THE BLONDE ETHOS

A SMART APPROACH TO FIT + HEALTHY LIVING

SWEATY BETTY SPORTS LUXE SS'15

StyleNatalie GoodchildComment
SWEATY-BETTY-DELUXE-STUDIO-BAG

It’s no secret that I adore Sweaty Betty, and especially their sports luxe pieces. I still remember my excitement when Sweaty Betty announced the launch of their sports luxe range at their AW’14 preview (link) and I’m just as excited about their second stunning collection for SS’15. What sets SB apart from other designers of sports luxe style apparel is that they always always maintain ultra-functionality alongside the gorgeous designs.

Deluxe Studio Holdall

I’m forever getting compliments on this bag wherever I am; from the gym to at job interviews (no, seriously!). It comes with me almost everywhere because it is everything that I need in a bag.

Being black, on black, on black, the Deluxe Studio Holdall looks super-sleek. The main structure itself is neoprene, with all-black hardware and straps.

I love it because it fits my lifestyle perfectly. I typically hop between gyms and classes, to university and coffee shops, so as well as holding my workout kit (between the main compartment, shoe pocket and yoga mat straps), it’s ideal that it has a padded laptop sleeve for my Mac. I’ve also used it on numerous occasions as an overnight bag.

My only complaint is that when using the shoulder strap, the poppers aren’t strong enough to hold the bag in the boxy shape that I love. Aside from that though, I can’t get enough of this bag.

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Tesselate Luxe Leggings

The monochrome tesselate print is another highlight of the collection. I opted to incorporate the print into my wardrobe with the Tesselate Luxe Leggings*. While there are aspects of the leggings that I really like, in hindsight, I should have probably opted for the Honeycomb Luxe Pants instead.

The leggings are impossibly soft with a luxurious feeling ribbed waistband that feels like you’re being hugged. That, I love.

However, because of the knitted style of the leggings, the stretchiness isn’t as generous as other SB styles. For me, this meant that they were hard to pull over my muscular thighs and bum, while still being a little looser than I would like on the waist. Also, because of the knit, I’ve experience a few loose threads and fraying after a few wears.

I still think that they’re beautiful leggings, but just not right for me.

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Time Out Luxe Jacket

The Time Out Luxe Jacket* is another of my current favourite pieces and perfect for transitioning from winter, through spring, and onto summer.

I love the anatomy of this jacket. As with all Sweaty Betty pieces, there are so many features and a lot of attention to detail. My favourite elements are the storm cuffs with thumbholes and the external zip pockets (honestly, even the feel and quality of the zips makes such a difference).

The jacket is a jersey cotton with a neoprene feel, which gives it a unique look and structure. I’m always a fan of a flattering dropped back hem too.

It’s also worth noting that although the faux sleeves fit snug, they are soft and stretchy enough that it’s possible to fit a jumper underneath very comfortably. Perfect!

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Steady Luxe Knitted Jumper

As soon as I saw the collection, I fell for the beautiful honeycomb knit of the Steady Luxe Jumper*.

The shape of this jumper and it’s super-flattering, waistband-skimming length makes it perfect for layering. I usually pair it with a black vest, leggings and some black wedge trainers for a relaxed, sporty vibe.


I’ve really nothing left to say about Sweaty Betty’s sports luxe collection. Simply, they pieces are versatile, functional and stylish, and I can’t wait to see what’s on the cards for AW’15!

If you haven’t already, check out my thoughts on the SB x Richard Nicoll collaboration, and shop the collection here.

2XU #HEARTNOTHYPE CAMPAIGN

Style, FitnessNatalie Goodchild1 Comment
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#HeartNotHype is the new and innovative global campaign from 2XU. In case you aren’t familiar with the brand, the name, 'two times you’, represents their mission to multiply human performance. The campaign officially launched at the end of February, and a variety of activity is running across multiple channels, making the campaign hugely engaging and informative.

There are some really great sports and fitness brand campaigns emerging at the moment - I recently wrote about Reebok’s fantastic Be More Human campaign here - and this is is another of my favourites.

HEART NOT HYPE - WHAT IS IT ABOUT?

2XU’s products are all designed using science and compression technology, considering the importance of the blood and the heart in performance and recovery. However, this campaign isn’t just about physiology of the heart, it’s about passion.

The heart is our engine. It drives our blood and feeds our muscles. It shapes our recovery and optimises our performance. 2XU Compression supports our engine and shapes how we recover, train and perform. It’s about heart, not hype.

The campaign is about putting heart into your performance, whatever and however that may be. It may be about expressing yourself through dance, or pushing yourself to your limits in the weights room, but ultimately it’s about doing what you do for the love of it (heart) and not just performing in anticipation of rewards and success (hype).

HEART FILM

The emotive heart film for the campaign features athletes across various sports talking about wanting to be famous for their hearts, not their faces. The film captures the athletes' journeys as they train and put their heart into their workout.

The film makes it clear that it’s not about seeking fame or glory through performance, but putting heart into their performance and how the physiological benefits of wearing 2XU enables them to perform better.

HEARTNOTHYPE SUMMIT

To kickstart the campaign, 2XU hosted a #heartnothype summit in New York, with a panel of experts from across the world of sports performance discussing whether the heart can be trained to perform from both a physiological and an emotional perspective.

I tuned in to the live streaming and was fascinated by everything that they had to say. The abundance of research behind the 2XU products is incredible, and because they are so genuinely effective, they are used not only by athletes but by the military and by people simply looking to optimise wellbeing and recovery.

If you get chance, I highly recommend watching the on demand version of the #heartnothype summit (there’s also a shorter video of the summit highlights) to hear what the experts have to say.

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ULTIMATE PERFORMANCE TRAINING CAMP COMPETITION

Alongside the campaign, 2XU have also launched a competition to win a trip to an Ultimate Performance Training Camp in California, which includes:
+ Return flights to California, USA
+ 3 nights aoccommodation, meals + transfers
+ Extreme cross-training sessions
+ Strength, movement + mobility training
+ Recovery sessions
+ Speed + agility training
+ Sports nutrition, insights + advice
+ Training alongside + under the guise of world leading sports instructors, athlete + psychologists!

Simply head over to website and follow the instructions to enter, and be ready to share what putting heart into performance means to you.

2XU COMPRESSION PRODUCTS

I’m currently in the process of trialling some of the incredible 2XU gear, so look forward to another post soon detailing the specifics of how the products work, as well as my thoughts on the kit. In the meantime, get inspired by #heartnothype!

MaxiNutrition Cyclone Milk Review

Supplements, NutritionNatalie Goodchild3 Comments
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As I recently published a post taking a pretty in-depth look at creatine, I thought it would be the perfect time to review a creatine product. And what better than MaxiNutrition Cyclone Milk*, which boasts the world’s first patent pending creatine delivery system?!

I first learned of this product when I visited the GSK Human Performance Lab last year around the time that this product was launched, and Maximuscle rebranded to MaxiNutrition. Having now tried it for myself, I can give you a full low-down...

Ingredients + Nutritional Information

Each 330ml bottle of Cyclone Milk contains 201 calories, including 30g of protein, 3g of creatine, 16g of carbohydrate and no fat.

Firstly, the drink is a great source of protein. The Max Pro protein blend offers 30g protein, which is a good amount to consume post-training.

Secondly, the drink is fat-free, which contributes to quicker digestion and uptake of nutrients into your muscles post-training.

Thirdly, the drink is a source of carbohydrates which are important to consumer after a hard workout. However, 15g of sugar is considerably more than I would usually consume when mixing my go-to whey isolate with water.

A couple of other ingredients that I’m not so excited to see in the drink are sucralose and carrageenan. Sucralose is an artificial sweetener, which I personally prefer to avoid, and carrageenan is an ingredient used in many processed foods as a stabiliser. While carrageenan is naturally occurring (it’s extracted from red seaweed), it has no nutritional value but has been associated with a variety of health issues as it is inflammation-causing.

Finally though, the star of the show: creatine. The MaxiNutrition ‘Cyclone' sub-brand is a range including creatine in its products, a supplement known to increase the body’s performance capability, giving high intensity exercisers the ability to train harder, in short successive bursts. You can read my more detailed post on creatine, here.

What’s particularly unique about Cyclone Milk is that is it the first ever ready-to-drink protein milk to boast liquid creatine.

Patent Pending Technology

Creatine is most stable in its solid form and is known to be unstable in a solution, degrading in creatinine. Because of this, liquid creatine drinks have not previously (successfully) existed in the sports supplement market. Cyclone Milk is the world’s 1st patent pending creatine milk delivering 3g creatine. Exciting stuff!

Chris Harrison, GSK Scientist and creator of Cyclone Milk said:

“This has been two years in the making and the research we have done into stabilising creatine in liquid is extensive. I managed to stabilise creatine in a milk format by using the natural protective properties of whey and milk proteins. It’s a great achievement for me and for the team at GSK who have worked on this.”
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Taste + Texture

This drink is lovely! The texture is really light and smooth, which makes it super easy to drink. The strawberry flavour that I tried is really nice and tastes quite natural, whereas a lot of ready-to-drink shakes tend to taste overpowering and artificial. The same goes for the sweetness; not overpowering or noticeably artificial tasting as I find with other drinks of this nature.

Price

The price of this drink is £3.49.

I estimate the cost of the usual whey isolate and creatine monohydrate that I pop in a tub in my gym bag to be around 58p per serving (78p if you include a scoop of glutamine and a fun size pack of Haribo for some sugar, to bring the nutritional profile more inline with that of Cyclone Milk).

So, Cyclone Milk doesn’t come cheap!

However, it’s worth considering that MaxiNutrition products are made by GSK Consumer Healthcare, so the products are absolutely backed by science. I’ve personally had a behind-the-scenes peek of some of the R+D behind Maxi’s products (check out my post on the GSK HPL lab). MaxiNutrition also strictly monitor the quality of their products.

Although this goes some way to justify the price point, it doesn’t make the product any more affordable (especially on my current student budget!), so I personally wouldn’t purchase it regularly. However, if I’m training and haven’t got my usual post-workout mix of powders with me, I would absolutely consider grabbing one of these drinks rather than going without a post-workout recovery shake.

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My Verdict

Although MaxiNutrition recommend consuming Cyclone Milk ‘as a snack’, I personally wouldn’t reach for it at any time other than post-workout.

I’d only purchase this product a bit of a treat or in an ‘emergency' when I have no other post-workout shake to hand. I wouldn’t purchase or consume this product regularly due to the price point and the fact that it contains ingredients such as carrageenan, which I would prefer to avoid. 

Overall, this drink was tasty and I really love the convenience of the shake.

#workit with adidas + the SS15 training collection

Fitness, StyleNatalie GoodchildComment
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To celebrate their Spring/Summer ’15 women’s training collection, adidas have launched the #workit series. Each month, adidas is teaming up with different training experts to provide exclusive access to sought-after sessions from the London fitness scene.

January saw adidas team up with The Skinny Bitch Collective, but this month adidas have joined forces with cult fitness studio Frame. Instructional videos featuring super-simple exercises from the experts can be found on the adidas Facebook page.

I was lucky enough to head down to Frame's Shoreditch studio to sample the signature sessions, the latest adidas training kit, and healthy adidas cupcakes (see my Instagram for evidence) for myself.

FRAME

Frame was created from the belief that being fit should be fun and offer a great variety of fitness, dance, yoga and pilates classes. They have also designed their own signature workouts including Frame Method, Frame Work and Body by Frame (all featured in this month’s #workit series!).

I’d been intrigued by Frame for a while and my first sampling of their signature workouts didn't disappoint. After an hour of cardio, conditioning, and burning isometrics, my muscles were on fire and I loved it. It’s worth checking out the exercises on the adidas women Facebook page for some workout inspiration.

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ADIDAS SS15 TRAINING COLLECTION

I’m super-impressed with the newest adidas training collection. As well as the design and technology of the pieces, the colours in the adidas SS15 training collection, tangerine orange and cobalt blue, are gorgeous.

I’ve been wearing:

adidas Infinite Series Racerback Bra

I love the mesh panel in the back of this bra, ensuring plenty of ventilation and making it look super sleek and on-trend.

What really impressed me about this sports bra was seeing the amazing range of sizes on offer; from 2XS to XL in an AB cup size, and 2XS to XL in a CD cup size (which also has an adjustable back closure), it’s possible to find a personalised fit.

adidas Climachill Tank

This is a workout wardrobe staple; a black tank top with a twist. The Climachill mesh-like fabric feels amazing, and the aluminium-silver dots placed on the inner-neck of the top conduct heat away from the body.

adidas Ultimate Fit Shiny Tights

While I have quite a variety of workout pants, I have been missing something quite as electric as these! I love the colour and stylish sheen of these pants as well as the super-light and sweat-wicking Climalite fabric.

adidas Track Jacket

This is the ultimate cover-up and my favourite piece from the collection. As well as having the essentials - pockets, hood and cosy thumbholes - it has a wide, stretchy hem for a flattering fit. What I especially like is the honeycomb-like quilted texture of the fabric, which makes it feel extra luxurious.

I also love working out on this adidas yoga mat which perfectly compliments the collection.

Have you tried any pieces from the new adidas training collection?

Remember to hop over to the adidas Facebook page to check out the #workit videos. I can’t wait to see who adidas team up with for March!

*Thank you to David Lloyd for giving me access to the wonderful gym at Chelsea Harbour Club