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Echo Supplements Blog

  • Meet The Macronutrients Part 3: Fats

    In this mini series of articles, I will be giving an overview of each of the three macronutrients that form the base of every balanced diet: protein, carbohydrates and fats. Each have an important role to play in maintaining an active and healthy lifestyle so having some good nutrition know-how is the key to hitting your fitness goals.

    We’ve already covered protein in part 1, we've covered carbohydrates in part 2, and last but certainly not least today we're focusing on FAT.

    1. What are fats?

    Fats, also called lipids, are complex molecules with long tails of hydrocarbon chains. The structure of these chains determines whether the fat is saturated or unsaturated and consequently how they are digested and used by our bodies. Some polyunsaturated fatty acids are "essential" , for example Omega 3, and this means that they can't be made by our body and need to come from the foods we eat or by supplementation.

    2. Does eating fat make you fat?

    Absolutely not! Fat provides 9 calories per gram which makes it the most energy dense of all the macronutrients and eating even "small" size servings can still pack a hefty calorie punch. Fats should represent 20-35% of your total daily calories.  However, weight loss and weight gain is based on your overall energy balance i.e. the calories you eat and the calories you burn. Therefore decreasing the amount of fat in your diet is an effective way to decrease your total calorie intake but it is not the only factor to consider.

    3. What are the best sources of fat?

    Saturated fats found in meat, dairy and processed foods should be minimised; The healthiest sources of unsaturated fats come from whole foods like egg yolks, nuts, oily fish and avocado and these can contribute to lower cholesterol and your risk of heart disease. As always, enjoy each in moderation.

    References

    German, J. B. and Dillard, C. J. (2004). 'Saturated fats: what dietary intake?',  The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 80(3), pp. 550-559.

    Gibney, M. J., Lanham-New, S. A., Cassidy, A. and Vorster, H. H. (2009). Introduction to human nutrition. 2nd edn. Wiley-Blackwell.

    Mozaffarian, D., Micha, R. and Wallace S. (2010). 'Effects on coronary heart disease of increasing polyunsaturated fat in place of saturated fat: a systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials', Public Library of Science [Online]. Available at: http://journals.plos.org/plosmedicine/article?id=10.1371/journal.pmed.1000252 (Accessed: 12 June 2017).

    Shepherd, J., Packard, C. J., Grundy, S. M., Yehurun, D., Gotto Jr, A. M. and Taunton, O. D. (1980). 'Effects of saturated and polyunsaturated fat diets on the chemical composition and metabolism f low density lipoproteins in man', The Journal of Lipid Research, 21, pp. 91-99.

  • Meet The Macronutrients Part 2: Carbohydrates

    In this mini series of articles, I will be giving an overview of each of the three macronutrients that form the base of every balanced diet: protein, carbohydrates and fats. Each have an important role to play in maintaining an active and healthy lifestyle so having some good nutrition know-how is the key to hitting your fitness goals.

    We’ve already covered protein in part 1 (which you can read again here) but now it’s time to shift focus to the next macronutrient on the list: Carbohydrates.

    1. What are carbohydrates?

    Let’s start with what they are NOT. Carbohydrates are not the devil and not the fat-gaining-fear-mongering macronutrient that society deems them to be. Let’s break it down: “carbo – hydrate”. Carbohydrate is the umbrella term for all molecules made of just carbon, hydrogen and oxygen, 3 elements on the periodic table, not so terrifying now! These molecules are further classified by their size: small simple sugars like glucose and fructose; longer carbohydrate chains are called oligosaccharides; and the larger, more complex carbohydrates are polysaccharides like glycogen and starch. Each gram of carbohydrates provides 4 calories.

    2. Why do we need carbohydrates?

    Carbohydrates are the primary source of energy for the body, they regulate blood glucose levels and are essential components in the synthesis of other molecules like DNA. The amount of carbohydrates we need in our diet is highly variable but not getting enough has been shown to decrease performance in strength training due to muscle glycogen depletion.

    3. Are all carbohydrates created equal?

    Consuming a variety of carbohydrates – sugars, starches and fibre – is the key to every balanced diet and maintaining good health.  Whilst weight gain and weight loss is first and foremost down to your overall energy balance (i.e. calories in vs calories out) it’s still important to choose quality sources. Whole grains,  fruits, vegetable and pulses provide additional fibre, vitamins and minerals; processed foods are less satiating and are lower in micronutrients. Therefore, these refined foods should represent a smaller portion of our daily diet but do not need to be eliminated completely. Everything in moderation!

    References

    Gibney, M. J., Lanham-New, S. A., Cassidy, A. and Vorster, H. H. (2009). Introduction to human nutrition. 2nd edn. Wiley-Blackwell.

    MacDougall, J. D., Ray, S., Sale, D. G., McCarntney, N., Lee, P. and Garner, S. (1999). ‘Muscle substrate utilization and lactate production’, Canadian Journal of Applied Physiology, 24(3), pp. 2019-215.

    Haff, G. G., Koch, A. J., Potteiger, J. A., Kuphal, K. E., Magee, L. M., Green, S. B. and Jakcic, J. J. (2000). ‘Carbohydrate supplementation attenuates glycogen loss during acute bouts of resistance exercise’, International Journal of Sports Nutrition and Exercise Metabolism, 10(3), pp. 326-339.

    Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health (2017). Carbohydrates. Available at https://www.hsph.harvard.edu/nutritionsource/carbohydrates, (Accessed: 09 June 2017).

     

  • Meet The Macronutrients Part 1: Protein

    In this mini series of articles  I will be giving an overview of each of the three macronutrients that form the base of every balanced diet: protein, carbohydrates and fats. Each have an important role to play in maintaining an active and healthy lifestyle so having some good nutrition know-how is the key to hitting your fitness goals.

    Let's start with the obvious. Protein.

    Chemically speaking, a protein is a chain of amino joined by peptide bonds and folded in to a large, complex molecule but ask any bro-bodybuilder and we can simplify this to just "GAINZ". Indeed, both are scientifically correct but we can do better than that.

    1. Why do we need protein?

    Protein is essential for the repair, maintenance and growth of every single cell in the body, not just muscle. The protein we obtain from our diet is digested, broken down in to its constituent amino acids and recycled to supply the ceaseless cellular factories. As a result, making sure that you get enough protein in your diet each day is imperative to keep things running smoothly and promote anabolism.

    2. How much protein do we need?

    Whilst dietary reference intakes (DRI) recommend a minimum requirement of 0.8 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight (0.8g/kg), scientific studies suggest that more protein is needed to grow and maintain lean muscle mass in strength training athletes. Estimates fall in the range og 1.2-2.2 g/kg but in athletes training in a calorie deficit (i.e. where calorie consumption is less than total calorie expenditure) protein intake may be increased further up to 2.8g/kg or even as high as 3.1g/kg. It is important to remember that requirements differ on an individual basis.

    3. Where can we find protein?

    The main sources of protein in our diet are animal based - meat, poultry, fish, dairy and eggs - but grains, pulses and legumes are good plant based sources too. Choosing a variety of foods will ensure that we obtain sufficient amounts of all the different amino acids and other micronutrients too: beans are high in fibre, dairy products are a good source of calcium and oily fish are high in essential fatty acids and vitamin B12.

    If you're still short on your protein intake for the day perhaps consider using supplements for a helping hand. Whey and casein protein powders are dairy-derived whilst vegan friendly soy, rice and pea protein powders are now more widely available. See our full range in stock here. If protein shakes seem too space-age for you try adding some protein packed snacks like bars, brownies and cookies that you can grab on the go!

    References

    Gibney, M. J., Lanham-New, S. A., Cassidy, A. and Vorster, H. H. (2009). Introduction to human nutrition. 2nd edn. Wiley-Blackwell.

    Helms, E. R., Zinn, C., Rowlands, D. S. and Brown, S. R. (2014). 'A systematic review of dietary protein during calorie restriction in resistance trained lean athletes: a case for higher intakes', International Journal of Sport Nutrition and Exercise Metabolism, 24(2), pp. 127-138.

    Phillips, S. M. (2006).  'Dietary protein for athletes: from requirements to metabolic advantage', Applied Physiology, Nutrition and Metabolism31(6), pp. 647-654.

    Phillips, S. M. and Van Loon, L. J. (2011).  'Dietary protein for athletes: from requirements to optimum adaptation', Journal of Sports Sciences, 29, pp. 29-38.

    Tipton, K. D. and Wolfe, R. R. (2004). 'Protein and amino acids for athletes', Journal of Sports Sciences, 22(1), pp. 65-79.

  • The Echo Pick N Mix is here!

    We have been working on this one for a while - our most popular deal in our Windsor store is the Pick N Mix - we have a big selection of protein bars, cookies, protein drinks and supplement samples and our in store customers can mix and match ANY 12 for £20 - well, we have FINALLY managed to bring this online!

    This means you can buy ANY 12 products marked with the "Pick n Mix" logo on our website and it'll adjust the price down to £20 (this works for 24 for £40 etc as well, so as many as you want per order!) - this is the logo to look out for:

    Or you can just go straight to the Pick N Mix Category (CLICK HERE) and they're obviously all included!

    Here is just ONE of the countless combinations you can make up for only £20!

  • Killing Easter Cravings

    Easter. Perhaps the second most indulgent holiday after Christmas but just as dangerous for your diet! Whether you've stayed away from the sweet treats since making that New Year's resolution in January or have given them up for Lent there's no denying that this is a truly testing time. The supermarket shelves are lined with eggs, bars and bags upon bags of chocolate goodies all screaming your name. The kids are begging for just one more and temptation is all around. Can you really resist?

    Fortunately for you there a few tips and tricks I can offer you to make sure you kill those cravings this Easter and stay on track for that summer body.

    Flexible dieting, or "If It Fits Your Macros" is a science based approach to nutrition many people into fitness are familiar with. Instead of counting calories or labelling foods "clean" and "forbidden", you have an allowance of carbohydrates, fats and protein to spend on whatever foods you wish throughout the day. Of course, you still aim to fill this with as many healthy and nutritious meals as you can but there's always room for a cheeky treat. If you fancy a piece of chocolate or beheading a Malteser Bunny all it takes is a little maths to make it fit in your macros. No restriction and cravings satisfied.

    If fitting the real deal into your diet is too much of a macro sacrifice then try a substitute. Echo stocks your favourite Snickers and Mars bars' protein jacked cousins for a perfect pre or post workout chocolate treat. Or how about killing the cocoa cravings with a Grenade Carb Killa? Lower in carbs but still packed with protein these bars all have a soft nougat base, a smooth caramel layer and rich chocolate coat.

    Still not satisfied? Go cocoa crazy on all of your day to day recipes! Add a tablespoon of unsweetened cocoa powder to your shakes, smoothies, oats and pancakes to switch things up.

  • Wow! What a Day!

    Another HUGE open day over and I'd like to say a massive thanks to Sci-MX Nutrition and Arran Arogundade - the day was a huge success and it was an absolute pleasure to meet such a great athlete and all round nice guy!

    We sampled Sci-MX Nutrition's new PRO2GO range and the PRO2Go Protein Coffee and PRO2GO Cookies in particular all sold out fairly quickly (more soon!).

    Check out some pics from the big day :

     

  • A Huge Thank You!

    Wow! What a day yesterday was - I'd like to say a HUGE thank you first of all to Alex Crockford. If you somehow don't know who he is, then you NEED to check out his website ( www.alexcrockford.com ) for a range of online plans including 12 week gym fit, 12 week home fit (no gym required) and also SheFit - a 12 week plan designed with women in mind.

    Because everyone likes different foods his plans include explanations of WHY to eat certain foods and recipes so you know  HOW to apply them - I'd thoroughly recommend them.

    As you can see in the photos below it was VERY busy in store all day and we can't wait to have Reflex Nutrition back again soon!

     

  • Save The Date! Reflex Nutrition Open Day - Saturday 25th Feb!

    One for the diary! On Saturday 25th February (THIS COMING weekend) we are excited to welcome Team Reflex athlete Alex Crockford to our Windsor store.

    As well as being a top fitness model, Alex has his own #CrockFit brand dedicated to helping people transform their bodies in a sustainable way (check it out: www.alexcrockford.com ) - so as well as Reflex goodies you can get some TRULY expert advice on the day.

    We will be sampling Reflex One Stop Xtreme, Protein Coffee and BCAA Intra Fusion on the day & we will also have ONE-OFF in store promotions that you won't find anywhere else!

     

    Reflex Nutrition Open Day Saturday 25th Feb Reflex Nutrition Open Day Saturday 25th Feb
  • Thank You!

    I'd like to say a HUGE thank you to EVERYONE that came to our first sample day on Saturday with SPECIAL thanks to Mick and Sam from PhD Nutrition, Simone from Five Star Health & Fitness (an AWESOME Windsor Gym)  and Sam Hall (awesome Windsor-based Osteopath if you're in the area I'd HIGHLY recommend him) for helping out and making it such a success!

    Going forward with the exception of the 18th Feb we will be opening from 11am until 3pm on Saturdays from now on, and will aim to have as many in store events as possible - we have Reflex and Sci-MX Nutrition coming in soon, and THIS Saturday (11th Feb) we will be sampling a range of PROTEIN BARS from leading brands so you can come in and try a nice selection!

    Thanks again to everyone that came in-store and if you want a giggle check out the burpee competition video on our Instagram page!

     

     

    PhD Nutrition Sample Day PhD Nutrition Sample Day

  • Time To Get Serious

    It's finally February and the wave of New Year's Resolution-ers has withered away to leave just the few dedicated gym rats in their wake. If you're reading this then you've already made it further than most but now it's time to get serious.

    By now you probably should have a fitness or physique goal in mind that you'd like to make a reality this year - lose fat, gain muscle, tone up, lean down, get fit, get strong - but no matter which direction you're headed in you need to be taking the most efficient route. Whilst no supplement is absolutely essential to making progress there are some which are scientifically proven to keep things moving along nicely and get you on the fast track to fit. Today I'd like to share with you my top products for your very own "Supplements Starter Pack".

    1. Whey Protein Powder A product of cows' milk, whey protein is a complete protein that can be quickly digested and used by the body. In it's powdered form whey protein is an incredibly versatile ingredient which you can drink as a shake, add to oats, or use to bake all sorts of high protein treats. Whey protein is ideal for post workout nutrition to aid muscle recovery and repair but can be consumed throughout the day to meet your increased protein needs as an athlete. There's an extensive range of flavours and blends to try so give them a go and find yourself a new favourite!
    2. Creatine. This one is essential for anyone who follows a strength training or bodybuilding style programme and is one of the most effective supplements available. Creatine is a naturally occurring chemical in the body but when supplemented in an increased dose results in a greater uptake of water and all the nutrients and minerals it carries into the muscle cells. Creatine causes muscles to swell slightly but ensures that nutrient delivery is optimal for increased strength and rapid recovery. Mix the powder in water, with a protein shake or stack with your pre-workout.
    3. CaffeineCaffeine comes in many different forms but however you choose to take it, it is certain to get you going for a great workout. Caffeine has a stimulating effect on the nervous system to lower your perceptions of fatigue and can also increase thermogenesis and lipolysis (aka. get a sweat on and burn more fat). All pre-workout supplements contain caffeine of some kind, some with additional amino acids, creatine or carbohydrates but all serve the same purpose - to get your body buzzing and give your sessions a real kick start.
    4. Omega 3. Often overlooked, Omega 3 supplements will make sure you are getting enough of the essential fatty acids your body needs for optimal growth and repair. Naturally found in oily fish, fatty acids can help to lower cholesterol, increase fat burning potential and stimulate circulation so are ideal for promoting all around health.

    That just about covers the basics, once you've got these supplements in your stack you'll be off and away, taking your next steps on your fitness journey but this time with a little helping hand. Supplements are there to enhance your performance and nutrition so are certainly not something to be skipped!

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