Precision Hydration is a hydration brand that specialises in sweat testing and sports hydration for serious athletes. It was founded in 2011 by Andy Blow, a keen triathlete, Ironman, and Sports Science graduate. He co-founded the brand with heart surgeon Dr Raj Jutley after meeting him at a sporting event and discovering that his poor sporting performance was mostly down to poor hydration and salt loss. Together they developed the concept of Precision Hydration and now have a strong team behind them.
Precision Hydration has provided sports hydration to top class athletes so I was excited to try out their products and see what they had to offer. I took their free online sweat test to see how much sodium I lose when I sweat and they sent me a personalised package based on my results. This is what they do for all their customers as standard which is part of their USP, as Andy and Raj have researched how important it is to consider that different people lose different amounts of sodium when they sweat.
The results of my sweat test told me that I lose quite a lot of sodium when I sweat, which didn't come as a surprise as I've had large salt crystals form on my neck after a race before! The key things to look out for are stinging eyes when you sweat and white marks on your clothes, these are indicators that you lose a lot of sodium when you sweat. PH sent me 3 boxes of salt sachets, one of their PH 1500 and 2 of the PH 1000 packets. The PH 1500 is the highest they send and was for me to preload before a big race or event. I tested out the products during two big events - the Garmin Ride Out which is a 50-mile advanced bike ride and the Kent Coastal Half Marathon which I did two days later. Both of these events were super tough and I sweated a lot so it was a great chance to test out the hydration support.
In the past, I've taken sodium supplements after ultra endurance events, but only the standard Diarolyte and I had to down it while holding my nose and trying not to gag. Precision Hydration has flavoured the supplements nicely so that it's not a horrendous chore trying to down it before the event. When mixed with 500ml of water (or perhaps more if you'd like it a little weaker) this supplement isn't too bad at all.
The PH 1500 sachet is three times stronger than other electrolyte drinks so you know you're getting proper performance benefits and this is more serious than a drink of Lucozade, for example. One of the biggest benefits that Precision Hydration boast is that their supplements can help prevent you getting cramps while you're training and racing. This is obviously a huge benefit, especially when you're trying to perform at your best. It's fast-absorbing and easy on the stomach so you don't feel any negative side effects after taking it.
The PH 1000 is designed to be taken with water while you're racing and training to keep your salt levels topped up and to keep you extra hydrated. If you just keep drinking water while you sweat, you'll end up diluting your blood sodium levels and will end up with severe cramping and terrible performance. It could also make you rather ill, so it's definitely worth keeping your electrolytes topped up while you sweat.
Beyond The Products
Precision Hydration is a really special brand in that they live and breathe their ethos. All the staff behind the products are serious athletes who have undertaken incredible challenges and achieved amazing results. Being co-founded by an Ironman athlete and a heart surgeon means this brand couldn't really go wrong and has a lot of potential to grow and expand into a huge global brand. Using personal experience to create useful products is paramount for success and that's exactly what PH has done. Their tailored advice and hydration solutions are top class and means that their customers really are receiving the best.
Take their free sweat test and see for yourself why Precision Hydration is your best option for sports hydration.
The Hoka Gaviota Women's Running Shoes are a stability trainer from our favourite long distance running trainer specialists. But are they right for you?
Upon first wearing the trainers, they feel very snug and comfortable. Hoka One One is a brand renowned for its springy, cloud-like trainers which are specifically designed for long distance running such as marathons and ultra marathons. The materials used are super soft and the trainer's upper is fairly flexible. The thick sole is very solid and gives good support.
I bought my pair a half size up from my regular shoe size, which is what I often do for running trainers due to the inevitable swelling expected during a run. However, these trainers are very tight and my forefoot was so squashed that the entire front half of my foot went numb. Having scoured through other reviews of these trainers, it appears I am not alone in this and it is a common problem for wearers of this particular shoe. I tried the usual trick of re-lacing the trainers to allow more room for my toes but unfortunately this didn't help. During my second run, after only 2 miles, my entire foot was so numb and in agony I had to physically remove the trainers and walk home barefoot feeling rather sorry for myself. I'm not sure if sizing up again would help in this instance as I'd worry it'd just give more room in the heel and not fix the problem of the tight toe box.
Stability trainers are notorious for not looking great. It always seems that the rule of 'style over substance' is hammered in when trying to buy trainers and you have to choose one or the other. Hoka One One trainers are quite outlandish and quirky at the best of times, which is why I was pleasantly surprised by the appearance of the women's Gaviota trainers. There are two colourways available: Dresden blue/Gold fusion or Paradise pink/neon coral. I bought the Paradise pink/neon coral pair and I actually really like their appearance. They are not too fluorescent and don't stand out too much, and instead have a subtle and pretty appearance.
These trainers are beautifully light, weighing in at 245g. Compare this to the weight of the stability trainers offered by Nike - Nike Zoom 317g and that of Adidas- Vengeful shoes 292g. Hoka is a brand famous and well-loved for the performance of its long distance running trainers, and these are no different. For the couple of miles that I could manage before my feet went numb, I felt like I was treading on air and my stride definitely felt light and springy.
When it comes to stability trainers, you need a pair you can trust not to cause injuries or accentuate your poor posture. Stability trainers are designed for people who over-pronate; that is they suffer from fallen arches and/or flat feet and their feet fall inwards. Stability trainers like the Hoka Gaviota women's running trainers are designed to prevent the feet from rolling inwards and to stabilise your ride, reducing the risk of injury and allowing for a pain-free run.
Sadly for me, I was not able to properly test these trainers on a long run because they sent my feet to sleep and crippled my toes!
I bought my pair of Hoka Gaviota trainers from a local retailer for £114.99. They are currently available direct from the Hoka website for 120 Euros (on sale from 150 Euros) which works out at around £106. In theory, I definitely think this pair of trainers would be worth this price for their unparalleled support and comfort during very long runs. However sadly for me, due to not being able to return them, they will continue to gather dust on my shoe rack and burn a large hole in my wallet.
I really wanted to like these trainers, and I can see a huge amount of potential in them if they fit you properly. I don't have wide feet at all, in fact I'd describe my feet as quite narrow, but I do have fairly long toes. The shoes are very comfortable for a few minutes, but sadly sent my feet to sleep and have caused what I'm hoping is not prolonged damage to my toes. Having read a lot of reviews by others, I can see this is not an isolated incident. Therefore, if you think these trainers are for you, definitely size up by perhaps two sizes. They are an attractive pair of carefully crafted technical trainers, I just wish I could wear them!
These trainers are for you if:
- You regularly run long distances
- You are a marathon or ultra marathon runner
- You over-pronate due to fallen arches and/or flat feet
These trainers are not for you if:
- You are a sprinter or short distance runner
- You have wide feet and/or long toes
- You do not have a big budget
Hotpod yoga is hot yoga with a difference. Each class takes places inside an immersive inflatable pod and the focused atmosphere, tranquil music, and calming aromas all contribute to a steady, concentrated yoga flow. I was invited to try out a class, here's how I got on!
What is Hotpod Yoga?
Already established in over 50 locations around the world, Hotpod Yoga encourages customers to adopt a ‘yoga designed for real life’, leaning away from today’s stereotype of bendy Instagram goddesses and green juice guzzlers. Instead, customers are encouraged to adopt a yoga centred around their life; to stretch out the office hunch, release the cyclist’s hamstring, revive the partied-out festival-goer and realign the childbearing arm - to supercharge real life, whatever that may mean. Classes are held in their signature inflatable studios, otherwise known as pods. Heated to 37 degrees, the pods provide the perfect environment to zip away from the outside world and release the tensions and stiffness accumulated in the living of life.
Nick Higgins and Max Henderson, a former Schoolteacher and Management Consultant, founded Hotpod Yoga in 2013 with the mission to bring yoga to the 99% of the world who don’t currently practice. Having launched with pop-up classes run out of temporary locations, Hotpod Yoga is now Europe’s largest yoga company with permanent locations worldwide including South Africa, Germany, Portugal and the UK. Since their launch, they have opened over 40 locations across 8 different countries, delivering over 50,000 classes to 60,000 customers and sparking interest in titles such as Timeout, Elle, Vogue, Women’s Health and The Independent.
Hotpod Yoga now has 4 booming London locations in Hackney, Brixton, South Wimbeldon and Notting Hill, it’s apparent that there is demand for more hot yoga in more locations across the city so they will be opening two more London locations in January 2019. I attended a class at their Notting Hill location which was taken by an instructor called Drew.
Although I have done yoga before, I have never tried hot yoga and I was a little apprehensive about how I would get on in the heat. As soon as I arrived, I was greeted by Drew and we chatted about the benefits of hot yoga. I found my place in the pod – spaces for mats are marked on the floor which avoids other participants getting in your space which I liked – and started to acclimatise to the heat. I could feel myself lightly sweating as soon as I sat down but it wasn't a claustrophobic heat. In fact, it was reminiscent of being on holiday and as the other attendants of the class started coming in I allowed myself to drift off into a daydream of being on a beach somewhere exotic.
I really enjoyed the feeling of being inside the pod. The calming lighting and music really is very immersive and allows you to completely transport yourself away from the stresses of daily life. I have done yoga before in other settings such as church halls or community centres but you can't really unwind properly as you're so aware of your surroundings. Inside the pod there is no outside noise and there aren't too many other people so you can really relax and find yourself.
Hotpod yoga classes are designed to be suitable for beginners and I certainly found this to be true. The class had a fantastic flow and while being somewhat challenging, it wasn't too straining and I was able to relax into the positions rather than feeling like I had to achieve ridiculous poses just to show off. I'll be completely honest and say that some yoga classes I have done have been pretty dull and I found myself clock-watching a bit. However, this was definitely not the case at Hotpod and I enjoyed every moment of it. The Vinyasa Flow style of yoga flowed perfectly and it wasn't repetitive.
Hotpod yoga differs from Bikram in a number of ways. Bikram yoga follows a number of set poses which are the same at every class, plus the heat is far more intense. This can get pretty repetitive and mean you know what's coming. However, at Hotpod yoga there is more freedom and variation.
I truly enjoyed my experience at Hotpod yoga and I would definitely do it again. From the moment you walk in the pod, you feel relaxed and at ease and there is nothing but good vibes floating around. The small details such as the aromas and music all add to the immersive experience and relaxing atmosphere while the class itself is varied, interesting, beginner-friendly, and very enjoyable.
The facilities are excellent with modern showers, individual changing rooms, and plenty of space to relax and unwind after the class before heading back to work or heading home.
I really love the idea of the pod and I can easily see why this concept has taken off so well. Bikram yoga has enjoyed a lot of popularity as well as notoriety, but I think Hotpod has the potential to take over as the yoga style that everyone is talking about.
As a first timer to the 70.3 triathlon distance (half Ironman distance / middle distance) I wanted to find an event within a reasonable distance from home that was nice and flat (no point in adding any extra challenges into the mix) and with a swim in calm water as most of my open water swimming is in the sea, so a nice fresh water reservoir would be a welcome bonus. This left me with the Grafman Middle Distance triathlon in Grafham, Cambridgeshire. Although it is nowhere near Cambridge, it is a lovely little village.
With a few sprint triathlons under the belt, the middle distance really is a new discipline to train for. My first ever half marathon was just 2 weeks before the event and went without too many problems but swimming this distance and staying calm is definitely a challenge.
The registration process the day before the event was very simple and quick; the entire process only took around 4 minutes. It was nice to be able to walk into the transition area, find my number for the next day, and have a look at the swim start and course.
The swim is a mass swim entry, which means running in and plunging into the water and racing off in a pack. I decided to hang out on the left of the pack and take a wide lap to avoid being pushed and shoved too much. The swim also includes an "Australian Exit" which means after one lap you leave the water, run past the crowds of people and the waiting photographers, only to jump back in and swim another lap.
Leaving the water there is lots of support and people to help you out if needed.There are marshals pointing to the transition area and plenty of support in the bike area. It was a really nice atmosphere; very friendly and with a good buzz about it all.
The cycle section is on roads open to traffic; despite the traffic being very light, the few motorists who attempt to drive the same way as the cyclists it causes a bit of bunching. Being a non-drafting ride it is pretty hard when you can not overtake and there are several people in front. There wasn’t too much of the course like this and after 30k the riders seemed to space out.
The drink/gel stations were pretty efficient; you do not need to stop to be passed water or energy gels. Towards the end of the ride, I was worried I had made a wrong turn because I couldn't see any cyclists, but the marshalls are fantastic and I was directed the correct way and eventually saw a few cyclists in the distance.
Finally, the run. The toughest part of the run for me was the last 5 or 6km when you pass the finish line and run away from the sounds of the tannoy and music. It had been a tough race so far, but I was nearly there. Like the ride, the run is a few laps back and forth with water and gel stations at either end.
The Adidas Originals Tubular Shadow shoes are Adidas' latest addition to their ever-growing fashion trainer collection. The design of these shoes is a fusion of their famed tubular '93 runners and an updated, fresh style. These trainers take a classic and revamp them for modern tastes to compete with their contemporaries. The two-tone knit upper and contemporary wrap-around style is very popular at the moment making them one of the most popular trainers on the market right now.
The thick, rubber sole means that these trainers stay comfortable even when you're on your feet all day. The enclosed 'booty' style that is found on most trainers these days prevents rubbing and chafing and the specialised sock lining stops blisters from forming.
The knit-style upper is flexible and comfortable and makes these shoes feel like you've barely got anything on your feet at all. While not necessarily suitable for long-distance running, these trainers will certainly be your best friend for a tough gym session or more functional workout.
Adidas has clearly tried to specifically bring their classic 1993 runners into the 21st century. They've stayed true to Adidas style as these are fairly similar to the Boost trainers that proved to be very popular after the release of Kanye's Yeezy trainers. The knitted upper follows in the footsteps of something Nike has been doing for a long time in their fly-knit collection and is possibly a fashion that will fall out of favour in a few years. That said, they're a very chic, subtle pair of trainers with not too much going on and definitely very minimalistic branding. This means they'll go with most outfits and will add a stylish twist to any workout. The trainers are available in a range of monochrome colours like black, white, and grey, but the two-tone design means they're eye-catching and stand out from other standard monochrome shoes.
The price of £79.95 is actually very fair, considering a lot of trainers these days can set you back well over £100. These are fashion trainers after all as opposed to functional technical trainers, but it's still a very reasonable cost for such stylish, modern shoes. This price is direct from Adidas, and you'll find them even cheaper from other distributors.
The Adidas Originals Tubular Shadow shoes are a modern twist on a classic and stay true to the Adidas brand. They stay on trend perfectly and would not look out of place in any scenario. The comfort of the trainers is exceptional, even if you have particularly wide feet. They may not be the most technical trainers, but they do the job and look great while they do it.
These fresh, stylish trainers are available at £79.95 on the Adidas website