Nutrition is Key

Building a Healthy Body

Understanding Fats and carbohydrates and their role in a healthy diet

In recent times it would give the impression that fats and carbohydrates have both gotten a bad rap.  First it was fat that was the culprit in all dietary ills, and low fat diets were all the rage.  Then the two switched places, with carbohydrates being the bad guys and fat reigning supreme.

Both fats and carbohydrates play an important role in nutrition, and both are vital to a healthy diet.  It would be impossible and unwise to remove all fat from the diet, since fat is important for the production of energy, and for carrying valuable fat soluble vitamins like vitamin D, vitamin E and vitamin K, throughout the body.  In addition, fat plays a very important role in regulating various bodily functions.

Even though some fat is essential to a healthy body, too much fat can be harmful.  Excessive levels of dietary fats have been implicated in heart disease, stroke, high cholesterol levels and even some cancers.  Most nutritionists suggest limiting daily fat intake to less than 20% of calories, although taking that level lower than 10% is not recommended.

The type and amount of fat in the diet makes all the difference.  A diet high in saturated fats, trans fats and cholesterol has been associated with a variety of ills, including heart disease, stroke and other related diseases.  In addition, many long-term chronic problems, such as obesity, are associated with high levels of dietary fats.

Food labels do make the complex process of choosing the right fats somewhat easier.  For instance, trans fats will be listed on the ingredient list of foods that include them.  In general, trans fats are found mainly in processed foods. When limiting your daily intake of fat and cholesterol, it is good to have an understanding of nutritional labels. This government mandated labels could be a huge help to those who take the time to read and be aware of them.

Carbohydrates are an important part of a healthy diet as well, and carbs are necessary for providing energy and many vital nutrients.  Carbohydrates are found in fruits and vegetables, in grains and in milk and dairy products.  It is important to choose carbohydrates carefully, however, since not all are equally healthy.

Keeping saturated fats and trans fats to a minimum is important to a healthy diet.  Trans fats, which are solid at room temperature, are most often found in highly processed foods like cookies, cakes and other baked goods.  In addition, trans fats are often found in fried foods and in salty snacks like potato chips.  While these foods are fine in moderation, it is best to avoid large quantities of such snacks.

As with many products, less is often more when it comes to choosing foods rich in carbohydrates.  For example, less refined whole grain bread is generally more nutritious than white bread, which has gone through a greater amount of refining.  That is because the refining process tends to decrease nutrient content over time.

Of course, there are some elements in the diet that should be limited.  Two of these elements are sugar and salt.  Most Americans consume too much salt and sugar, and this has led to epidemics of obesity, diabetes, heart disease and other ills.  Limiting sugar and salt, while choosing good fats and unrefined carbohydrates, is a great way to make the most of the nutritional value of the foods you eat.

There’s a lot to understand about Fats and carbohydrates. We were able to provide you with some of the facts above, but there is still plenty more to write about in subsequent articles.

Why Your Diet Might Be Working Against You

Jennifer is a middle-aged single mother with a young daughter. She has been avoiding sugary foods for a few weeks. And she has also been faithfully watching her portions. She has been exercising for an hour 4 times a week as well. However, she has not lost any weight, and doesn’t know why.

This is not uncommon. You might be doing everything you can to lose weight, but can’t seem to make any progress. Consequently, you are frustrated or depressed and are ready to give up.

One problem is that many diets are homogeneous. They don’t consider the individual’s physiology, metabolism, and lifestyle. They are a cookie-cutter approach to weight loss, which doesn’t work in most cases. Therefore, employing the services of a registered dietician may be the best solution. This can be done in person or via the Internet, where you can contact your dietician any time of the day or night via e-mail. Your dietician will be your personal coach and cheerleader, helping you through the inevitable setbacks.

Lack of support is a big reason that diets often fail. You might feel like you have no one to talk to about your weight problems. When this is the case, some individuals go to psychotherapists to help them with their food-related issues. This can be very helpful, especially if an individual suffers from an eating disorder, such as anorexia or bulimia. Bulimia and anorexia are serious diseases that need to be treated by a medical professional in order to ensure the recovery of the patient.

Hidden calories in the foods we eat is another pitfall of dieting. Often, we are consuming calories and don’t even know it. Sugary drinks like sodas and fruit juices are a common source of unneeded calories. By switching to diet drinks, or drinking water, and substituting skim milk for whole milk, you can eliminate the hidden calories that are keeping you from reaching your weight loss goals.

Being a yoyo dieter is another problem. You might start a diet, then quit before you’ve made any measurable progress because you are bored or feel deprived. Healthy weight loss is not often quick, and involves losing only a couple of pounds per week. Keeping a positive attitude and sticking with a healthy diet plan is key to losing weight.

Lifestyle change is part of successful eating and exercise. Avoid eating for comfort or emotional fulfillment. Changing the way you eat requires lifetime commitment; it means that you have to follow the plan for the long haul. Find an eating plan that is healthy, and that you can stick to. While your main goal might be to lose weight, you should also focus on being healthy. Fad diets cannot give you both of those things. For that reason, you must carefully choose your eating plan.

Vitamins How to Get the Most From Your Diet

It’s not easy to eat right, but when you are going out of your way to eat healthy you should be sure that you’re getting the most from your foods. One important issue regarding vitamins is that some foods lose their vitamin content when they’re not handled properly.

Raw is better. It’s a simple fact of fruits and vegetables that cooking tends to damage vitamin content. If you have the choice between eating raw apples and applesauce, you’ll find that raw apples generally retain more of their natural vitamins. But are those raw vegetables and fruits always going to provide you with the vitamins you need? Not necessarily.

Read the label of processed foods. Many manufacturers fortify their processed foods with vitamins. In some cases, you may find that the applesauce actually has more vitamins and a higher content than a raw apple. It’s important to note that the vitamins you’re getting from the applesauce aren’t natural to the apple, but they’re present nonetheless.

It’s easy to tell the vitamin content of your favorite breakfast cereal, the fruit juice you had for a mid-morning snack or that granola bar you had on the way home from work. You tend to watch what you eat, so you also read those labels to be sure you’re eating snacks that are high in the vitamins you most need for your body. But what happens when you grab an apple? Most fresh fruits don’t come with a label so it’s sometimes difficult to know just what you’re eating. You’ll find some very helpful charts that list vitamin content of most fruits and vegetables, but keep some important facts in mind.

•    Harvesting and handling matter. The harvesting time and practices may enhance or decrease the actual vitamin content of individual fruits and vegetables.
•    Variety counts. An apple isn’t necessarily an apple. Different varieties have different vitamin content. The same is true of most fruits and vegetables.
•    Cooking practices make a difference. Though fried vegetables will typically have a lower vitamin content than raw, the type of oil used to do the frying also makes a difference. Different oils have different vitamins and add (or detract) from the vegetables.

If you’re really looking to get the most from particular vegetables, fruits and other products, take time to do some research into the particular food you’re interested in or the vitamins you’re looking to increase. You may be surprised to find out that handling, cooking and choosing make a big difference in the vitamins you actually consume.

Vitamins Is There Such Thing as Too Much?

You probably hear lots of information about the need to get sufficient amounts of vitamins in your daily diet, and to take a vitamin supplement if you aren’t getting those necessary vitamins. If vitamins are good for you, it stands to reason that more is better, right? Actually, overdoing it with vitamins can cause some problems as well. Take a look at some of the more common vitamins and what you can face by getting too much of a good thing.

Vitamin D – Vitamin D is readily available in milk and dairy products, but only those that have been Vitamin D fortified. There are some other sources of this vitamin, with tuna, salmon, sardines and mackerel among those with the higher contents. You also get Vitamin D from sunshine. A lack of Vitamin D causes bone problems, including rickets.

An overdose of Vitamin D will likely first let itself be known in the form of nausea. In extreme cases, loss of appetite, weakness and abnormal heart rhythm can occur.

Despite what some people may think, it’s unlikely that you can get an overdose of Vitamin D from the sun. Sunburn will show itself long before your body absorbs enough Vitamin D from the sunshine. Too much calcium in the diet can also cause problems with major organs, including the heart and kidneys.

Vitamin A – Vitamin A is often associated with the “orange” fruits and vegetables such as carrots, sweet potatoes, oranges and carrots. There are other sources as well, mainly in fruits and vegetables. Vitamin A is good for vision, healthy skin and hair.

An overdose of Vitamin A can result is some serious health risks and will first be seen as headaches, vomiting, dizziness and a lack of coordination in the muscles. Most commonly, Vitamin A toxicity arises from consuming a huge amount of Vitamin A over a short period of time, usually in the form of vitamins as supplements. Damage to the central nervous system or liver, and birth defects are among the possible long-term effects of overdoses of Vitamin A.

Vitamin B – There are several vitamins that make up the group known as the B-Complex vitamins. B6 and B12 are among the more common of that group. Both are touted in connection with healthy hearts and maintaining a youthful appearance, but it’s important to note that there are some important differences in the toxicity potential for vitamins in this group. Notably, there have been few cases of B12 overdoses, especially cases that caused adverse symptoms.

By contrast, B6 typically can result in nerve damage. As a rule, the effects are reversed when the levels of B6 are brought back under control.

As a rule – As a rule, it’s difficult to consume sufficient amounts of vitamins to cause severe toxicity. Nausea will typically be your first clue to a problem. Talk to your doctor or health care professional before starting any vitamin regimen or making major changes to your diet.

OTE Sports & ZyroFisher Announce Exclusive UK & Ireland Distribution Agreement


ZyroFisher are pleased to announce the addition of OTE Sports to their Fisher portfolio of brands. OTE Sports, the British creators of award winning performance nutrition, announced today that they have appointed ZyroFisher as their exclusive distributor for the UK and Ireland. OTE Sports launched in 2013 with a range of nutrition products that are naturally flavoured, highly functional and importantly taste great.

ZyroFisher is the UK’s leading distributor of Parts, Accessories and Clothing to the UK and Irish cycling markets. This follows Zyro’s acquisition of Fisher Outdoor Leisure to create an unparalleled portfolio of world-class brands, focused on providing value added service to their brand partners and customers. Sitting within the Fisher portfolio, OTE Sports will be serviced by a highly experienced team of Territory Account Managers and Ben Stowe will serve as the Brand Manager in the UK.

Matt Harrison, OTE Managing Director, said ‘ZyroFisher is renowned for being the leading distributor of cycling parts, accessories and clothing in the UK and Ireland. This partnership is a natural step in the growth of our brand and the support of ZyroFisher will enable us to maximise our potential in the market’.

Ian Calvesbert, ZyroFisher Commercial Director, said; ‘We are extremely pleased that OTE Sports has chosen ZyroFisher as their distribution partner in the UK and Ireland. As a young and growing company, OTE Sports are helping to make using sports nutrition simpler and we are looking forward to working with them to help consumers fuel, perform and recover better.’

Initial stock will be available from ZyroFisher from January 2017.

Posted in: General

Top Tips To Break Down Barriers to Fuelling Whilst Training in Winter

Winter is often the time to try and get long miles in the bank in preparation for the next year. One thing that many people seems to neglect in winter is optimal fuelling, which usually ends  with the dreaded ‘bonk’, ‘blow up’ or ‘hitting of the wall’ that we think most cyclists can relate to. In summer, grovelling home because you under fuelled never seems too much of an issue when you are warm with a bit of sun on your back. However, in winter it can be a different story, the stuff of nightmares, when the lights go out and you’re a long way from home.

Staying on top of optimal fuelling in winter is of the highest importance, not only to help with your training adaptions but also for maintenance of your immune function. For more detail on effective fuelling during winter training then click here, but for now, here are some top tips to help break down any barriers you may have to fuelling whilst out training in winter.

1. Make sure the food that you take with you is easy to open or already open. The whole thick gloves, tough packaging situation is an age old excuse for under fuelling on a ride and we aren’t buying it.


2. Choose foods that aren’t going to be affected by the low temperature for example hard packed cereal bars can become a bit of mission to eat, try energy gels, bananas, small jam sandwiches or our Anytime Bars.

3. Make sure your food is easy to get to. Being in your back pocket but under lots of layers of winter kit can make it a real challenge to find. Why not try stuffing a few pieces of food up the front of your jersey making for much easier access, especially if the pace of the ride is high.


4. Think long and hard about your glove selection: a thick glove can be warm but not always practical when trying negotiate fuelling whilst riding. It can also be a good idea to take a spare pair of gloves in your back pock on those cold & wet days. That change of gloves mid ride can be a real morale booster and keeps frozen fingers at bay making it much easier to get your food.


5. Try making up your bottles with warm water before the start. This just helps delay the inevitable ‘brain freeze bottle’ until a bit later into the ride.


6. Always take a bit of emergency money with you so if it all just gets too cold…you can get a nice warm drink in a café.


7. Remember: even though it is cold, we still sweat quite a bit under all our layers of kit, maybe even just as much as on a hot summers day. So as much as it’s not very tempting, force yourself to stay on top of hydration throughout your ride. Dehydration can negatively affect sporting performance and concentration, and no one wants that.

8. The winter roads can be a dirty place, and inevitably this gets all over your bottle. Before taking a swig think about wiping the top, and do you know where is (usually) the cleanest place to wipe it? Believe it or not, under your arm pit. Due to our riding positions this is normally the place that see’s the least muck and grime.


9. Contrary to popular belief we don’t actually burn more calories when exercising in the cold, not unless we start to shiver. However, what eating food can do is help you produce heat and warm up the body. So having a bit of something to eat every 30-40 minutes can be a good trick to help maintain your body temperature.


10. Getting cold can increase your appetite above normal levels, that is why we always feel so hungry in winter. Anticipate this by having good quality food in the cupboards for when you arrive home after training. Something like an OTE recovery shake is a much better way of curb that appetite compared to reaching for junk carbs like crisps and biscuits.

Posted in: General, Nutrition Advice

Winter Warmer- Spicy Carrot Soup

We have another Winter Warmer soup recipe for you try now the weather has turned a little chilly. This Spicy Carrot Soup has a nice warming kick to it from the spices, but nothing that will leave your mouth on fire. Enjoy on it’s own or with a few slices of seeded bread. 

Carrots are packed full of nutritional benefits. The beta-carotene content is associated with healthy levels of vitamin A in the body, which help keep your vision in tip top condition, strong immunity and general good health.


  • a drizzle of your prefered oil, i used rapeseed oil.
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 2 tsp of ground cummin
  • 1 tsp of coriander
  • 1 tsp ground ginger
  • 1 tsp paprike
  • A pinch of cayenne pepper (this depends on how hot you want it)
  • 100g of potato, cubed
  • 600g of peeled and chopped carrots
  • 1.2L of vegetable stock
  • Salt and pepper to season to taste.

In a large saucepan, heat the oil then add your onion and garlic to soften. Once soft, add all the spices and stir into the onions. Then add the carrots, potato and stock. 

Bring this to the boil then reduce the heat and cover the saucepan. Leave for 20-30 minutes or until the vegetables are soft when you stick a knife in. Then I used a hand blender to make the soup silky smooth, you can also use a food processor. This batch should give you enough for 4 servings, so you can freeze any left overs for another day. 

If you like the sound of this why not check out our Spinach and Green Lentil Soup recipe.

Posted in: General, Recipes

Sweet Treats without the Calories: Easy Chocolate Chia Seed Puddings

Calling all dessert enthusiasts and chocolate addicts, this recipe is for you!

These Chocolate Chia Seed Puddings are very simple to make, infact the hardest part is leaving them in the fridge long enough to set. This is a great alternative to chocolate mousse AND it’s healthy! Made from natural ingredients, dairy free, gluten free and only around 160kcal. Another thing we love about these puddings is that it satisfies that sweet tooth but also is quite filling, meaning you won’t be running back to the kitchen cupboards for more food. It can be an evening dessert, mid day snack or a delcious breakfast.

What is a Chia Seed? These tiny seeds have huge health benefits due to them containing fibre, omega-3 fats, protein, vitamins and minerals. They have been linked to health benefits such as promoting healthy skin, reducing signs of aging, supporting the heart and digestive system, building stronger bones and muscles.

This recipe makes 4 portions.

  • 360ml of Unsweetened Almond Milk
  • 60g of Chia Seeds
  • 5-6 pitted Medjool Dates
  • 4 tsp of Cocoa Powder
  • Pinch of salt
  • Top with Raspberries (or your favourite fruit)

Simply take the first 5 ingredients and place in a food processor or blender, and blitz until a smooth creamy consistency. Spoon into 4 small contaiers, we used small drinking glasses but small pots or jars can work better. Leave in the fridge overnight if possible, but 5 hours would work too. This just allows the chia seeds to absorb the moisture and create the desired consistency. Then top with the raspberries just before serving.


For more sweet treats without the calories check out the recipe section of our blog. Be sure to let us know how your baking is going and share any recipes with us.

Posted in: Recipes

Super Green Smoothies

We all know we need to have a rich variety of furit and vegetable in our diet; but sometimes this is more easier said than done. Our OTE Super Greens have been designed to help supplement a balanced diet and help hit that 5-7 portions of fruit and veg that sometimes a busy lifestyle doesn’t allow.

OTE Super Greens provide a rich source of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and amino acids that help to alkalize and maintain a healthy gut. One serving of OTE Super Greens provides a great and convenient way of supplementing your vegetable intake. Super Greens also give the body natural energy and can also be used to boost recovery after hard exercise. The alkalising affect helps to neutralize lactic acid build up and flush toxins away promoting faster recovery.

We wanted to come up with some yummy recipes to help you incorperate Super Greens in to your diet:

1. Simple Super Smoothie

This is a very easy smoothie, but one of our office favourites. The ingredients you will need to make one large serving or two small servings are:

  • One banana
  • 200ml of fresh apple juice
  • 100ml of Coconut Water
  • Two large handfuls of baby spinach
  • One scoop of OTE Super greens

Place all together in a blender or Nutribullet and blitz until smooth. Best served cold for a refreshing energy and immune boost.

Look out for more smoothie recipes coming soon or head to our recipe page for some healthy sweet treat alternatives.

Posted in: General, Recipes

Lessons Learnt: Season Review by Suzie Richards

Saturday 15th October saw me race the Challenge Paguera Mallorca 70.3 Triathlon.

A stunning race venue; nice warm sea, palm trees in transition, smooth Mallorca roads. It was a great end of season hit out.

This was my 3rd 70.3 race this year, and my aim was to put what I had learnt from the other two into practice, especially the nutrition lessons.

So, what had I learnt?

Race 1: The Freaky Events Equalizer 70.3 Triathlon took place on July 3rd 2016, based at Roadford lake in Devon. A two lap lake swim, a 2 lap 90km cycle on rolling Devon roads and finishing up with a 13.1mile (half marathon) off road run.

The key learning’s from this race:

1) I should have removed my front areo water bottle from the bike before turning it upside down to fix a mechanical. The OTE energy drink disappeared down the road.

2) If I finish the bike and start the run feeling very very thirsty and thinking “give me water, coke, energy drink, anything, now!” I have not taken on enough liquid during the bike.

3) It is very hard to recover from not taking on enough liquid and electrolytes during the early stages of a race, especially in warm weather.


Thankfully the run route had a good number of aid stations, handing out energy drink, water and coke. I took full advantage of this and somehow recovered from my lack of liquid on the bike.


Race 2: Weymouth Ironman 70.3 on September 11th 2016. My first 70.3 pro race and a 4th place finish. A great day at the seaside, culminating in some very sore legs.

I had the fear in me after the painful experience of The Devon Equalizer. I knew i needed to drink more on the bike than i had in that race.

It was great having the company of my friend and training buddy Eleanor Haresign, who had won the full distance race, 2 years previously. She showed me how to properly plan race nutrition

1) Sitting down the day before, with a course map and marking on where and what nutrition to take is invaluable. Knowing what aid stations on the bike route I would collect another drinks bottle from, where I would eat my OTE duo bar (you don’t want to plan to eat it at 45minutes in, only to find your on a big hill then, eat it before you hit the hill!) and by which point i should have finished my first bottle of OTE energy drink.

2) I filled a small 150ml bottle with OTE orange energy drink and placed it in my Run Transition bag, so when i put my trainers on and headed out on to the run, i grabbed it and sipped it over the first few minutes of running. This meant i wasn’t waiting for the first aid station before i took on board any liquid.

3) “Wow you are salty” Eleanor said ads she met me at the finish and helped me walk/stagger back to the car. She was right, my Raceskin Tri Suit was covered in white, Salt i had sweated out. Something to ask OTE nutritionist Annie about before the next race.


Race 3: Challenge Paguera Mallorca 70.3. My first challenge branded event and I was thoroughly impressive. A stacked Pro field of 20 lined up the beach to crash through the waves. I finished 15th, a tough day out, but one i am proud of for digging through the pain barrier on several occasions.

1) The salty question. Following Weymouth, I had gone down to the OTE performance centre and picked the brains of Annie to see if I could prevent this form happening. She explained that some people will always sweat more than others, and some are salty sweaters. It just means I need to be aware of taking on board liquid before an event, not just the morning of it but days before, keeping fully hydrating. Using OTE hyrdo tabs really helps hydration. So in the days leading up to the race, i deliberately always had a water bottle with a hydro tab by my side, sipping away on it.

2) This was going to be a hot race and with a rough sea swim and hilly bike I needed to fuel sufficiently. On visiting OTE the week before, nutritionist Annie had told me ” You triathletes always under fuel” so I was determined to take on enough liquid and gels.

I had found carrying water bottles in the bottle cage behind my seat awkward in terms of reaching behind and getting them out, I realised it wasn’t reaching them that was the issue but the bottles were super snug in the cage so needed a very forceful tug. So i experimented with different bottles and found a thinner one worked a lot better, slipping out without to much issue. This meant i was confident to carry 2x 750ml bottles on my bike, one on the front in between my aerobars and one behind my seat, which i squirted into my front bottle once that one was empty. I then replaced the empty back bottle with a full one at an aid station.

3) For some reason, my body did not want to take on any food, I may have been pushing it too hard in the heat, but every time i took a gel, it promptly reemerged on my top tube, nice! After a bit of experimenting I realised it would stay down if i combined gel with water.

The hot weather and hilly nature of the course, showed me that your nutrition has to vary slightly for each race, to take account of the different conditions.


Each race brings good lessons and each race allows you to build of that learning and put it into practice.

 That brings 2016 season to a close for me. 7 races done; 3 wins (Slateman, Leeds WTS and Snowdonia triathlon) 2 podiums (Castle Howard and The Equalizer) and 2 Pro 70.3 races (Weymouth and Mallorca).


Thank you OTE for all the help and advice, I look forward to 2017

Suzie @

Posted in: General, Nutrition Advice, OTE Fuelled Athletes

Our OTE Training Camp Recce

So hopefully you have heard about the new OTE Training Camp taking place in March 2017 in the cycling haven of Mallorca. From the humble beginnings of Sports Nutrition to our Performance Centre & Altitude Chamber, our new training camp venture just adds another string to the OTE bow. We do A LOT more than just sell energy gels.

So last week we packed our bike bags and jumped on the red eye flight from Leeds Bradford to Mallorca. The trip was part recce for the training camp, part out of office planning time for 2017 but also part celebration for a successful 2016. For the cyclo-cross racers in the team, this also could act a good little training block for up and coming races. Although this was much to the dismay of the rest of the team, when more ofthen than not, we found ourselves lined out behind Jack cracking on at 45kph.

We were staying in Port de Pollenca, a small costal town in the north of the island, a short ride from Alcudia harbour which will be the base for the OTE Training Camp. We set about trying out many of the local coffee stops (and ok, ice cream stops too) so we have a fair few earmarked for next March.

Mallorca as a cycling destination has a lot to offer. You have the mountains, where you can take in the epic climbs that many of the pro riders train on pre race season. You can also head south and take in many of the minor flat lanes, an easy way to clock up the miles. All this, in sunshine. For October, to be in shorts and jersey and soaking up some Vitamin D, well it sure did put a smile on our faces . We took on the infamous switch back climb of Sa Calobra, with bragging rights at stake at the top. In contrast, we also clocked up 140km during our flatter ride to San Salvador, again with bragging rights on offer for the Port de Pollenca town sign sprint (Note: Bragging rights competition not compulsory part of OTE Training Camps, we are just a VERY competitive office). No matter which way you head, the island is never short of a cracking view and a good coffee stop.

Some long hours on the bike also offered up a perfect product testing opportunity. Our new Cherry and Cocoa Nib Anytime Bar flavours were a staple in our back pockets, along with Hydro Tabs in our bottles and the odd 100mg Caffeine Rocket Fuel Gel to take the sting out of the tail end of each ride; a god send for the ascent of Sa Calobra.

We are even more excited about the OTE Training Camp next year and really hope you can join us. For all the information you need just head to the website. We have already had a fantastic response and places are being booked up all the time so don’t delay in making your enquiry.

Posted in: General

Weak Glutes? Why Strengthening Isn’t the Answer

By Sarah J Pitts of Most Motion

If you’ve been a member of a sports or fitness club for any length of time and you’ve picked up the odd niggly injury or two, it’s quite likely that you’ve been told that you have weak glutes. It also quite likely that you’ve been given a few exercises to strengthen them.

But wait! What if strengthening them wasn’t actually the best way to fix the problem?

What if strengthening your glutes would actually make the problem WORSE?

If you’ve been told you have weak glutes and you’re ready for a different approach, then read on, because a brand new solution to this age-old problem lies within!

I have 3 main issues with strengthening as a solution to the weak glutes problem. The first is that

The Perceived Weakness is Actually a Restriction

What do I mean by this? Well, there’s a big difference between a weak muscle and the restricted function of one. Let me demonstrate:

Keep looking at the screen with both eyes, now cover one eye up with your hand. Is the covered eye weaker or just restricted? If you train the covered eye to be stronger, will it give you better eyesight? Of course not! In order to restore your eyesight, you’d need to remove your hand from covering your eye up (which you can do now by the way, if you haven’t already!).

So, if your glutes are, in fact, restricted not weak, how did this happen and what can you do about it?

Your glutes (your buttocks) and hip flexors (the area around the crease of your hip) always work together and given that our western lifestyle often has us sitting, driving, bending forwards and lifting in front of our bodies, it is very common practice for the hip flexors to get too tight. When this happens they get short which pulls the glutes into a lengthened position. As the hip flexors are so tight they cannot lengthen easily, the glutes get stuck in the lengthened position and cannot shorten easily.

Until the hip flexors are able to lengthen, the glutes will continue to struggle to shorten, which is why the glutes are often diagnosed as being ‘weak’. Fortunately, there’s a really simple exercise you can do in this video to help lengthen the hip flexors. It doesn’t require any kit, you won’t need to warm up and anyone, with any level of movement can do it! Check out the video here.

The second issue I have with strengthening as a solution to weak glutes is

The Glutes Are Doing a Different Job

When the hip flexors get tight and short, the glutes are pulled long and as a result go tight, but they do this in order to stabilize the hip joint. Any distraction from this job, such as isolated strengthening exercises, may eventually lead to a compromise of the stability of the joint and further injury.

In the same way, continued repetition of activities such as cycling, driving, gardening, squatting, deadlifting and others that encourage the shortening of the hip flexors, especially at the expense of the lengthening of the hip flexors will put further strain on the already lengthened glutes which may lead to injury.

Fortunately, we can be sneaky and encourage the lengthening of the hip flexors and the same time as allowing the glutes to shorten, but most importantly, not distracting the body from it’s task of stabilizing the joint. This gives the body confidence in allowing the changes required as the stability of the joint is not compromised in any way.

You can use the exercise in this video to try this new approach for yourself

The third issue I have with strengthening as a solution to weak glutes is that

Strengthening Can Make Your Issue Worse

We have already seen how the glutes are restricted in their function and focused on doing a different job. As they are stuck long and tight, it is very hard work for your body to then try and shorten them as it must fight against the restriction and tension of the shortened hip flexors. This goes against one of the most important laws of nature which is the law of the conservation of energy.

Every living thing is pre-programmed to find the quickest and easiest way to do anything. It’s why squirrels horde nuts, it’s why bears hibernate and it’s why human bodies will cheat at movement at every opportunity.

To force your body to do something that fights against this law will certainly lead to problems eventually.

To solve this problem, it is better to use movements that encourage the use of the entire range of motion and requires the involvement of the whole body at once, like the example in this video.

Using this different approach, the hip flexors and the glutes are taken through a range of motion that encourages the shortening and lengthening of both muscle groups simultaneously. This provides the stability that your body requires and will facilitate the restoration of optimal joint function by working with the natural instincts and capabilities of your body, rather than fighting against them.

This is the reason that this method of mobility training and rehabilitation is more effective as a long term solution than strengthening the supposedly weak glutes.

Now that you have dabbled in this different approach to mobility training and injury rehabilitation, I’d like to invite you to come and join my FREE online community group at In the group you’ll get access to my LIVE video show, all your questions answered and much, MUCH more!

So come on over now and join us!


Thanks for the insight Sarah, find out more about ‘The Wiggle’ here

Posted in: General

How to Fuel an Ironman

An Ironman is one of the most demanding endurance events out there, pushing the body to its absolute limits over three different disciplines. An Ironman isn’t just something you roll up to with no preparation. In fact it takes months of training and planning to get it right, and nutrition is one of the areas that requires planning.


The best breakfast before such a big event is one that is high in carbohydrates but also includes a portion of protein to slow down digestion so you don’t feel hungry on the start line. Consuming this around 2-3 hours before the start, should allow the food enough time to settle in the stomach. Above all this needs to be something that you are familiar with and trialled in training; don’t be making drastic changes on race day.

Top Breakfast Ideas:

  • A large bowl of porridge made with milk, topped with a chopped banana or your favourite dried fruits and nuts. Add some extra protein by have a large spoonful of greek yogurt on top.
  • Glass of fresh fruit juice, will help provide more calories and aid hydration.
  • A coffee because Ironman event usually start early and you might need this to wake you up. Don’t worry though, coffee does not dehydrate you like once believed and so feel free to have a cup prior to the event.

Before the race

In the time between breakfast and race start the main aim is to keep hydrated, in fact this is something that needs to be considered in the days leading up to the event. Sipping an OTE hydro tab little and often in the days and hours before the event will ensure you start the event fully hydrated.

Did you know? As little as 2% loss of body weight due to dehydration can negatively affect your sporting performance. So don’t start the race on the back foot by being dehydrated.

Hydration status cannot be reversed in a few hours, in fact it can take a few days to get fully on top of hydration. Keep checking your urine colour and aim for a light straw colour.
You may want to consume an snack an hour before the event, but if so keep it light. Something like an Anytime Bar, jam sandwich or banana would be a good idea.

During the race

This is the section that requires the most planning. During an ironman you want to aim to consume 60-90g of carbohydrates per hour.

Did you know? Our body stores carbohydrates in our muscles and liver, but these stores are limited and get used up during exercise. When we run out of carbohydrates we start to burn fat for energy, which might sounds great, but when exercising at any sort of intensity it isn’t beneficial. Without sufficient carbohydrates stores, the intensity we can perform at decreases dramatically that is why one of the main aims during the event is to keep these stores topped up.

So for a 10 hour Ironman, and an aim of 70g of carbohydrates per hour you would need to consume 700g within the race.
But there are few more considerations you need to take into account:

  • What is being provided along the course in feed stations?
  • How often is it available?
  • Do I get on with the nutrition provided on course?

Remember not all nutrition products are equal in nutritional content. The below is true when using OTE Sports products:

10 hours Ironman x 70g/hour= 700g

  • Energy Gel x 6 = 120g
  • Caffeine Gel x 5 = 100g (+250mg caffeine)
  • Duo Bar x 2 = 80g
  • Energy Drink x 5 = 400g*

*800ml mixed with 80g of energy drink in the bottle.

Depending on how long it takes you to do each leg, here is an idea on how this could be split:

Swim: It is very difficult to fuel during the swim. Try having an energy gel 10 minutes before the start.

Transition 1: Time for another gel and a quick mouthful of water before getting on the bike.

Bike: During this leg aim to consume 4 x 800ml of energy drink, 2 duo bars, 2 energy gels and 2 caffeine gels. Spread the intake out evenly, never going too long before having a sip of drink. Aim to consume half an duo bar or gel every 30 minutes, saving the caffeine gels for the later part of the bike.

Transition 2: Time for another big gulp of water and another energy gel, before moving on to the run.

Run: During this there are 2 more energy gels, 3 caffeine gels and the final bottle of energy drink to consume. I would also advise having some water as well from feed stations, especially if it’s a hot day. Again the idea is to split these up evenly during the run.

This may seem like a lot of sports nutrition but OTE Sports designs their products to be pH neutral and so kind on the stomach over such a long period of time.
Total calories consumed during an Ironman can be in the region of 6000-8000kcal. From consuming the above you will have taken on board just over 3000 kcal, your fat stores will also contribute around 1750kcal to this total, but inevitably you will be left in a calorie deficit. This leads us on to recovery.

Post Race Recovery

As soon as the event finishes it is important to consider nutrition for recovery. An OTE Recovery drink containing both protein for rebuilding muscles, carbohydrates to replenish your stores and fluid to aid rehydration are perfect for this. Aim to consume within 30 minutes of finishing as this is seen as the ‘window of opportunity’ to kick start the recovery process. Chances are you will probably not willingly want to consume this, but it is a case of needs must.

Nutrition going forward

Unfortunately recovery shakes aren’t miracle workers, and it is only the first (albeit very important) step to recovery. After the event look to consume small meals/ snacks every 3-4 hours. Make sure these both consume a portion of carbohydrates and a 20-25g serving of protein. The idea being that you are slowly providing your body in manageable amounts of food to be used in the recovery process.

Snack ideas could be:

  • A bagel with cream cheese and ham
  • A tuna pasta pot
  • Bowl of granola with greek yogurt
  • High protein smoothie
  • Chicken and Cous cous salad

All that’s left to say is Good Luck if you are taking on an Ironman and don’t underestimate the importance of nutrition on the big day. 

Posted in: General, Nutrition Advice

How OTE help fuel Ian Fields Training Camp

For my final Cyclo-cross season preparation I have travelled to Girona, Spain. The camp is far enough out from the racing to put in a real big work load yet close enough to really begin focusing on specific ‘Cross workouts. This means the overall training load is one of the biggest at any point in the year for me. During this time there are a number of key area influencing my performance and recovery, the main one for me being nutrition. Get nutrition wrong and it can lead to all sorts of problems not only on the camp but afterwards, this can then snowball into bigger problems and really affect your upcoming race season.

Fuelling each individual workout correctly so you get the most out of it is obviously a main focus, this is where I really make the most of some of the OTE Sports products.

On a number of days I ride to the gym, perform a strength based workout then it’s straight out onto the bike for a few more hours of intervals. The convenience of the protein bar is great, it means straight after the gym I can get a 22g hit of protein when my body needs it. Not having to make up a shake and carry it around with me, or wait until after both sessions for my first bit of protein.

On the bike the temperature has been getting up to 33-34 degrees celsius, so pretty damn hot. This can make eating tricky as more often than not you don’t feel that hungry. The other area you have to be aware of is drinking the correct amount. Too much water and you can end up flushing out your system of the important salts, while not drinking enough can lead to dehydration and again a loss of performance. This is where the OTE energy gels have been really useful, not only do they contain carbohydrates and therefore energy which is easy on the stomach but they also provide electrolytes (those salts). Two birds, one stone springs to mind. Of course I don’t do the entire training time on gels so the Duo Bars provide the majority of carbs needed out on the bike when performing my high intensity workouts.

Filling water bottles up along the way from the many outside taps is important even if it’s just to get cold water in your bottle rather than the warm stuff you end up with after a couple of hours riding. I normally have one bottle dedicated to just plain water and the other I use the OTE Hydro tabs in. A small tube of them in my pocket means I can refill with electrolytes along the way.

After training I have been using the new Super Protein product which I am finding really works well. I couple this with normally a high carb meal after training which means immediate recovery is totally taken care of easily within the 30 minute window which is so important. The advantage of the products mentioned is the quick and easy use of them, meaning when I am tired after 5hrs of training in the heat, it isn’t a chore to worry about my recovery.

The final product I have been using on the camp is the Fish Oils before bed. I have always used them and like the product as 1) I am not that keen on eating lots of oily fish and 2) the research behind the product is very positive for recovery and general health. With the stress a training camp can put your body through, all the little steps to stay healthy become so important.

I am sure my training and whole day would be a hell of a lot harder without the OTE products, I would have to be so much more organised and waste precious energy on food prep that somewhere along the way something would have to give. I have 4 more days of hard training on my schedule and I am looking forward to reaping the rewards of working hard come the Cross season.

Wish me luck


Posted in: General, Nutrition Advice, OTE Fuelled Athletes