Train to Gain: A Guide to Progressive Overload

When it comes to strength training, how to do you ensure your progress? Athlete Tom Wright talks us through Progressive Overload – what it means and how to use it.

If you were to ask any coach worth their salt what the most important factor in strength training then they would likely say progressive overload. You may never even have heard of it, but you’ve almost definitely seen it and even used it in practice before. So what exactly IS progressive overload?

Simply put!

Progressive overload is the increase in stimulus on your muscles (and connective tissues) over time. If your goal is to become bigger, stronger or faster then your training volume must increase over your career. Muscle adapts to the stimulus put on it, so if you want it to grow you must create a hypertrophic stimulus by increasing the stimulus on a weekly/monthly/yearly basis. To add strength you need to increase the weight lifted over time. Thankfully the two tend to go hand in hand and in most cases increasing one will allow you to increase the other.

However, when applying the principle of progressive overload it’s important to remember that more isn’t always better. If lifting more weight comes at the cost of your form then scale it back and complete all your reps with good form. This is still progress. Simply performing movements that you couldn’t before is improving your neurological signalling and motor unit recruitment.

How to Use Progressive Overload

If you’re a novice starting out in your weightlifting career then increases in size and strength will come quickly. The first 6 months of lifting will allow you the most gains as your body adapts to completely new movements and stresses. That being said proper programming can set you on the right path to moving up the ranks quickly.

Try to add ~5% to your lifts week on week for 3 weeks for the same sets and reps, and on the 4th week (or when you can’t manage full reps at the increased weight) drop your weights by 10% to allow you to progress the following session. This is known as a deload.

Tom Wright - Progressive OverloadAs you progress to intermediate level things become a little more complex. Increases in strength and hypertrophy won’t come as easily and programming will need to be more thoroughly planned out. Increases in strength can be achieved using programming such as ‘wave loading’ in which you increase the weight by no more than 5% but decrease the reps each session. Eg.

  • Bench press week 1: 3×8 at 80kg
  • Bench press week 2: 3×7 at 84kg
  • Bench press week 3: 3×6 at 88kg
  • Bench Press week 4: 3×6 at 80kg (deload week)

You can see that as the reps decrease we increase the weight by 5% of original weight. On week 4 we program in a deload week by dropping back to original weight but keeping the same reps. On week 5 we would go back to 3×8 but at the new weight of 84kg and the process is repeated.

Of course this won’t always go as smoothly as above, but by following a process like this we will see progression over time.

Anything else?

Another factor to consider is your assistance or isolation lifts. These are the exercises performed after your main compound movements. For bench press this may be the French Press aka ‘skullcrusher’. To increase strength and muscle mass you want to increase the reps each week but using the same weight. So on week one you perform 3 set of 12 with 20kg, week two you try for 14 reps, and week 3 you aim for 3×15, followed by a reload of 2×12 at 20kg.

Advanced lifters will only see marginal gains for a large amount of effort. Small increases in strength over months and size may not change at all once you are at your genetic potential. Programming becomes essential at this stage and periodisation is integral to progression.

Even with physique the changes may be so minimal that measurements don’t reveal true progress so it is better to track weight lifted and volume. This is especially true for athletes in an ‘off-season’ as added body fat will make it incredibly difficult to track lean muscle gain. Track strength with 1RM or AMRAPs and look at total volume of each session and for the week. A monthly or 3 monthly increase in these will indicate progressive overload.

Start seeing greater results in the gym by using the information above to better plan your sessions, and training blocks. Train smarter, not just harder.

What is Flexible Dieting?

Reflex Nutrition athlete Gauri Chopra explains why taking a flexible dieting approach to your diet could mean more success in the long run.

These days our social media platforms are saturated with all sorts of diet protocols – ‘clean eating’, ‘low carb’, ‘sugar free’, ‘ketogenic’, ‘paleo’ just to name a few. Whilst each have their own place in the world, they all have one thing in common. They all involve a certain level of restriction. Whether it’s cutting out entire food groups or limiting one to specific foods. For some, having a new dieting style like those mentioned works, at least for a little while anyway… Lets face it, we all know the ‘New Year New Me’ diet to eat 100% healthy food for the entire year will eventually begin to wear off as the monotony of chicken sweet potato and broccoli sets in!

If like me, you are not one of those who can see themselves cutting what most people call ‘bad’ a.k.a ‘junk’ foods out such as chocolate, pizza, ice cream, or passing on a dinner out with friends or family because you’re worried it may throw your hard work down the drain, then you may want to consider the ‘Flexible Dieting’ approach. It’s one that I have adopted for a good few years after experimenting with almost every dieting protocol under the sun, and now advise to all of my clients.

What is Flexible Dieting?

Flexible dieting is a nutritional concept that doesn’t or shouldn’t feel like you’re ‘on a diet’. It involves monitoring your macronutrient (protein, carbohydrate, fat) intake in order to reach a body composition goal.

Of course it’s not as black and white in the sense that you can expect to lose weight or build muscle by filling your macronutrient (macros) with chocolate, ice-cream, and protein shakes. You can eat them, however for it to work you need to get the basics of being in a calorie surplus to gain muscle, or calorie deficit to lose body fat first. From a health and longevity perspective, healing yourself from the inside out by ensuring essential micronutrients such as adequate fiber intake for gut health, and vitamins for proper immune function for your body to function optimally should also be considered.

Why does flexible dieting work?

  • No food is considered good or bad. Every food has its place whether it be for health, performance, or sanity!
  • It allows you to fit food around your lifestyle as opposed to fitting your lifestyle around food. Forget having to midnight meal prep numerous perfectly portioned meals after feeling brain dead from work at an ungodly hour. With this way of eating, the stress of feeling like you’ve completely messed up your diet from not sticking to a rigid ‘five meals a day’ meal plan becomes non-existent.
  • The more you restrict yourself from the foods you love, the more you’ll think about them, only to eventually cave in and end up losing control over your rigid structure. With this way of eating, you can incorporate that tea time biscuit you love, or that burger you’ve been craving without the guilt, because ‘it fits your macros’!
  • It’s a lifestyle approach as opposed to a ‘quick fix’. Once you get used to balancing your nutritional needs with an active lifestyle, eventually you wont have to count macros. It’ll just be a case of being mindful of your protein, carbohydrate, and fat portions in relation to your goal.

My top tips

  • Start simple. Build good habits like reading the ingredients and nutritional breakdown of packaged food, drinking 2L of water a day, or getting at least three portions of vegetables. Diving straight into counting macros can be quite overwhelming if you’re a complete newbie!
  • Aim to get 80-90% of your food intake from wholefoods to maintain a good level of health.
  • Learn to be smart with portion sizes. If you know you’re going out for a big meal in the evening, eat lighter throughout the day and save the calories so you can enjoy feasting with no regrets!
  • Download an app where you can track the macronutrients of foods you eat throughout the day. It’s a lifesaver when you’re out and about with no meals prepped and don’t want to detriment your goals with a poor diet!
  • When you know you’ll be dining out, look up the menu before hand and put what you’ll be having into your food diary, then structure the rest of your day’s diet around it!

To conclude, if you find yourself struggling to stick to a ‘diet’, or feel that you’re having to fit your lifestyle around food, this non-restrictive, balanced and flexible dieting approach is definitely one I would recommend you look into! It’s a lifestyle, not a fad!

Guilt-Free Chocolate Fudge Brownie Recipe

Reflex Nutrition athlete and talented protein chef, Gauri Chopra, shares her ultimate clean cheat recipe – indulgent chocolate fudge brownies with peanut butter frosting! 

I think I am yet to meet an individual who doesn’t like chocolate or peanut butter – and rightly so, I’d say! If you haven’t tried the two together yet, you can only imagine that combination of the two definitely becomes a force to be reckoned with, ESPECIALLY in the form of a Brownie!

Not only do people tend to associate brownies with being a delicious treat, and a mouthwatering tastebud tingler, but they also get the bad rep of being an unhealthy guilt-food, and a bit of a waistline teaser! What if I told you, you could have all the flavour and fugdy texture of a naughty traditional brownie, minus the guilt? One that could offer a whole host of nutritious benefits to go with it? You wouldn’t believe me, right? Well let me prove you wrong!
As stated by my personal ‘taste-testers’, these healthy Chocolate Fudge Brownies are out of this world, and taste just as good (if not better) than your traditional, refined sugar-loaded ones! Made from natural ingredients, they are also flour-less, gluten-free, refined sugar-free and free from any artificial ingredients or flavourings.

Since these brownies are high in protein, healthy fats and fibre, they work in perfect harmony to keep you fuller for longer as well as keeping blood sugar levels stable to ensure you get a good prolonged energy supply (unlike your traditional brownie which would typically spike your blood sugar levels and eventually cause you to crash!)

Another gold star for these beauties in that they take virtually minutes to prep and make… I think the hardest part was opening the cans and jars!

Ingredients for the Brownie:

  • 1 can Black Beans drained and rinsed (200g)
  • 2 large free range eggs
  • 60g pure maple syrup
  • 35g extra virgin organic coconut oil or grass fed butter -(I use coconut oil because I love the slight hint of coconut it gives to the brownies but feel free to use grass fed butter as an alternative!)
  • 15g Cacao (or Cocoa) powder
  • 1 tsp natural vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp baking powder (use gluten free if intolerant)
  • Pinch of Himalayan pink salt (or normal sea salt will do)

Ingredients for the Protein Peanut butter ‘Frosting’:

  • 2 tbsp natural crunchy peanut butter (smooth is also fine, however I like the added texture from the crunchy!)
  • 50ml unsweetened almond milk
  • 1 scoop Reflex Nutrition Chocolate Peanut Instant whey Pro
  • Optional: Sprinkling of Cacao Nibs for texture and extra chocolatyness!

Cooking steps:

  1. Pre-heat fan oven to 180 degrees celsius.
  2. Whizz all ingredients for the brownie in a food processor until is has reached a smooth consistency (you may need to scrape down the sides/blender once in between).
  3. Pour the batter into a 6″6″ baking tin lined with a little coconut oil on some grease proof paper and gently tap/shake to ensure the batter is spread evenly
  4. Before placing it in the oven, make your ‘frosting’ by heating the almond milk and peanut butter together in the microwave on a low heat for 60-90 seconds. Once this has been stirred and combined, mix in your whey.
  5. Place the brownie tin in the middle shelf of the oven for approximately 10 minutes (or until the top looks like it is just about to start cooking through). Then take it out and smear on your protein peanut butter frosting and cacao nibs before placing it back in the oven to cook for a further 8-10 minutes.
  6. You should know that the brownie is cooked when it springs back a little when touched.
  7. Holding the grease-proof paper, remove the brownie from the tin, then very carefully peel down the sides of the paper. Cut the brownie into 12 pieces then use a spatula to carefully transfer the pieces onto a plate or cooling wrack before devouring… If you can wait that long!

From Strongman to Lean Machine: My Transformation Story

Reflex Nutrition athlete, Emil Hodzovic, shares his unique transformation story and reminds us that whatever your goal – enjoy the process.

A lot of people ask me about my transformation. It’s not a traditional ’12 week weight loss’ or anything like that, rather, it is my continued evolution and journey through the fitness world.

It all started when I first discovered the gym at around 16. I already played a lot of sport and I was quite slim and athletic. Like a lot of teenagers, I wanted to bulk up. I started training, and alongside rugby, I steadily gained some muscle. This was slow and I was further distracted by university, alcohol and exams but I was hooked.

After a few injuries, I was forced to quit rugby but I kept training while moving between sports. I dabbled in MMA wining my only amateur fight and I also did some kettlebell training and general functional fitness. Then, after meeting the legendary British strongman Mark Felix at BodyPower in 2010, I decided to compete as a strength athlete and this is where the real bulking started.

As with everything I do, I took it very seriously and meticulously tracked my macros up to 6000kcal a day for months on end. This packed on the size and I grew to a peak body weight of 142kg. I was pretty good at strongman and won a few competitions but ultimately when I started work as a junior doctor in 2011 I couldn’t maintain the rigorous eating and training and had to give it up.

I kept lifting weights despite not competing and I lost a little bit of weight through apathy and a busy schedule at work. I was in a pretty bad state in my mid 20’s with a BMI of over 40 and I getting out of breath walking up stairs. Thoughts of going back to strongman had made me subconsciously try to stay heavy but it dawned on me that it probably wasn’t optimal for my health so I made the decision to drop some fat. My first real ‘cut’ was a shambles but it worked. I went from 132kg to 110kg but lost a lot of muscle in the process due to lack of knowledge. Although I never stopped, my training had again taken a back seat to work as a doctor and my weight remained pretty steady for a while. I had no aim and no sport to focus my attention; I just carried on with my life.

In 2014 I did my second cut, more out of curiosity, to see what I could achieve and again lost a lot of muscle but I got much more shredded this time and my diet was much more moderate. Overall I was progressing and I was slowly discovering the bodybuilding way of training.

At the beginning of 2015 I met Shaun Stafford at an event and that was the impulse I needed. At that point I decided to compete as a physique athlete (can you sense a pattern emerging?) and got to work planning my next diet. In May of that year I stepped on stage with the WBFF as a muscle model and although I didn’t win, I’ve been desperate to get back on stage since.

My journey has been full of ups and downs and as you can see it’s far from a single rapid fat loss ‘transformation’ like social media can so often portray. There were many false starts, steps backwards and periods where other things were more important. This is real life and the most important thing is that you enjoy the process, as I did and still do.

Athlete Favourites: 3D Protein

In this blog post, Reflex Nutrition athlete and A&E doctor – Emil Hodzvic – tells us why 3D Protein is his ultimate choice of protein supplement and how it fits in with his hectic lifestyle.

 

My favourite supplement at the moment has to be Reflex Nutrition’s 3D Protein. The concept is simple – three different sources of top quality protein in one blend, each with a unique and complimentary digestion and absorption time. What this means in everyday terms is you’ve got three different ‘speeds’ of protein in a single shake from rapid whey protein, to intermediate egg white protein and then much more gradually absorbing micellar casein.

 

When do I use it?

Most people who train use whey protein powder regularly and rightly so as it’s a complete, rapidly absorbing protein. It’s perfect for after the gym when you need that immediate protein hit to optimise the hard work you’ve done during your session. What about at other times though?

In an ideal world I aim to have decent protein-containing meals at regular intervals throughout the day. This protein hit is especially important first thing in the morning and last thing before I go to bed though this realistically rarely goes to plan. Essentially 3D Protein is absolutely ideal for periods either when you haven’t eaten for a while or when you won’t be eating for a while whether it’s because you’re working, sleeping or travelling for example. As an Accident and Emergency doctor, fitness professional and physique athlete I’m extremely busy and my schedule is all over the place. For this reason I don’t know when I’m going to be training or eating day to day and on top of this my actual shifts can be totally unpredictable (as you can imagine in a busy A+E).

 

Early mornings

Often when I’m waking up early to get things done (4am, for example) I’m simply not hungry. However, just because I don’t want a full breakfast, it doesn’t mean I want to miss the chance to trigger muscle protein synthesis (MPS). You only get 3 or 4 opportunities in a day to spike this vital muscle building process so it’s a folly to neglect it. For this, 3D Protein is perfect. It provides the whey for the rapidly absorbing, high quality protein to initiate MPS, then it has the slower blend for a sustained release of protein to keep me full for as long as I need before I get round to my next meal. This means once I get my head down in my pile of work or get on the road to travel somewhere, I don’t even need to think about food for the next 4-6 hours. This would be sacrilege, usually as a bodybuilder, to go this long without eating but it’s OK as I’m confident I’ve got a steady stream of amino acids trickling in.

 

Post workout but before bed

I also like to use 3D Protein if my workout is delayed and I end up training late. It is the perfect post workout for me. Once I’m finished, I aim to have a shake immediately afterwards. If it’s my usual Instant Whey Pro shake, then that’s perfect for the post workout period, but I’m aware that I need to try and eat again before I go to bed to keep the protein going in all night. However after these late sessions I usually just want to shower and go to bed. On top of this, straight after an intense workout I don’t tend to get hungry for a good few hours and realistically I’d rather not stay up just to wait to eat again. For these reasons, 3D Protein covers me with both the rapid release whey protein perfect for post workout to ensure I get the most benefit from my training, but it also has the slower release egg white protein and micellar casein for overnight while I sleep.

 

Shift work

Finally, during my long night shifts I can never guarantee when (or if!) I’ll have a chance for a break. This means I need a quick snack that will last. I simply put 2 scoops of 3D Protein ready in a shaker for as soon I get a moment to add water and get it down. It fits the bill perfectly and even if I don’t manage to have a proper break for the whole 10 or 12 hour shift I can still pop out for a few seconds to get my shake in before jumping straight back in.

 

For me, 3D Protein is absolutely invaluable because of it’s unique time release formula and the requirements of my busy, non-stop lifestyle. There are other ways to get my protein in but none as neat and effective as this one.

How to Set Yourself Up for Success

We’ve all heard the phrase ‘fail to prepare, prepare to fail’, when talking about upcoming events, but how true is this really?

Everyone has dreams but very few know how to turn them into a reality. Whether your goal is fitness related or not, the process is always the same. I’m going to tell you how to set yourself up for success with easy manageable steps and milestones along the way.

Now a huge goal can seem very daunting even when it’s over a long time period. But imagine a set of dominoes that start out very small and get bigger with each one until the last one is the same height as you. If we knock down the first small domino it will hit the slightly larger one, knocking it into its superior and so on. Eventually the last domino will fall, all originating from that tiny flick of a finger. This is how we are going to approach your goal.

Let’s look at that big domino. The end goal. First thing’s first – be very clear about what you’re setting out to achieve. If your goal is to lose 10kg then let’s set a deadline for that and make it realistic, so 10kg over 4 months would be manageable with some consistent hard work.

It’s very important to know why you want to achieve this goal. Is it for you? For your family? Think about what achieving this really means to you. A strong ‘why’ will make it easier to stay motivated.

Now we need to work backwards. If we have 16 weeks then we can set markers of success. Every 4 weeks we want to see a 2.5kg weight loss to show that we are on our way to our target weight. Plan it out on a piece of paper or in a diary and write down your target weight to aim for. These markers are milestone dominoes in our line.

During these 4 week blocks we have a lot of work to do so we are going to split them into weekly chunks. Each week you are going to have actions you need to perform. We will set small actionable tasks to do each week, and by completing these weekly we will hit our milestones. If we consistently do this then there is no reason the dominoes won’t keep on falling.

So each week set yourself some tasks and daily habits.

For example:

Weekly targets – 4 gym workouts, stick to my diet, no alcohol

Daily tasks – prepare all my meals, go to the gym, no drinks after work

If we perform all of our daily tasks then our weekly targets become much easier to do. When we weigh in at the end of the week our weight should go down and then every 4 weeks we can see if our 2.5kg domino topples. If it doesn’t then we need to go back to our weekly goals and daily tasks and see how we can make them work better for us.

One of the pitfalls of goal setting is willpower. But thankfully there are a few hacks for willpower that we can use to our advantage…

Think of willpower as a cup full of water. At the beginning of the day our cup is full after a night of sleep. Throughout the day we sip from the cup until at the end of the day it’s almost all gone. This is how willpower works. Whatever your worst task is, try to do it in the morning. If you find it hard to work out when you’ve finished your day job then go in the morning or at lunchtime. This is when your cup is full and you’re more likely to get it done. Sleep refills your cup so get a good night’s rest and watch your progress increase.

So to recap:

  • Set yourself a clear, measurable goal that is achievable and matters to YOU
  • Give yourself a time frame to work to and work backwards from there
  • Set milestones and aim towards those
  • Plan out your week with weekly tasks, targets and checklists
  • Perform your daily actions – small things you can do daily that amount to big success

Goal setting can be a very powerful tool if used correctly so make sure you give yourself the best chance for success.

Your Guide to Winter Health

As the weather is getting colder it is so important we make an effort to take care of our heath over the long winter months.

The common cold and flu are more likely to catch us between March and November; the flu otherwise known as influenza is actually based on an Italian phrase translated as “influence of the cold”. The fact that more people suffer with illness in the colder months is thought to be due to more people staying inside, which means it is far easier for a virus to spread.

However, there are many ways that we can prevent illness over winter and even improve our health and wellbeing over the cold months.

Here are my top five tips:

1. Get Active

Try to do some sort of physical activity for at least 30 minutes per day; this activity can flush bacteria out of the lungs and the airways which can reduce the chance of getting a cold or the flu. Exercise also causes beneficial changes in our body’s white blood cells, which make our immune system stronger and better able to fight off virus’ and infections. Try to find an activity that you look forward to, anything that gets your heart rate up and a little sweat dripping down you face. Try a spin class, netball club or even an aqua aerobics to mix things up.

If you struggle to find the energy to train after work, try sipping an espresso before training or try Reflex Nutrition Pre Workout.

2.Get Enough Sleep

A lack of sleep can have a detrimental effect on the immune system making it harder for our bodies to fight off colds and illness. Ideally we should aim to sleep for eight hours per night.

Following a pre-bed routine will help get to sleep quickly; try a warm bath with lavender oil, listen to relaxing music, sip on a hot milky drink and switch off the TV and instead have a read of a good book.

3.Scrub Up

Colds and virus’ are spread through human contact, therefore to avoid these germs spreading it is vital that we focus on washing our hands well and ensuring we wipe down our exercise equipment with anti-bacterial spray too!

4.Get Your 5-a-Day

In the cold months it is less appetizing to tuck into a big salad so it may become harder for us to consume enough vitamin and minerals through food sources.

Try experimenting in the kitchen with different soups to increase vegetable intake; give these a go;

  • Carrot, butternut squash and sweet potato
  • Broccoli, leek, potato and pea
  • Tomato, roasted pepper and spinach

Or perhaps experiment with cooking fruits and adding them to breakfast or desserts to increase vitamin intake;

  • Baked apples and raisins with natural yoghurt
  • Cinnamon grilled peaches on porridge
  • Stewed pears with sultanas

To make sure that we are not deficient in any vitamins and minerals it is a good idea to take a daily high quality vitamin and mineral supplement such as Reflex Nutrition Nexgen Pro.

5.Avoid Comfort Eating

Colder weather and longer nights can increase our temptation to snuggle under a blanket and eat warming mince pies and drink hot chocolates with cream, however this is not going to beneficial for our health. This means it is important to have healthy food choices in the house, plenty of vegetables – frozen are fine, different fruits, stock the cupboards with lentils, beans, chickpeas and wholemeal rice and pasta and have good quality meats and fish in the fridge and freezer. Having healthy ingredients in the house means we are less likely to give into our cravings and order a takeaway to comfort us.

Some warming comfort meals without the extra calories include;

  • Chunky vegetable soup with wholegrain rye bread
  • Sheppard’s pie made with lean turkey mince and topped with sweet potato and butternut squash.
  • Chicken, mushroom and pesto pasta with spiralised courgette as a pasta substitute

 

If you are looking to drop some body fat for the New year make sure you have an adequate intake of omega 3 from salmon, mackerel and fresh tuna. Omega 3 helps the body utilise food for fuel instead of storing it. If you don’t manage to eat oily fish three times per week try purchasing a good quality supplement such as Reflex Nutrition Omega 3.

Reflex Nutrition – On Your Side

Reflex Nutrition 20 years on your side

To complement the new branding we wanted to explain our new strap line that accompanies it.  For us, it’s a very important shorthand of our approach which really ensures that your needs are our focus.

Whilst my blogs have contained all of this information previously, I’d just like to draw it all together, because for us, it forms the very ethos of our company.  Its what the team here strive to deliver on a daily basis and its why we believe that we should be your natural choice of supplement partner.

From the very inception of Reflex, our reason for existing was the create the very highest quality supplements.  We’ve created factories to ensure total control of product quality, we’ve innovated with products such as Whey Refresh to supply you with products that others didn’t think were commercially viable and we’ve done this for the past 20 years.

From whey protein products such as Micro Whey which uses a cross flow micro filtered form of whey to native whey which is the purest form of whey available, the breadth and depth of range has always intended to offer the right choice, whatever your needs.  Admittedly, this has only been made possible by partnering with the worlds very best ingredient suppliers.  Whey derived from grass fed cattle in Ireland, totally environmentally friendly vegan protein from France, unsurpassed levels of quality in creatine from Germany, chelated minerals and vitamins from the US, the list goes on and on.  From inception, our goal is to combine efficacy with health consideration in perfect harmony.  There is no point of delivering you one without the other from our perspective.

We undertake these activities to exceptionally high quality standards.  We work to ISO quality standards, we have our factory environments and selected batches of product tested for banned substances, we ensure that alcohol is omitted from our cleaning products and any process that our raw ingredient suppliers undertake.

Within The Science Park where we are based, we only use Deep Green renewable energy, we have solar panels to complement this, we have environments where the air passes through bacterial filters to ensure a clean environment for your products to be created in.  So we consider you not only in terms of the formulations and quality, but also in how we produce the products for you.

What’s more, we go way beyond what is required from us legally in relation to guaranteeing quality standards.  We have built an inhouse laboratory which is manned (or wommaned) by a chemist who tests every single batch of protein product produced to ensure that we meet label claim, who tests ingredients for shelf life, whose interest is to optimise your health, your return on your investment.

It’s this approach in its totality that allow us to offer you a no questions asked, money back guarantee.

As we move forward in the New Year and you start to see the new packaging with its simplified categorisation and messaging, we believe that you’ll feel ever more comfortable with the range in its entirety.  You will see new protein bars and specialised workout products as a start point.

We’re trying to deliver all of this to ever greater numbers of people, so whoever you are, whatever your supplement needs, we hope that you understand that we’re ‘on your side’!

A 20 year history of industry firsts and innovation

Reflex Nutrition Timeline

Reflex Nutrition Timeline

Delivering You Unrivalled Supplements

Reflex Nutrition is close to being officially 20 years old. In this time we firmly believe we’ve brought more innovation and firsts to the industry than just about any other supplement company in the world. We’d love to tell you about how we have become one the most trusted and reputable companies in the industry today which delivers an unrivalled range of supplements, a company which stands by its strapline “Tomorrows Nutrition Today”.
Perhaps more importantly, it’s the advances we’ve brought in those 20 years to the market which can directly benefit you and many, many others who take supplements.

First, The Start, 1996

In 1996 James Phillips came up with the idea of developing, designing, manufacturing and building a supplement company that would immediately deliver on a promise of “Tomorrows Nutrition Today”. During the hot summer of 1996 the first Reflex Nutrition factory was built in Hove with purpose built facilities using the finest powder blending machinery from world renowned blending specialists Winkworth Machinery. The first two products were based around pure hydrolysed whey protein isolate, both of which are still available today and still leading the way.

First sales, 1997, Reflex Nutrition officially sells its first products which were also world firsts.

Reflex Nutrition Ltd sold its first products early in 1997, they were “Advantage” and “Whey Peptide”. Sports nutrition was in its infancy at this stage and all Reflex Nutrition products were sold through traditional retail stores, the first being Workout World in Brighton. Both of these products were the first products in the world to use hydrolysed whey protein isolate as the sole source of protein.

First supplement company in Europe to manufacture a pure CFM Whey Protein Isolate aka Micro Whey

In 1998 Reflex Nutrition launched a new breed of whey protein supplement. Whey protein had really only hit the scene of few years earlier but Reflex Nutrition broke new ground by introducing CFM Whey Protein Isolate. CFM stands for Cross Flow Micro filtration, it was a new production process using advanced ceramic filters to remove virtually all fat and lactose. Reflex Nutrition’s new product was aptly named “Micro Whey”, a product delivering 86% protein, and yes that product still lives on today as one of Reflex Nutrition’s most successful and longest standing products.

First Supplement Company to become ISO9001 registered for quality control

In January of 2000 Reflex Nutrition was awarded ISO9001 accreditation for quality control. With the sole aim of building on our guarantee of quality attaining ISO registration was a vital step to ensure our customers receive nothing but the best in terms of product quality and customer service.

First European and longest standing supplier of the world’s purest Creatine – Creapure®

Reflex Nutrition is a company synonymous with quality and it was therefore a logical and straightforward decision to partner with the world’s most reputable Creatine manufacture in Germany. It’s a long standing relationship and since 1998 we have always supplied Creapure creatine because it is factually the world’s purest, safest and most proven form of creatine.

First European company to introduce the 5lb Whey, aka Instant Whey in black with holographic labels – 2001/2002

In 2001 Reflex Nutrition was the first company in Europe to manufacture a 5lb tub of whey protein in the familiar tub with screw on lid. The first consignment of containers were bought in the USA and shipped to Europe, fortunately we partnered with a well know European plastic company to make them in Europe in both 2lb and 5lb sizes. This coincided with another first, black tubs and holographic labels. This was a very different look at the time when nearly all competitors were in white tubs with normal labels.

 

advantageIntroduced in 1997

micro_wheyIntroduced in 1998

creapure_creatineIntroduced in 1998

5lbwheyIntroduced in 2001

First European company to produce a standalone non-denatured Micellar Casein product

Many companies in 2002 were selling calcium caseinate products, not good enough for Reflex Nutrition and our customers. We wanted something very special. As a result we sourced pure native milk protein from New Zealand which contains 80% Micellar Casein derived from fresh skimmed milk, grass fed, filtered at low temperature and brought to the market slow release protein for the first time. That was 15 years ago and today many companies are still playing catch up!
First company in the world to introduce stable LactoSpore® pro-biotics and DigeZyme® enyzmes into protein powders.
In 2002 Reflex Nutrition was the first supplement company in the world to use both Lactospore® probiotics and Digezyme® enzymes throughout the Reflex® range. Both have been extensively tested with regard to their individual roles in digestion. Today numerous companies have taken our lead and you will often find the two ingredients used together in many protein powders.

First company to adopt wide spread use of patented BioPerine bioavailability enhancer

In 2003 Reflex Nutrition discovered the patented bioavailability enhancer called BioPerine from our friends at Sabinsa. We quickly adopted its use in our now world renowned multivitamin Nexgen, but also tried it in protein powders that contained vitamins, for example One Stop® which is an all in one bodybuilding supplement which contains an extensive list of vitamins and minerals.

First supplement company in the world to use both lower glycemic index barley and oats in weight gain and meal replacements

Reflex Nutrition is always looking for ways to improve products both in terms of performance and health. This was why it was such a simple yet innovative step back in 2003 to use finely ground organic oats and barley as the main source of carbohydrates in our famous weight gainer Instant Mass Pro. Today we still adopt the same philosophy and are happy to have pioneered the use of these two exceptionally healthy ingredients which not only provide slower releasing energy when compared to dextrose or sugar, but also provide dietary fibre in the form of beta glucan.

DSCN1158First company in the world to produce a time release protein blend and be 100% transparent and disclose the ratios of protein

In 2007 we formulated a truly ground breaking time release protein powder which contained 33% Whey Protein, 33% Micellar Casein and 33% Egg White Protein. For the avoidance of doubt, this meant that for every 100 grams of protein you would get 33 grams of whey protein, 33 grams of micellar casein and 33 grams of egg white protein. It was called Peptide Fusion and is now replaced by 3D Protein®, another time release protein blend with 45% Native Whey Protein, 45% Micellar Casein and 10% Egg Protein, this product also happens to be completely unique in that it is the only protein blend which contains native whey as a main ingredient.

First company in Europe to build factory to make Whey Isolate RTDs

In 2007 we built a state of the art factory in Hove to produce Whey Isolate/Protein water RTD’s (ready to drinks). It was a highly innovative step and involved the installation of a fully operational pasteurising facility designed specifically to cater for whey protein’s fragile properties. The product that resulted was called Whey Refresh and it is still in production today, nearly 10 years later.

First supplement company in the world to use 100% Deep Green Energy to make supplements

Reflex Nutrition was the first, and as far as we know, still the only supplement company to exclusively use 100% Deep Green in energy to make all of our products. This includes all of the power to heat and cool and factories too. It is part of our commitment and responsibility to the environment.

First Sports Nutrition Company in the world to build a factory that manufactures protein powders, vitamins, RTDs and protein bars.

First supplement company to carry out in house testing or protein powders to prove label claims

In 2010 we started something that had certainly never been seen before in the industry. Knowing that some companies never got to within 10-20% of label claims for protein, we decided at Reflex Nutrition to prove our position beyond doubt and bought the necessary lab equipment to carry out in house protein testing. We adopted a very strict ISO testing procedure, results of which have never deviated beyond 0.5% when compared to 3rd party lab testing. As a result we have 100% faith in our claims for our range of market leading protein powders.

First supplement company to offer an unconditional 100% Money Back Guarantee

Reflex Nutrition has always been 100% confident in its range of products, so much so that back in 2006 Reflex Nutrition introduced a 100% money back guarantee that allowed our valued customers to buy any Reflex supplement completely risk free. If for any reason, you are not completely happy with the product, you can return it for a full refund. That same commitment to our customers exists today with the very same guarantee.

First supplement company in Europe to build a bespoke factory from the ground up for the manufacture of protein powders, multivitamins, herbs, meal replacements, RTDs and protein bars using 100% Green Energy

In 2012 the Reflex Science Park was built, quite literally a state of the art facility incorporating the very latest technologically advanced machinery to guarantee future production of all Reflex Nutrition products. The whole site takes full advantage of green technology, having a significant 50kw solar panel array, 100% Deep Green energy supply and the latest super-efficient heating and cooling systems it is probably the most environmentally friendly supplement factory in the world today. More recently that innovation took another step in right direction with the build of very unique and secretive protein bar factory. Using very clever knowhow and the latest food technology, Reflex Nutrition was one of the first European brands to make their own bars, and those bars are very special indeed that are only possible due to our closely guarded manufacturing process systems.

First EU base supplement company to introduce a ready to drink protein coffee

Other innovations

There are many more innovations and first that Reflex Nutrition have introduced to the supplement world during the last 20 years, too many to list, but here are just a few more to give you an idea of why we are so well known for delivering on that promise of “Tomorrows Nutrition Today.”
Delta tocotrineols, AstaReal astaxanthin, Citrulline Malate
MSM, Glucosamine sulphate, Bulgarian Tribulus, Trimethyl Glycine/Betaine anhydrous
L-glutamine, Taurine, Creatine Pyruvate, Vitamin K2-MK7, Chelated Minerals, Krill Oil
35% IgG Freeze Dried Colostrum, Cordyceps CS-4

The Future 2017 and beyond

Consumers enjoying the benefits that our innovative formulations provide, especially when compared to our competition, will continue to enjoy and reap the benefits Reflex Nutrition will bring to the supplement market place in the coming years as we strive to demonstrate that we are on your side.

Protein Coffee – an industry first. How we did it.

Protein Coffee - an industry first. How we did it.

Protein Coffee has erupted onto the health and food industry scene in a very short period of time winning the hearts of both consumers and the industry alike. Protein Coffee itself is a simple product and we have been asked why it has taken so long for such a simple concept to make its way to the market.

First and foremost it is something that Reflex Nutrition have wanted to bring to the market place for the best part of ten years, as many will know we are still one of the only companies in the world that makes RTD (ready to drink) Whey Isolate drinks (Whey Refresh®). Our existing factory cannot make milk shake type RTD’s, our set up is designed for citrus type (water based) beverages and the two different drinks require very different processing techniques. So to make Protein Coffee we needed to find a partner, which has taken years. There are numerous contract packers making many variations of ready to drink protein shakes, but none could offer the quality feel and look that we desired until very recently.

A small European dairy approached us with a very good ready to drink protein drink. A company which we had never heard of, but interestingly also made espresso and cappuccino drinks for the Italian and German market. At that very moment we asked if they had ever tried mixing the two to make a “protein coffee”. The answer was no, but they were keen for Reflex Nutrition to commit financially to develop a protein coffee. Over a lengthy period Reflex Nutrition and our new found friends developed numerous variants to explore flavour and shelf life.

Since this would be a first for our industry we wanted ensure that this “first” would set the benchmark for others to follow. That meant a lengthy list of “must haves” from our end, best EU milk from pasture fed cows, best milk protein from pasture fed cows, best Arabica coffee beans, no artificial coffee flavourings, no soy, no added sugars or fats and finally packaged beautifully in a can with a barista style design. The finished product speaks for itself, an amazing coffee drink made with real Arabica coffee beans with a hit of protein, no added sugar and containing virtually no fat, it has to be one the healthiest coffee drinks on the planet. In fact Reflex Nutrition’s Protein Coffee has already been nominated “Best New Dairy Drink 2016” and “Best New Functional Dairy Drink 2016” in the 2016 Food and Beverage Industry Awards. This type of recognition does not come by chance.

 

Check out our Protein Coffee