Review: Dr Zak’s High Protein Bagels

Dr Zak's protein bagel

It’s not very often I’ll eat bread at lunchtime – I’m more often to be seen drinking soup or munching a salad and, more recently, enjoying tapas-style lunches with tofu, sundried tomatoes, stuffed vine leaves, olives and hummus (you can see such a lunch over on my vegetarian blog). However, there are the odd occasions when I fancy something more substantial, although I know I’m risking the mid-afternoon slump that usually follows me eating bread at lunchtime.

So, because I’d – shock, horror – run out of tofu and stuffed vine leaves, after peeking in the fridge and freezer foraging for food, I remembered the Dr Zak’s High Protein Bagels that had been sent to me a few weeks ago.

Dr Zak's High Protein Bagels are high in protein, low in carbs

High in protein, low in carbs

As you’d imagine, these bagels are high in protein, with each bagel containing 24g of the stuff. The packet also states each bagel also has 40% less carbohydrate but 40% less than what, I don’t know.

But, yeah yeah yeah, that’s all well and good, but there’s no point being high in protein if they ming in a big way, resulting in me taking one bite, and throwing the rest in the bin.

Dr Zak's High Protein Bagels

I toasted one of the bagels and filled it with Violife vegan cheese, homemade hummus, spinach, tomato and cucumber and while it was perfectly edible and didn’t ming, it was a bit dry and dense but didn’t taste weird at all, which had been my main concern.

Dr Zak’s High Protein Bagels don’t appear to be widely available in the shops (on looking at the store locator on the website, it said my nearest stockist was 40 miles away) but they do have a list of where you can buy them online. I had a look at the first website in the list and the bagels are being sold on there for £3.25 for a pack of 4. That sounds like a lot of money for a pack of bagels to me but if high protein is your thing, you might want to give them a go.

For more information about the bagels, to see the other products Dr Zak’s make and a list of stockists, visit the Dr Zak’s website.

Octane Zero Runner Review – No Impact Running

Octane Zero Runner

Octane Zero Runner – sold exclusively at Fitness Superstore

 

Back in 2007, I ran on a treadmill for 90 minutes. Because of the impact on my joints, this caused an injury which left me barely able to walk for about two months and, as any runner can tell you, getting over a running injury can take time. Lots of time. So, my advice to you is to not run for 90 minutes on a treadmill (unless you’re a nutter called Phil Anthony who ran 100km on a treadmill in 6 hours and beat the world record. Sorry – did I say ‘nutter’? I meant ‘superhero’). Obviously it’s not just treadmills that can cause an injury – road running puts a lot of pressure on your joints, too, and so the folks at Octane Fitness invented the Zero Runner.

As the name suggests, it’s a running machine with zero impact on your joints. Don’t be fooled into thinking it’s a cross between a treadmill and a cross-trainer though – it’s not. The Zero Runner has mechanical hip and knee joints that replicate human biomechanics in running and the user controls the motion, with the Zero Runner following the runner’s movement.

It’s been around for a while in the US and has now been brought to the UK, where it’s sold exclusively by Fitness Superstore, who invited me to come along to one of their stores for a demo.

On my arrival at the Tunbridge Wells store, the manager, Malcolm, greeted me, along with Ricky who set me up on the Zero Runner and talked me through it. The first thing I noticed about the Zero Runner is its size. Considering it’s for home use (you won’t find them in gyms), it’s a big machine, but, as Malcolm pointed out, compared to a treadmill – which are a few feet long – the Zero Runner’s footprint is actually quite small. On the plus side though, because it’s self-powered there’s no motor which means there’s no need to plug it in which in turns makes it quiet while also not increasing your energy bills.

Smartlink app from Octane Fitness

Smartlink app from Octane Fitness

You can link up the Zero Runner to Octane Fitness’ free SmartLink app on your iPad and set up programs and workouts and watch videos that will walk you through everything. If you don’t have an iPad, as you’d expect, the Zero Runner has a console that shows basic stats such as pace, speed, calories burnt, distance, etc. It also has wireless heart rate technology for Polar, ANT+ and Bluetooth.

Octane Zero Runner console

Octane Zero Runner console

So, what is it like to use? After a quick demo from Ricky, I hopped on to the Zero Runner and tried to make the paddles move and failed. I ended up kind of scissoring my legs without bending my knees. I asked Ricky how long it takes to get used to it and he said it’s usually around a minute or so, so I persevered for a while longer before jumping off and asking Malcolm (Ricky had gone to help a customer) to show me how it’s done. This time I paid more attention to his leg movements and when I went back on for another go, I quickly got into the swing of it. As I mentioned above, the Zero Runner isn’t like a cross-trainer. It doesn’t move for you – you make it move and it follows your movements and, once you realise you can make a natural running movement, it’s really effective.

When I’d finished my demo, I was so impressed I wanted one. Space is at an issue at the moment with the conservatory (where the rest of the home gym equipment is) currently being used as storage for kitchen stuff (the kitchen’s currently being demolished/decorated) but also The Zero Runner isn’t cheap at £2,699 at the time of writing. No decent piece of gym equipment is cheap though and this is a multi-purpose machine which, as well as a running machine, can be used as a cross-trainer (you can change the resistance on the arms) and skiing machine. You can also strength train on it with the included resistance band which can be attached at 7 points.

Strength training workout on the Smartlink app

Strength training workout on the Smartlink app

To summarise,

Pros:

Zero impact to protect your joints
Replicates road running
Fully customisable flexible stride options
Ideal for runners who want to avoid injury or are coming back from injury
Great supplement to outdoor training
Multi-functional
No motor/quiet
No energy bills
More fun than a treadmill

Cons:

It’s a big machine
I can’t afford one

To see the Zero Runner in use by someone who knows what they’re doing, watch this video.

The Zero Runner is exclusive to Fitness Superstore. To arrange a demo at one of their stores in Leeds, Manchester, Tunbridge Wells, Frimley, Gloucester or Northampton, contact them on 01604 673000 or visit their website at www.fitness-superstore.co.uk/zero-runner for more information.




There’s no such thing as bad weather, just bad clothing (or whatever the saying is)

‘Everywhere you go, always take the weather with you’, sang Crowded House. This isn’t a sentiment I entirely agree with as, although, yes, it would be nice to bring back a bit of sun from your summer holiday, all those English people lazing about by the pool in Barbados in December won’t be best pleased if you rock up after your long haul flight from the UK with a bit of British cold wet winter weather, will they?

So, no. Don’t take the weather with you everywhere you go. Instead, dress for the weather you currently have. Take this morning, for example. Although the sky was clear and blue and, from the warmth of my centrally-heated room, the world outside my window could almost have been mistaken for summer, I knew it was going to be cold outside and I’d promised Facebook I’d go for a run (mostly to stop The Running Goth picking on me by calling me a slacker every three minutes) and so I needed to dress appropriately. Hello, thermal top from Blackspade.

Yes, I'm holding my stomach in

Yes, I’m holding my stomach in

This top is lightweight, comfy, warm, has a high neck (if you like that kind of thing – personally, I don’t like things round my neck so I undid the zip a bit) and, as you can see, is quite long and stays in place.

This isn't me, but you probably new that

This isn’t me, but you probably knew that

I also wore it out walking a couple of weeks ago (you can see a pic of the pretty countryside in which I walked here) underneath a body warmer and it kept me warm then, too.

I changed out of my slippers and put walking boots on, honest

I changed out of my slippers and put walking boots on, honest

I’d also wear it out cycling so, all in all, it’s a versatile top. If you would like a top like this, in the absence of anyone bringing back some winter sun to warm you up, the Blackspade Winter Thermal Sports Top is available from Amazon (this link takes you to one which is identical except there’s no zip on the neck).

And remember kids, ignore what Crowded House say and don’t take the weather with you – leave it where it is.

Kalenji Kiprun medium distance running shoes

Kalenji (sold exclusively through Decathlon stores) have introduced a new range, the Kiprun. Kiprun is a range so simple there are only three to choose from:

  • Kiprun SD (Short Distance) for 10km
  • Kiprun MD (Medium Distance) for half marathon
  • Kiprun LD (Long Distance) for marathon

I like simple, so, when they asked me if I’d like to review a pair, bearing in mind I’ve got the Great South Run coming up, I chose the half-marathon ones. These medium distance shoes also come in a choice of neutral or pronation so, as I – despite being undoubtedly wonky in places – am a neutral runner, I chose those.

kalenji-running-shoes

Considering how light they are, they’re surprisingly cushioned and comfy. If I tried these on in a shop, I’d think ‘yes, these are the shoes for me’ (and then obviously trying on six more pairs before going back to the first pair and buying those).

I love these shoes. They’re light and springy and a perfect fit. My original thought on their appearance was they were a bit on the dull side, but when I got outside the pink bits were glowing neon. My last pair of running shoes cost £130, these are £69.99. I know which I’ll be buying next time.

So, today, I had the perfect shoes and the perfect running weather – warm but with a cooling breeze and a touch of drizzle.

Still did a shit time though. Ho hum.

For more information on the Kalejni Kiprun medium distance running shoes, visit their website.

Review: Shock Absorber Ultimate Gym Bra

The Shock Absorber Ultimate Gym Bra was discussed by Rachel at fairweatherrunner and I in the pub the other week, as we’d both been asked to review it. ‘How the hell do you put the bloody thing on?’ (an issue Angela at Warriorwomen had also pondered on her blog) was our main topic of conversation.

shock-absorber-ultimate-gym-bra

This is a problem I have with all bras of this construction – the type that aren’t a crop top and have more than one clip to do up. Doing the clips up before putting it on, then pulling it over my head like a crop top, then kind of squidging myself into it is my usual solution to the conundrum. I am aware this is possibly the worst thing you can do to a sports bra.

shock-absorber-ultimate-gym-bra-back

Still, once you’re firmly ensconced in the bra, you’re going to be staying put. This is a solid, supportive bra and you’ll be comfortable running in it or working out at the gym. There’s even a handy hook on one of the cups to secure your MP3 player headphone cable. It looks good, too, although both I and Rachel thought the size came up slightly small.

The Shock Absorber Ultimate Gym Bra is available at House of Fraser for £35.

Three becomes six (point 3)

I don’t usually lack energy. I’m not one of these people who go round clutching cans of Red Bull (the smell… bleurgh… god knows what it tastes like… bleurgh, I would imagine) so when I got sent some energy shots that said they would give me energy for five hours, I thought, well, I don’t really need any energy but as I was going for a run this morning, I thought I might as well give it a go.

voltz_energy_shotVoltz Energy Shots come in a 60ml bottle, that don’t look dissimilar to a big bottle of amyl nitrate (or poppers or whatever name you’re more familiar with [not that I know about these things, obviously]) but instead of shoving it up your nose and taking a big sniff, you drink it.

As I’ve mentioned before, I don’t like to drink anything that contains calories unless it also contains alcohol, but these shots only contain 3 calories, so I’m not going to worry about that too much. If you’re wondering where the energy comes from if it only contains 3 calories, it comes from caffeine: it has about the amount of caffeine you’d find in a cup of coffee.

It has a pleasant berry taste and I wait for a big caffeine hit to, um, hit me, but it doesn’t. Never mind, undeterred, I head off for a three mile run.

After two miles I’m feeling energetic, whereas usually, I’d be wanting to give up by now and go home and so instead of turning off down the track and running the last mile back, I go up the side of the little park instead and up to the trail behind the houses, then up to the housing estate and then for a change I decide to go over the bridge and through the half-built housing estate and past the new shop and I get through the half-built housing estate and turn off where I think leads me to the traffic lights and the bridge and a builder man stops to let me go past his truck thing and I’m running up the road and I can’t see the oast houses and I wonder if I’m going the right way and I think I should be able to see them by now shouldn’t I? but there’s no sign of them and no sign of the traffic lights and I think oooooooooooooooooops, I’ve taken the wrong turning and added about three miles on to my run, as I don’t want to turn round and go back the way I came because a) I hate turning back; and b) I’ll have to go past the builder man again and he’ll wonder why I’ve turned back and maybe he’ll think it’s because I fancy him and then maybe he’ll offer me a bacon roll and then I’ll have to say I’m vegetarian and then he’ll think I’m weird and it will just get far too complicated and so I carry on and two miles later I get to the traffic lights I should have been at in the first place and I go over the bridge and down the road, then onto the trail and The The comes on my iPod and Matt Johnson is singing ‘pensioners get raped’ and I remember when I was a teenager I thought he was singing ‘pensioners are apes’ and I must have led a sheltered life and then I finally get home and I’ve done 6.3 miles in a not exactly fast but not exactly too shabby time considering it’s the furthest I’ve gone for a long time and maybe it was the Voltz Energy Shot or maybe it was the Trion:Z bracelet which I am now addicted to wearing or maybe it’s just because I am  hardcore.

Stats
Distance: 6.33 miles
Time: 1:19:40
Pace: 12:35m/m
Calories: 607
Energy shots looking like amyl nitrate bottles: 1
Builders who might offer me a bacon roll: 1
Pensioners who are apes: 0
Miles gone out of my way: 2
Mes being hardcore: 1
Music
The The
Hole
Toyah
Audiofuel
The Killers
The Smiths