New Stash from Bodytek Life – A Review

All reviews and comments within this post are my own and are my honest assessment of the goods mentioned.

Every so often, I get the privilege of being asked to review some new products. Sometimes I pay for them, other times I don’t. Either way, I’m always keen to get stuck in and give my 100% honest review, good or bad. If you take a look down my previous reviews, you’ll see that some are less positive than others – this is my blog and I’ll write what I please! 😉

However…thankfully this is one time where I get to write something really very positive, with very few drawbacks, although there are some.

New in to the UK fitness apparel market is Bodytek Life. A start-up in this area, with a strong vision for their future, they currently have a limited but ‘essentials’ collection, with ambition for growth.

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With a motto of “Feel The Change”, Bodytek Life is all about the essentials, “Inspired by life, enhanced by technology, and great for the soul, the vital collection is for all seasons and all fitness reasons.” For the purpose of the review, they sent me a long-sleeved t-shirt, a heavy duty drawstring bag and an insulated metal water bottle. This is their “Bundle” and is currently retailing for £55 on the website.

The Bag

As you can see from that picture above, the bag is pretty sizeable. Made of 100% organic cotton, it is heavy duty and robust. My lifting shoes, belt, waterbottle, chalk bag, jump rope, notebook and pencil all fit in, with room to spare. Up until now, I’ve been carrying about an over-sized green rucksack that quite frankly has had its day. This bag arrived just in time and I suspect it will last far longer than that ruck did! With sturdy metal eyelets around the bottom for the drawcord, and well-manufactured seams, I know I’ll get a great deal of wear out of this.

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Next up, the Waterbottle.

If you’ve seen the current crop of stainless steel, robust, vacuum-flask insulated waterbottles out there, then you’ve seen this. It appears to be exactly the same as the biggest brand name on the market right now – even the lids are 100% interchangeable. “Covered by our lifetime guarantee – bodytek bottles are made from extremely durable triple insulated high grade stainless steel that won’t stain on the inside and stays looking great on the outside. ”

This is to say that you’re getting exactly the same quality that you find in the top brand equivalent. The insulation really works. I was genuinely amazed. After filling this with boiling water to take on a winter picnic a few weekends ago, we made our way up on to Dartmoor in the first snow of the season. With the car thermometer reading, “-2C” at the warmest part of the day, we dropped the bag in the snow, bottle inside, and set about making snowmen for the next few hours. We ended up not needing the water as we found a great cafe in Princetown but when we got home some 6 hours later, the water was still scaldingly hot! Honestly, not just ‘warm enough to make tea’ but burny lips hot. I’ve been through a lot of flasks in my time in the military and I can ‘hand on heart’ say that this is the best so far. Top Recommendation. I should also add that despite being thrown around in the snow, rolled under the car, and being dropped in the gym a few times it is still in tip top condition with not a scratch on it. Outstanding!

and so, the T-Shirt.

I should say that long-sleeved t-shirts are not my thing in the gym. I get too hot, too quickly. I’m not one of these CrossFitters who strips off, as you know (noone needs to see that!), and so what I wear has to fit and let me breathe.

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I don’t know about you, but I think this t-shirt looks bloody good. I mean it. For a light grey t-shirt, I wasn’t expecting too much, to be honest, but this looks pretty great. For it to look that good though, it has to be quite snug and this is where I’ve fallen out with other t-shirts. Where this one is a real success, however, is that it is 95% bamboo. Yep, I’m quite clearly out of touch because I didn’t know you could get bamboo training kit – sure, I’ve had bamboo socks and the like but they just felt like brushed cotton – this is really different. 95% bamboo and 5% elastane, this is a little heavier than other training tees but that’s not noticeable when you’re wearing it. It stretches in all the right places and is far more breathable than cotton, that’s for sure. I comes with a downside though, and I said the review wouldn’t be all positive. For me, I want a logo or motif. I’m not a fan of plain t-shirts. However, because of the elastane (I suspect), you can’t put a logo on it – well, washing instructions do say, “do not iron design” and I assume this is what they meant – I really wanted to stick a great big Batman symbol on there! However, the shirts do come in a range of colours so I’m kind of being a bit picky here 😀

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Don’t hate on me for this being light, this was during a WOD with a LOT of front squats! 😀 😀

Typically, when I’m lifting or doing a CrossFit workout, I find that all of my t-shirts start to twist and get caught up under my arms and along my shoulders. This is the only shirt in my immense collection that it doesn’t happen to. The shirt remains in great shape for the whole workout. My fears of being too hot were also not realised at all. Sure, I’ve got a few sweat patches there but this was at the end of about 30 mins really hard graft, including bar over burpees, front squats, kettlebells swings and pull ups. I didn’t feel too hot at all.

All in all, I reckon this is a great little package from a new infiltrator in to the UK fitness apparel market. No gimmicks, nothing fancy, just really high quality merch that works time and time again. Personally, I reckon you should give it a go.

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So, where can you find this new upstart?

On t’interweb at http://www.bodytek.life

On Twitter: https://www.twitter.com/bodytek_life 

On Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/bodytek_life

On Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/bodytek.life

Or checkout: #feelthechange on all your favourite platforms.

 

After having trialed this equipment, and to support a friend in the industry, I did agree to become part of their affiliate program. I feel that it’s only right and proper to be open and honest about these things when writing a review.

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All Change! Well, Half anyway.

You know that Ironman Wales goal for 2019?

Well, this numpty only went and left it too long to book a place, and missed out! Yep, with that the mid-life crisis goal was gone.

Looking around, based on other commitments, cost, and family, the only viable alternative would have been to replace the beauty and majesty of West Wales with Bolton. I’ll be honest, I don’t know much about Bolto, and I’m sure it’s lovely. However, Ironman Bolton takes place in July and I’ll still committed on my residential Masters course then.

So, with the desire still firmly in my whirring brain, I’ve opted for a rather different challenge.

“Other than being half the distance, how is that different?”, I hear you call.

Well. My attempt at IM Wales was one purely about completing the thing. It was a mountain to climb, to endure, to conquer. It would have taken 9 months of training just to get me across the line under the time cap.

But, this one is conquerable in my current condition, I am certain of that. So now it becomes about a decent attempt at this challenge.

1.2 miles of sea swim, 56 miles of Dorset cycling, and 13.1 miles of Weymouth beachfront running (lots of loops).

Yes, it’s “only half” of what I had intended but now it’s about working harder!

So watch this space, more to come.

Hey you, it’s been a while, wotcha doin’?

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again, “it’s been so long since I last wrote! I promise to make more of an effort in the future.”

Only, this time I’ll reaffirm the first bit and make no such promise about the second.

“Oh no!!!” I hear you cry, ” please don’t leave!”

Or

“Oh…I’d forgotten about you….are you even still here?”, which is clearly more likely.

I’m afraid that I’m currently on a residential Masters programme and my capacity to maintain a blog is somewhat diminished. However, in order to maintain the blog and keep it alive, I have to log in once in a while. I will aim to add something useful when I do.

Now that I’m here, and you’ve decided to read this, what’s new?

Ironman

About 5 months ago, having turned 39, I decided to embark on the seemingly quite reasonable challenge of Ironman Wales 2019. Aiming for Sept 19 made it a loooooong way away but I haven’t just paid lip service to the demands. Training has changed to support this endeavour, with a structured CrossFit Endurance programme (Brian Mackenzie) dominating my mornings, at least 4 mornings and 4 evenings a week. Why CF Endurance? First off, I don’t have the time for a “long, slow, endurance (LSE)” programme. Secondly, I’m not aiming for a podium finish, I just need the ability to complete it and not fall to pieces. Finally, I still love CrossFit and want to continue to develop as broad a range of fitness skillset as possible. CF Endurance is all about using skills and high intensity to prepare for long distance endurance. That suits my mindset perfectly. 14 weeks in to my programme, I am seeing considerable gains in running and cycling that I’ve never seen before. Swimming? Um…yeah…about that. I’m going to have to pick up swimming next year. My aim there is just to complete the 3.8km swim and I know I can do that, albeit I can certainly get a lot better at it.

Nomadic CrossFit

I am nomadic once more. Away from my beloved CF Watford, and too far from any CF box, I am back to training alone by and large. This brings the inevitable consequences that training alone always does. But, I maintain the nomadic element! See my Instagram feed (@nomadiccrossfit). Recently, a trip to Poland saw me wandering in my shorts, in -2C, around Warsaw looking for CrossFit MGW. A great box after my own heart deep in the middle of the city. I’ve meandered up to CrossFit Loughborough in recent weeks; run by a former Royal Marine, it is only ever going to be awesome! And CrossFit Swindon, where I try to get to a workout once every few weeks, run by Luke and his missus, and absolutely perfectly stocked for everything Dave Castro might throw at us. And then there’s CrossFit Plymouth, the stability amongst all of this. I don’t get there as much as I really want to but I’ll be back down there tomorrow for the first time in a while, and I’ve signed up to Primal Games in Feb 19.

Nutrition and DEXA scan

I mentioned that I was up in Loughborough last week – a visit to the Defence Rehab and Medical Centre (DMC) – and I was extremely lucky to get a full body DEXA scan, blood work and psychological shake down. This was all part of a study in to the effects of operations on the service person.

Good news – bone density is well above national and age-normed averages. This is great news and testament to the benefits of CrossFit and to resistance training as a while.

Bad news – 20% body fat, with a 1.3 Android:Gynoid ratio. I am carrying too much fat internally around my organs. I am also obviously extremely disappointed that after 6 years of CrossFit I still do not look like a CrossFitter. I am stronger, faster, more agile than I’ve ever been but still look like a melted ActionMan model.

So, with this in mind, and taking in to account my DNAfit results (see one of my last posts), I have restructured my macros and caloric intake. On training days, I am back down to 2400, and only 2000 on non-training days. The DNAfit test highlighted the necessity to reduce carbs in my particular diet and so I have amended my macros to 40% protein, 30% carbs. 30% fats. Given that it’s the run up to Christmas, this might take a bit of a hammering until January.

So, this is me for now, sorry it’s been so long. I’ll try to sneak in some more soon.

Happy Christmas all!!

Eat Meat, Veg, some Fruit, Nuts and Seeds, a little Starch, and no Sugar.

Photo: @lvnatikk @unsplash
Quote: @crossfit – from “Fitness in 100 words”

Since my journey with CrossFit began back in early 2011 (@rolybrading), I’ve dived deeper and deeper in to the world of strength and conditioning, and nutrition – the words above come squarely from Greg Glassman / CrossFit’s own “Fitness in 100 words”, as taught on our C.F. Level 1 Trainer course.

Paleo, intermittent fasting, zone, low carb, high fat, keto, clean, vegan, blood type……the list goes on. Every ‘diet’ appears with a doctor and backup science to espouse it. Every ‘diet’ has its devout followers who refuse to believe anything other than what their latest book tells them. Arguments break out, battle lines are drawn, and attacks are frequent. It’s no wonder that my own Level 1 course instructor, Karl Steadman (@karlsteadman) said of nutrition, “here be monsters”.

As I read each new book, and try to understand any genuine underpinning science, I am repeatedly pulled back to the guiding principles above, for general health and wellness. Sure, for specific goals you might tinker around but for general goals, where are these principles not sufficient?

It doesn’t say, “no carb”, it doesn’t say, “all fat”. It says, “balance”. It says, “no refined sugars” – the evidence against refined sugar is mounting, steer clear where possible. It says, “eat whole, real foods – nutrient-dense”. If you’re not a meat-eater then high five the nuts and seeds a little more. Where it does say, “meat”, read “animal based protein” with a preference for fish, then birds, then 4-legged land dwellers. Aim for organic, free range where possible but we know that cost and availability can make this inhibitive to many. But aim for it.

If I have any concerns, it is in the second of the statements. Just how much is enough / too much / not enough? The human body is a complex system of systems; it is a learning and constantly adapting unique environment. It is not a machine, despite many ‘diet’ books referring to it as such. It is the product of your entire life and is therefore, beyond basic principles, different to the person next to you. I see differences in my identical 6 year old twins that began in the womb and have already manifested in different preferences and appetite levels. No-one is the same and no two people will react exactly the same to the same portion sizes or precise food types.

So what?

Experiment. You are your own lab. Take the principles above and see how you feel. Start with general daily calorific intakes of 2100kcal for an adult male and 1800kcal for an adult woman, for moderately active people (desk job, 4 workouts a week) and see what changes happen. Use tools such as MyFitnessPal to give you an indication of what portion sizes actually look like – they do not look like restaurants want you to believe.Losing weight? Maybe add some more. Gaining weight? In muscle? Good! Increase in lumpy soft stuff around the middle? Reduce a little. Allow a few weeks for any changes – remember, this is about your whole life, not a quick fix fad. When you’ve found your balance, and you have all the energy you need to workout but you’re not gaining weight, then record it and start to tinker with the protein/carb/fat macro levels to suit any specific goals.

I believe these principles to be achievable, realistic, sensible and, more importantly than anything else, sustainable in the long term. You can have treats, you don’t have to be a dick about it and evangelise, you can have a beer and not beat yourself in to a frenzy as you ‘detox’ – 80% of the time is good enough.

Keep it simple stupid. KISS.

Phenomenal Charity Work

Change A Life

Imagine walking in to a fire station, dressed as a waitress, to deliver breakfast to your local fire fighters, without them expecting it.

Picture yourself dressed in the worst 80s fitness clobber, walking in to one of the biggest CrossFit gyms in the UK and non-emotionally taking part in the workout, AND convincing someone else to do the same.

Or maybe spend time and effort painting yourself in to an historical piece and doing it so well that it blends naturally in to the frame.

If you’re feeling braver, now go in to a tattoo parlour and ask for a tattoo of someone getting a tattoo!

These, and 120+ challenges are being done by my sister and her team to raise money for the charity below, and to bring a smile and a little joy to an otherwise frantic, cynical and pressured world.

If you could spare it, please offer a few quid. These aren’t your standard challenges, they affect not only the charity and the competitor but each challenge is designed to change perceptions, bring happiness, and really get people talking once more in an age of social media and otherwise disengagement.

Change A Life

Back in the Game! Big, New Goal :D

You know, it’s times like these when I realise what a Superhero I am

– Ironman

It has been the longest period of inactivity on this blog in its history, and for that I apologise somewhat. I’ve been filling any spare time coaching and with other qualifications and courses; but now I have some time back and I’ve been looking forward to getting back online and blogging once more.

So, to kick off, so to speak,

I’m signing up for an Ironman in 2019.

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This is my goal. Having exercised an average of 5-7 sessions per week for the last 3 months or so, I now need to actually train for something. Exercise with no goal, no competition, no defined endstate is just that, “exercise”. In recent months, I have really struggled to maintain my motivation and dedication; I have attended all sessions, and worked as hard as I could at the time, but there’s been something missing and it has dragged me down – I’m not making the progression that I really expected and it’s because I’m not motivated to push myself as hard as I need to. The little successes in the WODs have not been enough to keep me motivated, the minor ‘failures’ have been blown out of all proportion in my head. My negative self-talk has increased to the point where I’m now seeking to give it a name of its own! (suggestions, please!)

What has been missing has been the goal, and it’s been missing for too long. However, it was obvious from the CF Open that I’m unlikely to ever be a genuine CrossFit competitor; this is not “negative self-talk” but is just a reflection of the time and dedication it would take to get to that level and sustain it meaningfully. Fair play to those that do! But, I do know that CrossFit has to play a part in whatever I do; I’ve come a long way and I still really believe in it as a training methodology.

What then? What kind of challenge will give me the satisfaction I need just from completing it? I’ve done a Marathon….Ultra Marathon then? No chance, not for me, I’m not sure I can keep myself mentally focused for that long. But an Ironman…3 disciplines, well-understood and respected, achievable, and I am not motivated to win it but want to complete it for the sake of that achievement alone.

IRONMAN: An Ironman Triathlon is one of a series of long-distance triathlon races organized by the World Triathlon Corporation (WTC), consisting of a 2.4-mile (3.86 km) swim, a 112-mile (180.25 km) bicycle ride and a marathon 26.22-mile (42.20 km) run, raced in that order and without a break.

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I’ve not yet firmed up precisely which one. I hope to take part in Ironman Wales Sept 2019 but I don’t yet know my timetable for next year and may end up being deployed somewhere, ruining the whole thing. So, I’ll pick the exact event next year when I know better. However, it’s Wales that I’m focusing on.

In the meantime, I know what I have to do. It’ll be long, arduous, with twists and turns, I am sure, but it’s what I really want to achieve next year, my 41st year on this planet (I’ll be 40). CrossFit will remain a large part of my training, most likely the CF Endurance programme, because regardless of what time I am aiming for, I strongly believe in maintaining the multi-joint, multi-planar training methodology in order to maintain overall capacity, and limit the losses of what I have achieved thus far.

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So let’s see where this takes me. The next few months will be spent getting my swimming stroke sorted, my running up to to par, and I really need to find a bike! I have a Concept II now so can work hard on the endurance aspects at home too. In the meantime, I’ll still be training at CrossFit Watford, until I leave at the end of this month, I’ll pick up sessions at CrossFit Plymouth, and you’ll see this Nomadic CrossFitter making the most of any opportunity to come his way in the meantime.

Wish me luck!

CrossFit Open 2018 – Final Scores

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CF Open 2017

  • Worldwide Masters (35-39) – 86th %tile
  • Europe Central Masters (35-39) – 87th %tile

CF Open 2018

  • Target: place higher than 2017
  • Stretch Target: 90th %tile

Achievement

  • Worldwide Masters (35-39) – 85th %tile
  • Europe Central Masters (35-39) – 89th %tile

I’m happy. I dropped a placing Worldwide and gained 2 in Europe Central. When you look at my per-WOD scores and take in to account the car crash of 18.2, you see that I actually did pretty damned well. Indeed, only 30 secs faster on 18.2 would have seen me well above the 90th %tile, perhaps as high as 91st, with my Worldwide score beating my target handsomely. Oh, for a bit of a kick in the pants during that WOD. Nevermind. It’s done now.

I hadn’t quite realised it either but this is my final year in the 35-39 Masters category. As of next year I shall be in the 40-44 age group!

So what’s next?

Well, tomorrow I begin my first non-Open competition with “The Battle For The Middle Ground“. 3 WODs over 3 weeks as Qualifiers, with the finals in Huddersfield 15/16 June. I’m competing in the Masters Middle Ground division and obviously have no intent on reaching the finals, I just want more competition experience to ensure I don’t crash out as I did in 18.2. And besides, it gives me something to work towards, I love competing and don’t get the chance all that often. After this…more of the same, I hope, with the UK Throwdown Event in October looming too.