THE BLONDE ETHOS

A SMART APPROACH TO FIT + HEALTHY LIVING

MaxiNutrition Cyclone Milk Review

Supplements, NutritionNatalie Goodchild2 Comments
MAXINUTRITION-CYCLONE-MILK-REVIEW

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
Adidas-SS15-Training-Collection

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.

Adidas-SS15-Training-Collection-Track-Jacket

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!

Creatine For Women

Nutrition, Supplements, HealthNatalie Goodchild2 Comments
Creatine-For-Women-Supplement-Nutrition-Performance

Creatine for women

I know that for women especially, discovering and introducing supplements to your regime can be pretty daunting. Particularly where creatine is concerned, there are lots of misconceptions. But, if you put aside connotations of huge bodybuilders, suspend any fears you may have of ‘looking bulky’, and know that creatine simply contributes to energy production in your body, it doesn’t sound quite so scary, does it? In fact, it sounds pretty good to me!

Creatine is the most widely researched sports supplement in existence and is used by a huge number of athletes, as well as a large proportion of gym-goers; both male and female. However, creatine also contributes to lots of other functions within your body, meaning that there are very few people who wouldn’t benefit from taking it.

What is creatine + where can you find it?

Creatine is a naturally occurring compound. It is formed of three different amino acids: glycine, arginine, and methionine. That’s all. 

Without supplementation, creatine is produced in the body by the liver, with a little help from the pancreas and kidneys. It’s also found in animal produce - meat and fish - in the same areas that creatine would be found in human tissue; the muscles. 

Since vegetarians and vegans lack the main source of dietary creatine intake, they are have been reported to have lower levels. The same is likely the case with other amino acids too.

Creatine is widely available from sports supplement companies and is also really inexpensive to purchase in its most common (and most researched) form, creatine monohydrate. I’ve been using creatine monohydrate from MyProtein.

I’ve also come across creatine in supplements such as Inner Me Energise Me capsules, although the dose of creatine is so minuscule that I wouldn’t recommend it for that purpose.

What does creatine do?

Energy drives the processes in your body, and creatine ultimately plays a role in energy production. Creatine supplementation can lead to improved exercise performance during high intensity (anaerobic) exercise, from sprinting to weight training to HIIT. It can help you to lift heavier, go for one more rep, jump higher, or win a race.

What you’ve probably heard, and where the association with huge body builders comes from, is that creatine supplementation can lead to increased muscle mass. However, this relationship is mostly indirect; by allowing an you to work with heavier weights or to get more reps with a given weight, gains in muscle mass might be increased.

One particular piece of research that I looked at, which used female subjects, showed creatine supplementation to increase strength and fat-free mass, leading to a more desirable body composition. 

Now for the geeky bit that I love (I’ve tried to make it as simple as possible)...

The Science Behind Creatine

Firstly, know that creatine is stored in muscles in the form of phosphocreatine (creatine bound with a phosphate molecule).

ATP (adenosine triphosphate) is an energy-rich compound that powers the energy-requiring processes of the cells in your body. It’s for this reason that ATP is often referred to as “energy currency” for cells. ATP plays a role in processes from digestion to circulatory function and, within your muscles, ATP contributes to the muscular contractions that enable you to move.

Physical activity provides the greatest demand for energy transfer. Intense physical activity of short duration, such as sprinting or weight lifting, relies on ATP. However, ATP depletes, breaking down into ADP (adenosine diphosphate) as it loses a phosphate molecule.

It’s at this point that phosphocreatine comes into play, donating it’s phosphate group to ADP to resynthesise ATP. It’s this quick regeneration of ATP that enhances exercise performance by allowing you to work at peak performance for a longer period of time.

Weight-Gain + Water

Another way that creatine can increase muscle size is through cell volumisation. Essentially, creatine causes water retention; it draws in water from outside of the muscle cells through the process of osmosis.

Because of this, a concern that women may have when supplementing with creatine is potential weight gain from water. Of course, weight gain may also be down to increased muscle mass.

To me, my weight is an arbitrary number. What I’m really interested in is what that weight is comprised of; the numbers that I’m interested in are fat mass, and fat-free mass. So long as it’s not because my fat mass is increasing drastically, weight gain doesn’t bother me. 

On the subject of water, creatine can have a dehydrating effect, so remember to stay hydrated!

How should women take creatine?

Ultimately there is no difference between how women and men should supplement with creatine, although dosages for men will likely be at the higher end of the recommended ranges as they generally have a greater muscle mass, and thus the potential to store more creatine.

Here are some tips for how to supplement with creatine:

Timing

Research suggests that creatine is best consumed post-workout. I always take creatine post-workout with a scoop of whey isolate and some simple carbohydrates (a great excuse for gummy bears, no?) to elicit the insulin response that will maximise its uptake into the muscles.

Some people like to take creatine pre-workout, but note that the creatine your body will use during the workout will come from the creatine phosphate stores already in your muscles, not from the creatine you just ingested.

On rest days, simply take creatine at whatever time is most convenient for you.

Loading

Where creatine is concerned, there is often talk of loading phases, which means taking higher doses of the supplement for a period of time, before continuing with a maintenance dose. A loading phase will boost muscle creatine levels more quickly and allow you experience the benefits sooner, but it is not essential. I personally didn’t introduce creatine with a loading phase.

Dosage

A dose of 3-5g daily is recommended. If you decide to have a loading phase, aim for 15-20g per day for 5 days before returning to a smaller daily dose.

Summary

Hopefully, you now understand that creatine plays a really important role in your body. While you ingest some creatine though dietary sources, you may benefit from supplementing with creatine, especially if you are very active, or have a vegetarian or vegan diet.

Creatine is completely safe for healthy individuals to supplement with. However, if you have a history of kidney or liver disease, I recommend you consult a doctor if you’re considering supplementation.

Finally, like any other supplement, to get the best results, be sure to follow a suitable training programme and diet.

Do you already supplement with creatine? Have you found improvements in exercise or sporting performance?

Les Mills Immersive Fitness™ has Launched!

Fitness, ReviewsNatalie GoodchildComment
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Les Mills IMMERSIVE FITNESS™ has just launched in the UK, and as a huge fan of Les Mills workout programmes, I was really excited to be one of the first to try it. I headed to the UK’s first IMMERSIVE studio at David Lloyd Rayne's Park for a completely mind-blowing workout.

What is IMMERSIVE FITNESS™?

IMMERSIVE FITNESS™ is a workout concept developed by Les Mills. If you haven’t heard of Les Mills, why not?! They are the creators of globally-successful group fitness classes such as BODYPUMP™, BODYCOMBAT™ and RPM™ (a studio cycling workout). Well, RPM™ has now been taken up a notch. 

THE TRIP™ is the name of the 30 minute class that I experienced, fusing RPM™ with the IMMERSIVE concept to complete a truly unique exercise experience.

During the class, the lights are lowered and rich visuals on a screen taking up the entire wall of a purpose built studio transport you through galaxies, space-age cities and across oceans. The virtual reality changes with each workout track, ensuring a variety of hills, flats, mountain peaks, time trials, and interval training. Throughout the whole class, the instructor’s cues are not only synchronised with the music, but the on-screen graphics, which is really motivating and helps to completely immerse you in the ride.

Les Mills Immersive Fitness The Trip David Lloyd
Les Mills Immersive Fitness Cinematic Class David Lloyd
Les Mills Immersive Fitness RPM Video Game

My experience of THE TRIP™

My IMMERSIVE experience was completely sensational. I didn’t think once about the length of the workout, I just kept pushing myself harder and harder and loved every minute of it.

While riding through the space-age city, it felt like I was in a TRON video-game and while climbing up steep glaciers it was like being in a movie. My favourite part of the workout was when, while sprinting laps around the digital velodrome, we were leaning forward into descents and pushing sideways around corners. The combination of these perfectly cued movements with the incredible cinematics, made it feel like I was in a theme park simulator. I even felt my stomach lurch a couple of times; in a good way, of course!

Les Mills Immersive Fitness David Lloyd Class Workout

This workout would be fun for absolutely anyone (so long as you’re willing to suspend your disbelief a little) and would also be a great way to introduce children and teenagers to workouts that would otherwise seem daunting. 

I couldn’t stop raving about the class for days after trying it. I’m looking forward to it being rolled out into more clubs nationwide so that I can ride THE TRIP™ again and I’m excited to see where IMMERSIVE FITNESS™ goes next...

Have you manage to squeeze yourself into an IMMERSIVE FITNESS™ class at David Lloyd yet? Let me know what you think to the concept!