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Tuesday, 24 November 2009

My new wrist wraps

I don't use many training aids as a rule. I don't normally wear a belt when I train (although I will be testing one out in the very near future, so look out for that), nor do I wear elbow or knee wraps, super suits or even lifting straps that often. I prefer to lift without specialist lifting gear...but...Recently I've been suffering a touch of tendinitis, in the right wrist, so my options were rest it with no training at all for that arm, or get some sort of support for the wrist. I went with the wrist support option!
Anyway I looked about for a bit & finally found a pair online at the vegan sports shop, this shop actually does some serious bits of kit. It's run by some lads in Scotland who provide gear for powerlifters, strongmen & weightlifters & unlike many specialist vegan shops it hasn't inflated it's prices just because it deals with a niche market.
After a bit of looking about I went for the 'blood stripe' design (you've got to go with a name like that!) & delivery was super-fast, so I could get back to some upper body training without a break. The wraps are great for my needs. I only use one on my right wrist, but the difference is like night & day in terms of pain when training (especially pushing). Obviously once it recovers I'll be doing some serious rehab & eventually I aim to drop the wraps, but to me they were well worth the few pounds they cost me to keep me in the game while the wrist has time to heal up.

As a rule I keep aids to a minimum, but for contest where they are allowed & for recovery are 2 areas I think training aids like these can come into their own. If you have a nagging issue or 2, or an annoying injury, that can be bypassed with a training aid (while you work towards a recovery), then they can mean the difference between a forced training break & continuing towards your goals, so I'm all for them...when used correctly. I must point out that yes wearing a super suit, knee wraps, wrist wraps & a belt will add to your total, but I don't believe they add the benefits of spending the majority of your time training in the raw. Obviously a powerlifter who competes equips has different needs, but even these should take some time training in a t-shirt & shorts, just to build up that base strength level & not be forced to rely on the support of a suit 365 days a year. Yep, the weight will go down quite a bit without the gear, but you'll build a better base if you spend at least a portion of your off-season training lifting without support (obviously taking into account any injuries & issues - don't be stupid).
So do I recommend wrist wraps...well if you need them yes, for most people probably no, unless you're entering a contest that allows wraps, you don't need wraps (as I said I only wear 1 wrap when training), if you have wrist issues benching or curling then they could help (when the pain subsides consider some wrist rehab with some progressive lever bar work, grippers, wrist curls etc). You're goal shouldn't be to hide a weakness with wraps or any support gear, it should be to work around an injury, so it can heal, then CORRECT that problem & get the area strong enough you don't need the aid anymore. At least that's my take on the whole training aids debate.

Tuesday, 10 November 2009

Test driving some hemp protein

Recently we at vegan bodybuilding hooked up with Caroline from Good Oils who asked us to try out their new Hemp protein powder. Having tried several varieties of hemp protein we agreed, with the proviso that we could say whatever we wanted about it. This wasn't a sponsorship or anything, just us giving you our honest take on the product.
OK first off the nutritional profile- well to be honest it is pretty good, in fact better than the comparable stuff from Canada (the main supplier of hemp protein concentrate in the world at the moment), it has a slightly higher fat content, & hemp is a great supplier of healthy fats & slightly lower in carbs (the overall calories being similar for both products). Plus as it's grown & processed in Devon in the UK then for anyone in Europe it makes more environmental sense to get it shipped from here than first dragged across the pond from Canada, so straight off the bat this new hemp protein scores a couple of points.
Obviously taste is a factor. We tried out the unflavoured. Hemp actually has about the best taste of any protein on the market that I've tried, so I wasn't sure how this product with the extra fat & less carbs would match up? Thankfully it tasted as good as any hemp protein I've tried. It will certainly become part of my regular dietary intake.
I must say I certainly can recommend this product & think that everyone in the UK & Europe should at least consider giving it a go as with the extra healthy fat (used in cell manufacture & numerous other hormonal, immune & other systems) & less carbs would suit those trying to gain or maintain lean muscle mass while keeping fat to a minimum.
Pricing is also a factor & again this is pretty competitively priced, with it's 2.5Kg tubs being lower priced than the bulk suppliers I compared them with.
To find out more about this new hemp protein click here. It certainly gets a big thumbs up from us!