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I have always enjoyed my sports & fitness but over the past few years, I haven’t been as active as I would have liked. Indeed, I have this tendency to hark back to my younger years when I would run, kayak, play rugby, hike mountains, ski and mountain bike. I was constantly active, looking for new experiences and enjoying all that life had to offer. Whilst it doesn’t feel like that long ago, in reality those days have long gone.
As I moved from my twenties, into my thirties and now into the ‘prime of my life’, my waist line got a little bigger, and well… families got stated and the excuses piled on. Bottom line… I haven’t exactly been living the healthy, active lifestyle I wanted for myself. A mid-life crisis was looming and I even bought a motorbike a few years back to stave it off (or embrace it, perhaps?). It’s a fun hobby which has taken me across Europe on some breathtaking rides, but it’s hardly helping me to keep fit. Something had to change.
I tried to get back into running but the heavy pounding wasn’t kind to my knees, following a rather serious skiing accident. I also enjoyed mountain biking for a while but it became difficult to find enough time to hit the trails and the bike hasn’t been used in anger for quite some time. I needed something else; something that was social, accessible, low-impact and versatile.
I Discovered Road Cycling
Road cycling seemed to be the perfect fit. The sport offers a lot of variety. Sportives, time-trials, cyclocross, sprints, hill climbs, spinning and social rides are accommodated by local cycling clubs, to suit every ability. Club rides include ‘pit stops’ for cake and coffee and social events are all well attended. There’s plentiful opportunities to participate in races for charity, competition or join tours at home & abroad. It’s no wonder then that cycling is enjoying something of a renaissance in the UK, and I wanted to a part in it.
Inspired by my knew knowledge of the sport, I bought my Giant Defy Advanced and immediately signed up with my local Cycling Club, as well as British Cycling. Getting into this sport isn’t cheap but that’s motivation in itself to make the most of it. For the first 6 months, I went all-in and loved every moment! I would try to attend the Sunday club rides each week and bought a smart trainer to ride at home and cover the winter months. Despite my clear lack of fitness and power (especially on the hills), I received fantastic encouragement from my fellow riders who spurred me on and made me feel enormously welcomed from day one.
If you’ve ever thought about getting into cycling, then you shouldn’t hesitate to get started. I can’t recommend it enough.
Despite the early enthusiasm and commitment to my new sport, family commitments meant it was harder to join the club rides. I bought a turb-trainer and that certainly helped to keep the pedals turning, but without the encouragement of fellow riders, I was finding it harder to motivate myself to jump on as often as I should. Virtual cycling trainers, like Zwift certainly helped, but it wasn’t the same and I was in danger of this becoming another failed fad.
Curiosity Got The Better Of Me
I was working on an event at the NEC in Birmingham, when I first discovered Arbonne. The company was having its annual conference and I fell into conversation with a number of the attendees. Despite my initial scepticism, I was impressed by their passion for the business and anecdotes about how the product has helped them and their families. From dealing with teenage acne, to aging skin or losing weight… they all had a good story to tell and all seemed to be perfectly sincere.
Despite this, I was hugely sceptical of this kind of business. A friend of mine had started Isagenix a year ago and I was very put off by the ‘scientific’ claims he was making, most of which could be quickly debunked.
I have to confess that one of the Arbonne stories did catch my attention however. After joining Arbonne, one of the ladies I met told her husband about their Phytosport range. Like me, he was initially very sceptical and didn’t feel it would offer any significant benefits over his current nutritional and hydration products. Unconvinced, he offered to test it by putting in a particularly hard session at the gym. To his great surprise, he reported being able to work out at higher thresholds for longer and suffered no aches and pains the following day.
I’m the sort of person who’ll always keep an open mind and look for the positives but I also struggle to take anything at face value. This is especially true when someone starts making grand claims about something; I’m simply compelled to test it for myself!
The Turning Point
So I took the plunge, and decided one of the first products I was going to try was the Arbonne Phytosport range. If that proved to be any good, then I could start exploring the rest of the range.
The first test? An FTP test (max fitness threshold test) on Strava.
Bear in mind, I hadn’t done any real exercise for about 6 months so jumping straight in with a 1hr warmup followed by 20mins of maximum effort isn’t the sort of thing most people tend to do. I expected to suffer for my over -zealousness.
As it turned out, I couldn’t have been more impressed. After completing the test, I jumped off the bike. My bum hurt like crazy (not being used to the saddle) and my legs were like jelly afterwards. I’m not kidding. I struggled to walk down the stairs without my legs buckling under me, but it put a smile on my face knowing that I had earned it and couldn’t have done more. The ride had been hard, but I felt hydrated, energised and didn’t lack motivation at any point.
But it was the Arbonne Phytosport After Workout that has me most excited. I’m used to having done a lot of sport in my earlier years and indeed, such was my interest that I studied a Batchelor of Science degree in Sport at Uni. Inevitably, a hard workout, game of rugby, triathlon session or paddle down the rapids meant one thing: the DOMS!
Delayed Onset of Muscle Soreness is the result of too much lactic acid building up in your muscles. A good warm down helps the muscles to release this acid but often, it’s not enough and you feel the inevitable aches, pains and muscle stiffness the following day(s).
Well here’s the thing… despite being a couch potato for the best part of 4 months, and then jumping on a bike for over an hour, with an all-out maximum effort, I had none of this. No DOMS, no aches, pains or stiffness whatsoever. Wobbly legs afterwards for sure, but within an hour they were back to normal and that was that!
Truly amazing!!! I’ve never experienced that before, in all my sport and fitness, even when I was a young lad (I’m now 43). A one off??? As it turns out, no? I can ride at high thresholds for 1-2 hrs, building up to maximum efforts for 20mins at the end and the results are the same every time. I’m yet to try a 3-5hr workout, but I’ll report back when I do.
I used to use SIS (Science In Sport) products but they felt heavy and left me feeling bloated and gassy. Arbonne’s range lives up to the hype and really does feel Pure, Safe, Beneficial.
I’ve started posting my Strava feeds here and have been regularly exercising every week. My weight has come down and my fitness has improved remarkably. Follow my future blogs to learn more…
Try It To Believe It
If you live in the UK and would like to put this to the test yourself, please let me know in the comments, or PM me on Messenger @JulesArbonne and I’ll be pleased to send you a sample (first 10 responders). I’d also be very interested in hearing how you feel it compares with your existing hydration and sports performance drinks.
I’ve given some samples out among my Cycling Club and the feedback so far has been extremely positive.
To learn more about these products, please visit my Arbonne page
Arbonne lists more than 2,000 ingredients that are NOT ALLOWED to go into it’s products. The top 20 include:
Animal products of by-products
Artificial favours and sweeteners
Sodium laurl sulfate (SLS)
Synthetic fragrances and dyes
Butylated hydroxyanisole (BHA)
Peanuts and tree nuts
High fructose corn syrup
Given Arbonne’s “Pure | Safe | Beneficial” ethos, it’s perhaps no surprise then, that artificial flavours and sweeteners are banned from going into their products. I guess they didn’t really need a study of 260,000 to know the dangers already! 🙂
My target weight by Christmas 2018 is 70kg. I noted that in the MyFitnessPal app, the maximum target weight loss was 1kg/week and I didn’t want to set unrealistic expectations. Generally, it is thought that losing weight at a slower pace tends to make it easier to maintain your target weight in future, but I also want to be motivated by visible results, so 0.75kg per week seemed to be an achievable target. I figured 0.5kg would come from my new Arbonne regime, whilst the other 0.25kg would come from upping my exercise regime.
Having said all this, since starting with Arbonne, I’m losing weight quicker than I expected (appx 1kg / week). To understand what’s bringing about this change, I wanted to share my typical day and discuss my experience of the Arbonne nutritional range.
I’m trying to follow the Arbonne “30 Days to Healthy Living” but even though I’m not quite ticking all of the boxes, it doesn’t really matter too much. Arbonne encourages a healthier lifestyle and gives strong pointers to achieving this but it doesn’t preach or ‘require’ you to follow x, y, z in order to achieve a, b, c. See their ‘support guide‘ here. So if you don’t quite manage to cut everything out to begin with, that’s fine. It’s something you can build towards and fine-tune for the future.
Note also that the ‘support guide’ doesn’t stipulate that you have to use any Arbonne shakes or nutritional products at all. They’re simply there to help you maintain a healthier lifestyle – and in my experience so far, makes the transition much easier!
A lot of other weight management programmes (aka fad diets) are far more prescriptive but Arbonne seems to be more educational, supportive and flexible. There’s no points or calories to count here, or days when I must fast. Indeed, as I’m writing this, I’ve been into London for a breakfast and lunch meeting and I’m drinking a skinny latte (not a very good one it must be said) and that’s fine! But typically, my day consists of:
I tend to sip on the water and protein shake throughout the morning and the porridge provides slow-release energy to see me through until lunch time. The honey provides a sweet natural alternative to processed sugar and delivers additional health benefits.
Arbonne’s protein shakes have less fibre in them than some others so you have the option of adding more in if you need it. It helps to alleviate my hunger for longer, and since it’s tasteless, you can actually add it to anything you like (teas, juice, cereals). I’ve found it tends to mix in better with the protein shakes though, which is why I add it to this.
1 x Piece of fruit
A handful of mixed nuts & raisons (plain, unsalted)
1 x Small portion of tuna rice (wholegrain rice) with red onions, chopped peppers, black pepper and salad cream or;
I’m finding that I’m not actually all that hungry at lunch time, so my portions are pretty small
1 x Piece of fruit
A handful of mixed nuts & raisons (plain, unsalted)
1 x Decaf Coffee with Alpro Roasted Almond Milk (unsweetened)
Glass of water
A note about Coffee: Whilst you may have been taught that coffee is bad for you, in fact the opposite is true. There is growing evidence that coffee delivers numerous health benefits and that these benefits are more pronounced if you drink three of more cups per day. It doesn’t matter if it’s decaf either.
1 x Meal Replacement Shake (the Vanilla flavour is my choice over the Chocolate variety, which has a bit of an awkward after-taste)
1 x Decaf Coffee with Alpro Roasted Almond Milk (unsweetened)
Glass of water
Small portion of healthy dinner, if needed (usually only if I’ve been exercising in the day)
For now, I’m on the turbo trainer 2-3 times per week for about an hour. It’s enough to burn off around 500 calories per session and gradually build my cardio and anaerobic fitness. I also need to include core strength building exercises and will begin to incorporate this in month 2. 1500 calories is equivalent to 1 day’s calorie intake to meet my goals.
As I’ve said before, it’s not all about losing weight but about feeling great, inside and out.
My Third Goal was to feel less tired and more energised. And I do! I really really do! For the first time in years, I’m not feeling knackered all the time and I don’t have the mid-afternoon slump that I used to suffer with. I wake up with a spring in my step and feel that I can power through the day with consistent energy and concentration. I don’t feel hungry anymore (so I’m not snacking as much) and I’m more alert, without suffering the highs and lows that caffeine and sugar previously gave me.
I’m surprised, but delighted!
I’ll talk a little more about each of the above featured products in future posts but tune in next time for my experience of Arbonne’s RE9 Advanced for Men skincare range! Thanks 🙂
Yesterday was the first big milestone in my “Discover Arbonne” journey. In just 2.5 weeks, I’ve dropped 2.5kg and to tip the scales at 74.9kg for the first time in a very long time!
This has been alluding me for some time so I’m absolutely thrilled with the progress so far.
Diets vs. Healthy Living
Now, Arbonne says that they offer a plant-based nutritional products formulated for “weight management”, rather than “weight loss”, but what’s the difference? Presumably, they would like to draw a distinction between choosing a healthy lifestyle (which may include losing weight, but is far more inclusive of other factors) and simply going on a diet with a single aim in mind. And to that end, I can wholeheartedly recommend this approach.
You see, there are a zillion-and-one ‘fad’ diets that all claim to work the best. To name a few you may already be familiar with: ‘The Atkins Diet‘, the ‘South Beach Diet‘, the ‘Zone Diet‘, the ‘Paleo Diet‘ and even ‘Weightwatchers’ or ‘Isagenix‘ (more on the latter in a future blog). Am I being unkind to call these “fads”? Perhaps. People swear by these and there’s little doubt that millions of people have enjoyed success to some degree of other. You can click the links above to learn more and do further research with Google and Bing.
Whilst it’s interesting to compare and challenge the evidence of each diet, health plan or lifestyle choice, it’s rather outside the scope of this particular blog. Still, You might like to check out Debbie Strong’s post at Everyday Health for her take on these, and others. In particular I share her summary sentiments and advice:
“Most importantly, before jumping into a fad diet it’s essential to know that rapid weight loss is not sustainable. Quick weight loss diets are not healthy, and the weight is likely to rebound when you begin eating normally again. Diets that claim you don’t have to exercise are not the best for your overall health. And if you cannot stay on a fad diet or popular diet the rest of your life, it’s better not to start.
Arbonne is of course about healthy living, inside and out. It’s a simple, sustainable approach which encourages healthy eating, taking up exercise and looking after your skin. It’s not rocket science and there are no ‘fasting days’* or ‘high-protein/low carb’ restrictions. It’s just good common sense with results that you should start to see within a month.
My next post will look at my typical Arbonne day (nutrition-wise), what I’ve enjoyed, what I’ve struggled with and how I’ve been feeling. See you next time!
* I’ll cover a little more about my thoughts on Isagenix and fasting diets in future posts.