Friday, March 31, 2017

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Bear Komplex 7mm Knee Sleeves Review — Did the Four Seam Design Fit?

Bear Komplex makes supportive knee sleeves and other gear (belts, bands, hand grips) targeted towards functional fitness athletes, all offered in various designs and colors. While these sleeves were introduced to functional fitness athletes initially, they have made their way into the strength and power sports. Their knee sleeves also have four seams and four panels, which is pretty rare among neoprene compression gear.

I snagged a pair of these sleeves and was eager to put these sleeves to the test during heavier weightlifting sessions and share my experiences and feedback. 

In this article I’m reviewing the Bear Komplex 7mm knee sleeves.


The Bear Komplex 7mm knee sleeves are the standard thickness (7mm) for most recreational and competitive power, strength, and fitness athletes. Similar to other 7mm sleeves on the market, these are supposed to offer joint warmth and compressive support for squats, lunges, snatches, cleans and jerks, and other strongman and lifting movements.

The sleeves offer a good range of support for most lifters, however, when compared to other 7mm knee sleeves on the market, to me they felt a bit more rigid and provide more joint warmth (at the expense of flexibility). For lifters looking for supportive yet still somewhat flexible sleeves, these could be a good option, however for athletes looking to transition them on and off or move more during fast-paced WODs, these may offer slightly less flexibility and movement than other sleeves on the market.

Bear Komplex Knee Sleeves Stability

That said, I personally liked the added rigidity of these sleeves during heavy training (squats, strongman movements, and ballistic Olympic lifts), and didn’t notice too much movement impedance during WODs.

Comfort and Fit

The sleeves come in a range of colors and designs, and are offered in both 5mm 7mm options.

The Bear Komplex 7mm knee sleeves sizing was comparable to other 7mm knee sleeves that I have reviewed as well a trained/competed in (see the video for my complete measurement and sizing breakdowns). That said, I did notice they were more of a snug fit, especially putting them on and taking them off, however that could be due to me wearing pants (although other sleeve options with pants didn’t have as much as an issue).

Additionally, the increased rigidity did make me think there may be a bit of a “breaking in” period with the sleeves.

Bear Komplex Knee Sleeves Sizing

Unlike other 7mm knee sleeves, these sleeves were comprised of four (4) seams, two down each side. The seams were constructed in a countered fashion, allowing for very tapered fit, making them comfortable while on and allowed them to stay in place better. I did not notice any excessive material of bulk due to the added seams as well, making the design of these knee sleeves unique and appealing to many lifters who may struggle with finding a good fitting sleeve.

With that said, I did find that these sleeves kept my knees warm, provided a snug, contoured fit, and were a good balance between support and comfort for most of my training. The exception however, would be for lifters looking for a slightly more flexible and less supportive sleeve (such as beginners or those experimenting with wearing sleeves during general fitness workouts); there may be other 7mm knee sleeves on the market that fit their needs.


The Bear Komplex 7mm knee sleeve has demonstrated good stiffness and flexibility during most of my weightlifting, strongman, and general hypertrophy training. The 7mm neoprene has remained intact, showing little signs of wear and tear, with the four seam construction holds up and offers a snug fit and feel.

I found the material to be very similar to other 7mm knee sleeves on the market, however I did enjoy the contoured fit and style of the sleeve, and the added design and color combinations is a nice pop of attitude to mix into your training life.


I have lifted in many similar knee sleeves for years, competing in powerlifting, weightlifting, and functional fitness competitions. The durability of these sleeves has been similar to most other 7mm knee sleeves on the market. The sleeves seem to be pretty durable given they provide a snug fit and stay in place during most workouts.


The price for the Bear Komplex 7mm knee sleeves (sold in pairs, so two sleeves) are $49.98, which is pretty on par with similar 7mm knee sleeves on the market.

Bear Komplex Knee Sleeves Price

For more advanced lifters looking for the utmost knee support and stability (although may sacrifice movement and flexibility of the sleeve), there are other 7mm knee sleeve options that may be better, both in this price range as well as at a slightly more expensive price point.

Final Thoughts

The Bear Komplex 7mm knee sleeves offered support and compression while still allowing for fuller range of motion movements such as functional fitness WODs, lunges, and higher rep based training. They’re mid-range for supportiveness; more supportive than about half of the 7mm knee sleeves I’ve tried, and bordering on supportive to the point of restricting movement (but not quite, in m y experience). 

Personally, I have found these sleeves to offer support during heavy and high volume squat cycles, snatches, and heavy cleans similarity to some of my other top rated sleeves. Additionally, I have found them useful for general joint warmth and compression support without breaking the bank.

The added colors and designs also allow for some extra flair, which may or may not be your thing. Nonetheless, it’s a solid pair of knee sleeves for most recreational and avid power, strength, and fitness athletes.

The post Bear Komplex 7mm Knee Sleeves Review — Did the Four Seam Design Fit? appeared first on BarBend.

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

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LivingFuel SuperGreens Review — Why Does It Cost So Much?

It’s not often we see a supplement with this many claims, though the one that leaps out the most from its packaging is, “the most powerful, high-impact, life changing whole meal superfood in existence.” What else does LivingFuel’s SuperGreens promise?

Then there are these promises: “Use it and you will experience a new level of energy, vitality and performance,” “can help boost energy levels, stabilize blood sugar, optimize weight, build muscle and detoxify your body” and finally, “everything your body needs.”

Did LivingFuel’s product live up to the hype?


They’re helpfully separated into eight clear cut categories: Superfoods, Enzymes, Probiotics, Amino Acids, Herbs, Antioxidants, Vitamins, and Minerals.

The “Superfoods” blend includes barley grass leaf, spinach, kale, broccoli, dulse, kelp, and chia seeds. There are six digestive enzymes; 7.5 billion probiotics from three strains; the Amino Acids are comprised of glutamine, leucine, and taurine; the Herbs contain astragalus, milk thistle, turmeric, and ginkgo biloba. The Antioxidants include Quercetin, green tea catechins, and grape seed extract.

LivingFuel SuperGreens Nutrition

Then we arrive at the vitamins and minerals, which appear to have been added in their isolated forms. I’ll delve into this in more details below, but they include hefty amounts of all the biggest hits: Vitamins A, C, D, E, K, most of the B-Vitamins, magnesium, calcium, and zinc are all present in very high amounts.

But I should emphasize that the calories and serving size are gigantic compared to other greens powders, in part because this is intended to double as a protein shake: one serving is two scoops that total 265 calories, 4.6 grams of fat, 27 grams of protein, 24.5 grams of carbohydrates, and 10.5 grams of fiber.


Proudly free from sweeteners, LivingFuel is very earthy and nutty (although it’s also nut-free). I’d liken it to the taste of sacha inchi nut, a South American nut that’s relatively popular among both vegans and ketosis fans: it’s a little like defatted peanut butter without the sugar. It’s earthy, nutty, and a little bitter. The good thing is that it doesn’t taste like the sea vegetables and grasses that are present in high quantities, the bad news is that unless you like bold, earthy flavors, you probably won’t be a fan.

The product itself recommends dropping it into smoothies or milks, which I’d recommend too.

LivingFuel SuperGreens Taste


OK, it is probably pretty effective. What I really like is that it puts numbers behind its claims; instead of saying it’s high in something, it tells you how high its serving is.

To start with, it includes its ORAC rating — a tool used to measure antioxidant content — and it comes in at 82,800, more than six times the antioxidants found in a cup of blueberries. That’s the highest I’ve ever seen, even higher than ORAC-Energy Greens.

It also quantifies its probiotics with 7.5 billion per serving, which is about the middle of the road as far as what most greens powders offer. That said, a lot of greens powders don’t actually tell you how many probiotics they have, so I appreciate that LivingFuel went to the trouble of measuring its serving.

As far as vitamins and minerals go, this product really stands out. One serving (which, at half a cup, is enormous) provides more than 8,000 percent of the recommended daily intake of Vitamin B12; 600 percent of your Vitamin K; 500 percent of your B6; about 300 percent of your Vitamins B1, B2, E, and manganese;  200 percent of your Folate; 167 percent of your Vitamins A and D; and about 100 percent of your selenium, zinc, magnesium, and Vitamin A.

There’s more nutrition than that, but those are the biggest hits. The large serving size, high protein level, and extreme amount of nutrition reminds me of its competitors Shakeology and Kylea’s Total Living Drink Greens, which have similar benefits but are a little cheaper.

LivingFuel SuperGreens Review


Remember that the serving size is big, so a thirty-ounce tub provides just 12 servings for about $68, which comes to $5.66 per serving.

That’s really, really, really expensive. Personally, I’d just take one scoop at a time, which would still deliver an extraordinary amount of nutrition at half the cost. Even then, it would cost $2.83 per scoop, which is still really expensive for a greens powder. But it’s not so outrageous for one of the bulkier, higher-protein, meal-replacement greens powders like Shakeology ($4.33/serving) and Kylea’s Total Living Drink Greens ($3.33/serving).

The Takeaway

First, the obvious: this does not provide everything your body could possibly need. LivingFuel has a great product here, but I don’t think they needed to venture so far into hyperbole.

But nutritionally speaking, it’s great. Everything is quantified: the vitamins, the minerals, the probiotics, even the antioxidants. You can pick this up, look at what it contains, and decide if it will give you what you need. That sounds like something any supplement should do, but it’s very rare among greens powders.

I liked this product. The marketing should be toned down, but it goes above and beyond its competitors. Take half a serving at a time, and it might even be affordable.

The post LivingFuel SuperGreens Review — Why Does It Cost So Much? appeared first on BarBend.

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Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Nested Naturals Super Greens Review

Nested Naturals has a different vibe to a lot of other greens powders: it tries hard to convey transparency and social responsibility. It’s certified by Good Manufacturing Practices, it’s third party tested, and they donate a portion of their profits to the non-profit organization Vitamin Angels, which combats malnutrition around the world.

The site is also refreshing in that it clearly states that this is not intended to replace a healthy intake of vegetables, it’s meant to supplement a healthy intake of vegetables with extra micronutrients. So let’s check out the ingredients.


There are more than twenty organic ingredients split up into six categories: an “Alkalizing Blend” that includes the usual barley grass, wheat grass, spirulina and chlorella; a “Fiber Blend;” an “Antioxidant Blend” that includes beet root powder, bee pollen, broccoli extract, green tea powder, and berries; an “Immunity Blend” of echinacea, concentrated royal jelly, and milk thistle; a “Probiotic Blend” of six strains of probiotic bacteria; and an “Enzyme Blend” of six kinds of digestive enzymes.

While you get the weight of each category, you don’t know that of the individual ingredients. This could be frustrating for folks who buy the product for the royal jelly or the milk thistle, but would also like to know if they’re getting an effective dose of the ingredients. (For the record, milk thistle is usually dosed at about 100mg three times per day. In Super Greens, it’s the last ingredient in a 200mg blend of four herbs. Super Greens is meant for once-a-day usage. The math doesn’t seem to add up to an effective dose.)

Super Greens is also very proud to include “truebroc,” which is displayed front and center on the label. It refers to an antioxidant called glucoraphanin, found in broccoli, that they say is particularly effective at combating inflammation and oxidation.

One scoop contains 35 calories, 1 gram of fat, 4 grams of carbohydrates, 2 grams of fiber, and 2 grams of protein.

Nested Naturals Super Greens Ingredients


It’s not that good, but it’s not as repellent as a lot of greens powders. (Faint praise, I know.) It’s not far from the grassy, dirty taste of products like Ormus Super Greens, but it’s just palatable enough that it reminds me more of bran. It tastes like raisin bran without the raisins or added sugar. It’s not fun, but if you like whole grain cereal, you won’t wince when you drink it.


One thing I like about Super Greens is that the website is emphatic that this is not a replacement for vegetables on your plate — it’s intended to “give you a boost of micronutrients found in raw leafy greens” instead.

That’s great! So what are the micronutrients?

Well, the nutrition label is pretty short. Here’s what it says, along with the percentage of the recommended daily intake it provides: Vitamin A (9 percent), Vitamin C (46 percent), calcium (3 percent), iron (11 percent), and sodium (2 percent).

This is all the vitamins and minerals that can be found on this health supplement’s label. The Vitamin C and the iron aren’t half bad, but they’re not especially impressive either. This product is pretty adamant that it provides a very significant amount of antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals. It doesn’t do anything to convince me.

What about truebroc? Isn’t that meant to be a really potent antioxidant? Well, that’s what the website says. But what’s the antioxidant content of a serving of Super Greens? What’s it equivalent to, as far as servings of fruits and vegetables? Does it have an ORAC rating, which is usually considered the best way to measure antioxidant potency? Nope. I do not know if this is a good source of antioxidants.

Now, it does contain 1.5 billion probiotics from six strains of bacteria, and while that isn’t actually very much (some contain up to 25 billion), it’s a nice addition which, along with the digestive enzymes, should improve nutrient absorption and provide a little boost to digestive health.

But as a vitamin, mineral, and antioxidant supplement, to me it falls a bit flat.

Nest Naturals Super Greens Price


It’s $25 for 30 servings, or about 83 cents per serving. That’s super cheap! But Amazing Grass is cheaper and provides more vitamins. Ormus Supergreens is cheaper and provides more probiotics. Macro Life Greens is cheaper and provides more vitamins and more probiotics. Then again, they don’t try quite as hard to be socially responsible.

Compare Nested Naturals with Athletic Greens ($4.23/serving), Kylea’s Total Living Drink Greens ($3.33/serving), Onnit’s Earth Grown Nutrients ($2.30/serving), Organifi Green Juice ($2/serving), Patriot Power Greens ($1.96/serving), Emerald Balance ($1.30/serving), Green Vibrance ($1.08/serving), ORAC-Energy Greens ($1/serving), PharmaFreak Greens Freak ($1/serving), Macro Life Greens ($0.72/serving), Sun Warrior’s Supergreens ($0.55/serving), and Amazing Grass’s Green Superfood ($0.52/serving).

The Takeaway

Nested Naturals tries hard with its social responsibility, relaxed language, and low price, and while it is outstanding insofar as the information it provides about its corporate workings, it doesn’t do enough as a nutritional supplement to separate itself from the pack. At the very least, I expect a supplement that claims to be a great source of antioxidants and micronutrients to disclose its antioxidant and micronutrient content.

The post Nested Naturals Super Greens Review appeared first on BarBend.

3 Performance Boosting Tips Strongman Athletes Forget

How to Succeed in Weightlifting: Don’t Make Bad Meets Worse

In mid-March I attended the first of the American Open Series Competitions in Reno, NV, where I was able to witness our new webcast process in action. If you haven’t heard yet, BarBend has partnered with USA Weightlifting as their new media partner.

During this competition, I was given the opportunity to commentate a few sessions for BarBend along with 2-time Olympian (2004, 2008), Chad Vaughn. Chad and I saw some incredible lifting during these sessions; new American Records set and two female double body weight clean & jerks within minutes of each other. We also witnessed some new faces, impressive up-and-coming lifters, and of course, the occasional bad day.

During one of the sessions, Chad and I had a short discussion on what it means to have a bad competition. If you compete in weightlifting long enough, those days are bound to happen. He noted that quite often bad competitions cannot be pin-pointed to any one circumstance, and we can only speculate from our commentary position as to what may be happening. In addition, we talked about how every competition, good or bad, is a learning experience.

The author with 2-time Olympian Chad Vaughn

Throughout my years competing and coaching weightlifting, these bad competitions are usually attributed to weight cut, illness, traveling stressors, or lack of sleep, but factors such as lifting with late start times, time zone differences and simply self-doubt can also play a role. However, I am not writing this article to tell you how to avoid bad competitions (that’s up to you and your coach), but I can give you a few tips I’ve discovered so you don’t make a bad meet worse.

1. Mind your opening attempt

Your opening attempt should be one you are confident making under any circumstances. My coach, Cara Heads Slaughter, explains to her athletes that overreaching on your openers really does you a disservice in the end. Often times you miss and it’s a wasted attempt. If you do happen to make the lift, it doesn’t always give you a good start to build into a bigger number. If you attempt an opener too close to your personal best, you may only make that lift. Instead, choose a lower number and build your way into the bigger attempts and you will probably finish higher.

You are given three attempts, so use them all. Generally, in competitions where athletes enter with similar entry totals, the athlete that successfully completes the most lifts wins.  

2. Watch the tempo of the meet

Before working with Cara, I was coached by my husband, Jason. He was always watching for the tempo of the meet when timing my warm ups. Jason would not only count the attempts, but he would have a stopwatch and time them. He would watch for the average time it would take to complete a certain amount of lifts and use this to time my warm ups.

Sometimes, you enter meets where everyone is making their attempts, and it runs smoothly. Other times, there are lots of misses that make the meet run a little slower; additional two minute clocks and smaller changes to allow athletes to have more rest time. Jason would take the time into consideration and either split the difference so my warm ups would have a relatively equal amount of rest between them, or he would repeat a warm up attempt.

This past meet in Reno had a lot of technical stops, and Chad and I noted how hard it is to account for these, because you don’t know exactly how long they will last or how many will occur in one session – a good rule of thumb is to take a warm up attempt every 2 minutes.

Sam Poeth on her second clean & jerk attempt

Cara uses a different strategy that has the same effect. She builds in a repeat weight when writing your planned attempts that is somewhere in the middle of your warm ups (neither too light nor too heavy). This attempt can be used to smooth out any technical issues that you may be having, or it could be removed for time purposes if necessary. I’ve found this attempt to really build my confidence before moving into the heavier attempts, because it allows you the chance to really execute the details we have been working on in training.

3. Have a plan

No one loves a well organized plan more than myself. I really like to have an idea of what I am doing before I begin a task in all aspects of my life, but especially on meet day. However, sometimes things happen and you need to change the plan. Leading into Reno, Cara and I had taken every precaution to ensure I was recovered, even tracking my HRV levels (more on this in a future article), and because of this we followed our game plan rep for rep in the snatch. With the exception of my last snatch, it worked for us.

The night before, Chad and I watched less experienced lifters make mistakes that I felt like may have been avoidable in some cases. They would miss attempts and go up in weight regardless or try to force lifts that may be better choices for 2nd attempts. Chad mentioned that some athletes may have missed and gone up to give themselves more rest time, while others may have been sticking to their plan regardless of missing the attempts. I am a stubborn athlete myself, so I can see where they might want to try, but in my opinion, success gives you the confidence to have more success.

4. Change the plan

Change the game plan and give yourself the opportunity to be successful.

In the same American Open Series, by the time the clean & jerk came around, I was exhausted. I could blame it on altitude, or the time (I train in Alabama at sea level and it was something close to 1am my time when I took my clean & jerk attempts on the platform), but I’m not here to make excuses, because I knew these things before booking my plane ticket.

I knew about 3 warm up attempts in that the weights weren’t moving like they should, and I really had a mental battle with myself. I had a really strong training cycle leading into this competition, and the numbers I knew I could lift were swirling around in my mind. Regardless, I knew that my planned opener at 115kg wasn’t happening that day – at least not as an opener.

I can’t even express how thankful I am for Cara. Her personal experiences, overall knowledge of the sport, and calm approach really saved me that day. In the past, I would have ignored the warning signs and tried to force something that just wasn’t there, and I probably would have missed all three attempts. Cara went to the card table, looked at what my options were, and chose a weight that was in my wheelhouse for that day. Unfortunately, I missed my opener, but I came back to make my second and third attempts and I really had to work for both of them. Leading into this meet, the weights I made were ones I wouldn’t even have to think about, but that’s how it played out and I can honestly say that I left with no regrets.

I believe that whether you are a beginner in this sport or you’ve been lifting for years, bad competitions are going to eventually happen and sometimes for more reasons than we can understand. I’ve had some of my best training cycles followed up with my worst competitions and terrible training cycles followed by personal record performances. I think the most important thing is to believe in yourself, understand what you are capable of achieving, and remember that a bad performance doesn’t define you. The next competition is a fresh start and new chance at 6 attempts.

The post How to Succeed in Weightlifting: Don’t Make Bad Meets Worse appeared first on BarBend.

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Pete’s Paleo Review

Pre-made food delivery services are a popular option for people on-the-go or needing meals that are quick and reliable. Pete’s Paleo food service focuses on providing organic and fresh ingredients in pre-cooked dishes. They’re based in San Diego and recently opened a second facility in Atlanta. Pete’s makes an effort to deliver fresh organic and locally grown ingredients with each dish.

Pete’s Paleo also has a menu that changes every week, so you’re constantly getting different fresh ingredients. As a busy strength athlete, I was excited when we received our week’s worth of Pete’s Paleo meals. We tested each meal in multiple categories including: taste, appearance, nutrition, convenience, customizability, and price.


One of the main concerns I have when ordering pre-cooked meals is how they taste out of the bag or box they come in. Pete’s Paleo sends their dishes in individual bags with every ingredient individually wrapped. I liked this because you can heat each ingredient accordingly to your preferences. Sometimes when foods come bunched together they can get soggy faster, as opposed to individually packed ingredients.

From my experience, the meat Pete’s Paleo used had good texture and held up well. For example, the tri-tip steaks and mango glazed chicken were chewy, yet firm. They didn’t have the rubber type texture some meats can have coming out of a bag. The bag typically didn’t decrease a meat’s texture or taste, but I did find that the pork was a little more on the soft side, even though the taste was good. The curry braised pork cheeks was the softest meat I tried, which should be considered when you’re re-heating this type of meat or transporting it.

Pete's Paleo Taste

The vegetables didn’t have a heavy salt taste. Sometimes pre-cooked vegetables can have a heavy salt taste, which suggest they were previously frozen. I only found one vegetable that had a salty taste, and that was the sautéed spinach. Other vegetables like the carrots, roasted asparagus, and blanched broccoli tasted fresh with a firm texture. Out of all the vegetables I tried, my favorite was the roasted carrots. Pete’s carrots had a fresh taste and a good balance of firm and softness.

The carbohydrate aspect of each meal was the most likely to be inconsistent. Each ingredient had varied levels of consistency and texture, such as the sweet potatoes, spaghetti squash, and rutabaga. Each ingredient was tasty, but for a picky eater who cares about consistency, then foods like the rutabaga and sweet potatoes could be an issue. The rutabaga and sweet potatoes are pre-cooked and have to be re-heated, so keep that in mind if you’re worried about a food’s texture when prepping your meal. Texture aside, they taste fresh, which made up for their sometimes soft consistency.


I was impressed with how Pete’s Paleo meals plated after coming out of a bag. Some meals arrive and they look like a pile of ingredients that are hard to differentiate from each other. The bag the dish arrives in is small and easily portable, which is a big plus. One issue you can run into with this style of meal is how the ingredients hold up in bags. I tested this one day by coming into work and putting a meal in my backpack. I did this to test how it appeared after my morning commute.

Pete's Paleo Delivery

I found that this was completely dependent on the ingredient. Softer ingredients such as potatoes and pork were more likely to squish and become a little discombobulated. If your goal is to have a visually pleasing meal, then be conscious of your method of storage during transportation.

Other than that aspect, I thought each meal looked appetizing when plated after both a sauté or microwave prep.

Pete's Paleo Review

Pete’s Paleo Nutrition

One thing I like about Pete’s Paleo is how easy it is to find their meal’s nutrition. On the bag you’re provided with the ingredients, macronutrients, and calorie allotment. When you’re on-the-go the last thing you want to focus on is searching for nutrition information. Every meal clearly states what you’re getting and how much is in each dish.

I did find one downfall to Pete’s Paleo’s nutrition, and that has to do with the changing menu. If you’re someone who strives for consistency and wants the same thing day in and day out, then you’ll be hard pressed to find that with Pete’s. I found that meals varied in calorie allotments from 417-923, which were dependent on their ingredients. The pork meals were often higher in calories, which could be an issue for those dieting and needing lower or consistent caloric meals.

Pete's Paleo Nutrition

Pete’s Paleo Calories

As mentioned briefly above, calorie allotments vary from meal to meal. Similar to how the menu changes, so do the meal’s caloric totals. This could be an issue for those who need a consistent caloric allotment each and is counting on pre-cooked meals to do so. Meals that include chicken and lean meats like the mango glazed chicken (417 calories) and elk chili (513 calories) will be lower in caloric total. On the opposite side of the spectrum, meals that include fattier meat were much higher in calories like the braised brisket (702 calories) and the garlic lamb shoulder (923 calories).


The price varied depending on your needs. If you wanted the lowest meal plan option (five meals), then you can expect to pay between $115-123, which varied between having a subscription and not. For the largest meal plan or family size (five meals with four portion servings), then you can expect to pay between $304-324, again pending on a subscription and not. Below are Pete’s Paleo price tiers for each meal option.

Subscription One-Time Purchase
5-Meals – $115.62 5-Meals – $123.00
10-Meals – $177.66 10-Meals – $189.00
14-Meals – $234.06 14-Meals – $249.00
Family Plan – $304.56 Family Plan – $324.00
Vegetarian(10) – $121.26 Vegetarian(10) – $129.00


Pete's Paleo Price

This price was high compared to other paleo and health conscious food delivery services, but it could justified if your main concern is organic food. For those who want healthy food options without additives, soy, gluten, and dairy, then the price could make a little more sense. You’re paying a little extra for the quality ingredients each dish provides.


The ordering process is pretty simple. You go to the Pete’s Paleo website and choose the meal place you desire. If you order by Monday, then you’ll receive your next week’s meals by Friday. Order that are placed after Monday will arrive the following week with the subsequent weekly meals. This is cool because there was never a question as to when I was getting my meals if I followed their recommended timeline. In addition, most orders have shipping already included, so you don’t have to fret having an added fee upon purchase.

Pete’s Paleo ships via UPS air/ground depending on your location, and state that every package that includes meats (bacon) and meal plans arrives within 1-2 days. This is assuming you’ve placed your order within the above recommended timeline. They also offer a Next Day Air Saver option if you’re in need of your order by the next day.

Like other food services, they also offer a subscription service, which is pretty convenient if you’re committed to Pete’s weekly dishes. Their subscription saves you money in the long run, as opposed to one-time purchases with prices highlighted above. The box the meals arrive in is pretty large, so keep that in mind when selecting the address you want the meals to be dropped off at.


When selecting meal plans from Pete’s Paleo you’ll see they also offer a vegetarian option. This option comes with 10-meals and has a rotating menu, much like the meat oriented meals. The pricing is most comparable to the regular five-meal option and pricing starts at $121.26 for subscribers and $129.00 for one-time purchases.

Pete's Paleo Vegetarian


The meal customizability was one of my main concerns with Pete’s Paleo. Since the menu changes every week, you’ll be getting new foods with every dish. This is cool, but they leave very little room when selecting what these meals entail. They offer you a few questions such as, do you want pork, do you want duck, or do you want double protein. Other than those questions, there’s not a whole lot of customizability with their service.

If you’re a picky eater or calculated dieter, then you should keep this in mind. You’ll have to account for inconsistent macronutrients and caloric totals. On the flip side, the changing menu could technically be the definition of customizability, but from the cook’s perspective. You’ll be ensured you’re getting tasty, different dishes each meal, so you won’t dread eating the same thing everyday.

Is Pete’s Good for Weight Loss?

This is question that’s completely dependent on your goals and your needs. Pete’s meals include organic and locally grown options, which can help improve the food quality of a diet, but not necessarily weight loss. In addition, with the wide variances of caloric totals some might find it tough to maintain consistency with these meals. However, this might not be an issue for some who want Pete’s quality and have the ability to manipulate other aspects of their diet to accommodate the weekly changing menu.

Final Word

Pete’s Paleo is a good option for those looking for pre-cooked meals that are composed with organic and locally grown ingredients. Also, their changing weekly menu is a cool aspect that adds variety to every dish they create.

I did find a few issues for those who are concerned about caloric totals and are picky eaters. The wide variety of food options could be an issue for these two populations, and for those on a budget, as the food is generally more expensive than other fitness-focused meal delivery services.

All in all, I liked how the menu changed weekly and how each meal didn’t taste overly salty or preserved.

The post Pete’s Paleo Review appeared first on BarBend.

Eleiko 7mm Knee Sleeves Review

Eleiko is a very established manufacturer and brand in the strength and power sports world, most notable for their plates, platforms, and barbells. Additionally, they produce a wide range of supportive gear for lifters and athletes, such as; weightlifting belts, knee sleeves, wraps, and straps, just to name a few. As an avid weightlifter and strength athlete who is well aware of Eleiko, I was excited to put these knees sleeves the test and share my experiences and feedback.

In this article I’m reviewing the Eleiko 7mm knee sleeve.


The Eleiko 7mm knee sleeve is the standard thickness for most recreational and competitive power, strength, and fitness athletes, which offers a nice balance between stiffness and support with movement and flexibility. Similar to other 7mm sleeves on the market, these are supposed to offer joint warmth and compressive support for squats, lunges, snatches, cleans and jerks, and other strongman and lifting movements.

When compared to other 7mm knee sleeves on the market I felt that these knee sleeves offered a good amount of support and warmth to the knees, while also being a little less rigid, allowing me to move freely without noticing the sleeve too much.

I found the stiffness and rigidity to be slightly less than some other 7mm knee sleeves, however I didn’t really feel less supported. In fact, the added movement and flexibility of the sleeve was noticeable when compared to other, more rigid sleeves, allowing me to focus on the task at hand than the knee sleeve itself.

Eleiko 7mm Knee Sleeves Review

Personally, I found these sleeves to offer ample support and joint warmth for heavier movements, such as squats, clean & jerks, and snatches, while still allowing for more movement based segments such as lunges, air bike, and sleds.

When compared with other 7mm knee sleeves that I have reviewed and trained in, I found the Eleiko 7mm knee sleeves to be just as supportive yet slightly more flexible (not in a negative kind of way), ultimately making them a very balanced knee sleeve for lifters and athletes looking for ample support and joint warmth yet still full degrees of motion and flexibility.

With that said, lifters who may be more stationary in their training and competition, and/or are looking specifically for a more rigid knee sleeve, I feel there are other knee sleeves in this category that may be a better option.  

Comfort and Fit

The sleeves come in two straightforward colors (white or blue), both of which are 7mm of compression-based neoprene.

Eleiko 7mm Knee Sleeves Fit

The Eleiko 7mm knee sleeves sizing was comparable to other 7mm knee sleeves that I have reviewed as well as trained/competed in (see the video for my complete measurement and sizing breakdowns).

The sleeves offered a tapered fit, making it fairly easy to slide up and down in between sets and movements. The sleeve stays in place during most training sessions, and allowed for ballistic (snatch, clean, jerk) movements nicely.

I did notice at time the sleeves would slide down an inch or two, however that could be due to sweatier sessions and wearing pants.

Eleiko 7mm Knee Sleeves Sizing

With that said, I did find that these sleeves kept my knees warm while still allowing for some pretty fast paced and explosive movements. At times, the added warmth came with some pretty sweaty knee sleeves, which sometimes slides down the knee, necessitating a quick readjustment.


The Eleiko 7mm sleeve has demonstrated good stiffness and flexibility during most of my weightlifting, strongman, and general hypertrophy training. The 7mm neoprene has remained intact, showing little signs of wear and tear, with the single seam construction holds up and offers a snug fit and feel.

I found the material to be very similar to other 7mm knee sleeves on the market, however I did enjoy the contoured fit and style of the sleeve, as it had a nice fit with a modern and eye-catching design (a very crisp white or deep navy blue).


I have lifted in many similar sleeves for years, competing in powerlifting, weightlifting, and functional fitness competitions. The durability of these sleeves has been similar to most other 7mm knee sleeves on the market, and has been noticeably durable during longer training sessions and cycles when doing heavy squats, high intensity (% of 1rm) Olympic lifts, hypertrophy training, and even metabolic conditioning sessions (sleds, bike, etc).


The price for the Eleiko 7mm Knee sleeve is $47.00 for two sleeves (a complete pair). This price is half the price of one of the more well-known 7mm knee sleeve manufactures who sells only one sleeve for the same price. It’s a fairly good deal when compared to other 7mm sleeves for strength and power athletes.

Eleiko 7mm Knee Sleeves Price

Final Thoughts

The Eleiko 7mm knee sleeves offer a good amount of support and compression without sacrificing the ability to be flexible during more movement based and higher rep training.

Personally, I have found these sleeves to offer reliable support during heavy and high volume squat cycles, snatches, and heavy cleans, as well as be a great option for sleds and other conditioning based exercises. T

he price of these sleeves make them a very good option for lifters looking for a supportive and flexible sleeve to use for a magnitude of strength, power, and fitness sports.

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Monday, March 27, 2017

Is Arching in the Bench Press Unsafe or “Cheating?”

18 Year Old Joseph Pena Squats 1,025 lbs

Bodyweight Training for Strongman Athletes

We all get into lifting for different reasons. But for many it’s for the looks, whether that’s improving the look of their body or the desire to do impressive looking physical feats. How many started CrossFit after watching Mat Fraser busting out muscle ups like no one’s business or bodybuilding after seeing Arnold for the first time? Strongman is just the same, and most people come to our sport after watching the likes of Hafthor Bjornsson throwing kettlebells into orbit and pulling planes at the World’s Strongest Man.

And so it stands to reason that when said aspiring strongman first steps foot in the gym, he’s going to make a beeline for the biggest baddest piece of kit; I know I did. As long as our hero leaves injury free and eager to come back again that’s certainly no bad thing. The problem is if he continues to neglect the basics and focuses only on the money movements he’ll soon find himself in a world of trouble.


You don’t get any more basic than bodyweight movements, but they still get neglected by the vast majority of strength athletes. A big part of this is ego. While a larger athlete might be able to make bent over rows with 180kgs look easy, they could struggle to get one ropey pull up locked out. It can be hard to go back and work on the fundamentals when you’re the biggest baddest lifter in your gym on the big lifts. But put that fear aside and work on these simple movements, reap the rewards and get even stronger (and healthier). 


Press ups (or push ups for you Yanks) are the antithesis of everything that got us into strongman. It’s incredibly basic, visually unimpressive, accessible to everyone, yet deceptively hard. Add to that the stigma against training chest in strongman, and it’s no surprise that you don’t see many strongmen doing press ups. Which is a real shame as the humble press up offers up protection from one of the biggest risks in the sport: shoulder injury.

With all the pressing events in strongman being overhead, there is a lot of controversy about the benefit of training chest. So while the majority of the gym going population is infatuated with the bench press, it’s a movement that doesn’t get a lot of love among strongmen (unless you’re Eddie Hall). In theory this is understandable; no matter how good your recovery, you can only press heavy so often and the competition lifts are always going to take priority. Press ups, however, allow you to work your chest and balance out the musculature of your shoulders, without causing too much additional training stress.

Because press ups are so incredibly easy to do anywhere, I find the best approach is to train them throughout the day. Start off with five sets of an easy 5-10 reps, spread out throughout the day and slowly increase until you are comfortable doing sets of forty.

Bodyweight Squats

Squats might only turn up as an event in their own right on occasion in competition, but they are a prominent feature in many of the other movements. Lapping a stone, cleaning a log, picking up a Conan’s wheel and even sitting into a deadlift, all require you to drop to or below parallel and to stand back up again. The problem is that many strongman don’t have the required mobility to get into that position unloaded, especially if they are in flat shoes.

This not only puts you at a greater risk of injury, but also massively reduces the amount of force you can produce in those positions. This exact problem was the undoing of many at World’s Strongest Man u105, where the Conan’s Wheel was a fixed height. Many of the taller lifters just couldn’t pick the thing up without falling over. You don’t need to hammer bodyweight squats, just get comfortable hitting depth and staying there.

Five sets of ten paused reps twice a week will go a long way.


Strongman is not a kind nor a forgiving sport. The movements are often heavy and awkward, and with most of them beginning and ending on the floor, your lower back takes the brunt of the beating. This is part and parcel of the sport and something we all take for granted but it can prove a real problem when you’re trying to bring up your grip. Farmer’s holds and double overhand deadlifts will build mighty mitts, but they also will beat your back up even more. Instead kill two birds with one stone, decompress your spine and develop some grip too, all with pull ups.

Unlike the other bodyweight movements recommended, pull-ups require you to be able to lift your entire bodyweight, and for the bigger guys this can be prove problematic. Don’t be disheartened, just grab onto a bar and hang. Start with five sets of 15 seconds and slowly progress to five sets of a minute. Even for the lighter athletes hanging is a great way to finish a session, think of it as yoga from a bar.


Sticking with the spinal decompression theme, we have a slightly riskier approach to the problem – handstands. Unlike the other movements on this list, handstands are not going to work well for everyone, there is no denying that this movement can cause problems for larger athletes. Namely falling on your head.

So if you are over 120kg and have no prior gymnastics experience, I would suggest you replace this handstands with overhead carries.

Disclaimers firmly out of the way, on to the good stuff.

Handstands used to be a staple of old school strongmen’s routines, but as the athletes got bigger and less mobile, they understandably fell out of favor. But if you’re a little lighter and willing to learn, you can build an incredible lockout and unshakable shoulders. 

Try adding two max handstand holds against a wall at the end of a shoulder session. Once you can comfortably hit one minute for both sets, slowly start progressing into handstand press ups. This is best done by increasing the range of motion over time, start with a stack of ab mats directly underneath your head so each rep is only a few inches. As that becomes easier, slowly remove the mats until you are able to lower your head all the way to floor in a controlled manner and press back up.

Walking Lunges

Unlike powerlifting, strongman requires you to be able to do more than just pick up a heavy weight; it requires you to often move with it — fast and fast at that.

This makes all of the moving events at their core single leg exercises, whether that’s yoke, farmers, Conan or sandbag run, you’ll be supporting a huge load on a single leg. As such it’s vital to train each leg individually, to maintain an equal balance of strength through both sides of your body. There might be a plethora of single leg exercises out there but few can hold up against simple walking lunges.

Done right they’ll build up balance, core strength and work the entire leg. I ‘like’ to add in one long set (140m) at the end of a heavy squat session as part cool down, part finisher. Over time feel free to load this movement up but if you’re new to lunges stick with bodyweight for now. Believe me.

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