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Whey Protein: Things you need to know.

Choosing the best whey protein powder can be confusing and overwhelming. There's so many different brands and everyone claims they've got the best - so which one do you choose? When it comes to whey - we truly believe Natural Nutrients is right up there amongst the best after all the years we've spent perfecting it to be what it is today, and if our customers' feedback is anything to go by - we may just have cracked it!
100% Whey Protein Isolate
If you're not already using Natural Nutrients - chances are, you are using a whey that contains a mixed blend of different types of whey protein. There's Whey Isolate, Whey Concentrate, Hydrolyzed Whey and other protein sources like Milk Protein Concentrate. The question is...  why do other brands blend whey? Is 3 different types of whey any better than one? Does it really become a super tri-blend that's "proven" to build more lean mass or provide greater absorption than a single type of whey - or is it just because it's cheaper?
Why do other brands blend whey?
The right answer is because it makes it cheaper. You will see the "big commercial discounters" using tri-blends way more than the brands who offer one form of whey like us - after all this is the only way they can be permanently on sale. Per gram - Whey Isolate is one of the most expensive ingredients in the entire Sports Nutrition industry - not just in terms of protein, so by removing 20% of it (or more) and replacing it with Whey Concentrate for example - manufacturers can save themselves around £2 per kg and then pass that saving on to you as a customer.
Whey Concentrate and its disadvantages
The downside to Whey Concentrate is that it contains higher fat and carbs, and is lower in protein - so there's a trade off for the compromise in formulation.  Furthermore, whey isolate has a higher ‘amino acid score’ than whey concentrate or plant-based proteins, which basically means we absorb it better and it gets to our muscles quicker. TOP TIP: Be wary of products labelled "100% Whey Protein" as many people believe it means 100% protein. It simply means the product contains only Whey Protein  and no other protein source.  Natural Whey Protein Isolate comes in 3 delicious favourite flavours: Vanilla, Strawberry and Chocolate. For more flexible option, the Unflavoured is perfect to mix with any other flavourings you prefer.

Rest, Recover, Repair, Repeat! A Post-Workout Plan for Maximum Results.

If you want to get the most out of your workout, then you need to be thinking about post-exercise recovery and how best to achieve this. Thousands of studies have proven that certain supplements can not only help repair muscles after exercise but also enhance performance during your workout. Read on to discover two of our best supplements to aid recovery.   Natural Whey Protein Isolate Our natural whey protein isolate powder is low in fat and high in protein, and can be used to increase lean muscle mass, enhance exercise performance and assist with weight management.
  • Replenish – Using whey isolate post-workout helps to return the body from a catabolic (muscle-wasting) to and anabolic (muscle-building) state. It promotes the regeneration of muscles cells and synthesis of amino acids into protein molecules, which eventually make up muscle fibres. Supplementing your diet with whey protein isolate is a convenient and reliable way to ensure your body has the building blocks it needs to replenish muscle cells following an intense workout.
  • Repair– Our whey isolate is a rich source of BCAAs – or ‘Branched Chain Amino Acids’ – These are essential amino acids which have been shown to increase lean muscle mass whilst preventing catabolic muscle degradation – for a doubly beneficial recovery effect. Use of BCAAs can reduce the effects of DOMS (delayed onset muscle soreness) – the experience of sore muscles 1-2 days following intense exercise. Such soreness can leave you with discomfort and pain, preventing you from further exercise until it has subsided. Using whey isolate following exercise can dramatically reduce the impact of DOMS.
ZMA® ZMA® is a unique combination of Zinc, Magnesium and Vitamin B6 designed to increase post-exercise recovery by inducing sleep and improving sleep quality. This holy trinity of nutrients can be taken around one hour before sleep to encourage the body’s natural repair process. Research has shown that these nutrients not only have their own attributes but also work in sync to produce an overall benefit. Here’s all you need to know about this terrific trio!
  • Zinc – When you exercise your muscles, microscopic tears occur on a cellular level. It is when the body repairs these tears that the new muscle is formed and the muscles become bigger and stronger than before. Zinc is important for growth and the production of new cells, including muscle fibres, and so taking it post-exercise encourages muscle repair and synthesis.
  • Magnesium – probably the most researched nutrient when it comes to post-exercise recovery. This is because it is absolutely essential in protein metabolism. It is also a muscle relaxant that helps to induce sleep by suppressing the nervous system. Taking magnesium before bed is a good idea because it allows your body to accelerate important repair processes, which in turn will leave you feeling more energised upon waking.
  • Vitamin B6 – not just one nutrient but a group of water-soluble compounds. Because they are water-soluble, they are readily lost in urine and so a regular and adequate intake is essential. This vitamin is involved in the synthesis of genetic material, amino acids and proteins – helping to repair muscle cells post-exercise. The role of B6 within ZMA® is to support the absorption and utilisation of both Zinc and Magnesium.
ZMA® is a unique formulation containing each of the above. Zinc and magnesium work together to prepare the body for sleep and enter a recovery zone, and Vitamin B6 ensures optimal absorption of each. This combination has been shown to promote REM sleep, a deeper sleep that leaves you feeling more rested upon waking. This in turn encourages the body to accelerate the repair process it enters when sleeping, helping muscles to synthesise and recover.   Supplementing your diet with both ZMA® and Natural Whey Protein Isolate will encourage your body’s natural repair processes, ensuring not only a speedy recovery but also an increased performance ability for future workouts. Follow the directions of use below to provide your body with a reliable source of all it needs to rest and recover post-exercise…
  • ZMA® - Take 3 capsules for men, and 2 capsules for women daily, 30-60 minutes before bedtime. For best results avoid taking ZMA® with calcium-rich foods (as zinc and calcium compete for the absorption sites within the body.)
  • Natural Whey Protein Isolate - Add 1 level scoop of protein powder to 200ml of water, or any liquid of your choosing - shake well, drink and enjoy! Repeat 1-3 times daily or as required.
  Find out more… ZMA® > https://naturalnutrients.co.uk/our-range/ZMA®-capsules Whey protein powder > https://naturalnutrients.co.uk/product-category/whey-protein-powder/   Thanks for reading, Steph Natural Nutrients Nutritionist References
  • West, D., Abou Sawan, S., Mazzulla, M., Williamson, E. and Moore, D. (2017). Whey Protein Supplementation Enhances Whole Body Protein Metabolism and Performance Recovery after Resistance Exercise: A Double-Blind Crossover Study. Nutrients, 9(7), p.735.
  • ERDMAN, K., FUNG, T. and REIMER, R. (2006). Influence of Performance Level on Dietary Supplementation in Elite Canadian Athletes. Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise, 38(2), pp.349-356.
  • Magnesium Therapy for Periodic Leg Movements-related Insomnia and Restless Legs Syndrome: An Open Pilot Study. Magdolna Hornyak Ulrich Voderholzer  Fritz Hohagen  Mathias Berger Dieter Riemann. Sleep, Volume 21, Issue 5, 1 August 1998, Pages 501–505.
  • Effects of magnesium and zinc deficiencies on growth and protein synthesis in skeletal muscle and the heart. Volume 66, Issue 3 November 1991, pp. 493-504.
  • Function of the vitamin B6 group: pyridoxal phosphate (codecarboxylase) in transamination. LICHSTEIN, H. C.; GUNSALUS, I. C.; UMERETT, W. W. Lab. Bacteriol., Coll. Agric., Cornell Univ., Ithaca, N.Y. Journal of Biological Chemistry 1945 Vol.161 pp.311-320.

3 of The Best For Recovery

If you want to get the most out of your workout, then you need to be thinking about post-exercise recovery and how best to achieve this. Thousands of studies have proven that certain supplements can not only help repair muscles after exercise but also enhance performance during your workout. Read on to discover the best supplements to aid recovery. Magnesium Magnesium is probably the most researched and recommended nutrient when it comes to post-exercise recovery. This is because it is absolutely essential in protein metabolism. When you exercise your muscles, microscopic tears occur on a cellular level. It is when the body repairs these tears that the new muscle is formed and the muscles become bigger and stronger than before. Magnesium plays an imperative role in protein synthesis as it is necessary for the activation of amino acids. Amino acids are the building blocks of protein and of course protein is what makes up most of muscle tissue. Unlike some other nutrients and due to advances in farming and poorer quality of soil, magnesium is not found so abundantly in food like it once was and so it is a good idea to take a supplement – especially if you are exercising regularly. Another thing to bear in mind is that protein is essential in the absorption of magnesium. So if your diet isn’t giving you enough protein, taking magnesium supplements won’t be as effective as they won’t be absorbed properly. If this is the case, it would be a good idea to increase protein intake with food first, but if you're busy, exercising very regularly or just struggle to get enough protein in your diet - supplementation would be required. We have both Whey and Faba Bean (vegan friendly) protein powders available in many flavours which can be used in conjunction with magnesium capsules during training. ZMA Capsules ZMA ZMA is a unique combination of Zinc, Magnesium and Vitamin B6 designed to increase post-exercise recovery by inducing sleep and improving sleep quality. Zinc is important in the production of new cells and tissues, and B6 helps to absorb both magnesium and zinc. ZMA helps to achieve deeper sleep and so encourages the body to enter a recovery and repair state. If you’re having trouble sleeping, this could be a better choice than magnesium alone. However, if you eat meat and/or fish then your diet should be high in both zinc and B6 anyway – and so it may be better going for magnesium citrate. Read more about ZMA and it's benefits in our recent article here. Branched-Chain Amino Acids (BCAAs) BCAAs have a side-chain branch in their chemical composition which differs from that of other amino acids. We don’t want to bore you with science but what you do need to know is that BCAAs (leucine, isoleucine and valine) is that they are ‘essential’, which means you cannot synthesise them in the body, so you must get your intake from dietary sources or supplements. Studies have shown that use of BCAAs can reduce the effects of DOMS (delayed onset muscle soreness) which is the experience of sore muscles you get 1-2 days following intense exercise. Such soreness can leave you with discomfort and pain, but may also prevent you from further exercise until the DOMS have subsided. For more information on BCAA's and their benefits - read our full dedicated article right here. Thanks for reading, Steph Natural Nutrients Nutritionist  

The Only 5 Ab Exercises You’ll Ever Need

Have a look at the following diagram of our abdominal muscles… Abs I wonder if you knew the names of all four? Notice, as an aside, I use the term abdominals whilst the diagram uses the term core… In the real world there are many more muscles that make up our ‘core’ musculature, but for the purpose of this article we are going to focus on our abdominal muscles as shown above. Having a tight waist with some definition is probably what most people associate with a ‘trained’ physique. As such there are hundreds (if not thousands) of ab products, workouts, and methods in circulation… The first thing to point out is that the PRIMARY function of the abdominal muscles is STABILITY! It’s not to crunch the trunk, bend it or rotate it. It is to protect the spine and keep it stable against outside forces that want to flex, bend or rotate… The second thing to point out is that if you spend some time looking closely at our diagram, you’ll see that the muscle fibres in each of the different muscles run in a different direction.   THIS IS REALLY IMPORTANT as it indicates that in order for complete abdominal development,  a few sets of crunches after a training session is nowhere near enough to do the job. That in fact we are going to have to be much smarter than that and move in all sorts of ways to engage and integrate ALL these muscles.   As the title of this article suggests I have come up with a list of 5 different ab ‘exercises’ to help you get closer to that mythical six-pack we all desire!   #1 - Nutrition: Yep… you read that right! Why does what you eat come in a list of best ab exercises? Well think about it for a moment. It doesn’t matter what abdominal exercises you do if your stomach is encased in 25% of the best adipose tissue (body fat) known to humankind! No amount of stomach crunches and planks is going to burn layers of fat of your midsection, period! It’s all about your nutrition and fluid intake. If you don’t take steps to reduce the level of current body fat you’ll never see the results of all your hard work. And before you even think about telling me you are bulking before cutting let me stop you right there. Bulking and cutting is one of those ancient bodybuilding myths that exists to allow all the ‘bro’s’ to feed their ego by looking huge in their sweat tops! Being lean and muscular all year round is where we are these days home boy so get the nutrition and water intake on point and while we are at it get more sleep - It all plays a massive role in uncovering those abs that undoubtedly reside in there somewhere…   #2 - Gym Ball / Barbell Rollouts: I have put this at the top of my abdominal exercise list for years. In many ways it is a plank on steroids! The plank has value as an exercise but in my opinion (and in the physical therapy world also) it has very limited value in the real world. Once you can hold a plank for any length of time where do you go? Longer? Longer again? There is almost no caloric burn whilst holding a plank and not that much muscle building or strength building potential to it. But… Add some movement and now we are cooking! With hands resting behind the apex of a gym ball, and our knees on the floor, we can tighten our abs before slowly rolling the ball forward and stretching out, making sure our shine remains in a neutral position and we don’t drop our hips. I would suggest not going to far out to start and building slowly. To be honest, I don’t really count reps when training abs, I just perform the exercise until a rep or so before my technique deserts me!   #3 - Jackknife's: Again I favour using a gym ball for this exercise but you could easily use your feet in just socks on a wooden or tiled floor. Let’s use the ball as an example though… Get into a push up position with your feet on the ball. Keeping the abs tight, and spine in neutral, pull your knees in towards your chest. Fight hard not to lift your gluten in an attempt to make this easier. Again, perform the exercise for as many repetitions as possible with absolutely correct technique.   #4 - Side Plank with Cable/Resistance Band Row: Earlier i mentioned that one of the primary roles of the abs is to stabilise the spine against forces that want to rotate it. Here is an excellent exercise that accentuates just that. Use a cable set up or a resistance band and get into a side plank position. From here row the cable or band back towards your body whilst maintaining a perfectly straight alignment. Repeat on both sides.   #5 - Gym Ball Figure 8’s: Because nutrition is so important, I almost put it in twice but instead (as I think I’ve made my point) I’ve gone with another advanced plank move. Set up on a gym ball as if you are going to use it for a standard plank. So feet anchored on the floor, nice straight inclined posture, forearms on the gym ball (don’t rest body on your arms) and head nicely aligned with the rest of the spine. Slowly start to draw out the figure 8 with your arms whist fighting to keep that quality alignment. Make sure you draw the figure 8 both ways. So there you have it… A list of my personal favourite abdominal exercises. As always it’s the effort you put in to the exercise, rather than the exercise itself that is the key ingredient. I cannot tell you the number of people who I put through just one of these movements and have them squirming like a worm in bleach!   Be mindful always of the muscles you are trying to activate, move with purpose and control and let me know how you get on!

Creatine 101 – What is it and What Does it do?

If you’re into fitness, chances are you’ve heard the word creatine thrown around quite a lot. But what does it mean? What does it do? Can it really improve your workout? This article aims to explain how creatine can help you burn fat, increase lean muscle mass and maximise performance. We’re here to give you the science and research behind the claims, so that you can be confidently clued up before investing your hard-earned cash. Read on to find out what creatine is, what it does, and why you should top up your creatine reserves before working out… What is Creatine? Creatine is a nitrogenous organic acid…whilst this sounds all serious and scienc-y, the function of creatine in the body is pretty cool. Creatine occurs naturally in humans. It is made in the liver and kidneys and stored in our muscles. Dietary sources of creatine include lean red meat and fish – but wild game is considered to be the best. However, as we only get around 1g creatine from our diet per day, and it has been shown to be most effective at doses of 1-6g, taking a supplement is an easy and convenient way to replenish your body’s Creatine stores.   What does it do? It’s function is to recycle adenosine triphosphate (ATP) – that’s the energy currency of our cells. In other words, during times of increased energy demands, creatine forms part of a system that can rapidly resynthesise ATP. The effects of this enable your body to work harder for longer and with less energy – enabling you to burn more calories and fat than you would in the absence of creatine. And it doesn’t stop there, even when your workout is finished the effect of increased intensity takes a while to stabilise. So, the post-workout effect of creatine creates a state of elevated metabolism – maximising the period during which you’re burning calories and fat.   What are the benefits of Creatine supplementation? Creatine is one of the most widely researched sports nutrition products of all time. It has been proven to increase lean muscle mass, endurance and speed – a combination of benefits craved by athletes, weight lifters and fitness enthusiasts alike. The benefits of creatine enhance your workout before, during and even after exercise – making it a unique and sought-after supplement.  
  • Build Muscle – Research has proven that creatine supplementation increases the amount of metabolically-active muscle tissue on the body, helping to build and maintain lean muscle mass. Not only does this enhance performance during exercise – helping you to push harder for longer – but it also helps to burn more calories after exercise.
 
  • Burn Fat – Increased lean muscle mass has a knock-on effect on your body’s ability to burn fat. As creatine helps to gain lean muscle, and muscle mass improves performance, it gives you the boost you need to enter a high-intensity workout that will burn more calories and so reduce fat mass.
   
  • Breeze to your Personal Best – Creatine is extremely popular with endurance athletes. The reason for this is that it recycles energy, maximising output from the fuel you put in. Taking a creatine supplement before your workout will enable you to reach your full potential, smashing your personal bests.
 
  • Better your Recovery – Being able to take your workout to the next level of intensity not only burns fat, builds muscle and helps you perform to the best of your ability – the effects also continue when you’ve finished . When your home and showered, the effects of creatine go on – elevating your metabolism and burning calories even when you’re at rest.
  I’m sold… so why Natural Nutrients? Here at Natural Nutrients we know that all supplements aren’t made the same. When choosing your creatine product you should be aware that there are different forms, some of which are more effective than others. Creatine ethyl ester is a form of creatine often marketed misleadingly as being more absorbable than other forms. In fact, research has shown that not only is it less effective than creatine monohydrate, it’s effects have been on par with a placebo. We use 100% creatine monohydrate in our supplements. It is the finest and purest creatine available on the market, it has been studied exhaustively and it is natural, legal and non-hormonal. We don’t add any fillers or artificial bulking agents to our products, so you can be confident that each dose is giving you the maximum benefit.   Some Food for Thought… Aside from the plethora of sports-enhancing benefits, research has also found that increasing creatine intake can reduce risk of developing Alzheimer’s and heart disease, improve cognitive function and act as an antioxidant – protecting the body from harmful free radicals which can eventually lead to cancer.   References  
  • Creatine supplementation with specific view to exercise/sports performance: an update (NCBI, 2012)
  • Effect of creatine supplementation on performance (OMICS Group, 2001)
  • Effects of creatine supplementation on performance and training adaptations (2003)
  • Creatine supplementation: The Wider Health Benefits (Henriksen et. Al, 1992)

HIIT Workout – What It Is & Why It Works?

yyy   In 1994, Dr. Angelo Tremblay PhD (& his colleagues) from the Laval University in Quebec, Canada, performed what has become known as a landmark study in the comparison between steady state endurance training and High Intensity Interval Training. In the study (which you can see here http://www.fastexercise.com/pdf/Canadian_Study.pdf ) subjects were divided into two groups, containing both men and women.   One group performed endurance training for 21 weeks, 4 or 5 times a week, for a total of 30-45 minutes.   The other group performed HIIT for 15 weeks, 4 or 5 times a week for 30 minutes.   The results have become legendary in the ‘fat loss world!’ The endurance group consumed almost 15,000 more calories than the HIIT group, BUT the HIIT group lost on average 9 times more subcutaneous body fat! The question was… WHY? Tremblay & his colleagues concluded that, “Metabolic adaptations resulting from HIIT may lead to a better lipid utilisation in the post exercise state & thus contribute to a greater energy & lipid deficit.”   What this means in plain speak is HIIT could lead to a heightened post workout metabolism that continues to burn calories for some time! This post exercise phenomenon is known as EPOC - Excess Post-exercise Oxygen Consumption. Now here is something very interesting for all you physics geeks (like me!) The second Law of Thermodynamics states that energy can never be created nor destroyed - it just changes form. In the human body that means calories (potential energy) can either be stored in muscle or fat cells, or it can be converted from potential to actual energy! Yep… The more ‘intense’ your training session the more benefit to you in your fat burning efforts. The more potential energy you will convert to actual energy & this could potentially carry on long after you have carried out the HIIT session. This comes with a caveat of course… The more intense your training the more you have to play around with frequency and volume or over-training could be a real concern. It also comes with a warning… HIIT isn’t for everyone & should be treated as every other training protocol; a tool to be used as and when it’s appropriate, NOT as the training protocol itself! With that said, let’s have a closer look at HIIT…   What Is Exactly High Intensity Interval Training?   HIIT is a form of exercise (any can be used) that is performed at 100% intensity for a short burst with a short recovery period & then repeated for the desired amount of rounds or time.   A classic HIIT session I use with clients is the Kettlebell Swing - Take a moderate Kettlebell (many ego lifters have found themselves staring down the toilet by not taking this advice!) and you will swing, with correct technique, as fast as you can for 30 seconds. Take 30 seconds recovery and go again. Perform for 10-20 rounds! HIIT can also be performed as a circuit as follows. All exercises performed for 30 seconds with a 30 second rest in between each exercise: Kettlebell Swing Air Assault Bike Dumbbell Squat & Press Sprint on Treadmill At 100 % intensity this training is brutal so please make sure you don't a) overdo it and b) have the correct recovery protocol in place. For the record, 100% was once described to me as imagine finding yourself on a railway track with a train baring down on you. There is a bridge 20 seconds or so ahead which you can jump safely off onto a lower track, but only if you sprint at your top speed. You make it just & bend double catching your breath for 20 seconds or so, when you happen to glance up again and see another train and so the process is repeated! Obviously, at this level of intensity there are a few issues to be addressed… Not everyone should be prescribed HIIT - when done correctly it is a brutal training tool… As such there needs to be a good level of fitness and health in the person attempting it. You need to be able to recover… HIIT can (& often does) leave your central nervous system & immune system compromised for some time, so it’s not an everyday training programme. Understand that if you choose to train this way often then you must realise the relationship between frequency, intensity, & volume… In a nutshell, the more you use HIIT the less intense each session needs to be and the less volume you can do safely! What this means is it’s not really HIIT! Train safe, train smart, leave the ego at the door, & use HIIT briefly for full benefit!   HITT is extremely popular, and for good reason!     Paul Webb Ex Athlete & Strength Coach AAEAAQAAAAAAAAJYAAAAJDAzNjZmNTNiLWY5NzAtNDhlOS1hMTY5LTFiZGZlODQ2MzVkMQ

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