• Wahoo Balance Scale Review

    Wahoo Balance Scale

    As a woman, it's ingrained in my DNA to instinctively fear just one thing more than spiders, snakes and clowns.

    The scales.

    The body coach calls them ‘the sad step’, I think of them more as a torture device. An evil machine that calls me into the bathroom to make me miserable.

    Until now.

    Before we start, no I haven’t lost a ton of weight recently and now love to jump on the scale to show off. My weight fluctuates and I can’t help but get obsessed with the numbers, but the Wahoo scale has given me a tool to help...

    Set Up

    The Wahoo Balance scale has a very simple set up, which is great, especially for personal trainers, who may use the scale to track their clients - as there’s not that big intimidating amount of time setting up which can be daunting for a nervous client.

    A simple snap of the back to add your batteries and a pop to the app store (metaphorically of course) to download the Wahoo Balance’s very own app ‘Wahoo Wellness’ and you’re ready.

    Adding Users

    A great feature of this scale - particularly for those in the leisure industry, is that the scale can hold the data of up to 20 separate users. This means trainers can add clients to the scale to track the weight. To add a user is simple, using the app you answer generic questions such as gender and date of birth. It is important to note that in order for the scale to recognise each individual, you need to enter a rough weight - this can be in a range of 10 kg of your actual weight, so it’s not hard to guess!

    As a PT, this feature is great because you and your clients can download the app and have your progress graphed. A PT can easily open the app and swap between clients as and when they need to, all from one app and one scale.

    Wahoo Balance Scale Review

    Recording Data

    Recording data using the balance scale is simple. In fact, you don’t actually even need to have your device and the app with you. Simply step on the scale and it will automatically detect your user, the display then shows your user initials to confirm who is present. If it’s not you scroll until you find your user! The scale then records your weight and BMI. This is stored on the scale itself and can be downloaded to the app at a later date.

    Tracking your weight

    This is the part I found most useful for my phobia of weighing myself - the way your weight is displayed. The Wahoo app downloads your weight entries into a graph. Here you can visibly see your weight, rise, or drop.

    Why does that make the scale less frightening? Because it shows you the bigger picture. The graph is broken into the last 7 days, 30 days and 365 days. Now what this means is that you can focus on your weight across a larger amount of time, allowing a bad (or hormonal) week, to be compared easily with the rest of the month. Instead of being disheartened by readings that aren't perfect, you can contextualise that anomaly and look forward to putting it right next week - or at least trying!

    Another good thing - the 7 day reading encourages you to weigh yourself only once every seven days. So for those who become obsessed with scales it tries to create a healthier relationship with weight.

    BMI

    As a personal trainer, I tend to sideline BMI. Why? Because muscle weighs more than fat of course! A person with under 10% body fat and a full on 8 pack can come out with an overweight BMI, believe me, I’ve seen it. However, as a ‘guideline’ it's a useful tool to measure whether your weight is healthy. Your BMI is stored with each time you enter you weight.

    Wahoo Balance Unboxed

    The weigh in:

    • Easy to set up scales with up to 20 users.
    • Simple and valuable data stored on the app and scale.
    • Weight history stored in simple, easy to read graph.
    • Auto - recognition. No fiddling around in the nude pressing buttons to find your user!
    • BMI automatically calculated.

    To ‘weigh things up’ here, I would recommend this scale as a simple, easy to use scale for multiple users that makes progress clear and less daunting.

    If I could ask for anything more, it would be that the scales measured body fat. I’m very excited to see if Wahoo release a scale with this additional feature as this would be a game changer - especially for personal trainers!

     

    Posted by Victoria Gardner
  • Garmin Index Smart Scale vs Omron Body Composition Monitor

    Garmin Index Smart Scale vs Omron Body Composition Monitor Review

    It’s time to take the first step …

    Just one step can now tell you not only your weight but your body fat, visceral fat, BMI, muscle percentage, calories and even bone mass.

    The Garmin Index Smart scale gives you a way to see the results from your wearables as data and review your progress with ease. The scale is designed to give you a full picture of health and connect with Garmin products to motivate your progress further.

    Before there was Garmin, Omron scales were the most popular choice of body measurement scales in the industry, trusted by health professionals and PT’s to monitor weight, BMI, body fat, muscle and visceral fat. How do they compare? Will the Garmin Index Smart scales live up to the widely used Omron scales?

    Omron Body Composition Monitor Scales
    Omron Body Composition Monitor

    Garmin Index Smart Scale
    Garmin Index Smart Scale

    Set Up

    Garmin Index Smart Scale

    The Garmin Smart scale setup requires wifi and bluetooth and connects with either the pc (via an extra usb extension) or to the Connect mobile app. Setting up the scale, according to the instructions, was simple. In reality, it’s only easy when you know how. I set the scale up via a connection with the mobile app.

    Garmin Index Smart Scale

    The scales first need to connect to your wifi connection and then once this is successful pair with your device. This was probably the most difficult thing with the scales, whereas with the Omron you can just get on and go (more about this later) the Garmin scales require some extra tlc. However, once they were eventually successfully paired, any data read by the scales will then be downloaded straight to the app. Simple.

    Tip:If you don’t already have a user profile on the Connect app, you’ll need to set one up, all you need to fill out is your age, gender, height and weight. The weight will change automatically after you weigh yourself, so a rough guess is fine.

    Garmin Index Smart Scale

    Omron Body Composition Monitor

    The Omron setup requires you to enter your gender and height manually on the device and then step on the scales holding the hand held attachment at shoulder level, it’s a simple and easy set up that is done within minutes. You can enter your details as a stored user, but the set up is so simple as a guest, using either method is fast and effective.

    Omron Body Composition Monitor

    Winner: Omron. Connecting to the wifi and then adding users was time consuming and so for the set up the Omron was quicker, although in the long run it will probably take more time.

    Users

    Garmin:

    The Garmin scale can be set up to have up to 16 automatically detected users, however they do all have to be “friends” with the lead user via Garmin Connect. The main user can then use the app to send requests for other users to register on the scale. Every user sets up a unique name of up to four digits, for which I chose Vick, original. I know. Once I step on the scales, within a few seconds my name appears and the scales begin taking my readings. The scales automatically detect each user via their weight, so there could be issues if two users are of a similar build, however you can tap the display to scroll through users until you meet the right details.

    Omron:

    To set up a user profile on the Omron, you repeat the regular process, but instead of entering yourself as guest, you can select a profile number of 1- 4. This is where the Garmin wins hands down, as it can store 4 times the profiles of the Omron and recognises each automatically.

    Winner: Garmin. 16 automatic vs 4 manually entered users, the smart scales quadruple the Omron.

    How they work:

    Garmin:

    Once you’ve made it through the setup, using the Garmin scales couldn’t be easier.  Simply step on the scales and weight (see what I did there). The scales then guide you through your personal statistics, body weight to body fat %, water %, muscle and bone mass. Those are all the functions of the body fat scale in a nutshell.

    These measures are taken via electrical impulses. The bodyfat on scales like these are measured by sending an electrical pulse up one leg and down the other. This is where some will argue that scales readings are inaccurate as your bodyfat will differ before and after a pedicure, with the condition of your feet affecting the readings.

    Omron:

    The Omron uses the Bioelectrical Impedance (BI) method and body fat is shown as a percentage of body weight. The scale also measures your BMI, muscle, visceral fat and resting metabolism. Using the Omron is simple and by holding the unit in front of you within a few moments you will have a reading. The screen flashes your results quite quickly, so you may have to watch the loop a few times before you can record all the details.

    Winner: Garmin. It’s almost impossible to get the weigh in wrong with the Garmin scales, all you need to do is stand on them and Garmin does the rest. These details are automatically loaded to your app as well so there is no need to rush for a pen and paper. The Omron reading is fast, but once you’re off the scales, it’s down to you remember the units and take note.

    Garmin Connect and Garmin Index Scales

    The Garmin Connect scales claim to send your data directly to the app, which it does, however the findings are not obvious to find. Starting on the main page, rather than featuring your statistics on the “snapshots” page the data is stored in the weight section. This can be found via the following path Garmin Connect > More > Health Stats > Weight and then scrolling down to the bottom of the page. The app will give you an overview of your weight from the last 7 days, 4 weeks and 12 months.

    When combined with a fitness tracker such as the Garmin Vivomove (link) this provides a complete picture of the user's health, enabling them to track their activity and progress to find the perfect fitness regime.

    Results

    Both scales boast accurate results, however the variation between the two scales was drastic. The weight remained consistent to within .1 of a kilogram between both scales, the body fat % was 10% greater on the Omron than the Garmin Smart scales.

    Whilst there are differences between the scales readings, deciphering which of the two is actually most accurate isn’t necessarily important. Whilst bodyfat scales can give a good indication of body fat percentages, the only real accurate way to measure body composition is through hydrostatic weighing.

    The other factor to consider with both these bodyfat scales is fat distribution. Why is this important? As for example those who carry more fat around the abdomen (apple shapes) are at risk of to cardiovascular disease, diabetes and some cancers, while fat in the thighs and hips (pear-shapes) is not a health problem and may even be protective.

    Price

    Omron scales retail with a starting price of around £50 compared with the Garmin Smart scale which retails at around £120.

    Garmin Index Smart Scale vs Omron Body Composition Monitor


    Measure

    Garmin Index Smart Scale

    Omron Karada

    Weight

    Body fat

    Muscle mass

    Body water

    Bone mass

    BMI

    Visceral fat

    Resting Metabolism


    Verdict:

    Winner: Garmin.

    After the initial set up confusion, the Garmin was easy to use, saves all your data automatically and has the most user options available. For me, the scale wins because you can open your data as part of the app and view your stats alongside the feedback from the rest of your days activity, making it easy to associate weight loss/ gain and activity as well as your calorie intake. Using the Connect app has every area covered from calories burned to sleep, food intake and now weight. Combining a Garmin watch such as the Vivomove with the smart scale creates the perfect assistant to achieving your goals, you’re given all the metrics, the rest is down to you.

     

    Posted by Victoria Gardner
  • Real Handful Healthy Snacks Review

    Real Handful Healthy Snacks Review

    Real Handful was founded in 2016 by husband and wife team Joe and Carly Taylor. Ex-Ironman triathlete Joe drew from his experience in senior roles at Kellogg's and Heinz as well as market research to bring a product to market that gave consumers the option of a delicious, healthy grab-and-go snack that was naturally nutritious but more exciting than a sad, bruised banana at the counter of a coffee shop. I was lucky enough to be sent a selection of their products to try and give my verdict.

    Espresso So & So

    Real Handful's original product idea took its inspiration from trail mix which Joe first discovered on a trek in the Grand Canyon. Classic trail mix is originally American and is a mix of nuts, fruit, and chocolate; the perfect portable snack to take on hikes or other outdoor pursuits. This means it lends itself perfectly to Joe and Carly's intention of producing a healthy grab-and-go snack.

    The Espresso So & So snack takes this idea to the next level by introducing coffee crème sultanas, almonds, dark chocolate coated coffee beans and jumbo peanuts into the mix. These luxury ingredients are so different from anything I'd tried before so I wasn't really sure what to expect!

    As soon as you open the packet, the strong aroma of coffee hits you square in the face - whether this is good or bad is down to your personal preferences but I loved it. I loved the flavour of the coffee-infused natural ingredients as it puts a really interesting and original twist on a classic and potentially boring snack. If you're a coffee lover, this would be a dream for you and even if you're not, it's still delicious.

    The handy 35g bag stops you from over-indulging with only 174 calories per pack and a punchy 5.1g of protein. This is the ideal snack to have when mid-morning hunger strikes at work or during an endurance event when you need a hit of energy. Plus, it's high in fibre and vegan friendly so everyone's a winner!

    Espresso So & So Real Handful Healthy Snack Product Review Sundried

    Strawberry Stomp

    As with the Espresso So & So, I wasn't sure what to expect from the Strawberry Stomp snack. Before I read the details, I assumed it might contain freeze-dried strawberries which would be great as I love those. The pack does contain dried strawberries but to my surprise the strawberry flavour also comes from juice-infused jumbo raisins which seems like a very original idea and really exciting. 

    As with the Espresso So & So flavour, this snack is packed with delicious nuts and seeds which pack a punch of protein and really curb any hunger pangs you may be having while still being low in calories. This is a great natural snack that would be perfect for kids and adults alike.

    Strawberry Stomp nuts seeds fruit healthy snacks review

    Blackcurrant Blast

    This flavour was one of my favourites as the blackcurrants add a delightful tang while the nuts ground you. I reached for this packet when I was feeling peckish at my desk and it was the perfect solution to mid-morning hunger. You don't want something heavy before lunch but it's satisfying enough to tide you over until it's time for a proper meal.

    nuts seeds fruit healthy snack grab and go

    Mint Choc Chipper

    If you've read any of my previous snack reviews, you'll know that I'm a big fan of mint chocolate chip and so I was very excited to try Real Handful's jovially named Mint Choc Chipper snack. As with the Espresso So & So's coffee aroma, the refreshing mint hits you very strongly which is a big tick for me. In line with Joe's original idea, the chocolate adds a real luxury and treat to this snack and makes it truly delicious.

    This would be a great snack for kids to take to school in their lunchbox as the chocolate will entice them in while the natural ingredients and handy pack size will help them stay healthy. 

    mint choc chipper healthy snack ideas lunch kids lunchboxes recipes

    Verdict

    I really love the simplicity of these snacks: you can see exactly what you're getting and the ingredients are so natural and whole that you know there are no nasty surprises. I love the design branding on the packets and the bright colours and handy pack sizes mean these would be absolutely perfect for kids. Whether for fuelling before and after exercise or just to satisfy a sweet tooth, these snacks are great. It's a 10 from me!

    Posted by Alexandra Parren
  • Oppo Healthy Ice Cream Review

    Oppo Ice Cream Sundried Review

    The Oppo brothers have an incredible story behind their brand and their ethos of providing affordable, healthy food to the nation is really inspiring. I was really excited to try their healthy ice cream as I had heard wonderful things about it!

    Oppo was developed in 2011 by brothers Charlie and Harry after an adventure in exotic Brazil. They set themselves the challenge of breaking the world record for travelling by kite on land by using kite buggies to travel 1000km from the airport to a popular kitesurfing destination. During this challenge, the brothers lost a lot of their body weight through malnutrition but they stayed alive by eating the foods that grow naturally on Brazil's coastline, such as coconuts and wild super-fruits. This incredible experience inspired the brothers to create their own food using these ingredients and to make it indulgent and healthy all at the same time. 

    Their hard work and determination paid off, and they soon found that their product - low sugar healthy ice cream - was in high demand! They are now stocked in over 1,000 stores nationwide and they have even had investment from tennis champion Andy Murray! Oppo comes in three delicious flavours - Madagascan Vanilla, Salted Caramel, and Mint Choc Swirl.

    Oppo Healthy Ice Cream Nutritional Value Information

    Madagascan Vanilla

    Each oppo ice cream flavour is made from fresh milk, cold pressed virgin coconut oil, and stevia leaf for sweetness. Stevia is a healthy, plant-based sweetener which is becoming a popular replacement for sugar. Stevia has several scientifically proven health benefits, such as lowering blood pressure and stabilising blood sugar levels. The Madagascan vanilla flavour includes a hint of the African baobab fruit which also has many health benefits! Not only does it add a subtle tang to the flavour, it is also a rich source of vitamin C which boosts the immune system and contributes to better energy levels. This simple flavour is the perfect accompaniment to a raw cacao brownie.

    Salted Caramel

    Salted caramel is enjoying huge popularity in the food industry at the moment, so it's great that Oppo has developed a healthy option for this great flavour! 100ml (2 scoops) of this flavour contains only 75 calories which is fantastically low for an ice cream, along with 3.9g of fat, 6.6g of carbs, and 3g of protein, meaning the macro split is fantastic. The secret to Oppo's Salted Caramel flavour is the Peruvian lucuma fruit, which is rich in nutrients such as beta-carotene, iron, zinc, vitamin B3, calcium, and protein. It has a maple-like taste which makes it perfect for this flavour combination in ice cream.

    Mint Choc Swirl

    The mint choc swirl was definitely my favourite flavour! It's always been my favourite ice cream flavour, and now that there's a healthy version it's ideal! The secret ingredient in this flavour is spirulina, which is big in the fitness world as it provides such a high percentage of protein per 100g. Oppo source their spirulina from the South China Sea continuing the theme of interesting and exotic ingredients.

    Verdict

    I am incredibly impressed by Oppo's history and ethos. They are hugely concerned with the obesity crisis in the UK and believe it is partly down to low sugar foods being too expensive, which is why they are petitioning the government to lower the VAT on healthy foods from the usual 20% to only 5%. I am personally in total agreement with this, and I love their selfless ethos. The boys have developed three fantastic ice cream flavours which can confidently boast being not only healthy but delicious too! They make great accompaniments for other tasty desserts, or just to be eaten on their own. The only thing I would say is that the flavours are fairly plain (I like my ice cream to have different ingredient textures and various sauces and crunchy bits running throughout). It's a 9 from me!

    Posted by Alexandra Parren
  • Grenade Carb Killa Review

    Grenade Carb Killa Protein Bars Review Sundried

    Grenade Carb Killa bars are a low carb, high protein bar perfect for post-workout or just as a healthy snack. Sundried review whether they're worth the money.

    Grenade Carb Killa Nutritional Information

    Nutrition 100g    60g bar
    Energy (kj) 1493 896
    Energy (kcal) 357 214
    Fat 13.2g 7.9g
    Of which saturates 6.9g 4.2g
    Carbohydrate 22.5g 13.5g
    Of which sugars 2.4g 1.4g
    Of which polyols 17.7g 10.6g
    Fibre 11.1g 6.7g
    Protein 38.7g 23.2g
    Salt 0.75g 0.45g

     

    Nutrition

    Grenade Carb Killa bars are the protein bar that seem too good to be true. There are a lot of protein bars out there and any gym-goer will tell you that the market is saturated with bad-tasting, sugar-filled bars which people will eat thinking they're healthy. A lot of protein bars are overly dense or difficult to chew and taste awful, either that or they taste great but are full of sugar and don't actually have a decent protein content.

    The main factor that sets Grenade's iconic protein bars aside from the rest is their low carb content compared to their high protein content. Compare the Carb Killa bars to their competitor USN's Protein Delite bar which contains 9g of sugar, much higher than Grenade's 1.4g 

    While the sugar content of the Grenade Carb Killa bar is indeed surprisingly low, that's not to say it's not still full of chemicals and sweeteners. These bars contain polydextrose, xylitol, and maltitol among others. If you follow the rule that you only eat foods with ingredients you can pronounce, these aren't the bars for you!

    Grenade Carb Killa Bars Protein Review

    Taste

    In my opinion, Grenade Carb Killa bars are the best tasting protein bars on the market. They come in 11 different flavours, including cookies and cream, white chocolate mocha, fudge brownie, and chocolate chip cookie dough. The bars all contain tasty little soy crispies which add a great texture to the bar and they have the same density and texture as a normal chocolate bar, rather than being so chewy you hurt your jaw. The addition of a caramel layer increases the indulgence of these bars and they really do taste delicious. If you didn't know it was a 'healthy' protein bar, you would think it was any other snack bar. They're devilishly moreish but the 60g bars are plenty big enough to leave you feeling satisfied once you've finished.

    Grenade Carb Killa Bars Review Sundried

    Price

    The only thing that lets these bars down is the astronomical price. At £2.49 each or £29.98 for 12, these bars are definitely not cheap and you would need to ration them out throughout the month! This high price stops them from being a 'grab-and-go' snack and makes them more of a treat or special snack. That said, the price is not that much higher than their competitors, with USN's protein delite bars coming in at £2.27 each. These bars are larger, however, at 75g compared to the Carb Killa's 60g. All protein bars are quite high in price, following the trend that you seem to have to pay for healthiness these days. If you can afford to splash out, these bars are definitely worth the price, but I'd rather just eat a healthy meal. 

    Posted by Alexandra Parren