Is it necessary to use chamois cream before a ride?

The simple answer is: ‘YES’. Skin is incredibly sensitive to a range of challenges but, the inevitable rubbing of skin against clothing and bike saddle whilst cycling has been the downfall of many cyclists from the elite to weekend warriors. So common is the problem that it has a name, ‘saddle sore’. The term ‘chamois cream’ is historically related to the use of chamois leather in the padding of cycling shorts. As the padding has developed to use synthetic alternatives, so has the cream and its name: ‘anti-chafe cream’. Chamois cream is an essential part of any cyclist’s kit whether you’re a newcomer to cycling or an elite cyclist.

How to make riding a bike more comfortable

There are five points of contact when riding a bike: your feet, your hands, and your ‘undercarriage’! It is important to optimise each of the points of contact to enhance the comfort of your ride, and your performance. Using specialist cycling shoes along with appropriate socks and overshoes for the weather (i.e. thermal for cold conditions) will improve comfort, as will using padded gloves and bar tape to help reduce vibrations and improve comfort (applying double tape for long rides can offer added comfort). When it comes to your ‘undercarriage’, abrasions of the sensitive skin of the groin and buttocks from rubbing can be extremely uncomfortable and, can rapidly develop into blisters and open wounds which are not only painful but, can end your riding for some time. Using a chamois cream significantly reduces friction and reduces chafing of the perineum, groin, buttocks and thighs. On long rides, or on multi-day challenges, wearing two pairs of shorts – something I like to call ‘double bagging’ – can reduce the impact of the saddle on the nether regions, improving comfort and performance.

How to prevent chafing on long bike rides

Anti-chafe cream is crucial in reducing the friction which leads to chafing during long-rides. In addition, choosing an anti-chafe cream that has anti-inflammatory properties can reduce inflation and swelling leading to a reduction in chafing. Chamois cream application should be targeted. Whilst you can apply the cream to the skin or the shorts, take care to ensure that you cover all areas likely to be affected (perineum, groin, thighs and buttocks). Where to apply chamois cream is a very personal issue, however, in general, women should avoid very sensitive areas and focus on areas of skin (external areas). More is not always better, targeted application is more important than simply lathering it on in a haphazard way. Prevention is better than cure: reducing your chances of chafing before your ride should be your goal, dealing with chafing, sores and open wounds after the event will take time off your bike. In addition to anti-chafe cream, buy good quality shorts that fit correctly and ensure your shorts are clean and dry prior to your ride; wet shorts are a sure-fire way to chafing.

Do you wear underwear with your biking shorts?

No, never. Underwear increases friction and leads to greater problems with chafing. Newcomers to cycling often make the mistake of underwear due to the worry about contact between those sensitive parts directly onto shorts, particularly the issue of cleanliness and infection control. For this reason, there are several golden rules to avoid problems:

    1. Wash your shorts after every ride.
    2. Always fully dry your shorts before setting out for a ride (wet padding significantly increases the chances of chafing).
    3. Always use anti-chafe cream, particularly products with anti-bacterial ingredients which reduce the chance of infection, such as Bullet & Bone’s Protect & Care.
    4. Do not double dip! Chamois cream in pots allow cyclists to take a dip, apply cream to their nether regions and then come back in for a second dip! To reduce the chances of cross-infection, use a cream from a tube to eliminate double dipping.
  1. Always shower/bath post-ride, thoroughly washing your undercarriage.

Why are bicycle seats so small and hard?

Finding the right saddle is crucial to optimise comfort and performance. Whilst cyclists focus on ‘bike fit’, just as important is ‘saddle fit’. Selecting a saddle that suits your anatomy will improve support, allowing you to generate more power whilst reducing unwanted chafing. Bigger saddles might be more comfortable for very short rides however; the increased area in contact with your skin can lead to chafing. In contrast, a saddle that is too small can result is such discomfort that you move more on the saddle to find a more comfortable position which results in chafing. A saddle is a very personal part of a bike and you should spend time to get it right.

Professor Greg Whyte OBE Article written by Professor Greg Whyte OBE (PhD DSc FBASES FACSM)

Four of the top activities for family bonding.

Summer is here, the sun is out and the commotion is just about to commence!

Sometimes in the hustle and bustle of the heat, everyone can get a bit carried away and we can forget the important things: spending time with the family! Here are some the best summer activities for the family that you can enjoy both on holiday and here in Blighty!  The only trouble you’re going to have is the question of which sport you are going to choose…

SUMMER ACTIVITIES FOR THE FAMILY: Rounders

This British classic is perfect to enjoy with cucumber sandwiches and a nice jug of Pimm’s (obviously for those who can have it!)

Rounders is a perfect game to play with children because of the easy rules and is definitely a lot of fun. If you can’t remember, just think back to P.E. lessons at school for a lovely trip down memory lane!

If you’re looking for summer activities for the family with a bit more competition, Rounder’s is essentially what you make it: a good bit of family fun or a full-on family tournament. If you want a bit of a competitive edge, studies have shown that applying vapour rub to your wrists can increase the accuracy of throwing and catching- all fair in love and a good game of Rounders!

SUMMER ACTIVITIES FOR THE FAMILY: Frisbee

Frisbee is one of the ultimate summer activities for the family because it can be played on grass and on the sand. Frisbee, for me, is the epitome of my childhood when at the beach. Essentially, the aim of the game is to throw the Frisbee around your group without the disk hitting the ground. Frisbee is the perfect game for the family because it has that competitive atmosphere but is too much fun to end in family feuds!

Sometimes, to make sure the Frisbee doesn’t hit the ground, it can involve a lot of jumping and diving on the floor. Straining yourself to catch a flying disk can be strangely trying so it is useful to keep a muscle rub nearby to keep muscles loose and nimble.

SUMMER ACTIVITIES FOR THE FAMILY: Volleyball

Volleyball is one of the amazing summer activities for the family that you can play on the beach or in the water and is perfect for any highly competitive family. Although professional rules of volleyball appear complicated, easier takes on the game are similar to Frisbee: try to stop the ball from hitting the ground as long as possible.

I used to prefer playing Volleyball on land because the chlorine in the water makes my skin dry and flaky. This was before I found out that using the right moisturiser could be an absolute lifesaver! Using a non-greasy moisturiser is perfect for keeping your skin soft and supple after being in the pool, meaning that you can get involved in summer activities for the family both on and off the water.

SUMMER ACTIVITIES FOR THE FAMILY: Walking

Not all summer activities for the family need to be competitive. Sometimes just going for a leisurely stroll with your family on holiday can be a great way to bond. Walking is definitely a good summer activity to try if you are staying in Britain because of the beautiful scenery our island has to offer!

Don’t underestimate leisurely strolls though! Walking can also be a very sweaty workout, especially in hot temperatures so a nice shower afterwards is always appreciated. If you’re like me and need a shower to cool down but don’t actually like the water being cold, a cooling body wash can be a great way to feel fresh and can also help your body recover!

So here are just a few of some of the amazing summer activities for the family that you can get involved in over the sunny period! Regardless of whether you want summer activities for the family just for fun or to get a little competitive, it is always good to have products that will help your performance. Products by Bullet and Bone incorporate natural ingredients that help give you that special edge during every workout!

I never used to be one for tennis. At school, I’d always offer to collect the balls because I knew I couldn’t hit any. Whenever Wimbledon came around, I’d get out the strawberries and cream and Pimms. It wasn’t until recently that I found out learning how to improve your tennis performance is a lot easier than you think.

HOW TO IMPROVE YOUR TENNIS PERFORMANCE: ACCURACY

When serving during tennis, accuracy is the most important thing you can bring to the table – or in this case, court. When wanting to know how to improve your tennis performance, it may be nice to hear that you can improve this skill from the comfort of your own back garden!

Simply trying to hit a certain target repeatedly will help you more than you think! Obviously, the more targets you pick, the harder the drill will be, but this will only help you improve.

If you want an extra piece of help when wanting to know how to improve your tennis performance, using certain products can help. Studies have shown that rubbing vapour balm on your temples and wrists can increase the accuracy of hits – so maybe this is worth a try!

HOW TO IMPROVE YOUR TENNIS PERFORMANCE: POWER

Once you have accuracy pinned down, the next skill to drill when learning how to improve your tennis performance is power! With serves in professional tournaments reaching over 100 mph, wanting to make your serves and shots better can feel quite daunting, but here is a little pro tip:

Regardless of whether you want to improve your forehand or backhand, your technique needs to be clean, but muscle strength also needs to be sharp! The key is to focus on your arms and shoulders, and this could be through resistance bands or hitting the weights in the gym!

Either way, it’s about helping those muscles fire. Sometimes, for the extra kick, using an activating muscle rub can get your muscles starting- allowing for a better workout.

HOW TO IMPROVE YOUR TENNIS PERFORMANCE: FITNESS

If you saw Daniel Evans play against Joao Sousa last week at Wimbledon, you saw that some games can last over 3 and a half hours! From this, I think it is clear that fitness is paramount when wanting to know how to improve your fitness performance!

My favourite way to improve fitness is HIIT workouts. These forms of workouts are perfect whilst trying to see how to improve your tennis performance because they can range from easy to difficult. 

Obviously, these intense workouts can really bring out a sweat, so always shower! Your muscle will also be soar so using a body wash designed to help muscles recover will be helpful if you want to train multiple days in a row!

Now I’m not saying I’m the next Serena Williams, but using these tricks when wanting to know how to improve your tennis performance will definitely get you on the right tracks! My tennis journey has really been helped by Bullet and Bone products- the fact that they use entirely natural ingredients means that I can improve my performance without the worry of putting nasty chemicals on my body.

Photo by Ben Hershey on Unsplash

Three little products that can make the World’s hardest triathlon a little bit easier.

This year’s Norsemen will start on 3rd August. The gruelling 225km race involves swimming 3.8km, cycling 180km and running 42.2km.

Some of this year’s competitors include Bullet and Bone’s Brand Ambassador Professor Greg Whyte. 

Over the next couple of paragraphs, we will be seeing how some products that have Whyte has been using can help you achieve your best during the Norsemen and any other triathlon!

HOW TO DO YOUR BEST DURING THE NORSEMAN: SWIMMING

The Norseman commences with a 3.8km swim in Hardangerfjord. This stretch of water ranges from 13-15 degrees so is very cold and wetsuits are mandatory. Even with protective layers, cold water can be a shock to the skin and can leave it damaged.

In order to avoid damage to the skin, it is useful to apply moisturiser before the race to protect your skin and replenish it with the vital vitamins and minerals it needs for a healthy glow! When swimming in open water, such as in a river or lake, you can achieve your best during the Norseman by using a protective moisturiser. It is particularly important to avoid your pores getting dirty and blocked.

HOW TO DO YOUR BEST DURING THE NORSEMAN: CYCLING

Once you have swum, it’s time to cycle! The Norseman requires participants to cycles 180km. As I said, swimming in cold waters can be a shock to the system. So it can be difficult to get your muscles warm enough to do your best during the Norseman cycle! We recommend that you use an activating muscle rub on vital muscles – in this case, your thighs and calves. Not only with the muscle rub warm up your muscles, but it will also get them fired up, meaning you can release more power!

HOW TO DO YOUR BEST DURING THE NORSEMAN: RUNNING

Okay, so you’re two-thirds of the way down. You’ve already swum 3.8km and cycled what seems like the length of Britain. All there is to do now is run 42.2 km! I personally could never imagine running this distance without looking like that scene out of Forrest Gump! However, instead of running on the flat grounds of America, you will be running whilst the altitude is increasing by over 1850 metres!

When the altitude is this high, breathing can be difficult and that is definitely not something you want on the last leg of the race! To help with this obstacle, using a vapour rub can open up your airways, making it easier to breathe! Now you can focus on speed and endurance instead of difficulty breathing!

So there we go! That is how three products can help you do your best during the Norseman! We recommend Bullet and Bone products because they include natural ingredients that are targeted at amateur athletes!

Check out their website for more information and we wish you the very best during the Norsemen this year!

‘They tried to make me go to pre-hab and I said let’s go go go!”

This is probably what you would sing if you knew what pre-habilitation was and the benefits it can give you going into the Christmas period. Pre-habilitation is essentially preparation over the Christmas period. This allows you to spring into the new year ‘rehabilitation’ period more easily.

Here are a few benefits of the Christmas pre-habilitation and January rehabilitation process as suggested by Bullet and Bone’s Brand Ambassador Greg Whyte (https://twitter.com/search?q=greg%20whyte&src=typd )

THE BENEFITS OF CHRISTMAS PRE-HABILITATION

Christmas pre-habilitation is essentially a process where you prepare yourself to be in the best possible state, physically, mentally and emotional during the countdown to Christmas.

During the Christmas period, Brits have a tendency to over-consumer whilst being very inactive. We are said to eat over 5400 calories on Christmas day alone!! The purpose of Christmas pre-habilitation is to be as fit as we possibly can be so that we feel less stressed and guilty about indulging ourselves during our festivities!

Greg Whyte (https://www.instagram.com/profgregw/ ) predicts that with Christmas pre-habilitation, your return to fitness after Christmas will be easier and a better level than previous years!

THE BENEFITS OF JANUARY REHABILITATION

At the beginning of every year, the most commonly used phrase is probably ‘new year, new me’. However, do New Year’s resolutions really last that long?

Well, January rehabilitation allows you to bite the bullet and get the bone. By using presents received over Christmas, we are automatically more motivated to start our fitness regimes.

What is key, however, is to build up a ritual.

For example, this could be going for a cycle every day at 7:00am. It could also be associating certain smells of products to the idea of exercise. Essentially, by making a ritual and repeating it daily, a routine will be made. The more this routine is repeated, the less likely you will be break your new year’s resolution!!

As mentioned earlier, entering the period of January rehabilitation is easier when you use the Christmas presents you receive and making a ritual out of them. Greg Whyte recommends using the Bullet and Bone product range as a form of active care. All products use natural ingredients to help amateur athletes achieve marginal gains all year round.

For more information about Christmas Pre-habiliationa and January Rehabiliation, Greg summarises the processes with Founder of Bullet and Bone, Ian Murphy:

https://vimeo.com/getbroadcasting/review/305071196/2b19841611

Do you have an uncomfortable stiffness in your back? Apply muscle rub. Do you suffer from inflamed muscles and tendons? Apply muscle rub. Have you got an unflattering bruise because you hit yourself in the face trying to pry that lid off the jam jar? Apply muscle rub. This ointment has grown in popularity over the last couple of years but many customers are supposedly still cautious about how to use muscle rub. Do not fret. We have a little go to guide, which will help you apply muscle rub like a pro.

HOW TO APPLY MUSCLE RUB: CHECK THE LABEL

Despite the wonders that muscle rub can achieve, it is vital that you check the label before applying a new muscle rub. Big brands of muscle rub can use ingredients like diclofenac (an anti-inflammatory drug), which some people can be allergic to. I, myself, am allergic to this drug and I came out in itching hives when I applied Volterol to my shoulder. ‘But I do not know if I am allergic to this strange sounding drug’ I hear you ask. Do not worry. We recommend you apply muscle rubs that contain all natural ingredients. This way, you will be able to understand better what you are putting on to your skin.

HOW TO APPLY MUSCLE RUB: WHEN TO APPLY

Choosing when to apply muscle rub is important. Your skin must be clean but not hot. This means it is best that you wait for you skin to cool down after washing, swimming or undertaking any form of intense exercise. If your skin is hot, although the chances are slim, this can increase the side effects of a muscle rub.

HOW TO APPLY MUSCLE RUB: APPLICATION

Applying muscle rub is relatively straightforward and should not be a source of fear. Simply place a dollop of the product you are using on to your hand. The amount will depend on the size of the affected area. Now for the fun bit. Slowly massage the muscle rub into the affected area and wait for the funny little tingling sensation. After application, make sure you wash your hands. If muscle rub goes in your eyes, the tingling sensation does not tingle. In fact it burns. A lot. If this does happen wash your eyes with clean water immediately.

HOW NOT TO APPLY MUSCLE RUB

Now you’ve heard all the dos of how to apply muscle rub. However, there are a couple of don’ts. Don’t worry though, they’re all for your safety.

  • DO NOT apply muscle rub to the affected area more than four times a day. If symptoms continue, make an appointment with your doctor or physiotherapist
  • DO NOT apply muscle rub to your face, genitals or mouth. Like I said earlier, the tingly feeling is far from tingly and I guess it doesn’t taste very nice either.
  • DO NOT apply muscle to broken skin. Again, the feeling isn’t nice.

As you can probably gather, muscle rubs are strong and powerful little things. They are useful for all sorts of ailments and are generally handy to have on your person whether you are a Dad who cannot play with his children due to back ache, or an amateur athlete who cannot beat his PB due to a dodgy ankle. With your new found knowledge of how to apply muscle rub, your next quest is to decide which muscle rub to use. We recommend Bullet and Bones Muscle Activating Rub. Unlike other, larger brands, Bullet and Bone only contains natural ingredients so you can help muscles recover without worrying what you are putting on your body.

It seems odd that there is a specific moisturiser for men, which is different to moisturisers for women. However, just by looking at a man’s complexion, you begin to see it differs greatly from its female counterpart: there’s the beard for start, bushy eyebrows and the skin itself seems somewhat thicker. As a result, a moisturiser for men must be different from a woman’s in order for it to be effective.

Moisturiser in itself is designed to… well… moisturise. Although this may seem blatantly obvious, many believe that you only need to rejuvenate your skin when it gets visibly obvious. Wrong. You are exposed to conditions all the time, which could damage and dry your skin out, even if you cannot see it. So when learning how to use a moisturiser for men, there are a few tips we can learn from the ladies…

HOW TO USE MOISTURISER FOR MEN:  CLEANSING

Moisturisers for men and women work best when they are applied to clean skin. Doing this prevents your moisturiser from sealing in oil and impurities, which can cause acne. This is best done when your face is towel dried after a bath or shower. For the best results, use a body wash that is suitable for your skin type when in the shower. 

HOW TO USE MOISTURISER FOR MEN: DRYING

Although it may seem against the point, when applying moisturiser, you need to make sure your skin is dry. Here, we don’t mean your skin needs to be peeling, and chafed. We mean it cannot be wet. This is because wet skin prevents moisturisers from being absorbed quickly and can also create a slight shine. Take it from me; having a shiny face going into an interview or going on a first date does not look good. It creates the impression of ‘nervous wreck’ instead of ‘glowing man of confidence’. To truly prevent this from happening, choose a moisturiser for men that is lightweight and easy to apply.

HOW TO USE MOISTURISER FOR MEN: ROUTINE

When using a moisturiser for men, it is best to create a routine. As mentioned previously, the best time is to apply the moisturiser after washing, as the skin is clean and refreshed. For the best results, we recommend using a moisturiser daily. If your skin is dryer than you would like it to be, there is nothing wrong with topping up your application throughout the day! No one is going to think less of you for keeping your skin youthful, glowing and fresh.

HOW TO USE MOISTURISER FOR MEN: DON’T USE THE WHOLE BOTTLE

If your skin feels dry and it has seen better days, the worst thing you can do is over supply it with moisturiser. It can lead to your face and body feeling greasy and can cause acne due to the unnecessary build up of oils. This completely defeats the point of you showering and putting on the lotion in the first place. As mentioned earlier, it is a lot better for you skin to apply a small amount periodically throughout the day instead of splattering a whole bottle on yourself. For the best coverage of a moisturiser for men, use this routine:

  • Get a penny-sized portion of moisturiser on your fingertips.
  • Rub your hands together.
  • MOISTURISER FOR MEN ON YOUR FACE: apply all over but focus on areas that get particularly dry, for example your forehead and under the eyes.
  • MOISTURISER FOR MEN ON YOUR BODY: we are in no way suggesting that moisturiser should be applied all over your body, you’ll be going through bottles by the dozen. Men should only moisturise the areas that they feel are not as ‘plump’ as they should be. This is usually the feet, thighs, hands or elbows.

HOW TO USE MOISTURISER FOR MEN: 6 TOP TIPS

  • Apply after a shower or bath.
  • Allow your skin to dry before application.
  • Allow moisturiser to dry before applying other products.
  • Do not use moisturisers with lots of chemicals and unnatural ingredients.
  • Use more moisturiser on dry areas of the body.
  • Use less moisturiser on oily areas of the body.

The market for men’s moisturisers is growing and there are lots of great products on offer. When skin is exposed to a variety of elements, a moisturiser for men that we recommend is Bullet and Bone’s Protective Moisturiser. Made with all natural ingredients, this moisturiser is designed to keep sportsmen’s skin refreshed and supple in all weather conditions, whether it be wind, rain or shine.

5 Unusual tips and tricks of Vapour rub for athletes

Many people assume that Vapour rub is good for colds and flu, and colds and flu alone. You are wrong. Very wrong. Vapour rub is not restricted to the chest and neck. Vapour rub is not restricted to the cold weather when it feels like you are breathing in a carpet. Instead, vapour rub is good for a myriad of things. So let’s get the secrets of vapour rub off of our chest… literally. Here are five ways vapour rub can help your performance on and off the field:

  1. WHAT IS VAPOUR RUB GOOD FOR … relieving muscle and back pain:

    As an athlete, one of the worst feelings is probably coming out of a match or workout feeling fragile and weak. This is particularly as we get older. Our recovery after the gym seems to take longer and longer. Do no fret, as vapour rub can help reduce muscle and back pain. Natural ingredients help relax stressed muscles, meaning vapour rub is good for injuries such as ‘tennis elbow’. Simply apply a pea-sized portion on to your hands and rub on to the affected area until the soft wax is fully absorbed. For the best results, it is advised that this process is done before apply a muscle activating gel to really boost recovery.

  2. WHAT IS VAPOUR RUB GOOD FOR … getting rid of bruises:

    When playing contact sports such as rugby, boxing or American football, bruises are inevitable. Some people embrace them, but if you don’t think the black and blue look is particularly ‘in season’, vapour rub, is good for reducing the look and pain of your plum-covered accessories. The anti-inflammatory properties of ingredients like eucalyptus and ginger extract will reduce swelling. So vapour rub is good for helping the bruise heal faster.

  3. WHAT IS VAPOUR RUB GOOD FOR … feet:

    As athletes, our feet are often prone to damage. It’s the price we have to pay (on top of our gym memberships) to look good and feel great. Runners, joggers and cyclists, whose feet are exposed to sweat, risk blisters and bunions. I bet you didn’t know that vapour rub could help solve this. Vapour balm is also good for treating cracked, dry feet, which is a particular problem for swimmers.
    All you have to do is apply the soft wax liberally to your heels or any other damaged areas before bed. Keep the balm on over night and wash off in the morning with cold water. For even better results, snuggle up with socks on so that the balm does not rub off on to your bed sheets and leaving them smelling like a tooth paste factory! Do this every night. In a matter of days you will start to see the results.

     

  4. WHAT IS VAPOUR RUB GOOD FOR… relieving headaches:

    Studies have shown that placing a small amount of vapour balm on your temples can reduce headaches. The mentholated scent lowers blood pressure, which in turn reduces pain. When in the changing rooms, it is useful to have a vapour balm that doesn’t fumigate your surroundings. To avoid this, we recommend the Bullet and Bone Vapour Release Balm. Its subtle fragrance allows you to treat your pain, without being a pain in the back to those around you.

  5. What is vapour rub good for… healing dry skin:

    Vapour rub’s soft wax can help keep the skin glow, meaning vapour rub is good for protecting athletes against the elements, rain or shine. It is vital you choose a vapour balm with natural ingredients because this nourishes the skin leaving it feeling soft and fresh after any workout, rain or shine. For the best results, follow this process before putting on a protective moisturiser to make sure your protection is a good as it can be .

So, as an athlete, vapour rub is good for lots of different reasons. However, as you can see from above, the best vapour balms are natural, have a light fragrance and are easy to apply. As a result, for maximise your performance as an athlete, we recommend using Bullet and Bone’s vapour release balm. Tested by elite athletes, it uses a signature blend of magnesium, jasmine and maca root to improve your performance.