Shoulder mobility: 5 moves to improve your overhead press

Shoulder mobility: 5 moves to improve your overhead press

The shoulder is the most complex joint in the body. However, it is also the most vulnerable. Shoulder mobility is heavily influenced by the surrounding muscles and these muscular imbalances can cause real problems with pressing movements.

In this article, I’m going to explain why this occurs and give you 5 exercises to help correct common shoulder issues.

If you can’t perform the full range of movement, you can’t fully train the muscle. This will be impacting your strength and size gains.

Although resistance training isn’t actually to blame for becoming tight, working muscles in shortened ranges of motion can cause them to become short. Further to that sitting forwards at a desk for long periods of time shortens the pec muscles and weakens the upper back. All a combination of bad posture.

So let’s look at some simple ways we can fix this to help you get more shoulder mobility and improve your pressing.

We need to stretch these shortened muscles and increase the range of movement, but a strong overhead press also requires good scapular movement so we need to make sure that is included in our mobility work.

Most people skip a proper warm up and get right to work, and as much as I applaud your enthusiasm, your shoulders probably don’t.

Here are 5 shoulder mobility movements to incorporate into your upper body warm up:

Scap pulls

Take a shoulder width grip on a bar and allow yourself to dead-hang. Let your shoulder blades separate and your shoulders come up to your ears, then retract your shoulders and lats and pull yourself up, not bending your elbows. Perform 2 sets of 10 reps.


Chest Opener - step2Chest opener

Attach a band to a frame at shoulder height or above, take the band in one hand and step forwards. Allowing the hand to rotate upwards with a locked arm you will feel a stretch in the pec and anterior delt. You can also rotate the elbow up and down (but keeping locked) for more of an active stretch. Hold for 15-30 seconds or 20 rotations per side.


Bully Stretch - step3 - front Bully Stretch - step3 - rearBully stretch

Attach the band overhead and turn your hand behind your back. Keep the band close to you and allow it to pull your arm up your back – like the classic ‘high school bully’. Do not allow your shoulder to roll forwards. By holding this position you will increase your internal rotation. Hold for 15-30s per side.


Band Dislocate - step4 - A Band Dislocate - step4 - BBand dislocates

Take a resistance band at both ends and hold out in front of you. Keeping your arm straight, take the band overhead and behind you as far as you can go. Bring the band back over to the front without bending your elbows to stretch the pecs, front delt, and bicep tendon. Perform 10-15, pausing at the top where the muscle is tightest.


Shoulder Mobility - step5 - Pull apart BBand pull-apartShoulder Mobility - step5 - Pull apart A

Take a thin band or cables and take your hands out straight in front of you. Retract your shoulder blades together and with palms facing down, extend your arms straight out to your sides. Repeat for 15-20 reps.

How to Build a Bigger Back

how to build a bigger back

#TeamReflex athlete and Muscle Model champion, Emil Hodzovic, gives us a run down on some fundamental movements for building a bigger back.

The back. Now, not to state the obvious but it’s behind you. This often means in a new gym-goers formative years it is often forgotten or at least neglected for more obvious muscle groups (such as the chest). However, it is such a fundamental part of a physique that physique shows have been won or lost the second the line-up turned to face the rear.

Let’s be honest, you can see a good back from the front and even clothed, a mountain range of a back will leave people in no doubt whether you even lift, more so than that chest or set of arms.

So how does one go about building a bigger back that a gorilla would be proud of? Read on…

This topic is huge. I could lecture endlessly about all of the fine intricacies of a bigger back training. Instead, I’m going to break it down into my top three back exercises. If you include these in your weekly split then you’re well on your way to a sick set of wings. If you don’t do any of them on a regular basis then you really need to re-evaluate your status as a gym goer.


1. The Deadlift

The deadlift is the bread and butter of back training. Before we go into some more detail, let’s just clear a few things up. Deadlifts don’t give you a thick waist. They will develop your core, just like squats and the other big compound movements but to achieve a level of oblique hypertrophy where your waist is thicker than if it just had excess fat on it is nigh on impossible. So get that excuse straight out of your head. And that’s exactly what it often is, an excuse…because deads are HARD. There is no other exercise that loads the back to the same degree as deadlifts from the sheer weight lifted. It will build both thickness and width and it will give you that 3D effect that so many people crave.

Top Tip – Deads are hard and although this isn’t an excuse not to do them, it is possible to overdo them and deadlifting heavy and often can be quite taxing. For me personally, I tend to do them roughly once a fortnight as part of my back workout but I tend to go in hard when I do. Oh, and also, don’t bounce them. It’s a ‘dead’ lift. That means a dead stop at the bottom before you go again.


2. The Barbell Bent – Over Row

The barbell bent-over row is next on my list of bigger back training essentials. It’s such a versatile and comprehensive movement and although you can’t load it as heavily as the deadlift, you can still shift some pretty serious weight. There are infinite variations of grips and back positions including the single arm dumbbell row and T bar row but generally speaking the barbell version is the most ubiquitous and even within just this bit of kit there is wide variation. Generally speaking, I prefer over grip and I try to get right over the bar with my back as horizontal as possible. If you’re not careful or start any higher it just ends up turning into a shrug. Within the movement, try and lift the bar to the top abs and control the movement as much as possible but you can alter the line of the lift and angle of the back so you are hitting different parts of the back.

Top tip – Depending on the variation, a little bit of leg bounce is entirely acceptable but if you’re nearly upright and throwing the bar in some sort of half range jerking movement then you’re doing it wrong… bro.


3. Lat Pull Down

I think the final one on the list has to be the Lat Pull Down. Often available in even the worst gyms and even more often performed horribly; it hits the back in the vertical plane versus the horizontal movement of say, the Bent Over Row. Again, there are infinite variations of grips and handles and ranges of movement but the standard wide grip front down does the job.

Top tip – Before you start the movement, grip the bar and allow the arms and scapula to extend fully – imagine you’re hanging loosely and letting the shoulder relax. Then, to begin, bring the scapula down and back, keeping the arms straight before bending at the elbows. This is the FULL range of motion and allows you to engage the lats and rest of the back MUCH more effectively.


… 4. Pull-ups

I know I said only three, but no discussion on a bigger back training can be complete without talking about the lowly pull up. I love this movement but in terms of sheer versatility the Lat Pull Down pips it when talking general usefulness and versatility. That said, I include pull-ups in most of my workouts as it’s both extremely effective but it’s also one of those movements that you’re kind of expected to be good at as someone who trains regularly. I often put it towards the beginning of a session as a warm up while I’m still fresh. I find I fatigue quickly on these and I try to keep them in even when gaining weight as this is essentially adding resistance to the movement over time.


Carbohydrates- There’s a Time and a Place

Carbohydrates- There’s a Time and a Place

In recent years dietary fats have been pushed aside and carbohydrates seem to be public enemy number one. It only takes a quick search on the internet to be informed by a self-proclaimed nutrition expert that pasta will make us fat and sugar will give us cancer; whilst another nutritionist will tell us that we need carbohydrates to keep our metabolism healthy and lose fat. It is no wonder we are confused as to whether these little molecules of carbon, oxygen and hydrogen are friend or foe.

So what’s the truth?

All carbohydrates are derived from plants; which means in their natural state, think sweet potatoes, rice, carrots, dates, raspberries and wheat- they are rich in vitamins, minerals, fibre and antioxidants. All of which protect us from heart disease, cancer and diabetes. However, when we take a natural carbohydrate and refine it, process it and add fats and artificial chemicals to it, that’s when it can be unbeneficial (detrimental) to our bodies. So potatoes dug up from the ground and boiled until soft are rich in potassium, magnesium, folate vitamin B and iron; but when we peel, slice and fry a potato in rapeseed oil then add salt and preservatives to it to make crisps, we remove the nutrients and fibre whilst increasing the fat and salt content. Effectively the crisp making process turns a nutrient dense food into a nutrient sparse one. The same goes for bread, we automatically associate it with making us gain fat; but a minimally processed wholegrain loaf is rich in fibre and B vitamins, only when we play with it – for example refine it and remove its fibre to turn it into white flour then roll it thinly and top it with cheese, tomato and pepperoni does it turn into something that can easily cause excess fat storage.

So, if we eat carbohydrates in their most natural state, they provide us with nutrients essential for optimal health. That does not mean we can eat as much fruit, vegetables and potatoes as we like though; we must consider the type, timing and amount we consume in order to ensure healthy body composition, good energy levels and our best sporting performance.

Carbohydrate Types

Carbohydrates are split into two main types. The first is starchy carbohydrates often referred to as slow release, which include foods such as pasta, rice, potatoes and wholegrain bread. These foods are often high in fibre which is great for gut health and broken down into smaller particles of sugar and slowly absorb into the blood stream to provide a regular trickle of energy to the body.

The other type of carbohydrates are simple sugars, often referred to as fast release. These are rapidly absorbed into the blood stream and provide an almost instant source of energy- although this energy does not last for long. Simplesugars are found in table sugar, jelly sweets and fruits. Both starches and sugars have health and performance benefits for us.

Carbohydrates contain four calories per gram, which is less than half of dietary fat; however, we still have to consider the amount of carbohydrate we consume, especially if we are looking to lose weight. Put simply, if we consume more calories than we expend, even if we get them from vegetables, we will put on weight.

Carbohydrates raise our blood glucose levels- this triggers the pancreas to release the hormone insulin. Insulin’s role is to decrease blood glucose to safe levels by directing glucose into muscle cells and the liver. We do not want continuously elevated insulin levels as this can prevent fat breakdown, so if weight loss is our goal we need to ensure are carbohydrates only take up a quarter of our plate at meal times and choose higher fibre options.

Using Carbohydrates Effectively

If we are training frequently and looking to improve our strength or endurance performance, then we need a higher amount of carbohydrates to fuel our training and support our recovery. At all meal times we should be choosing starchy carbohydrates, however immediately after a training session we would benefit from choosing quicker release to start the recovery process quickly. If a training session, especially endurance, is over 60 minutes then our performance would benefit from a very fast release carbohydrate during our workout to keep our body fueled.

A typical day could look like;

  • Breakfast: ½ cup oats with milk, pecans and raspberries
  • Snack: 1 pear
  • Lunch: Avocado, feta and quinoa salad
  • Snack: Hummus and vegetable sticks
  • Immediately post workout: glass of milk, handful of dried dates
  • Dinner: Bean and vegetable curry with wholegrain rice

The take home message is that we should be nourishing our bodies with natural, unprocessed carbohydrates to lose fat and improve our health and our performance; we need to simply consider the time, type and quantity we are consuming. It’s time to end our carb-phobia for good.

Extreme Sports: Train Like a Wakeboarder

Extreme Sports: Train Like a Wakeboarder

We asked Reflex Nutrition athlete & competitive wakeboarder, James Mott, about his unique training style and what it takes to stay at the top of the game in this gruelling sport


Before I start, for those not very familiar with wakeboarding: It is an extreme sports that consists of techniques adopted from surfing, water skiing and snowboarding, as well as many other water sports such as kitesurfing and windsurfing. Typically, a boat tows the rider in its wake, hence the sports name. However now cable riding is becoming more and more popular both for beginners and regular riders.

Having a full-time job that involves me working abroad which last year meant spending 6 months in China. When I’m not working it’s a case of juggling training both on and off the water in between competitions. As you could imagine this can become incredibly difficult, especially not knowing what fitness related facilities you will have at your disposal. With all this in mind I have what I would consider my essentials whether I’m travelling or training.


  • Trigger Point Foam Roller
  • Resistance Bands
  • Lacrosse Ball
  • Wireless Headphones
  • Yoga

Demands of the Extreme Sports

Wakeboarding can put tremendous demands on your body. An issue that nearly every wakeboarder will be able to relate to is knee pain, whether they have suffered themselves or know someone who has. The knee is subjected to the highest forces during wakeboarding. The human body has an immense capacity to heal itself. Clearly torn ACL’s don’t magically reattach, and herniated lumbar disks are slow to heal, but the human body will take a tonne of abuse for a really long time before it finally gives up the fight. This is the problem; our bodies will put up with our silly movement and lifestyle choices because they have an astonishing amount of functional tolerance built in. We shouldn’t, however, make the classic error of confusing this miraculous genetic inheritance as a justification for eating, sleeping, or moving however we please.

Training Types

In wakeboarding, an optimal focus for my training is focused on strength and power but I take care to remember my flexibility, agility, balance and coordination.  Mobility, something that not a lot people think about or are actively aware of. Range of motion (ROM) is king, and moving into it with strength, control, stability is a must. The most efficient way of developing mobility and range of motion is to work a mixture of disciplines into a small routine that you can work through before training either in the gym or before you hit the water. Myofascial, soft tissue release mixed with stretching and some yoga inspired poses can be really beneficial. This is great when I’m travelling and don’t always have access to a gym or haven’t been on the water for a while. I can fit my essentials easily into a travel bag or suitcase. Most hotel rooms will have enough space to spend 20/30 minutes working on a small routine using; foam rolling techniques, resistance band work on nearly all major muscle groups.

Staying Flexible

Another essential for me which is easy for anyone to do whilst traveling is yoga-based stretching- this can help to counteract many of the muscular imbalances that arise from spending time on the water, gym and travelling. Yoga can be a great way to train for the season and couldn’t be simpler with apps like ‘Yoga Studio’ free to download and easy to use. The physical poses, called “asanas,” can help improve your body’s overall flexibility and balance, you’ll also be able to recuperate faster from tough days.

Wakeboarding can challenge muscles you didn’t even know you had. A well-rounded yoga practice will utilise every muscle in your body, making it an essential element of cross-training! In addition, yoga offers many other benefits that can help improve my performance wakeboarding, overall fitness levels and wellbeing, including:

  • Stronger leg, back, and core muscles
  • Improved spinal, neck, and hip flexibility
  • Improved balance
  • A calm mind and clear focus
  • Improved stamina and energy

Although I have written this from my prospective juggling a full-time job, training, wakeboarding and competitions- I would encourage anyone to try and spend a short period of time each week to start with using a foam roller, resistance bands and yoga based stretching. Once it becomes part of your everyday routine you really will notice the benefits.

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.

Unreal results made simple, transform your Body

Body transformation gym - Reflex Nutrition

The Brilliance of Nick Mitchell

You’ll see a photo at the top of this blog and see what looks like the impossible. More often than not this type of picture is questionable. I’m here to tell you that the photo above is in fact very real; it is the direct result of hard work, a good diet and smart supplementation. This transformation is the direct result of a new straightforward training approach which is to be detailed in a new book by Nick Mitchell, and yes I’m going the plug it but for one reason only. I personally believe he’s the best at what he does in the world today. My statements are often bold but I stand by them, in the same way that I might say that Reflex Nutrition make the best whey protein supplements in the world, I back it up with hard facts. The point is Nick Mitchell has earned an enormous following for developing training regimes that are based on scientific fact, they produce results, significant results in what is in reality short periods of time. But how?

Focusing on Correct Exercise Selection

Nick Mitchell’s exercise regimes revolve around selecting the correct exercises in a specific sequence which are tried and tested. The exercises when performed correctly create a massive stimulus within the body. The exercises are changed frequently to keep the body adapting, losing more and more body fat and building lean mass in the process. The real key to success though is the focus on intensity and putting 100% effort into every single workout and every single exercise, you need the right mind set and you need to focus.

Focusing on a proper Diet

Without a proper diet the effort you put in will be wasted. However, if you follow the right diet it will work in synergy with the training and fast track results. What is the ultimate diet? Everyone is different so the perfect diet will vary from person to person, but in a nutshell it’s all about choosing quality sources of protein which are eaten throughout the day in conjunction with a varied selection of fresh vegetables, healthy fats and micro nutrients. All the junk has to go and any alcohol is paired right back and if possible removed completely. Sounds extreme? It’s not, and it becomes the norm in a short period of time.

Focusing on Smart Supplementation

When training hard to change your body it requires significant amount of protein, normally about two grams of protein for every kilogram of bodyweight. More often than not, obtaining this amount of protein from whole food sources like beef, chicken and fish for example can be impractical. It’s easy to eat three square meals a day but the additional three portions of proteins needed makes protein shakes very convenient, effective and good value. The best approach is to simply take three protein shakes a day along with omega 3 fish oils and a high quality multivitamin to ensure you are covering the full nutritional needs of your body. There is a separate blog post about why you should take a multivitamin and a number of other posts about protein shakes, in particular protein blends and their superior performance compared to whey alone.

Just a few quotes from leading fitness experts and individuals that have used Nick’s superb training techniques

“In just 12 weeks I lost 8kg of fat, added 10kg of muscle and ended up on the front cover of Men’s Fitness magazine. I don’t for one second believe that there is another trainer in the UK capable of getting such phenomenal results. Nick Mitchell is, without question, the king of body transformations.” – Joe Warner

“With these startling results Nick Mitchell has reaffirmed himself as one of Europe’s top trainers. I myself saw Glenn at the early stages of his transformation and to see him come so far in such as short space of time is a testament both to his own steely determination and work ethic, and to Nick’s depth of experience and coaching knowledge.” – Charles Poliquin

“As the first forty year old man on the cover of Men’s Health magazine I can say that I would have had no chance without coaching, support, and occasional bullying from Nick” – Wesley Doyle

Nick’s own words,those who come to work with me and my team at Ultimate Performance should come because they want something special, something that you would never find in a commercial gym or a pristine, chrome-filled personal training studio. We ask a lot of our clients, but we give even more back, and because of this we are certainly not the right Personal Trainers for everybody. But if you want results – real, tangible life changing results – then I think you should be knocking on our door.

If you are serious about changing your body in the most efficient way possible I thoroughly recommend that you visit Nick’s website and check out his Twitter and Facebook pages, they make for entertaining reading and of course look at his training material. It’s easy to follow and as long as you put the effort in you’ll get the results you want faster than you thought.

Dan Lawson Intro – Ultra-Running

Dan Lawson Spartathlon Team - Reflex Nutrition

I am going to use this blog to introduce myself and especially my sport to those people who may not know too much about Ultra Running. Basically Ultra Running is any race or distance over a marathon and is growing rapidly in popularity all over the world.

Some of the most iconic races such as the Comrades Marathon in South Africa (89k) or the Ultra Trail du Mont Blanc in France (161k including 10,000 metres of ascent) attract thousands of runners each year not everyone makes it to the finish though!

I tend to specialise in distances a little bit further than the 26.2 mile marathon, concentrating on races around 150 miles in duration as well as 24 hour races and it’s within this discipline that I am lucky enough to represent Great Britain.

With most of my races taking between 20 – 28 hours there really is no place to hide. You need to get everything right training, diet, mental state, race nutrition, rest … the list goes on and if you have not quite managed to nail all of these, at some point in the race you are going to get found out. I call it a zonk ! You can be running quite smoothly till 18 hours in and then all of a sudden your body will kind of give up, maybe you haven’t taken enough fuel on board or you trained too hard before the race whatever it is the next 6 hours if the race become hellish.

Over the next few months I will be looking at each of these variables in more depth, starting with my diet and sharing with you, after a lot of experimenting what I find works for me. Enabling me to cope with a training week of around 140 to 160 miles and to perform in races.

This season I have focused on two A races I suppose you could call them. The first was the 24 hour World Championships in Turin held in April. My build up to this involved a winters warm weather training in India where I ran and won all my training races a 24 hour, 100k and then a 100 miler across the salt desert in Western Gujurat.

The World Champs themselves were both successful and unsuccessful for me. Our team won both the World and European Gold Medals, the first time Great Britain

had ever achieved this feat, however in my own race I had a zonk! I managed 242 km in the 24 hours and that placed me 22nd, all good though, I know next year in the European’s I can go much further.

I am now building towards my next  A race, the 153 mile Spartathlon from Athens to Sparta in Greece. I am already feeling much stronger having put more work into getting the variables right. Two weeks ago I ran the 145 mile Grand Union Canal Race from Birmingham to London fuelled predominantly by the Reflex Nutrition Edge drink. Hoping to just duck under 24 hours I managed to complete it in 22.16 shaving 3 ½ hours of the previous course record.

It’s going to be hot and humid in Greece and I am still waiting for the summer to kick in here, so next month I will travel to Barcelona for four weeks of hot and hilly training in preparation.

During my training month and sun tanning on the beach I will pen another short blog about my diet, how I eat completely raw for a year and a half, then turned vegan before quite recently switching to the amazing Paleo diet of which I am currently reaping the benefits of.

May the joy be with you and happy training.


Creatine, which type is best?

Reflex Creatine products

In the 20 years since starting Reflex Nutrition we have witnessed every single variant of creatine come to the market promising great things. I am often asked why we don’t offer some of these so called “uber” creatines? Well we would if the people behind these so called “uber” creatines offered some really strong evidence to show their superiority over creatine monohydrate. But there isn’t any. Perhaps more worryingly is the fact that almost none of these new types of creatine have any long term safety studies. Especially worrying is Creatine Nitrate and I’ll get to that later.

At Reflex Nutrition we have worked very closely with creapure since the beginning nearly 20 years ago! Creapure is factually the most used, most proven and safe form of creatine in the world. In the 20 years that Reflex and Creapure (now owned by AlzChem) have been supplying creapure products literally billions of servings have been consumed the world over. Olympic athletes, professional athletes and amateur athletes have enjoyed significant benefits from it. With such an unblemished history you really need to ask yourself why you would risk your health using another form? So let’s just look at all of the various forms and you will be surprised to see just how many there are;

Creatine anhydrous
Creatine α-ketoglutarate
Creatine ketoisocaproate
Sodium creatine phosphate
Creatine ethyl ester
Creatine citrate
Creatine gluconate
Creatine orotate
Creatine malate
Creatine pyruvate
Creatine taurinate
Carnitine creatinate
Creatine methyl ester HCl
Creatine α-amino butyrate
Creatine pyroglutamate
Creatine decanoate

I’m sure there will be more and no doubt there are probably some I have missed, this list has come from a published scientific study that looked into all of the above forms of creatine.

The “Analysis of the efficacy, safety, and regulatory status of novel forms of creatine” study can be found on, it was published in 2011 so is now 4 years old, their findings are unlikely to change overtime because there is one common finding with all of these different types of creatine. None were found to be any more effective than creatine monohydrate. None!

I quote their final paragraph from the studythere is little to no evidence supporting marketing claims that these newer forms of creatine are more stable, digested faster, and more effective in increasing muscle creatine levels and/or associated with fewer side effects than CM. “

If you are a supplement company focused on marketing every conceivable form of creatine then this study is bad news because it paints a very clear picture for consumers in a clear fashion. That last paragraph is all people need to understand. I find it rather frustrating to see so many companies touting the so called benefits that simply don’t stand up when rigorously investigated. The simple truth is that some supplement companies simply lack the basic knowledge to even understand the basics, personally I think they are too focused on trying to deliver the next best thing with little regard to efficacy and safety of the consumer.

This leads me to Creatine Nitrate. Personally I wouldn’t touch it. There are two reasons. The first is simple, it’s no better than creatine monohydrate and has no proven long term safety studies. Second, and perhaps most worryingly of all there is an article in the Journal of Applied Physiology warning about the potential carcinogenic effects of Creatine and Nitrates from food and supplements.

I suggest you read the “Beware of the pickle: health effects of nitrate intake” article before even consider using Creatine Nitrate or other Nitrate supplements.

I’m a firm believer in practising what you preach, I use supplements every day. I love my job and the different things we do at Reflex Nutrition that make us different. I can tell you no that there is absolutely no way that I would ever make a supplement that I personally would not use. I’ve been here long enough to know what works, what doesn’t, what is safe and what is not!

So what Creatine is best? The one we’ve been using for 20 years, Creapure.

Purchase these products!