I lost my iPod Nano. I am bereft. I’m pretty sure I left it in the cab after my birthday night out, as I remember not being able to find my wallet in my bag as my bag was stuffed full of presents and cards (I should probably point out this was more down to how small my bag was, not my popularity being so huge I should have taken a bin liner or two out with me with which to carry all my gifts) and I asked the driver to drive into the driveway while I rummaged around for the fare (that isn’t supposed to sound as dodgy as it does. I paid with cash, honest). So, I reckon it fell out then and, when I next got a cab two days later on Christmas Eve, I asked that cab driver how many different companies use the rank at the station and told him I thought I’d lost my iPod in a cab a couple of days previously and I thought it was a female driver, and he gave me a number to ring and said there are only three female drivers in Ashford, so it should be easy to locate. I said I won’t ring now, it’s Christmas Eve, they’ll be busy but he assured me it’d be fine. I went inside and rang the cab office and got the most unfriendly and unhelpful woman on the phone ever and she just said blah blah blah and so I remained un-iPodless and too scared to ring back another day in the hope someone nicer picked up.
Just kidding, come back, I have things to show you! Pretty things! Please?
You’re still here, hurrah. Good, because below are a few things you might want to put on your list for Santa, or buy for yourself.
College Custom Sports Clothing
Embrace your inner (or not so inner) narcissist with customised clothing. College Custom are a Brighton-based company that designs and creates custom made hoodies and sports-wear for schools, colleges, and universities; as well as sports teams and societies. Luckily, they’ll customise sportswear for bloggers too, as you can see from my fab bag. Nice, innit?
As well as looking great, as you can see, it’s made by Nike but what you can’t see because of the crappy lighting conditions what with it being November and that, is its functionality.
This is a large bag – ignore what it says on the College Custom website about it being 14cm long – it’s approximately 18″ x 9″ x 10″, which means you can fit a ton of stuff in it to take to the gym.
As well as the spacious main compartment, it’s got a zipped front pocket and in that zipped front pocket are two more zipped pockets, and a clippy thing for, um, clipping things onto. There’s also a zipped shoe pocket on the side into which you can put shoes and/or sweaty gym kit to stop your shopping getting minging if you nip into the supermarket on your way home.
I can’t fault College Custom’s service. After I chose my bag, they sent my logo off to their design team and then sent me back a pdf with a mock up of my bag with the logo in yellow, red, and white. I liked the yellow one but couldn’t quite decide between that and the white one. I showed the mock-up to Shaun and he said the yellow one was best.
But, because I’m indecisive I asked if I could be a pain in the arse and see another mock-up showing the bag in pink and purple, and they were happy to oblige. Then I still couldn’t decide and apologised once again for being a pain in the arse and asked if I could see it in orange and a new mock-up was sent to me without even a hint that I was being a pain in the arse (which I totally was).
And as you can see from the photo, I went for yellow. Yes, the first colour I looked at. Yes, the colour I liked first. Yes, the colour Shaun liked. Yes, the colour in which I got the bag that I’m very happy with. I’m sorry yellow for doubting you. Yes, I am a div.
If you’d like a bag – or other sports apparel – like mine (you don’t have to get JogBlog printed on it but if you want to give me free advertising, I’m not going to complain), visit the College Custom website to obtain a quote.
Epson Pulsense Heart Rate Monitor
There’s so many heart rate monitors around, aren’t there? And they all do the same sort of thing don’t they? They all measure heart rate, anyway.
The Epson Pulsense Heart Rate Monitor is, yes, yet another heart rate monitor but unlike other heart rate monitors I’ve owned in the past, I’ve actually been using this one.
The reason I’ve been using the Pulsense and not others I have is because it’s so easy to use. For a start it doesn’t have a chest strap or an armband; it has a sensor on the underside and you simply wear it as a watch.
As well as measuring your heart rate, the Pulsense also acts as a normal watch and it’s small and comfortable enough to wear all day, which is just as well as it counts your steps too. It looks so nice, one of the instructors at the gym stopped me and asked me about it.
You might be able to pair it bluetoothly with your phone. I couldn’t, as I’ve only got an iPhone 4 and no recent apps seem to support the iPhone 4 because it’s obviously so antiquated and should be consigned to history along with the Nokia 3210.
You can look at all the pretty graphs and stuff online though.
For more information on the Epson Pulsense Heart Rate Monitor, visit the Epson website.
Miiego AL3 Freedom Wireless Headphones
One thing my stoneage iPhone 4 can connect to is the Miiego AL3 Freedom Wireless Headphones. I don’t know how many times my headphone wires have been ripped from my ears when I’ve been on the rowing machine but it’s more than once. It’s probably more like fifty, and each time it’s a) bloody annoying; and b) embarrassing, because when it happens it makes me jump and everyone turns and stares at me (they don’t really).
So, wireless headphones are ‘yay’ for when I’m on the rowing machine. They’re also ‘yay’ for any other time you don’t want wires in the way when you’re listening to music. I wouldn’t advise wearing them on the train though, as there’s quite a bit of noise leakage and people who wear leaking headphones on the train need booting off the train at the next station, if not before.
The Miiego AL3 Freedom Wireless Headphones are easy to pair with your phone and easy to control using the buttons on the headphones themselves. They also come with a cute little carry case.
For more information on the Miiego wireless headphones, visit the Miiego website.
Chaffree Underwear is something you’ll probably want to buy for yourself, should you need it. That is, unless you don’t mind letting people know you’re a sweaty chub-rub sufferer.
Personally, I don’t suffer from chub-rub but I’m not going to pretend I don’t sweat when I go to the gym. If you’re not sweating at the gym, you’re either a) not putting enough effort in; or b) you’ve had all your sweat glands removed and if you fall under category b) you probably have some kind of medical condition that means you shouldn’t be in the gym in the first place.
Chaffree Underwear is seamless underwear that relieves chafing and sweating. These are Bridget Jones-esque big pants but, let’s face it, no one goes to the gym in sexy underwear, do they? Or do they? Wouldn’t that be taking a ‘hot’ date a bit far?
Chaffree underwear is available in women’s knickerboxers, women’s briefs (as pictured) and men’s boxers. For more information, visit the Chaffree website.
Cellulite Crusher Leggings
Now here’s a weird thing. Leggings with 1200-1600 little wooden beads sewn into them to massage your thighs, improve your circulation and eliminate cellulite, while you’re working out.
You can wear them while cycling, running, walking, yoga, pilates or just doing the housework and while any physical activity happens, the pressure of the beads increases as your muscles contract against them.
They’re heavier than usual leggings but you don’t notice the heaviness once they’re on and they’re comfy and fit well. I did briefly (okay, for quite a long time) wonder if I looked stupid and if people would stare at me but I decided to be brave and wore them to the gym. No one stared at them or even gave them a second glance, so yay. They were slightly uncomfortable at first as I used the rowing machine but I soon stopped noticing them and I didn’t notice them at all in the spin class. In fact, I forgot I was wearing 1200 little wooden beads until I took the Cellulite Crushers off and saw my legs covered in little round indentations.
The washing instructions say to handwash only, but I’m not handwashing anything – let alone sweating gym kit – so I put them in the washing machine and they seem to have survived.
For more information, visit the Cellulite Crusher website.
I’ll be giving away a pair of Cellulite Crushers soon (and also a pair of (unworn, don’t panic) Chaffree knickers), so keep a look out for more news on that.
Thanks go to all the above companies for sending me their products to review. All opinions my own and honest, blah blah blah.
It occurred to me that yesterday’s post might have given the impression I’d been slacking. But… come on… AS IF! I haven’t been slacking, honest – I’ve been injured. And if you don’t believe me, you can ask Twitter. Just don’t ask Twitter when you’re busy, because, on a whim, I asked for advice while I was eating my lunch, then spent the rest of the day thanking people (and if anyone who gave me advice that day is reading this – thank you, again).
Twitter’s diagnosis for my ailment – after I’d given more information than, ‘Help me Twitter, my leg hurts’ – seemed to be quad/hip/adductor-related and someone helpfully sent me a video of a foam roller exercise.
— Richard Bruce (@RunEliteUK) July 15, 2015
But, alas, I didn’t have a foam roller so it was a happy coincidence when HardCore Fitness got in touch and asked me if I wanted to try out one of theirs. I’d only heard bad things in relation to foam rollers before – mostly centering around the word ‘ouch’, but I had a bad leg and I was desperate not to fuck up my marathon training (you’re not buying that at all, are you? You know I just wanted a freebie) so I said, ‘Yeah, man, bring it on’. (The words I actually used may have been more along the lines of, ‘Yes please’, but you get the gist.)
As mentioned above, my knowledge of foam rollers only went as far as ‘ouch’, so I’m not going to pretend I know whether HardCore Fitness’s one is any better than any other but what I can tell you is that considering how light it is (about 600g), it’s surprisingly robust and sturdy and when you do your exercises on it, you can really feel it. And it wasn’t ‘ouch’, it was actually quite nice, although I can see where the ‘ouch’ would come in if your muscles were particularly achy that day.
HardCore Fitness are so sure of their foam roller’s indestructibility, they offer a lifetime guarantee with each one. With each one, they also give away a free 33 page ebook full of exercises.
Giveaway: Win 1 of 3 HardCore Fitness Foam Rollers
You want a foam roller now, don’t you? It’s just as well I have 3 to give away then, isn’t it?
All you have to do to be in with a chance of winning is answer this question:
Which marathon have I entered?
a) Dymsynagogue Marathon
b) Dymchurch Marathon
c) Dymosque Marathon
Leave your answer in the comments and I’ll pick 3 winners after the closing date of Saturday 12 September 2015.
UK entries only, sorry.
Thanks to HardCore Fitness for supplying me with a foam roller to review and for the ones to give away.
If I’d owned my iPhone when I first started running, I wouldn’t have run without it. Like most phones these days, it can play music, run GPS fitness apps, has maps in case I get lost and a camera for any cow-based photographic emergencies. However, I didn’t have my iPhone when I started running so I used to take out with me my massive Garmin 301 (I think it was a 301 – the one that took up half your arm), a massive video iPod (which promptly broke as I don’t think it liked being run with) which took up half my other arm, a little camera tucked into my back pocket and a printed paper map if I was trying out new routes. I can’t remember what phone I owned at the time but I didn’t take that out running with me as it was a weird phone that could only be used for making phone calls *shudder* and sending text messages.
I still don’t usually run with my iPhone because a) I don’t use any running apps; b) I’m happy with my iPod Shuffle for music; and c) they’re impossible to use through those armbands no matter how much the blurb for them says you can, so if, for example, an unwanted U2 album that was FORCED on to your iPhone against your will comes on, I’d have to stop and take the phone out of the armband to stop Bono from squawking down my ear.
But then Three Mobile sent me the KS Active+ Bluetooth Remote to try.
As you’ve probably guessed, the KS Active+ Bluetooth Remote is, um, a Bluetooth remote. It’s compatible with all stereo Bluetooth devices though, not just iPhones, despite me banging on about my iPhone in the previous 250 words.
In the box you’ll get the KS Active+ Bluetooth Remote, earphones, 3 sets of earbuds (although mine only came with one), USB charge cable and a user manual.
Setting it up is easy – the remote and my iPhone paired quckly, then all I had to do was plug the earphones into the remote, clip the remote onto my waistband and shove my phone into my Roosport Fitness Pouch (these pouches are great – so much better than an armband for carrying your phone), then I was ready for my run. Well, I would have been if the earphones had a better sound quality but I’m afraid to say I hadn’t even made it as far as the front door before turning back and swapping them for my usual Sennheisers.
Once you are out on your run and you’ve got used to knowing where the buttons on the remote are, play/pause/fast forward/rewind/volume control are all within easy reach without you stopping what you’re doing. You can also take phone calls with it but no one ever rings me so I didn’t get to test that bit.
I’m not sure it’ll take over from my iPod completely but if I did want to take my phone out running or walking with me to use music or apps or just so I’ve got my phone with me in case of emergency, I’d be happy to use the KS Active+ Bluetooth Remote. Just not with their pretty yellow but pretty rubbish earphones.
The KS Active+ Bluetooth Remote is available in black, pink or blue at various prices from Amazon.
Do you slouch? I know I do. I keep trying to remind myself to sit up straight because a) slouching is bad for you; b) I don’t want to end up looking like Gillian McKeith and c) um, let’s just stick with b, shall we? Flippancy aside though, there are more benefits to good posture than purely physical ones. If you stand up straight and walk tall, you’ll feel more confident and this should filter down into the way you act, for example, when using the phone, at job interviews and asking for a custom-made sandwich in Subway.
But what do to about it? You could stick a plank down the back of your top (please don’t do this while you’re ordering a sandwich in Subway. You’ll look weird), set an egg-timer to remind you to sit up straight, get a special chair that forces you to sit up, or you could buy a Lumo Lift Posture Activity Coach. I know I don’t need much of a reason to get another gadget but buying a gadget which stops me looking like Gillian McKeith sounds like a damn good reason for buying one if you ask me (which, admittedly, you didn’t but, hey ho). I’m not sure it’ll ever give me the confidence to allow me to venture into a Subway again and relive the horror of being interrogated about what bread I want, what size I want it, what fillings I want, what salad I want and what sauce I want though. I only wanted a sandwich. I’ll stick to ordering pizza facelessly and silently online in the future.
As you’ve probably gathered, the Lumo Lift Posture Activity Coach is a gadget that helps you to correct your posture.
In the box is the sensor which you affix to your bra strap (hang on, men, I haven’t forgotten about you – bear with) with the supplied strap clip or – if bra-less – hold in place with one of the two supplied magnets. Personally, I don’t like the look of the magnets (although glitzy ones are available on the website, if glitzy things are your kind of thing), so I’ve been testing the Lumo Lift with the strap clip which is easy enough to put on and has a strong magnet and doesn’t fall off. These magnets are strong; this is why everything’s far apart in the photo. Any nearer and they gravitate or magnetate or whatever it’s called towards each other.
Once the sensor’s attached, it’s easy to align. Just stand up straight and double press it. It’ll buzz to let you know the coach has started. Each time you slouch, it’ll buzz to tell you. It buzzes a lot. I also found that it buzzed when I moved my arm up to drink a cup of tea so maybe I should have had it on the other side but then maybe it’d buzz each time I used the mouse, I don’t know. It also buzzed when I was making food but it’s easy enough to turn it off if you’re doing something where you won’t be sitting up straight – you just just press and hold.
I’m not really sure I got the hang of it, despite there not really being anything to get the hang of in the first place. But I get the impression it’s not something you keep on all day – just when you’re at your desk for a long period of time and want a reminder to unMcKeith yourself.
It’s also an activity tracker which will track your steps, distance and calories so if you want graphs and charts and statistics and stuff, then you can sync it with your iPhone and other iThings and find out how far you’ve walked and it’ll also tell you for how long you had good posture. Although, if you’ve got an ancient iPhone 4, like mine, you’ll need to get a Windows dongle, which is supplied separately.
Okay, I confess (don’t really have a choice, do I?) I haven’t used the Lumo Lift for a while but it’s a great way for those who have desk jobs and are in the habit of slouching to be reminded to sit up straight and I am going to try and get into the habit of using it.
For more information, visit the Lumo website.
Considering my original review was going to consist of simply, ‘Fuck it, can’t be arsed’, the Polar Loop is my new favourite glorified pedometer (also known as wearable tech).
So, what caused my initial angst and frustration?
This, that’s what.
Before you can play with your new toy, unless you have wrists as big as your thighs, you’re going to have to cut the wristband down to size and reassemble the buckle with pins and stuff. I spent about a quarter of an hour trying to get the damn buckle on before feeling like I was auditioning for a job at Timpsons and giving up and throwing it at Shaun when he got home to put together. Shaun, of course, put it together in about thirty seconds (after re-cutting down the buckle three more times – the measuring guide that comes with it isn’t accurate).
After it was ready to use, I started to really like it. While it was charging, I had a play on the Polar Loop website and found out I could stalk people all over the world.
You can zoom in on any of those little dots in squares and see where people have been running and cycling and walking and stuff. When I say ‘zoom in’, I mean ‘zoom in’. You can click on any of the people who appear in the column on the right hand side and click on ‘relive’ and it’ll replay their activity. RIGHT FROM THEIR HOUSE AS VIEWED IN STREETVIEW. Blimey. I clicked on a local man and had a nose (if you’re reading this, hello, you have a nice house) at his house and said ‘ooh’ when I was taken past the park in which the local parkrun is held. Obviously, it would be a rather sad person who – when given a zoomable map of the world to play with – only stalked their local area, so I also had a nose at a man called Igor in Russia. Russia seems rather bleak, I must say. I thought I’d get some marathon tips from a Kenyan, but the only person I could find near Kenya was called Keith. Cue disappointed face.
I should point out that all my stalkees had Polar-something-elses, not Loops, so you can’t relive your Loop steps on here, as it’s not a GPS device, but if you want to spend some time looking at the beautiful lake a girl in Tanzania ran round, then you can fill yer boots on the Polar website. I should probably also point out that it’s not the whole route that’s replayed in Streetview, just the beginning and a couple of points in between.
Anyway, enough about Igors and Keiths, what’s the Loop like? I love it. What I especially love about it is that it also functions as a watch and if it wasn’t for my Bounts points* that my FitBit and Jawbone UP collect for me (Bounts isn’t linked to the Polar Loop), I’d ditch those and just use the Loop instead.
The Polar Loop has a clear LED display which can be tapped to show different screens: Time, calories, steps, activity, and to do (which shows you what you can do to reach your daily target).
As with all these wearable tech thingies, you’ll have access to the bit we all love the most – yes, I’m talking about stats. We all love stats, don’t we? All those pretty charts and graphs and, um, inactivity stamps to humiliate you.
Ignore the bit about sleep – I haven’t set it to monitor my sleep, unless it knows when I’m asleep.
To sum up then; if you want a multi-purpose bit of wearable tech with the added bonus of stalking people all over the world, then the Polar Loop’s for you. As with all these things, there’s an accompanying app but only for iPhone 4s upwards (and some Android devices), which meant as I only have a lowly iPhone 4, I couldn’t play with this. Whatever happened to backward compatibility, huh? Still, there’s plenty on the website to keep you occupied if you haven’t got a compatible smartphone.
Thanks to LV for sending me the Polar Loop to review.
*Points add up really quickly on Bounts – I’ve just ordered my fifth £5 supermarket voucher. If you sign up with my referral code (white1136), we’ll both get 100 points. Hurry though, Bounts are going to start charging for membership soon – at the moment it’s free and will stay free for anyone who signs up before they start charging. Although you can’t link to the Polar Loop (they keep adding stuff though, so they might in the future), you can link your account to FitBit, Jawbone UP, Strava, MapMyRun and plenty of other apps and gadgets.
A little while before Christmas, the Joe Blogs Blogger Network invited me to attend a tech walk in conjunction with Currys and Best LDN Walks. This involved being given a gadget, so obviously I was on that train to London quicker than you can say ‘HS1’.
I met up with Helen, who had also been invited (you can read her post about it here), and we headed over to Green Park to join the rest of the bloggers who were taking part in the walk that day. On our arrival, we were handed our gadgets – a Jawbone UP for me (they originally gave me a Fitbit but as I already have one I asked if I could have something else and they kindly obliged), a Garmin Vivofit for Helen and various other techy things for the others. The purpose of us being given these was so we could track our steps while we were shopping to see how many calories we’d burned off during our afternoon’s mooching.
After my initial embarrassment at being paraded like a tourist around the town I’ve called ‘home’ for the past 45 years, I relaxed and enjoyed the walk. Our guide was excellent – friendly, entertaining and informative. She led us through the streets of Mayfair and Piccadilly, visiting the finest independent shops, including Charbonnel et Walker, where the Queen buys her favourite violet cremes; James J Fox, who sold cigars to Winston Churchill; and the charming Berry Brothers and Rudd, the fine wine and spirits merchants who supplied the Titanic (maybe the captain was drunk and that’s why it sunk? If so, they kept that bit of information quiet).
Halfway through our walk, we had a break in a pub for some warming mulled wine and a chance to check our gadgets to see how far we’d walked and I was surprised to see I’d stacked up a couple of thousand already.
For a fun way to burn off some calories and to help reach your daily step target, I’d definitely recommend going on one of the Best LDN Walks. They’re offering some of their walks at a bargain £1 at the moment – including a Haunted Pub Tour, which is definitely up my street.
Thanks to all involved for a great day out.
It’s not very often I have a protein shake but when I do, unless I mix them in my blender, they’re full of powdery lumps. The last one I tried, I shook up in one of those custom-made shaker things that are supposed to prevent any lumpage but it obviously lied as it was as lumpy as the rice pudding you got at primary school. In other words, bleurgh. Okay, that was only one word but you know what I mean.
So, what do we need to help us through this lumpy protein shake world? Yes – a gadget, of course. We always need more gadgets in our lives, that goes without saying.
The Promixx Vortex Mixer is a hand-held vortex drinks mixer, perfect for protein shakes and sports drinks, etc. It also says on the box it can be used for cocktails, juices, instant soup, eggs, milkshakes and baby formula. The mention of instant soup intrigued me but I can’t see anywhere on the website or in the instructions if that means you can pour boiling water into it and whizz up your cream of asparagus. In fact, I would prefer the instructions to be more detailed as there’s no mention of what you can and can’t put in it but as it’s designed for liquids, you’ll just have to use your common sense and not try to liquidise a pizza in it.
After taking the Promixx out of the box, the first thing I noticed after thinking how pretty it is (other, less girly colours of black and white are available) was the blade, which appeared plastic and flimsy. My choice of Barbie-pink probably didn’t help in this respect. (Is it just me, or does the blade look like someone standing on their head?)
Still, it only had to mix up some liquid but to be honest, I wasn’t holding out much hope that it was going to do a decent job, especially as I was going to make a milkshake using Choc Shot, which is thick and gloopy.
The instructions advise you to fill the Promixx with your liquid of choice (my liquid of choice being some soya milk), then switch the Promixx on. I thought it was going to splatter everywhere but it stayed safely in the tumbler, doing it vortexing thing. While the liquid’s spinning around, you then add whatever it is you want to add to the liquid.
Here’s a video of it doing it’s vortexing thing.
And as you can see, it’s done a great job at mixing all the Choc Shot into the milk. There was only a tiny couple of lumps left, which probably would have been mixed up, had I left the Promixx running for a few more seconds.
Cleaning the Promixx couldn’t be simpler. Simply fill it with water and a little detergent, switch it back on, and it’ll clean itself. Yes, I said it’ll clean itself. As you can see in the video, it’s picked up the two little lumps that were left.
A bit of a rinse and as you can see, it’s sparkly clean. Cool.
I’ve got to say, although I think the Promixx is brilliant, it’s not cheap at £18.89 on Amazon, at the time of writing this review, especially as it doesn’t even come with the batteries (2 x AAA) included. Although, if you do use a lot of sports drinks and protein shakes, you will get a lot of use out of it and you will also absolutely love it. It comes supplied with a lid which is 100% guaranteed leakproof, so it’s also perfect for taking out and about with you.
If you don’t want to mess around with batteries, an upgrade pack will soon be available, containing a rechargeable motor with USB charging cable, a fully integrated NUTRiPOD supplement storage container and a spare Promixx leak proof sports cap.
For more information, visit the Promixx website.
You’ll all have seen those adverts where there’s a woman with super-firm abs, lying provocatively on a sofa, munching away on a packet of cheese and onion, while wearing a belt that’s doing all the exercise for her. You’ll also, no doubt, have been as sceptical as me and thought, ‘Yeah. As if’.
So, when Slendertone asked me if I wanted to try their Slendertone Abs Belt Women (okay, own up – who told them I didn’t already have super-firm abs, huh?), I was sceptical but Shaun said the belts do actually do something because of, um, something scientific that I can’t remember now.
I’d put off trying the belt for a while as, when I first received it, I had shingles and had prescribed myself a cure of sitting in the sunshine, reading books and drinking freshly squeezed juice but most definitely not strapping things onto my body that were going to stimulate my already ravaged and over-stimulated nerve-endings. Also, on the press release I’d been sent were a load of floor exercises and I dislike floor exercises even more than I disliked having shingles. Still, when I eventually opened the box (which also includes a charger and quick start guide – not pictured above) and read the instructions, I saw there’s a choice of passive (e.g. sitting down eating crisps) or active (i.e. doing stuff) programmes. The passive programmes start at 1 for initiation, through to 7 for strength, with the active programmes being from 8-10 which you can do with the crunch exercises included in the instruction manual.
The first time you turn on the display unit, it starts at programme 1 and automatically progresses through each programme each time you turn on the unit.
So, this morning, I decided to do the first programme and sat with it on for 20 minutes while I went through my morning routine of checking my email and Facebook. I thought it would feel really odd but it doesn’t – it’s a warm tingly feeling which pulses and comes in waves. You control the intensity yourself via the unit and the instructions say you should try to increase the intensity to level 15 or higher in the first session (the range is between 0-150). Because I am so hardcore and because it didn’t feel uncomfortable at all, I increased the intensity to 50 on each side (you increase the intensity for each side individually – I have no idea why).
The unit counts down the minutes and seconds and bleeps at the end of the programme. The instruction manual suggests you do a 30 day plan, with 5 sessions a week and they’ve included a diary at the back you can fill in each day with the intensity you reached on each side.
I have no idea why I filled my first day in on the opposite side of the page. I swear I had the belt on my abs, not my head.
When you’ve finished that day’s programme, the belt fits neatly into the provided bag.
According to the blurb, 100% of users report firmer, more toned abs. It also claims to deliver an average of 1.4 inch waist reduction due to toning of muscles. I had a hunt around yesterday for reviews and found a forum where twenty users had been asked to trial the Slendertone belt and report back after four weeks. I didn’t read every single post but the first few I skimmed through all reported they felt firmer, had lost inches and were getting into clothes they previously couldn’t.
I measured my waist this morning and will use the belt for 5 days a week over the next 30 days and will report back on my progress. Obviously, I’m not going to be sitting around eating crisps while wearing the belt and hoping at the end of the 30 days I’m going to have abs like Jessica Ennis so I’ll still be doing my usual exercise routine and I may even do a few crunches, too. Then I’ll have abs like Jessica Ennis. Or maybe not.
So, what did I like about it? It’s comfortable to wear, easy to use and the display unit slips into a pocket on the belt so you can walk around with it or do some moderate cardio exercise. It comes with a detailed 20 page instruction manual which has a long list of dos and don’ts including, don’t use while cycling, don’t wear with a belly button ring, don’t use on heavy period days, don’t use if you have cancer.
As for dislikes; as I haven’t used it for long enough to see if it makes a difference or not, the only criticism I have at the moment is it advises the pads are replaced every 20-30 uses which, at £11.99 for the replacements makes the belt – which retails for £149.99 – quite an expensive piece of kit if you’re going to use it regularly.
I will report back in four weeks and let you know of my progress. Super-firm abs, here I come!
Loxley Sports asked me if I wanted to try out their suspension trainer. I had no idea what a suspension trainer was but I looked on their website and saw it was yellow and as I like yellow I thought I’d give it a go.
A compact box arrived containing the main trainer straps, a door anchor, a strap extender, a door warning sign and a meshed bag.
The first thing I noticed was the quality. This is a sturdy, well made piece of kit. Just the feel of it convinces you you’re not holding something cheap and flimsy. I’ve had a floppy pink plastic tube resistance training thing for a while now but that remains coiled up on the floor of the conservatory like a floppy pink thing; a simile for which I am far too ladylike to post on this blog.
It only takes a few seconds to put the suspension trainer together but then I had a dilemma. It can be used indoors by hooking over a door or locking over a beam/joist, etc. or it can be taken outside to be used on a tree (or maybe a football goalpost or something if you have no trees in your area). We don’t have many doors in this house and those that we do aren’t really in a position to enable comfortable training. I also wasn’t sure if any of the doors were strong enough for me to be pulling on but then wondered maybe if because you’re pulling the door towards you, maybe the door frame prevents any risk of the door falling off. But that’s sciency stuff and I don’t know any sciency stuff. Anyway, I decided on the bedroom door as that meant the whole landing would be behind me.
As you can see, the straps are long. As you can also see, we have very low ceilings, so there wasn’t going to be any jumping up and down happening while doing the suspension training.
I eventually worked out how to shorten the straps and it was time to do some exercise. Unfortunately, the supplied leaflet, although it gives you five foundation exercises, it doesn’t actually tell you how to do them.
I had a look on Loxley Sports’ website and there aren’t any exercises on there, either. This is a massive oversight and I hope in the future they’ll provide some exercises on their website with an accompanying video.
Still, youtube to the rescue! First of all, I found this girl doing some exercises that looked far too hardcore for me (she’s using a different make of suspension trainer but the one from Loxley Sports does the same thing).
Then I found this bloke who at first I thought looked a bit of a twat but actually, he’s okay and explains the exercises well and isn’t a twat at all.
Some of his exercises aren’t suitable for the hooking-the-suspension-trainer-over-the-door method though and are more suited to those exercising outside. So I found this one that shows some door-only exercises.
I then decided the conservatory door would be better because then I a) would be able to have the laptop next to me so I can follow the exercises; b) can have the back door open; and c) I can get my cat to do the exercising for me. After going through a few of the exercises, my arms were aching – the suspension trainer definitely gives you a decent workout. It’d probably give me an even more decent workout if I wasn’t scared of the door falling off and therefore not using all my resistance (which is the whole point of it, duh).
If you watched the above videos, you’ll see that there are loads of exercises to be done with a suspension trainer. In fact, it made me sad to see I was limited by what I could do inside so I looked in the garden for a suitable tree and hurrah, I found the perfect branch and gave it a bit of a tug to see how strong it was.
It seemed strong enough to hold my weight and I’ll have all the space I need, so now I just need to pluck up the courage to exercise with the risk of being seen by the neighbours. Hmm.
I’m impressed with the Loxley Suspension Trainer. It’s well made, easy to use and you get a decent workout from it. And from what I can see, at £44.95 it retails at a competitive price. Some training videos on the website would be an improvement though or, ideally, ship it with a training DVD.