Friday, July 20, 2012


Firstly a bit of a disappointment last night - my normal gym still isn't open and I have run out of the free passes for the other uber expensive gym!! I'm not too sad because I ran 3k (totally thought it was 5k (3.1 miles)) on Monday and then 5k on Tuesday and Wednesday so it's not like I've not been doing anything and I know I'm allowed / should take rest days I just don't like it when outside factors 'force' a rest day.
I'm not going to say I sat on my sofa with a pet lip though the lazy girl inside had her comfy trousers on and the remote in her hand!!
The main thing I don't like about not going to the gym after work is the time it allows me at home which can lead to bored eating (eating rubbish when I'm not hungry just for something to do!!) I also usually go food shopping on a Friday / weekend too so by Thursday night my cupboards are pretty bare.
Last night's dinner consisted of a baked sweet potato and two chicken sausages - my food diary for the Lose a Marathon challenge is woefully 'unpretty' (I know that's not a word) but it was the only thing I could find in my flat that I felt like eating.

Then last night I watched a programme on TV called Panorama: The Truth about Sports Products
Panorama in the UK is an investigative programme that deals with lots of different issues and as you can probably tell this one spiked a bit of interest in me
Here is a link to the BBC iPlayer site for it if you want to give it a watch - I'm not sure if you guys who live overseas can watch it and it's only available for seven days on there but I'm sure you'll be able to find it if you are more proficient in the world of Google than me!!

It was very interesting - I'll be honest and say that I don't take a lot of 'sports products' mainly because I'm not that far down my fitness journey but I think without seeing this programme I may have ventured down that route a bit further down the line.

A group of researchers looked at several health magazines and the adverts that were in them and then looked into the research that each company had done to find out if they could actually substantiate their claims.
First was sports drinks Lucozade, Powerade etc
The basic conclusion was that unless you are a professional level athlete training for hours and hours at a time there is no discernible difference in performance. For a normal gym goer like me there is no advantage in spending money buying those kinds of drinks over drinking water from the tap.
The more worrying thing looked at when talking about drinking is regarding the thoughts that you have to drinks lots and lots and if you're at the point when you're thirsty then you've left it too long.
The programme basically said that over hydration is a problem and you should drink when your body tells you to drink i.e. when you're thirsty. People have DIED during sports events due to over hydration but NO ONE has ever died during a sports event due to dehydration - they can fix dehydration, over hydration is another matter.
In terms of the additional energy boost sports give they spoke to a Scottish Cyclist Graeme Obree who was nicknamed the flying Scotsman because of how fast he went round a track smashing several records and he said his energy boost came in the form of a jam sandwich!! The sugar in the jam giving an instant boost and the carbs from the bread providing longer term sugars.

Next was running shoes
Now I have to admit that I went and got fitted for running shoes, I ran on a treadmill and they filmed me to look at my stride.
The result of their study on injury prevention was that specialist shoes don't do a great deal and comes after your running technique, the surface you run on, how long you train, how hard you train and how much you allow yourself to rest.
So find a pair of trainers that you feel comfortable in and buy those.
This didn't bother me too much, I got my trainers on sale for £35 which in the UK is a very reasonable price for trainers - I wouldn't have been able to score some Nike's or Reebok's for that price so I'm not too bothered with this result and if they help even a little bit then that's money well spent.

The final thing to be investigated was protein powders
I have just recently bought some protein powder to make shakes after a strength workout so I was interested to see if I'd spent my money wisely.
They didn't totally wipe these away - I think the general consensus was that protein is useful after a workout but this can be achieved through the food you eat and you don't need to buy expensive powders to give you this.
The addition of BCAAs (branched chain amino acids) in these powders is apparently based on a study from the 1930's on rats!!
I'm not sure what to do here - it's sometimes a good hour and a half after a workout before I can get home and eat something so if me drinking an easily prepared shake straight after is going to help my body recover then I'll probably keep doing it - until I've finished the tubs I have at least. I think if anything it's helped calm me down that its not essential to be drinking these things and I'm not completely de-railing myself if I forget one day as long as I get a decent meal when I get home.

The overriding conclusion to the programme was to listen to your body, eat a balanced diet and drink when your body tells you it's thirsty and get out and be active and healthy

I'm not against sports drinks, protein powders or any other kinds of supplements at all but I think it was very interesting to see that these huge claims of better, faster, stronger performance from these companies are based on very little fact.
The minute that fact base becomes bigger and firmer then I'll totally jump on the wagon - anything that can improve my performance and / or make my workouts more productive I'm game for but until then I'm going to eat a varied and healthy diet, go running, drink water and, if I remember, I might throw a protein shake down my neck and keep on fighting my love for all things cake!!

Did anyone else see this programme? 
I know it's a bit controversial what I've said and I promise I'll not be this serious too often but I'd be interested to hear your thoughts on this.


  1. This is a really interesting post. I'm going go have to watch that Panorama episode.

    I never drink sports drinks because I don't think they work. They're full of sugar, chemicals and processed stuff. In my eyes you're better off with water and a banana or handful of nuts 30 mins before working out if you need an energy kick.

    I do have running shoes. They're comfy and spongy sort of, they have a slight spring to them when I run.

    I've been contemplating protein shakes/powder for after my high intensity workouts but a lot are full of sugar. I think if you can't get home to eat straight after working out then a protein shake is better than nothing. Though a handful of nuts and some fruit would probably have the same effect and they're natural sugars and proteins.

    As for eating when you get home, try to make sure you do have the right foods in. If you're hungry then eat. Don't have measly portions if you are hungry, you're more likely to want to eat something else and maybe over eat or binge.

    Maybe try going for a run by your house if you can't get to the gym. I know the weather has been naff here in the Uk recently but it's nice this morning. You don't have to go to the gym to exercise. I don't go to the gym and still keep fit. Or maybe you could get free passes to a different gym? Hehe.

    1. It was really interesting - I hope you get to see it, I was amazed how these companies are allowed to make such big claims without having the evidence to back it up.
      I totally agree on the sports drinks front, they showed some kids playing football who were all drinking them 'because that's what Rooney does' which when theyve got 8 spoons of sugar in one bottle is quite scary!
      The thing I realised is that you don't need to spend a fortune on these things, like you say I can chuck a banana and a little bag of nuts in my gym bag and I'm sure that'll do me just as good if not better because it's natural.
      I did just that - I'm just in from a 5k run, it rained a bit while I was out but it was actually quite nice!! I also have a kettlebell at home so I'll probably do something with that this weekend - I just miss the weights at my gym!!