Nutri Advanced Magnesium Glycinate tablets review

Back in June, I discovered that Nutri Advanced were on the lookout for people to review their Magnesium Glycinate tablets. I applied, was accepted and a couple of days later I received a large tub of Magnesium Glycinate tablets and some really informative supporting documents. Once I’d read through these documents, I was ready to start the three week trial.

nutri 1

Now that I’ve completed the three week trial, I feel that I’m in a position to produce a hopefully useful review.

What is Magnesium Glycinate?

Nutri Advanced has been providing healthy effective vitamins, health and nutritional supplements to a wide range of consumers since 1981. Nutri Advanced uses rigorous scientific research to make sure that their supplements use bio-available, active and preferred forms of vitamins and minerals to ensure maximum absorption.

Magnesium is an important mineral – it is essential for hundreds of reactions within the body. Magnesium is also known as “nature’s tranquiliser”, it has a calming effect on nerves and muscles and is also necessary for energy production.

  • Magnesium is essential for the production of energy within every cell in the body – it may increase energy levels and help reduce tiredness and fatigue.
  • Magnesium contributes to the electrolyte balance within the body.
  • Magnesium is essential for the normal functioning of the nervous system and psychological function – low magnesium levels may be associated with confusion or irritability.
  • Magnesium contributes to normal muscle function.
  • Magnesium contributes to the synthesis of protein.
  • The maintenance of normal bones and teeth need magnesium – it helps keep calcium within bones and teeth.

Nutri Advanced magnesium tablets use Magnesium Glycinate. This is a superior form of magnesium that is well absorbed meaning that it gets to work quickly and doesn’t have a laxative effect. Magnesium Glycinate is generally well tolerated, so the tablets are suitable for people with a sensitive digestive system.

Nutri Advanced[Source]

As a runner, I was curious to see if the Magnesium Glycinate tablets would help to increase my energy levels and reduce my tiredness. Although I must admit I was slightly sceptical when I started taking the tablets, I was also interested to see if the Magnesium Glycinate tablets would help to reduce the post-run aches and pains, random calf cramps and delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS) I’d been experiencing.

The review process

In theory, the review process was extremely straightforward. All I had to do was take two tablets two times a day with my meals and then report back on my experiences.

Nutri 2

It took me a couple of days to get into the habit of taking the Magnesium Glycinate tablets. While I’d describe myself as a world expert at eating food, it turns out that I’m not very good at swallowing tablets. I overcame this minor hurdle by closing my eyes so that I couldn’t see the tablet, and making sure that I swallowed the tablet with a lot of water. Other people have recommended snapping the tablets in half to make them easier to swallow.

The Verdict

After completing the three week trial of Magnesium Glycinate tablets, I can confirm that these tablets are gentle on the digestive system. Fortunately, my somewhat temperamental digestive system tolerated the tablets and I avoided any ‘toilet sprints’. I was experiencing quite painful calf cramps and DOMS at the start of my half marathon training, the DOMS and cramps almost completely disappeared when I was taking the tablets. I accept that this may be purely down to the fact my legs have now adapted to my regular training runs. It will be really interesting to see if the cramps and DOMS make an unwelcome reappearance now that I’ve stopped taking the tablets.

Although the Magnesium Glycinate tablets didn’t always completely eliminate my tiredness and fatigue, I did start to notice an increase in my energy levels towards the end of the trial. Although it’s only been two weeks since I stopped taking the tablets, I’ve already noticed my energy levels decreasing and levels of irritability increasing. This may be a result of me running more frequently and not getting enough sleep; it will be interesting to see if I continue to feel tired and quite irritable virtually all of the time.

What I do know is that after seeing the benefits of increasing my daily magnesium intake, I’m now actively trying to consume more magnesium rich foods.

Magnesium Glycinate tablets are available from Nutri Advanced and other online retailers and have a RRP of £17.95.

**Full disclosure: I was sent a tub of Nutri Advanced Magnesium Glycinate tablets for free in return for a review. I did not receive any payment for this review. As always all opinions are my own**

Learning to pace myself when I run and an introduction to Pacebands.co.uk

My recent half marathon training runs have demonstrated that I’m unfit compared to last year, comparison (with my training last year) is the thief of joy and I urgently need to learn how to pace my “easy” runs.

15213_1495834015[Source]

At the moment, I feel so good when I head out the door, I’m tending to start my runs at a pace I’m not able to sustain. I find myself struggling to run, or in some cases, taking a couple of sneaky walking breaks. Although I know there is absolutely nothing wrong with walking, I shouldn’t really need to walk during an “easy” 20 minute run.

My issues with pacing are unfortunately nothing new.

Last year, I shared my goals for my target event of 2016; the Great Birmingham Run.

Rather predictably, on the day of the race I set out at an unsustainable pace, and struggled throughout the final 10k. Looking back, I made two fundamental mistakes. My Garmin was set to kilometres rather than miles, and I hadn’t worked out what pace I needed to run at to meet my time goals.

I was over-confident and thought that I was experienced enough as a runner to be able to pace my race by feel. I was wrong. As a minimum I should have referred to a half marathon pace chart before the race.

Although my pacing is still a bit hit-and-miss, I’m doing everything I can to make sure I don’t make the same mistakes during this year’s Great Birmingham Run. In an ideal world, I would track down one of the official race pacers and let them do the pacing for me. However, I’m not 100 per cent certain there will be official pacers this year. In addition, there’s every chance I won’t spot the pacers. I didn’t last year!

Pacebands.co.uk

Fortunately, the lovely people at Pacebands.co.uk recently sent me a selection of Pacebands to hopefully help me with my pacing.Pacebands logo

Pacebands.co.uk is a small start-up born out of frustration: the vast majority of races in the UK, even those with several thousand runners, don’t offer a Paceband on race day. As a result, Pacebands.co.uk was launched with the aim of providing an efficient service to runners looking for an inexpensive but professional pacing solution before a target race.

What are Pacebands?

Pacebands are simple, disposable wristbands that list the time at which a runner should pass each mile (or kilometre) marker of their chosen distance, in order to meet their target time. Pacebands are manufactured from durable Tyvek, are designed to be used once, are durable and should withstand all weather conditions.

Pacebands 1

All you need is a basic sports watch or GPS and a Paceband. In theory you can then adjust your effort to make sure you run an evenly paced race, giving yourself the best chance of meeting your time goal.

If you want to find out more visit Pacebands.co.uk or visit the shop section of the website where you will find a selection of Pacebands for the 5k, 10k, half marathon and marathon distance.

I’ll definitely be wearing one of the half marathon Pacebands I was sent when I take on the Great Birmingham Run in October. You never know, it might just help me run at a more sensible pace!

Do you have any tips that might help me improve my pacing? So far I’ve tried listening to music, running on a dreadmill, constantly staring at my Garmin and

**Full disclosure: I was sent a selection of Pacebands for free. I did not receive any payment from Pacebands.co.uk and as always all opinions and photographs are my own**

Book Review: Pilates for Runners by Harri Angell

I hope that everyone is having a great week. As I don’t want to complain about my lack of fitness and injury woes again, I’ve got a far more positive post today; a book review.

When Harri contacted me to see if I’d like to review her new book – Pilates for Runners – I agreed pretty much immediately. I knew that I would find reading and reviewing the book incredibly beneficial as it is dedicated to a subject I knew very little about.

Front Cover

I’ll start this book review with a huge spoiler. Pilates for Runners is one of the most informative and useful running books I’ve read. I found the book engaging and easy to follow and read. Let’s just say I got so engrossed in the book during a train journey, I missed my stop and ended up in Lichfield. Not ideal when I live several miles away in Four Oaks. Luckily, the train conductor didn’t issue me with a fine.

Pilates for Runners is written by Harri Angell an experienced Mat Pilates instructor, marathon runner, personal trainer, England Athletics Leader in Running Fitness and member of the Register of Exercise Professionals (follow Harri on twitter @Harriangell). The book is described as containing everything you need to start using Pilates to improve your running – get stronger, more flexible, avoid injury and improve your performance. Pretty much perfect for a weak, inflexible, tall, slouchy, injury-prone runner like me!

The book is broken down into 13 chapters; (1) Why Pilates is good for runners, (2) Joseph Pilates: a brief history, (3) The principles of Pilates, (4) Postural alignment, (5) Breathing, (6) Equipment, (7) Mat Pilates exercises for runners, (8) Post-run stretches, (9) Five 10-15 minute daily routines to improve your running, (10)The healing power of Pilates, (11) Injuries, (12) Pilates for the running mind and (13) Finding a Pilates class and what to look for.

Pilates for Runners

Once again, rather than attempting to review the entire book, I decided to highlight the sections I found particularly interesting and relevant to me. Although the quality of my photographs is quite poor, I decided to include them to illustrate how well laid out the book is. If you want to read the text you’ll have to purchase the book.

Chapter 3: Principles of Pilates

As I had a very limited zero understanding of Pilates before I read the book, I found Chapter 3 particularly interesting. Joseph Pilates – the inventor of the Pilates method – devised specific principles that he believed were necessary to accompany each of his exercises

Chapter 3

Although these principles have been adapted over time, Harri believes that the principles of; Concentration, Breathing, Centring, Alignment, Relaxation, Flow and Endurance are worth acknowledging and applying when performing the exercises in Pilates for Runners. At the moment, I’m definitely struggling with my alignment and flow.

Chapter 7: Mat Pilates exercises for runners

Chapter 7 contains over 100 pages of mat Pilates exercises for runners. Please note that Harri recommends that you should resist the temptation to jump straight into the exercises without reading the preceding Chapters.

Chapter 7

Each exercise comes with easy-to-follow instructions and photographs to provide guidance. In addition, each exercise is graded as beginner, intermediate or advanced and nearly all have options to modify or progress, so that you can opt to work at whichever level suits you. The exercises I’ve attempted have confirmed that I’m not very flexible, that I quite enjoy lying down and that I’m very much a beginner. Hopefully, I’ll be able to progress from the beginner to the slightly more challenging intermediate and advanced exercises.

Chapter 8: Post-run stretches

So far, I’ve found the selection of post-run stretches I’ve incorporated into my running routine really beneficial.

Chapter 8

The stretches in this Chapter should only be performed once the body is warmed up, for example after a run, or at the end of a session of Pilates. As, from time to time, I struggle with tight calf muscles; I’ve incorporated the calf and Achilles stretch into my post-run stretching routine. These stretches are simple but effective and appear to be helping my calf muscles.

Chapter 11: Injuries

I’ve got a confession to make. As an injury-prone runner, this was the first Chapter I read. So much for starting at the beginning. Although Pilates for Runners isn’t a book about running injuries, many runners encounter Pilates for the first time because of a running injury. Harri stresses that although regular Pilates can help runners avoid injury, it can be just as beneficial to runners nursing an injury.

Chapter 11

Regular readers of this blog will be aware that I’ve been struggling with Plantar Fasciitis (PF) since the start of the year. I’m clearly not alone as PF is the first injury listed in Chapter 11. I thought I was an ‘expert’ at managing and treating my dodgy heel, however, the section on PF reminded me of potential benefits of incorporating foot mobility and strengthening exercises into my daily exercise routine.

The Verdict

I would highly recommend Pilates for Runners to runners of all ages and standards. I particularly enjoyed reading the motivating testimonials written by runners who incorporate Pilates into their training.  I loved the inclusion of a series of inspirational quotes from the master himself, Joseph Pilates. If you are an injury-prone runner, I suspect that you will find the entire book both eye-opening and informative. I definitely did!

Pilates for Runners is published by Bloomsbury has a RRP of £16.99 and is available from all major book retailers.

**Full disclosure: I was sent a copy of Pilates for Runners for free in return for an honest review. I did not receive any payment for this review and as always all opinions and photographs are my own**

Thriva Lifestyle test review

Regular readers of my blog – thank-you! – will have noticed me commenting on my terrible diet a lot recent. My diet has been far from ideal since the start of the year. I’ve been drinking too much alcohol and eating too much junk food.  One day last month, after yet another evening of excessive alcohol consumption, I woke up feeling and looking particularly peaky. I suspect my body was telling me it could no longer cope with my unhealthy lifestyle.

thriva

Rather fortuitously, my friend Anna shared her most recent set of Thriva test results on social media on the same day. I had never heard of Thriva so went away and did some research.

What is Thriva?

To put it simply, Thriva is a smart, finger-prick blood test that you can use at home. Once you’ve taken the home test, you post your blood sample back to one of Thriva’s accredited partner laboratories. Your blood sample is analysed to provide data on how your lifestyle is impacting your health. The results of these analyses are then uploaded onto Thriva, where you receive a bespoke report and recommendations from a GP with guidance on how to improve your lifestyle if required.

Thriva currently produce six different individual tests:

  • Lifestyle
  • Energy
  • Thyroid check
  • Advanced thyroid check
  • Testosterone
  • Vitamin B12

In addition, Thriva have produced a baseline subscription kit which enables people to track their health over time by receiving a test kit every three months.

The Lifestyle test is designed to help you find out how your lifestyle might be impacting your health. Just what I needed. I wanted to know if my slightly dubious lifestyle had negatively impacted my health.

What’s tested?

Cholesterol – High cholesterol is increasingly common in the UK and impacts your risk of developing heart disease, stroke and related illnesses.

  • LDL Cholesterol
  • Cholesterol
  • Triglycerides
  • HDL Cholesterol
  • Cholesterol Ratio

Liver function – This includes a full check of the key liver enzymes which, if raised, indicate poor liver health. Excessive alcohol, over eating and drug use can cause problems with your liver. Liver damage is often linked to chronic fatigue and other serious symptoms.

  • Alkaline Phosphatase
  • Gamma GT
  • Albumin
  • Globulin
  • Alanine Transferase
  • Bilirubin
  • Total Protein

I set up an account on Thriva, answered a few basic lifestyle questions and parted with my money. Two days later my Thriva kit arrived. I opened the box, read through the instructions, took one look at one of the lancets provided and bottled out of collecting my blood sample.

A week later I received a friendly reminder from Thriva and decided that it was time to be brave!

What was included in the Lifestyle test kit?

The Thriva Lifestyle test kit included everything I required to take my finger-prick blood test, including detailed, easy-to-follow instructions.

My kit also included:

  • 1x sample collection tube
  • 1x alcohol swab
  • 1x moist wipe
  • 2x plasters
  • Spring loaded lancets (2 spares)
  • 1x plastic protective casing
  • Return form and envelope 

DSCF2231DSCF2228Performing the test

After reading through the instructions for the fifth time and checking that I’d got everything set up, I finally felt brave enough to perform my test. Looking back, I’ve no idea how or why I managed to get myself so worked up. Although using the lancet was a little painful, the whole process took under five minutes. I placed my labelled sample in the pre-paid envelope and put it in the post.

My personalised health report

Less than 24 hours after I’d sent off my sample, Thriva sent me an email to inform me my sample had arrived at the lab. Later on the same day my personalised health report arrived.

I actually felt quite nervous when I accessed my report and results…

“Hi Emma, I am pleased to say your test results are all with normal limits. You have a healthy BMI and you seem to be following a regular exercise regime as much as you can taking into account your ankle injury, well done and please keep it up, however please see my advice on diet. Thanks”

Lipid ProfileLiver Function

Although all of my results appear to be in the green (healthy) range, I think that my Cholesterol is probably a lot closer to the orange (not so healthy!) zone than it should be. In addition, the GP who reviewed my results recommended that in order to improve my diet, I should aim to reduce saturated fats in my diet.

As a result of this recommendation I’ve made several changes to my diet.

The Verdict

Thriva really impressed me and I would be happy to recommend the Lifestyle test to anyone who wants to find out if their lifestyle might be impacting their health. The whole process was quick and simple. The instructions provided were detailed and very easy to follow. As soon as I can afford to I’ll definitely be subscribing to the 3-monthly baseline subscription kit.

More information on Thriva is available on their website. The Thriva Lifestyle test kit has a RRP of £39.00 (I tracked down a discount code and managed to purchase the kit for £29.00).

**Full disclosure: I bought the Thriva Lifestyle test kit myself. I was not asked to review the Lifestyle kit, but decided to share my honest thoughts on something I personally found useful. As always, all opinions and dodgy photographs are my own**

Book Review: Fast Fuel: Food for Running Success by Renee McGregor

I hope that everyone had a great weekend. The weather was amazing. Although I don’t want my blog to become a series of product reviews, I decided that as my Running Science book review was quite well received, I would review some of the books I’ve found particularly useful.

I decided to start with a quick(ish) review of Fast Fuel: Food for Running Success written by Renee McGregor. Renee is a registered dietician and is one of the UK’s top sports nutritionists, advising athletes from amateur to Olympic levels. As a result, Renee ensures that all the advice she shares is evidence based i.e. there has been reliable research around the subject, to make claims both accurate and credible.

Front cover

Back cover

Fast Fuel: Food for Running is for runners of all levels who want to:

  • Achieve their performance goals whether that’s improving their weekly parkrun time, bettering their personal best in the marathon, or venturing into ultra-marathons.
  • Stick to a training plan while also trying to earn a living and juggle other commitments.
  • Improve their knowledge of nutrition because it debunks some of the most common myths.
  • Increase their confidence by knowing that they are eating the correct foods to fuel their body and to maximise their training, without over-reaching and potentially risking illness or injury.

The book is divided into two main sections. The first is broken down into three chapters; (1) Fuelling basics, (2) Training – the road to victory and (3) Fine-tuning your body, and provides a practical, easy-to-follow, step-by-step, scientific introduction to sports nutrition. The second contains an extensive selection of simple but mouth-watering recipes and is broken down into recipes for; healthy breakfasts, light meals, main meals, snacks and portables, and finally, desserts.

Once again, rather than attempting to review the entire book, I decided to highlight the sections I found particularly interesting in the first three chapters. I’ve included photographs with this review to illustrate how easy to follow and well laid out the book is.

Chapter 1: Fuelling Basics

“Chapter 1 is a practical guide to what to eat, when to eat and how much to eat. We also look at how your body metabolizes food into fuel, and how it can adapt to provide fuel for different levels of training intensity”

I found that in order to take in all the information, I had to read through Chapter 1 a couple of times. Although I found the sections on carbohydrates, protein and fat really informative, the section of supplements was particularly enlightening.

Supplements

The book provides a selection of ‘real food’ alternatives to sports drinks, energy gels, protein shakes and sports bars. After my next run I’ll definitely attempt to create my own, much cheaper sports drink. Chapter 1 also looks at special dietary considerations, recovery nutrition, metabolism and racing weight.

Chapter 2: Training – The Road to Victory

“Chapter 2 shows the different fuelling requirements for different distances and training intensities and how making the right nutritional choices will benefit you. This section also includes sample menus plans, using the recipes from this book to demonstrate practically how to choose appropriate food”

As a runner in urgent need of a refresher in what actually comprises a sensible training plan, I found the ‘Planning your training week’ section really useful.

Planning training

Looking back, I suspect that last year I was inadvertently completing all of my training sessions at a moderate to high level of intensity. I got my pre- and post-run fuelling totally wrong and was eating far too much carbohydrate. After ‘digesting’ the contents of Chapter 2, I’m now impressed that I (a) didn’t put on more weight and (b) didn’t get injured while I was training for the Great Birmingham Run.

Chapter 3: Fine-Tuning your Body

“Chapter 3 highlights the importance of maintaining the well-oiled machine we call our body; it looks at issues relating the injury, illness and over-reaching and demonstrates how the right nutrition can combat these potential problems”

When I bought Fast Fuel, I headed straight to the sections on injury prevention and nutrition for sore, tired or injured bodies.

Injury prevention

The author points out that although being injured is very frustrating – this is an understatement – it is also a good time to reflect and to work out how you can reduce your risk of the same injury occurring again. Reading the book has made me realise just how much I need to improve my diet. I now suspect that my poor diet contributed to my foot injury. The third chapter also includes a thought-provoking section; ‘Have you lost your running mojo?’

As I believe that at some stage, nearly every runner experiences a loss of running mojo, I’ll dedicate a blog post to the subject.

Food, glorious food – Examples of light and main meals

Although my nut allergy unfortunately meant that I had to discount several recipes in Fast Fuel, I was still left with a decent number of light and main meals to choose from. While I obviously can’t share the exact recipes, I decided to list the meals I’ll be attempting to create over the next few weeks. If you’re really unlucky, I might share my thoughts in a future post.

  • Half and Half Chilli con Carne I’m a fan of ‘normal’ Chilli con Carne so thought this recipe looked intriguing. The recipe halves the amount of beef and replaces it with lentils.
  • Punjabi-Style Aloo Sabsi I picked this recipe simply because I want to try some completely new (to me!) food.
  • Roasted Vegetable and Mozzarella Bruschetta I tend to opt for bruschetta as a starter when I eat out, so I thought I’d see if I could make my own. With a preparation time of only five minutes, nothing can possibly go wrong…
  • Sausage Casserole I love sausages. I also enjoy making casseroles so, when the weather cools down, a sausage casserole sounds like a win-win.
  • Tangy Chicken Stir-Fry I’ve got a culinary confession; I’ve never made a stir-fry from scratch. Fingers crossed I manage to cook the chicken to perfection and don’t burn the vegetables.

If I disappear from twitter for a prolonged period of time, then it is highly likely one of these recipes didn’t quite go to plan.

The Verdict

I found Fast Fuel easy-to-read and I thought that the book was laid out in a logical way, with each chapter building on the previous chapter. If you are a runner who is interested in finding out more about how nutrition can aid your running performance, then this is quite possibly the perfect book for you. If you are a runner with a more advanced understanding of sports nutrition, then I suspect that Fast Fuel may be slightly too basic for you.

Fast Fuel: Food for Running Success is published by Nourish Books and has a RRP of £9.99 and is available from all major bookstores.

**Full disclosure: I bought Fast Fuel: Food for Running Success myself. I was not asked to review the book, but decided to share my honest thoughts on a book I found useful as a runner**

My healthy kitchen ready meal review

Although I’ve been trying to be slightly more adventurous in the kitchen recently, I still seem to end up preparing and cooking the same meals.

It’s probably a good job I live alone as I don’t think many people would tolerate eating pasta several times a week. As you can imagine I was pretty pleased when I received an email inviting me to review a selection of healthy ready meals produced by a brand I hadn’t come across before called my healthy kitchen (myhk).

MYHK Collage

Last week a friendly gentleman in a refrigerated van appeared at my front door carrying a box containing food. Happy days! When I looked inside the box I saw that I’d been sent three myhk ready meals to try; Chicken Paella, Prawn Katsu and Pea, Mint and Rocket Risotto. At this stage I’ll admit that I had no idea what one of the meals – Prawn Katsu – would taste like.

What is my healthy kitchen (myhk)?

My healthy kitchen (myhk) was launched earlier this year with the aim of providing speedy, wholesome meals that don’t compromise on taste or goodness.

In an ideal world, we’d all have a fresh, home-cooked dinner every single night. But who has the time?

When it comes to quick, healthier options, you might feel like it’s a choice between bland, low-calorie ready meals and boring salads. But at my healthy kitchen, we don’t think you should have to compromise on taste or goodness when you need a speedy meal. [Source]

At the moment, there are six myhk ready meals available, each inspired by global flavours: Moroccan Prawn; Roasted Mediterranean Vegetable Risotto; Oriental Chicken; Chicken Paella; Pea, Mint and Rocket Risotto; and Prawn Katsu.

Each meal aims to be as wholesome and tasty as something you’d cook from scratch, contains less than 500 calories and is made with healthy ingredients with no artificial flavours, preservatives or colours. In addition, each meal offers at least one nutritional benefit, whether it’s low in fat, saturated fat, or salt, is a source of protein or fibre, or contains one (or more!) of your five a day.

What can my healthy kitchen (myhk) ready meals be used for?

If you are in a rush and are looking for something fast, filling, and full of flavour to eat!!

The review process

As I have a nut allergy, I checked that none of the ready meals I’d been sent contained nuts. Fortunately none of the ready meals prepared by myhk contain nuts, so I was safe, phew!

Once I’d established I could actually eat the ready meals, the preparation and review process was quick and easy. Detailed, specific cooking instructions were provided with each ready meal, and as with most ready meals, all I had to do was remove the cardboard packaging, pierce the film lid, and cook the meal in the microwave for approximately three and a half to four minutes.

When I was satisfied that each ready meal was ready to eat, I got down to what I hoped would be the best part of the review process, actually eating the food!

The Verdict

I’ll start with a confession. Although I took a couple of photos of each ready meal before I put it in the microwave, once the food hit my plate I didn’t want to waste time trying to take arty food photos! It’s a good job I’m not a food blogger.

I’ve decided to give my thoughts on each of the three ready meals I was sent separately. I’ve also included information on the ingredients and nutrition information for each meal.

Chicken Paella

myhk says: Our take on the Valencian classic is simple but tasty, cooked with tender roasted chicken breast, beautifully smoky chorizo, sweet Piquillo peppers, peas, Arborio rice and sundried tomato purée.

Chicken PaellaAlthough the Chicken Paella smelt amazing when I removed it from the microwave, it tasted quite bland, and in my opinion was the least enjoyable of the myhk ready meals I was sent to review. While the roasted chicken breast was tender, I didn’t think the smoky chorizo was very tasty. I didn’t find the Chicken Paella very filling and less than an hour after my meal I felt hungry again.

Prawn Katsu

myhk says: Made with aromatic star anise, fennel, fenugreek, and coriander seeds, our irresistibly tasty katsu sauce has a spicy kick. It works perfectly with the flavours of the juicy king prawns, picked carrot, and jasmine rice.

Prawn KatsuI’ll keep my review simple; I absolutely loved the Prawn Katsu! As an added bonus I found the Prawn Katsu really filling, and didn’t find myself searching for more food an hour later.

Pea, Mint and Rocket Risotto

myhk says: We make this vegetarian risotto with Arborio rice and quinoa crushed pea and fresh mint pesto, pickled red cabbage, rocket, and a creamy onion sauce.

Pea Mint Rocket RisottoAs I’m not a huge fan of picked red cabbage, I was a little concerned I’d find the Pea, Mint and Rocket Risotto slightly too adventurous for my unsophisticated taste buds. Happily, I was proven wrong, and I absolutely loved the Pea, Mint and Rocket Risotto.

All in all, I really enjoyed the three myhk ready meals I reviewed. Although I found the Chicken Paella a little bland, I would definitely purchase the Prawn Katsu and the Pea, Mint and Rocket Risotto ready meals if I saw them on sale in my local supermarket. Now that I’ve discovered I enjoy spicy food, I might be slightly more adventurous in the kitchen…

With a RRP of £3.95, my healthy kitchen meals are available on Amazon Fresh and Ocado, and in Waitrose stores nationwide. 

**Full disclosure: I was sent a selection of three myhk ready meals for free in return for an honest review. I did not receive any payment for this review and as always all opinions and dodgy photographs are my own**

Book Review: Running Science by John Brewer

I hope that everyone had a good weekend, I’ve got something slightly different today; a book review.

The last book review I produced was for a lengthy academic book on the science of environmental flows. To be honest, the experience of having to read and review a 424 page book in three days put me off the process of reviewing books.

However, when I was sent the press release for a new book – Running Science – I knew that I would enjoy reviewing the book as it covers two of my favourite subjects.

Running Science

I’ll start with a huge spoiler.  Running Science is by far and away one of the best running books I’ve read. I found the book so engaging I couldn’t put it down and read it from cover-to-cover in one sitting. Pretty unusual for me as I am normally very easily distracted.

Running Science contains contributions by several different researchers and sports scientists and is edited by John Brewer, Professor of Applied Sports Science at St Mary’s University in London (follow John on twitter @sportprofbrewer). The book looks at the scientific facts behind the world’s best performances and includes insights that offer you the analysis to help you raise your game.

At its most basic level, running is deceptively simple. All you need to start is a decent pair of running shoes and some comfortable clothes. However, after a while most runners will want to learn more about the many factors – for example the weather – that affect running performance. Science plays an important role in most, if not all, of these factors.

photo

John Brewer and his team of expert contributors read through hundreds of scientific studies on running – a detailed reference list is provided – and broke their findings down into eight chapters; (1) The runner’s body, (2) Perfect motion, (3) Fuel and fluid, (4) Running psychology, (5) Training and racing, (6) Equipment, (7) Running well and (8) The big questions. Each chapter explores a different aspect of the sport through a series of questions for example:

Do ice baths aid recovery after long or intense runs? Are there physical limits to human marathon running achievement? The answer to each question is presented in a straightforward, accessible manner with accompanying infographics.

Rather than attempting to review the entire book, I decided to highlight four of the articles I found particularly interesting. Although the quality of my photographs is poor – sorry! – I decided to include them to show how each article is well laid out, includes infographics and is very easy to follow. If you want to read the text you’ll have to purchase the book.

How much does body weight affect running performance?

The combination of an unhealthy diet, drinking too much alcohol and being unable to run has left me feeling out of shape. I’m definitely carrying too much weight at the moment.

Weight performance

This article looks at the results of a study that explored the effect of excess weight on running performance. Although carrying excess weight slowed down the six runners who were tested, the added weight also reduced their maximal oxygen consumption (VO2 max) relative to their body weight.

Can running shoes help with running form?

Like most runners, once I found a brand and type of running shoe that suited my running style, I’ve tended to stick with it. I do sometimes worry that always wearing motion control shoes when I run is weakening my feet. I also wonder what would happen if I attempted to run in minimalist running shoes.

Running shoes

Although this article isn’t particularly technical, it does provide a useful guide to the different types of running shoe. It also highlights the five elements a runner needs to consider when selecting running shoes. I hadn’t even considered two of these elements.

Can compression clothing improve performance and prevent injury?

I regularly wear compression socks when I run longer distances, and find that they help to reduce muscle fatigue. However, I’m aware that a lot of runners think that compression clothing is a waste of time and a gimmick.

Compression clothing

Although, from this article, it appears that the jury is still out on the efficacy of compression clothing, if as a runner you think compression helps then it’s worth considering including compression wear in your running gear.

Is it advisable to continue to train when injured?

I’m not the only runner who has chosen to ignore the occasional niggle. If I’d been given a pound every time a runner asked if they could run through the pain, I’d be a multi-millionaire.

Training when injured

When I read this article, I loved the Pain – it’s all in the mind infographic; apparently ultramarathoners really are masters at coping with extreme physiological stress. The article concludes that although it is possible to run through an injury, it depends on you and your unique brain.

If in doubt, get it checked out!

The Verdict

I would highly recommend Running Science to runners of all standards. I can guarantee that even experienced runners, who think they know everything there is to know about running, will find this book useful. I’ve made room in my already overflowing bookcase for this book as I am certain I will be referring back to it on a regular basis.

Running Science is published by Ivy Press and has a RRP of £20 and is available from all major bookstores.

**Full disclosure: I was sent an advance copy of Running Science for free in return for an honest review. I did not receive any payment for this review and as always all opinions and photographs are my own**