I’ve been having an on and off relationship with health and fitness for a good few years now. I’ve never been happy with my body, and to be quite honest I don’t think I ever will be but back in 2013 I finally decided on making some changes. I’d had enough of feeling sluggish and hating the vision that reflected back in the mirror so I got to work on taking a stance. Through some strict (and let’s face it, disappointing!) eating habits, some food cutbacks, a daily stationary cycle on the exercise bike, and some suffocating struggles, I managed to lose just over a stone and thankfully, I have kept that extra, unwanted weight off right up until now. However, it wasn’t until the new year, when the clique ‘new year, new me’ resolution came into force. I was still extremely miserable figure-wise and made a plea to zap this puppy fat, rippling inner thighs and stomach flab that closely represented the Michelin Man, and that’s when I took the plunge and downloaded a guide to toning and building.
It’s fairly obvious knowledge that diet and exercise come hand in hand. Eating clean is a must if you want to see results and admittedly, this is what I struggle with the most. I’m known to have a sweet and savoury tooth (okay, I still indulge in Nutella, Fox’s Sport Biscuits and Sweet Chilli & Sour Cream Kettle Crisps on occasion) and I find it difficult to prevent my wandering hand from reaching for the cookie jar instead of the fruit bowl. As a newbie to this fitness malarkey, I was pretty clueless on where to begin food wise. I knew it now wasn’t just about cardio, but I was still to get to grasps on what I need to feed my body to treat it well.
This is where the lovely Jenny – the head of women’s fitness from My Protein came along. From the first line of the email, I was hooked to the brilliant approach she showed. Not only did she inform me of My Protein, the way the word ‘protein’ was mentioned and people instantly just presumed all that were sold were protein based shakes when in fact, as Europe’s number one supplement company, they offer everything from protein powders and shakes, to high protein snacks, coconut oil, vitamins and healthy ingredients such as green powders and superfoods, but she also enlightened me to the one woman mission she was on to promote nutrition and a healthy lifestyle and to show that fitness and protein shakes are not just for men. I definitely wanted to contribute to that common judgement – we as women have just as much power to reach a high level of agility!
Jenny’s factual brief about protein really helped me get to grips with the ins and outs. I was aware you needed a balance of protein within your diet but I was oblivious to just how much I, personally, with my goals in mind, should consume. Protein is one of three macro-nutrients we need in the diet, along with carbohydrates and fat. It is the one main macro that is required to build and repair muscle and muscle fibres, as well as maintain muscle mass. It can help increase muscle and because it takes more energy for the body to actually digest, and can increase metabolism, essentially it is a fat burning food!
From Jenny’s advice, I learnt that Whey Protein was the way forward for me. This type of protein is fast absorbing in the body and means when consumed it can deliver protein to the muscles at a faster rate than other proteins. The muscle soreness is undoubtedly the worst part about this journey, not being able to get out of bed without buckling and wincing whenever you raise from your seat isn’t all too pleasant. Half of the time I blame myself for A) Overdoing it and B) Not stretching properly, but now I’ve got my hands on a product that actually seems to benefit me and the growth and maintenance of my muscle. I have been using the Whey for a month or two now and am continuing to see and feel improved effectiveness. I try and take the protein straight after a workout as I feel the sooner I have it, the better enhancement on my recovery. Continued use of this has certainly given me that real lift and boost of less-aching energy. The taste is an added bonus, I was given Cookies and Cream which is incredibly sweet and filled with that natural richness but is suited to someone like me who constantly craves a sugary kick. The consistency is just right – not too thick and without that chalkiness. The only slight problem was that to start with, I found it wasn’t efficient at fully dissolving. It could be down to the fact I needed to shake it more as I found giving it some aggression easily fixed it but it could also be because I mix the powder with water due to the fact I cannot stand to drink milk. However, it is drinkable, it’s not one of those shakes you dread having and is a brilliant fat free source to introduce as a beginner. It’s a great way to fill me up for longer as well as knowing it’s packed with over 80% of pure protein!
The second protein based product I was sent over were the Double Chocolate Virtue Bars. It’s safe to say, these were a firm favourite. The entire box is now finished and was completed without any signs of guilt. At just 95 calories per bar and incredibly tasty with a chewy texture, they are the perfect snack. It’s a fabulous alternate to an ordinary chocolate-focused bar and I found they gave me that fix I needed when chocolate was overlapping any other activity in the brain. I tended to grab these when I was peckish and they fulfilled my hunger until meal time. They were also a go to for a pre and post training snack to satisfy that low motivational rush that seems to hit me right before and after a workout. I realised I should have taken a picture of the bar itself when it was too late (in other words, when I’d ravished them all) but picture a narrow flapjack type bar with chocolate edging and you have it in one.
The final two liquidized samples I received were Total Nutri-Greens and Banana and Strawberry Breakfast Smoothie. As instructed, I have used the Total Nutri-Greens both sprinkled onto foods and in a shake with added water and believe both to be equally advantageous. Once again, I did find it left a small residue at the bottom but it wasn’t off putting in the slightest. This is an amazing product packed with nutrition and the taste is so refreshingly fruity – nothing like you would expect from a mash up of greens. I’m getting better with eating my fruit and vegetables but on a day where I’ve slacked and feel I need some nourishment to get my gut moving, the whole range of 22 (yes 22!) superfoods tops up my intake and enables a truly detoxed and replenished followed up feeling.
I was into smoothies a year or so ago, I’d make sure I was ingesting a mixture of 5 or 6 nutritious foods in liquid form and I felt a real positive difference in how less bloated and polished I felt. However, that routine kind of slipped away and I lacked my regular juicing. After a huge break, this Breakfast Smoothie was exactly what I needed. In terms of breakfast, I am a very boring decision maker and never fancy anything but my usual wholegrain cereal. This smoothie mixes things up a little bit for me, it’s not something I’d usually reach for but it’s something that prepares and readies me for the day ahead. This is an ideal shake to have on a rushed morning when you haven’t got time to put together a high protein breakfast. Like my previous use of smoothies, I mix the formula using the blender to make sure all lumps are broken down. Just from the first use my stomach was satisfied and it saw me through till lunchtime – I found I wasn’t yearning for unhealthy snacks during the morning to lunch gap and in fact, food was the last thing on my mind. I love both banana and strawberries, in flavoured and whole form but I can’t quite put my finger on why the combination of the two tasted so particularly bitter. It was bearable but a lot more sweeter than I imagined. I also don’t get on well with caffeine so think if the product was to have less of this and more of a substitute such as some low fats, it would work better for those sensitive to some ingredients. However, it IS an excellent dietary fibre complete with many essential vitamins and minerals which contribute to your daily functioning and for that, just like the rest of the products, I highly praise it.
Lastly, we have the Green Tea Extract which I can’t talk an awful lot about because I am yet to give them a go but I’ll give you a brief summary. These come in tablet form and don’t size up too large so I would suggest they are easy to swallow. It is basically green tea in concentrating form and although making a cup of green tea may seem more practical, taking these would save time as well as being a tasteless, simple way to add antioxidants to your system, thus giving you the same results as green tea would. I am a dubious person, I have health anxiety and I’d be completely fretting if I took these without consulting my GP first because of the strong medication I am already on. I think they’d be fine but I just need to make sure first. I must remember to book a consultation because I have read nothing but wonderful reviews about how beneficial they are to your metabolism, and even help towards achieving clearer skin which for me, is a winner all round!
If My Protein has told me something, it’s that healthy eating and supplement taking doesn’t have to be bland nor risky. Just 5 out of many products has proved the road to fitness can be intriguing and surprisingly succulent on the taste buds. I’m a long journey away from my final goals but with a little help from sources and my own willpower, I’ve told myself I will get there. There’s just under 7 weeks left till my holiday which means there’s just under 7 weeks to get ship shaped. I CAN DO THIS!
Have you ever tried any My Protein products?