Drool Alert – #Shimano PRO Additions

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Some interesting additions to the Shimano PRO range today with many new components for pro-triathletes, or aspiring pro’s, including the Missile Evo carbon time trial range: aerobars, clip-on bars, extensions and a base bar, along with a carbon stem and arm rests.

The PRO disc wheels and 3-spoke and track wheels took my particular fancy. As I say in the title…drool !!

The generally accepted wisdom is that the fastest combo for triathletes is the rear disc and a spoked front wheel. Many other factors come into consideration of course.

 

 

Camera HRV

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Camera-HRVAn interesting app from Marco Altini.

HRV measurement by using the camera on your iPhone (not Android). Some models (iPhone 5 or 6) can take HRV-accurate readings from your finger suing the phone’s camera effectively as a heart rate monitor.

Here are some more links if you want to find out more. Click on the icon and it will take you to the store on iTunes.

http://www.hrv4training.com/blog/orthostatic-hrv-measurements-training-and-recovery

http://www.hrv4training.com/

http://www.hrv4training.com/blog/heart-rate-variability-using-the-phones-camera

Epson RunSense SF-110 Announced

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Epson have just announced a new edition to the Runsense range.

This addition is at the budget end of the range and is ONLY CURRENTLY ANNOUNCED FOR RELEASE IN THE USA.

It’s priced at US$169 without an optional HRM. So this is definitely putting it in the same bracket as Polar’s M400.

It is an activity tracker (step counter) that is also compatible with STRAVA and MAPMYRUN.

Presumably it will fit with the RUNSENSE APP. Yet the PULSENSE APP from EPSON is FOR THE ACTIVITY TRACKERS – so I am not sure where this will fit in that sense.

Still it will tick all the usual boxes with Epson’s generally great GPS for pace data, alerts and, presumably (see below), HR from a Bluetooth HRM. Not sure if cadence can be read from a bluetooth footpod.

Epson-Runsense-Range

SkyRunning :: Salomon Glencoe Skyline

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The three peaks challenge is one thing for walkers but I think the skyrunning series might take off for the runners amongst us attracted to something a little more challenging and aspirational.

Growing increase in sports participation gives us new milestones to achieve. A marathon was one thing…now it’s an Ironman triathlon.

Rather than Couch to 5k; maybe couch to Glencoe is a REAL challenge ;-)

——- Press Release Follows —————–

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Classic Glen Coe view looking across to the snow-capped Bidean massif from the Aonach Eagach ©iancorless.com

The Salomon Glen Coe Skyline is just one week away. One of six races in the 2015 Skyrunning™ UK calendar, the ‘SGCS’ is arguably one of the most anticipated races in the UK in recent years. It was thought by many that the UK could not produce a race that would hark back to the roots of Skyrunning as seen at Trofeo Kima, the Dolomites SkyRace or Ice Trail Tarentaise. They were wrong! The UK may lack the altitude of the Alps or the Dolomites but we have mountains, routes and scrambles that will test the most experienced competitor.

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Race director, Shane Ohly, and course planner, Gary Tompsett, running up towards the summit of Am Bodach (CP12) ©iancorless.com

Shane Ohly from Ourea Events and course planner Gary Tompsett have come up with a beast of a course, a course that epitomizes the ethos of Skyrunning and in doing so, the race has turned the heads of not only the running world but also the media.

‘We are not creating another mass participation fell or trail running event, but rather a world class Skyrunning course for experienced and competent participants,’ said Shane Ohly in a recent interview with the the BBC. ‘The Glen Coe Skyline is a fusion of mountain running and alpinism where competitors need to be skilled at both disciplines to negotiate the course.’

Never a true word has been spoken and to that end, the SGCS arguably has one of the most experienced fields assembled in any race that has taken place in the UK. A race that has required participants to ‘prove’ competence to take part has made interesting reading for the race directors and Skyrunning UK.

Looking through the 170+ runners who will toe the line on Saturday August 22nd has confirmed the depth and talent of each and every Skyrunner. A familiar thread is noted, buzz words such as Bob Graham Round, Cullin Ridge, experienced climber, Skyrunning, Dolomites and Trofeo Kima appear regularly in the entry list. It makes highlighting some of the key runners for the race difficult.

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Emelie Forsberg, World and European Skyrunning champion (ultra) ©iancorless.com

However, one name clearly stands out, Emelie Forsberg. Emelie is the current Skyrunning World and European Champion for the Ultra distance. In less than 3-years, Emelie has risen through the Skyrunning ranks to be the female face of the sport and her presence at the Salomon Glen Coe Skyline is more than a confirmation that this race is well and truly the ‘Dogs Bolx’ as one keen entrant stated!

‘I love the mountains and I love technical courses. This Salomon Glen Coe Skyline route looks amazing and a challenge. Ridge running and scrambling; I can’t wait!’ said Emelie after finishing 4th at the Dolomites SkyRace.

‘The mountains provide a wonderful natural playground and non more so than those in and around Glen Coe, the 2015 edition of the Salomon Glen Coe Skyline is going to be a spectacle like no other race that has taken place within the UK. We are fully aware that this race is not for everyone,’ said Ian Corless, Director for Skyrunning UK. ‘However, just like the top European races we want to invite people to come and join us for the weekend. We want a party, a celebration of running and in the process Ourea Events has in place opportunities to go into the mountains with guides and experience the race as spectators but in a safe way. This is going to be very special!’

Jasmin Paris, fresh from victory at the Dragons Back Race will without doubt provide Emelie with a race. Jasmin’s experience of British fells and mountains may well provide a distinct advantage of the Skyrunning world champion?

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Jasmin Paris, 2nd overall at the Berghaus Dragon’s Back Race (and sure to give Emelie a run for her money) ©iancorless.com

Sharon Bird is an Irish International athlete, Gabriel Lees is a British Ski Mountaineering Champion and Victoria Moseley has excelled at Scaffell Pike and the 3 Peaks Race. But the female talent does not stop here, recent V3K winner and experienced Sky and mountain runner, Sarah Ridgway will be in the mix and we also need to keep a close eye on Liz Barker, Gillian Caldwell and Sarah Ryan. The ladies race is brimming with talent and the podium is wide open.

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Es Tresidder: Ex-Cuilin Ridge record holder, current Snowdon Horseshoe record holder ©iancorless.com

Esmond Tressider may well be the odds on favourite for the men’s race as he is a previous record holder for the Cullin Ridge and has had very recent experience of racing in Europe on the Skyrunner® World Series. The last minute withdrawal of Finlay Wild increases Es’s chances but Joe Symonds will without doubt have other thoughts. Joe like Es, understands the UK mountains and fells and has extensive experience of racing in Europe.

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Jim Mann, Berghaus Dragon’s Back 2015 winner (but a little scared of heights!) ©iancorless.com

Jim Mann won the 2015 Berghaus Dragons Back Race with a world-class dominating performance makes him a podium favourite and potential race winner.

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Florian Reichert, regular leading competitor in the Skyrunning World Series ©iancorless.com

Florian Reichert has been racing on the Skyrunner® World Series for several years and has had great success at VK and SKY races. He recently ran the Tromso SkyRace so the ridges and scrambling at Glen Coe will play into his hands. He is however a runner a runner that loves to go fast. Expect Florian to make places in the latter stages of the race.

Konrad Rawlik recently raced at the Dragons Back race and still produced a great performance despite injury. If fully recovered, we can expect Konrad to dictate the early pace and a podium place is a distinct possibility.

Scott Forbes, Anthony Alasdair, Andrew Barrington and Edward Hamer all may prove to be dark horses on a course that will test each and every participant to the limits. The race may only be ‘just’ over a marathon in distance but the accumulated ascent of over 4000m, technical ridges and scrambling make the Salomon Glen Coe Skyline THE race of 2015 and one that looks set to create a stir for years to come.

A celebration of running, a celebration of climbing; the Salomon Glen Coe Skyline will bring to distinct sports together in a pure celebration of Skyrunning that offers a tribute and homage to the pioneering days of Marino Giacometti, Bruno Brunod and Fabio Meraldi. To that end, on Friday night before the race, 2 films will be shown: ‘THE SKY’S THE LIMIT’ that provides an insight in to Skyrunning and the yet to be released (Oct 20th), Salomon SRTV episode, ‘FAST and LIGHT.’

The future of Skyrunning in the UK is very exciting and Shane Ohly sums it up when he says:

‘I sincerely hope that aspirational races like the Salomon Glen Coe Skyline will contribute to the growth of the sport both in terms of participation and general awareness within the wider running and outdoor community within the UK and worldwide, this is my goal for the Salomon Glen Coe Skyline and we will be working hard to achieve this.’

IRONMAN 70.3 Staffordshire 2016 Sells Out On Day One

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IronMan-70-3-StaffsCompetitors were quick off their marks to snap up all places for IRONMAN® 70.3 Staffordshire 2016 – within just hours of the opening for entries.

 

All places for the individual entries sold out yesterday (Wednesday), although there are still charity and relay team spots available for the event on Sunday, June 12. 

 

Once again, the event will see competitors complete a 1.2 mile swim, 56 mile bike and 13.1 mile half marathon, starting at Chasewater, passing through Cannock Chase, before culminating at the historic Shugborough Estate.

 

Mark Winnington, Staffordshire County Council’s Cabinet Member for Economy, Environment and Transport, said the county was looking forward to making the second year of IRONMAN and even greater success story.

 

Mark said: “The first Staffordshire Ironman 70.3 was a huge success story from start to finish and was a great opportunity to really showcase what a fantastic county Staffordshire is to live, work and visit.

 

“We are delighted to see the event sell out once again on the first day and we are really looking forward to welcoming competitors and their friends and family back to Staffordshire next summer.”

 

Last year celebrity chef Gordon Ramsay and his wife Tana, and World Champion Javier Gomez joined more than 2,000 people taking part in the competition in Staffordshire.

 

Kevin Stewart, Managing Director IRONMAN UK & Ireland, said: “The Staffordshire race continues to capture the imagination of existing athletes and first timers, I am not surprised individual places went so quickly.  With the benefit of our experience from the first year in Staffordshire and athlete feedback we have received, we are look forward to enhancing the event to establish IRONMAN 70.3 Staffordshire as one of the best 70.3 races.

 

“Each year competitors raise hundreds of thousands of pounds for charities and the good news is that there are still places available if people want to sign up with one of our charity partners.”

 

Further event information and online entry can be here.

5 Common Fitness Myths Debunked

IMG_3393Getting fit can be tough. Not only does it require hard work and dedication, it’s also tough to know what to do for the best. This is a field in which so many people offer so many pieces of advice that contradict one another.

Virtually the first task for anyone looking to get fit is to filter through all the tips and advice they have been given to determine what is helpful and what isn’t.

Here’s our guide to five common myths that exist and why you should ignore them…

Myth: If you just eat less you’ll get fitter

Counting your calories – and simply cutting the amount you consume – is not a sure-fire way to a fitter body. Eating less on its own could leave your body undernourished – leaving it to store fat and causing exhaustion and sleep deprivation. The right diet for a fitter body is one that has a good balance of essential nutrient and the right amount of fuel to prepare you for your day and also some exercise. Take in plenty of superfoods and use supplements such as those featured on www.fysiquenutrition.com to top up any elements you’re not getting from your food.

Myth: Cardio work is all you need

It’s tempting to think that cardio work – and lots of it – is all that you need to work off any excess fat and get yourself fit. But this alone will not work. As this article on The Telegraph website shows, activities such as running can burn muscle as well as fat. Just as the diet requires balance, so too does the workout. Strength and abs work must be built into a well-rounded regime. Focus on high intensity workouts that combine all three to maximise fitness.

Myth: You’ll feel the gain after feeling the pain

Some people feel they need to push their workout until they’re virtually ready to drop or else they won’t feel the benefit in the long run. The only thing you’ll be fit for on this reckoning is the hospital. Injuries are no good to you in the long run and don’t get sucked into thinking that lots of sweat is the sign of an intense workout. In fact short bouts of intense exercise are probably better for you.

Myth: Crunches are the secret to a super six-pack

Working your abs with a series of crunches is one thing – but who is going to spot these muscles if they’re buried under fat? Crunches alone won’t help you to shed this. Planks and bridges are better at working on your waist but, as discussed earlier, without cardio work as well your hard work won’t pay off.

Myth: Women who work out too much end up looking like men

Men have much higher levels of testosterone than women and at the end of the day it is genetics, not muscle and fitness, that cause us to look the way we do. Pick a training regime that suits how you want to look – and don’t listen to the scaremongers.

When it comes to fitness tips, take care to ensure you are getting good advice. Anything that offers an ‘easy’ solution should be approached with caution and requires further research to ensure it’s not too good to be true.

The AJ Bell London Triathlon Spreadsheet Results 2015 – Would you have qualified for Team GB (Age Group)?

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AJ_bell_London_triathlonI’ve produced a potentially interesting spreadsheet for the AJ Bell London Triathlon (2015) – Standard Distance. It’s based on THIS year’s official results.

excel[1] (Here) is the modified spreadsheet results – it’s sorted by Age Group.

You will see a new column showing your time expressed as a percentage of the Age Group (AG) Winner’s time. So 110% is AG winner’s time plus 10%.

Whilst I think this is the biggest triathlon of it’s kind, it was NOT a qualifier race for the GB age Group teams. However many athletes who are in those team did compete. The race is VERY large and as such we might assume it’s a reasonable sample size from which to get a range of abilities

If it were a qualifier race then ‘all’ you have to do is finish within 115% of the AG winner’s time to achieve a qualifying time for the World Age Group Championship and 120% is the figure for the European Age Group Championship.

If you meet the 115% criteria I’ve shown you as an GREEN colour. The rationale being that a more competitive race might lower your %age time BUT you would still be within 120%…probably.

However it’s not quite so straightforward in reality. For starters the ‘proper’ age group qualification races attract a much smaller but, on the whole, of a high standard. So your percentage ‘score’ WILL PROBABLY be lessened. Furthermore there are usually only 20 places available per age group, often with well over 50 applicants. The reality is that to qualify you will OFTEN need a MUCH better score in the more competitive age groups (Ages 35-55 ish).

So, the spreadsheet shows those in GREEN who I think may have qualified based on their 2015 performance (in a qualifying race).  Keep at it and achieve something else to tell the grandkids about one day.

One reason here might be that people over 35 have no other competition where they can compete at the highest level as the reality is that at over 35 no-one would, for example, EVER get near the Brownlee-levels of performance. So the Age Group competitions at those ages really are for the crème-de-la-crème (or so they all tell me :-) )

So in, say, the 20-25 age group the elite athletes will probably not be competing so you percentage time is calculated from a slower winner. Put against that, however, I was amazed by the demographics of the AJ Bell London Triathlon; LOTS more younger adults than in the Age Group events. Very good to see.

The older Age Groups (over 55s) in the 2015 results are still correctly by 5 year AG band. They are still in 5 year age bands in the BTF race, I think, up to 80. Don’t be fooled though – there are still people in these age groups who will, for example, running 10km in under 40 minutes. These will make YOUR times harder to be within the 120% – HOWEVER because of lower numbers of potential competitors normally ‘all’ the older age group entrants have to realistically do is to hit the 120% or 115% mark.

Please ask if you have any questions as I am keen to promote the wider sport info@the5krunner.com

Happy racing and training.

2016 ENTRIES OPEN TODAY FOR IRONMAN 70.3 STAFFORDSHIRE AND IRONMAN 70.3 UK

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IronMan-70-3-StaffsThe race to get a place in both IRONMAN® 70.3 Staffordshire and IRONMAN® 70.3 UK 2016 is set to get under way at 1pm today, Wednesday 12th August.

Following the huge success of this year’s inaugural IRONMAN® 70.3 Staffordshire and the iconic IRONMAN® 70.3 UK, organisers are expecting that athletes will need to be quick off their marks to be part of the line-up for next year’s events.

IRONMAN® 70.3 Staffordshire will take place on Sunday June 12, with IRONMAN® 70.3 UK a fortnight later on Sunday 26th June 2016. Each event will see competitors complete a 1.2 mile swim, 56 mile bike and 13.1 mile half marathon. A challenge in their own right, they also offer a great preparation race for those looking to step up to a full IRONMAN®.

Both events broke records in 2015 with over 50% of first time athletes taking up the challenge as well as a significant 20% increase of female athletes entering an IRONMAN® 70.3.

Kevin Stewart, Managing Director IRONMAN UK & Ireland, said: “We have had so much great feedback from athletes about their experience, with many competing in an IRONMAN for the first time. There will be many keen to return again this year and many athletes who missed out in year one, keen to be part of it in 2016.

Places are limited so we would encourage anyone wanting to take on the IRONMAN challenge to register when entries open.”

For further information please visit ironman.com/staffordshire70.3 or ironman.com/uk70.3.

*Polar* *Optical* HR – Heart Rate on the wrist

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Polar-V800

Polar-V800 – not going to have optical. At least not yet.

Some exciting news today from Polar concerning one aspect of their future in the wareables/sport/activity market in an interview with Polar UK MD Malcolm Douglas (partial transcript below).

As many of us thought, Polar were rightly waiting to get the technology right before releasing their technology to us being super sensitive about the accuracy of HR.

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Polar-Loop-2 – maybe a LOOP 3 will have optical?

It looks likely that the first optical products from Polar will be activity wrist bands. Essentially aimed at the consumer market rather than the athletic market. Hopefully we will see announcements on these later this year.

This is a wise choice bearing in mind the difficulty of getting athletically-accurate, optical-HR readings at high-effort levels for every athlete. As, indeed, Apple and others have found.

Mr Douglas MAY (I don’t know) also be playing his cards close to his chest about accuracy. It’s looking hopeful that HRV-level accuracy optical products will hit the streets this year. And that is a higher level of accuracy than we’re talking about to date from anyone with optical HR – high enough for athletes (with caveats)

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Source: WAREABLE.COM: http://www.wareable.com/polar/polar-wrist-based-heart-rate-tracking-2015

Polar has confirmed it is working on a new low-price fitness wearable, with a built-in optical heart rate monitor, aimed at gym goers.

Speaking exclusively to Wareable, Polar’s UK MD Malcolm Douglas said the company’s fitness trackers will finally join the optical heart rate (OHR) trend, but that accuracy remains paramount to the product. The new products will be aimed at consumers rather than elite athletes.

According to Douglas, though, there is a good reason for Polar’s delay in joining the trend. “We haven’t moved on because it wasn’t, in our case, universally accepted by everyone as a successful alternative to what we already have,” he said.

However, Douglas and his team do recognise there’s a growing demand for strap-free tracking.

“Clearly there are a lot of athletes, a lot of women for instance, who would say that it’s uncomfortable to wear a chest strap and there’s an image of this optical heart rate idea that it’s easier or more comfortable and I think it’s a trend.”

“Just like GPS was a trend, just like heart rate was a trend and just like sleep tracking was a trend. I think this (OHR) may well become a trend but from our point of view it will all come down to how accurate it is,” explained Douglas.

“I’m not sure it’s going to get into professional sport but it depends. It’ll have to become more accurate if that’s what people want but you can see products are coming into the marketplace but at a very slow pace. And we’re planning one but it’ll be a retail product, it won’t be a professional sports product at this stage.”

So what kind of product will we see hitting the shelves? Well it won’t be a Polar V800 sporting an OHR sensor.

“Maybe not as sophisticated as that.” says Douglas. “But it’ll be a lower price product, and it’ll be a low end fitness product for those people that just want to go to the gym. But it will develop and I’ve no doubt in time it’ll become more sophisticated. But I think it’s one of those development things that we’ll have to see.”

Review: CherryActive Concentrated Cherry Juice – Recovery Supplement

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CherryActive Cherry Juice

CherryActive Cherry Juice

I have occasionally used CherryActive capsules for several years and more recently other similar products to aid sleep and to enhance recovery.

I’m fairly convinced that CherryActive can help calm my nerves and help me sleep the night before an event.

I’m very confident that taking high doses of naturally occurring antioxidants are what help me recover quickly after a hard day’s training or competing.

So the decision to buy these products is not as clear cut as it is with other purchase decisions such as performance enhancement with, for example, BeetActive.

Why?

Well, do YOU need to recover more quickly? Do YOU experience restrictive muscle soreness after competing/training?

If you are training 2 to 4 times a week then I suspect that these products will probably only make a peripheral difference to the effectiveness of your training.

If you are training for 10, 12, 18, or more (Mr IronMan!), hours a week then I strongly suspect that some mornings you dread waking up and creaking out of bed. For YOU these kind of antioxidant/anthocyanin can make a big difference.

The Theory

I don’t claim to be a sports scientist although I have read some of the scientific papers on Montmorency cherries (MC) and their affect on inflammatory and oxidative stress eg JL BOTWELL et al, 2011. I’ve also read scientific papers from other manufacturers about other kinds of products (eg HR accuracy) and the MC scientific papers do look convincing rather than contrived or miss-representative. So that’s a good start.

Products like CherryActive 30ml contain the antioxidant power of 23 average fruit/veg portions and these antioxidants ‘mop up’ free radicals in the body. These free radicals can cause muscle damage over and above what you have already caused in your exercise and can slow recover rates.

CherryActive Cherry Juice

CherryActive Cherry Juice Concentrate

Free radicals are also known to cause oxidative damage to immune cells increasing the risk of illness and hence periods of not training OR of not being able to compete.

Cherries (MC) contains melatonin and hence promote sleep. As athletes know when you are sleeping is when you are getting better. Exercise causes damage but during recovery adaptation/improvement happens. More sleep = more benefit from your training (probably).

This product MAY enhance performance too as some of the effects of Anthocyanins may alter endothelial function possibly increased endothelial nitric oxide synthase.

The Practice

  • Simple. Take one before you go to bed on as many days a week as you think appropriate. One day…or seven days.

The Results

There is MUCH university research out there which you can find on Google, I’ve alluded to one study above. Much research in the food and drug industries is funded by companies. So in general it should be treated with scepticism.

Try it yourself. It is safe and sporting-legal.

Unlike performance enhancing nutrition, it is VERY straightforward to determine if this stuff works or not. Just take one sachet the night before a massive race or the night before a massively hard session. Choose a session where you just know that you will ache either the following or subsequent day.

On either of those 2 days (depending on how you normally exhibit DOMS) it will be pretty obvious whether or not it has worked for you.

It’s a HUGE downside though. You might waste two quid :-)

If you are taking this product for performance reasons then, despite the theory, I’m not so sure you will find them to be noticeably effective on your performance. Try BeetActive instead.

Practicalities

CherryActive Cherry Juice

CherryActive Cherry Juice

It can make you sleep.

It tastes nice IMO.

It comes in a sport shot pack with a tear off end or as a capsule.

The sport shot pack and capsules are both convenient.

You can buy as a single liquid dose to try it out. It is cheaper to buy a box in bulk.

CherryActive Cherry Juice

CherryActive Cherry Juice

Other Points

As I said above I’ve taken it for several years now on and off. The sleep effect I would say works 50% of the time, the recovery effect I would say works close to 100% of the time. I can’t really comment if there is a performance effect on me. I’m not sure.

There may well be a general ‘health and well-being’ side to cherries but this blog doesn’t really go into that sort of thing.

Price

In the end it is a natural product. I would say it is the same as all other similar products out there providing you look at the concentrations of active ingredients and the price. CherryActive appears to me to be the leading and most well-known CHERRY brand. Other fruit concentrates may well offer similar benefits at high levels of concentration.

Discount Code

www.cherryactive.co.uk – 20% off with promotional code 5K20

A 20% discount code / coupon for reader of this blog is 5k20. If you spend over £20 then there is free delivery and the unit price is brought down to less than £1.50 (August 2015).

That’s WAY cheaper than the alternatives which might cost you well over £2 in Holland & Barrett. The code also works for other products including the  BEETACTIVE which has performance benefits for the athlete. (I get a commission in product not cash).

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