then it is probably best to stick with water.
You can purchase a mixer from the website. Using this it is very easy to make up your protein shake. Once you have added the protein and your milk or water you just shake the bottle for a few seconds and it's ready. It blends very well with no lumps. The protein comes in a resealable bag which means it has a very long shelf life.
This is a high quality product at a very good price.
* Comes with pump
* Maximum user weight 125kg
Having worked in gyms before I have used a lot of different gym, or stability, balls. The more you use the more you come to realise that they pretty much all do the same job no matter how much you pay. This is available for about £5 and in my opinion there is no need to spend any more than this. It comes with a pump so all you need is to blow the ball up and it is ready to use.
The pump is easy to use and pumps up the ball with relative ease. It is not the most durable bit of equipment so I would suggest not blowing the ball up and down regularly if you want the pump to last. The instructions say not to pump the ball up too much but I have never known one to burst so I would be impressed if you managed this! The ball inflates to 55cm which is a good size for the majority of people. If you are taller or shorter than average then you may want to look around for a different sized gym ball.
There are 100s of exercises you can perform using the gym ball so as with most types of fitness it is a good idea to get some hints and tips from a professional. The quality of the ball is very good and very durable. It has quite a distinct smell when you first use it but this disappears fairly quickly. The only problem with this type of equipment is that it takes up quite a lot of room due to its shape.
This is a good piece of equipment to add to your home gym.
* Standard grip - excellent all round grip. Designed to balance grip and durability
* Hydratec - technical fabrics and external waterproof laminations are combined to enhance the life and performance of balls.
* 3 ply poly cotton and cotton laminates.
* Durable rubber surface
* Hand stitched
* Play level: Club/Schools/Mini and Junior Rugby.
* Conforms to IRB size and specifications.
I have used the ball, size 5, for training at club level. However if we were given this to use as a match ball I would be just as happy. The size and shape follows IRB standards so it is the same as the match balls we use. It feels slightly heavier then normal and more expensive match balls but you can hardly notice it. However this helps you in training because it makes you have to work harder when you are passing or kicking the ball.
The amount of grip on the ball is really good and is suitable for any weather. In the dry you feel very confident with this ball that you can push your passes that little bit further. In the wet it helps you catch the ball and helps you when you are passing. This is very important, especially in training, because it gives you the confidence to improve your game. In a match it helps improve the quality of the match which is better for players and spectators.
It is a very durable ball. The ones I have used are used in training and in matches and they keep their grip for a long time and do not lose their shape. It is suitable for any type of weather and the smaller ones would make excellent training balls for youngsters.
Easy access front pocket with Velcro
Stylish PU Leather Inserts
I purchased the 15.6" Belkin Laptop Providence Street Case for £24.99. I bought it to go with my Compaq Presario laptop.
I use this laptop case to carry around my laptop and any other paper, files and laptop accessories that I need for the day. The Laptop fits in very comfortably but also has a lot of space to fit in files, letters etc on top. The laptop can be secured in the case with two straps so you can be sure it won't move around. As my laptop is the same size as this case I don't feel I need to use them but if you have a smaller netbook you may want to use them.
Inside the case there is an additional pocket where you can store separate items. On this pocket is three smaller pockets with mesh netting and secured by Velcro. I use this to store things like USB memory sticks.
On the front of the case is a pocket that is secured by Velcro and there is a slim pocket at the back secured by Velcro as well. The case has a handle that you can use to carry it or a shoulder strap with a padded area to cushion it when its on your shoulder.
I have found this case very useful, it has lots of useful pockets so you can keep different items in different pockets. With a 15.6" laptop there is still lots of room even once the power cable is put in. The case is very easy to transport. I prefer to use the shoulder strap but the handle is easy to use for carrying. When the case I full up and quite heavy I do find the shoulder strap does dig in a bit and could do with a little bit more padding. Because of the extra straps inside to secure your laptop this would also work for smaller ones as well.
I purchased my Kettler Push Up Bars for £14 online. I have not looked around to see if I could have got them cheaper but as always with the internet it is definitely worth doing so. The purpose of these bars is to provide a joint-gentle course of motion as well as offering you a larger range o movement during the exercise. They come with anti-slip feet meaning you can use them on any surface.
As with all exercise you always want to be trying to progress. Doing press-ups is no different. Once you find that you can perform tens and tens of them in one go you need to challenge yourself. This is the reason I bought these. They allow you to go deeper than you can normally just on the floor thus working your muscles harder.
You can decide what position is the best and most comfortable for yourself and because of the anti-slip feet they won't move once you start exercising. This is extremely useful if you are on a wood or slippery flooring. They are also relatively small so easy to carry around or transport in your car.
If you find press ups too easy or find that they create unwanted pain or stress on your wrists then these bars are very useful.
I bought this as a novelty Christmas gift for my partner and it cost £15. It is an AM/Fm radio with mood lighting. It requires 3 AAA batteries that are not supplied with the radio.
This was bought as a novelty item and has always been used as such. There are not many times when my partner or I turn off the light in the bathroom when having a bath. Obviously with the bathroo light on, the mood lighting on the duck is slightly redundant. However if you do have the light off it does give off 7 different colours that change at regular intervals. My daughter likes this and she will sit in the dark bathroom playing with it!
The radio is fairly easy to use with large buttons on the side of the duck and does pick up most radio stations fairly well. Being so used to digital radio stations nowadays it can be a bit frustrating trying to tune in to a station but it normally finds it. The sound quality is probably as you would expect of an item like this. Once tuned in you can hear the songs but it won't win any awards. We generally keep ours on the window sill where due to the nice design it looks quite good.
The duck does float well but it is bigger than I was expecting. We do not have a large bath so it does get in the way a bit which is why it spends most of its time out of the bath.
This is a nice little novelty item that does look good in your bathroom.
I like to use deodorant most days but I can't say I have a favourite brand or type of smell. However I do like Lynx because the smells are normally very nice and they don't sting at all, unlike some of the cheaper versions. I can also find some in the back of cupboards where they have been for months and they still work and smell just as good. At around £2.50 you are paying quite a bit for the name and there are others, especially supermarkets own brands, that generally do just as good a job for a lower price.
I had never used Lynx Dark Temptation and had not even smelt it but it was intrigued as to whether the chocolate smell would work or not. I my opinion it doesn't. It does smell like chocolate but I found it is too overpowering and too strong to use as a deodorant. It might work better it smaller amounts but when you use it under your arms and over your body it is just too much. Like all Lynx products it does the job it is supposed to do, it keeps you dry, and if you like the smell it does last.
I have found most of the Lynx smells are generally very nice and aren't overpowering. This one is far too strong for a deodorant. It all comes down to personal preference but I would suggest trying it out before you buy it.
~Size Guide~ (lp-supports.com)
Measure circumference just above the ankle bone.
I bought this ankle support when I twisted my ankle playing rugby. Once it started healing I wanted something to give me a bit more confidence when I started going out running and playing rugby again. As with all supports you need to make sure you buy the right size. I didn't measure my ankle before I bought this but I was lucky that I got the right size. I would definitely recommend measuring your ankle before you buy one of these supports.
The support pulls on like a sock and then there is a Velcro strap to secure it in position. This can be quite tight to put on and if your ankle is still sore or healing be careful as you can cause yourself a bit of pain when putting it on. It is not too thick so fits nicely under your sock and then in your shoe. The support is made from a material called Coolprene. This is meant to dissipate heat when you are wearing it to reduce sweating and heat discomfort, especially during prolonged use. On hot days it still did get very sweaty but I didn't really notice it until I took the support off so I guess this material works!
I found that this ankle support gave me a lot more confidence once I got back into my fitness. It sits snugly around your ankle and you can wear it for a long time without it becoming uncomfortable.
York Standard Plates with 1" Diameter Holes
2 x 14" Chromed Spinlock Dumbell Handles and 4 Collars
4 x 0.5kg Plates
4 x 1.25kg Plates
4 x 2.5kg Plates
I bought these weights for £35. They are available online and in many shops.
These weights come in a very handy case and with all the kit inside it weighs 20kg which is a good workout just carrying that around! It makes it very easy to take with you wherever you go and want to do a quick dumbell workout. The grips on the handles are quite rough but you will get used to that very quickly and it does wear down a bit after you have used them for a while. The spinlocks ensure they weights stay on the dumbells and they secure very tightly and are easy to lock in place. The diameter of the bars and the plate holes are a standard 1" which means they can be used with other York weights and bars and also many other makes. However they won't fit with Olympic bars and weights which are much bigger.
These dumbells are very useful for doing a workout when you are short on time and space. They are perfect if you are going away on holiday or staying in a hotel. As with any fitness equipment it is worthwhile getting some professional advice on how to use them and what exercises you should be doing. With dumbells there are hundreds of different exercises you can do to work every part of the body. With all the weights on each bar and including the bar itself, 1kg, and the spinlocks, 0.5kg each, you can get 10kg on each bar. Once you have progressed with your exercises you can put more weights on one dumbell and use them one at a time. You could also purchase bigger weights to fit on them.
I like these weights as they are a cheap and easy set I can carry around with me when I want to do a quick workout. They feel very solid and the spinlock locks the weights in place very securely.
It bought this bottle mainly after seeing it on TV and thinking it was one of those great but simple ideas that you always think you could have come up with yourself! I paid £5 online for this item.
The Aquatine is a collapsible water bottle. It folds down to under a third of its full height, 13cm down to 3.8cm. When fully extended this bottle will hold up to 500ml of liquid. It is re-usable and machine washable. It's aim is to help the environment by cutting down of the amount of plastic water bottles that get thrown away.
This was mainly bought as a bit of a novelty item but has proved to be quite helpful. I use it when I run to the gym. It fits comfortably in my pocket and is there ready to use and fill up when I get to the gym. I have also used this in my daughter's lunch box for school. It doesn't take up much room and I know she has a cup when she gets to school. I can also imagine this would be very useful for taking to an office or just carrying around town and filling up wherever you can.
At £5 it does seem a bit pricey especially as it doesn't feel like the best quality product. The opening to the bottle is quite large and will rub on your nose when the bottle is tipped up. However I have found it doesn't leak when it is filled up and transported around. It has also cut down on the amount of plastic water bottles I have used but at this moment in time I don't think I will get a new one when this one inevitably breaks or starts leaking.
If you are worried about the environment this will appeal to you or if you have limited space. I do think it needs to come down in price a bit and the quality to improve.
I purchased these Lonsdale Wrist Grips for £3.99 however since I have seen them on offer in quite a few places for up to half this price. They come in a pack of two so you can work both arms at the same time. They come with padded grips to make them more comfortable to use.
The main purpose of these hand grips is to improve your hand strength and to provide a simple workout to tone your forearms and work your hand and finger muscles. These hand grips will never significantly increase the size of your forearms if this is your aim. They also won't really help you if your aim is to lift heavy, low rep weights. However they are very useful for people who play sports that involve lots of repetitive wrist actions such as racket sports or rock climbing. As with any exercise they need to be used in a proper training regime to get the full benefits. They are also good for people who may be struggling with arthritis in their hands or forearms.
These hand grips are very easy to use and very comfortable. As long as you use them for the right training reasons they can help you with what you want to achieve.