For anyone who takes pride in their triathlon equipment, specifically their bike, you will probably have used or at least be aware of the Muc-Off brand. Having been around for over 20 years, Muc-Off products ensure that our bikes stay in tip top condition although you have to provide your own ‘elbow grease’.
I will admit as a regular user of a Muc-Off chain pig and degreaser as it is the most effective way to get your bike dirt free after a ride. Recently I was surprised to find out that Muc-Off have expanded their bike care and protection range to include products for athletes.
The Athlete Performance range consists of shaving products, skincare products, chamois cream and recovery aids. Aimed at the slightly higher end of the market, the products are well presented in matt black boxes and bottles that do suggest you are getting a touch of luxury (I am a sucker for good packaging). It’s not just about the marketing though, Muc-Off state this range has been designed based on scientific research and athletes feedback.
The products in the Athlete Performance range concentrate on three stages of training including pre, during and post activity. Five products from the range were tested over a couple of weeks, these products includes;
- Chamois Cream
- Warm Up Cream
- Amino Explosive Power Cream
- Massage Oil
- Recovery Balm
Chamois Cream is an essential aid for cyclists spending more than a few hours in the saddle. The chamois cream market is highly competitive, but Muc-Off have produced a well thought out product. As well as anti bacterial properties, the cream is enriched with natural Aloe Vera, Witch Hazel, Shea Butter and Sunflower Oil, and contains Provitamins.
Personally I only use chamois cream for the long rides and was impressed when paired with well fitted bib shorts. There is a tingling sensation when the cream is applied which I thought added to a fresh feeling. This is a higher end cream and the cost reflects that, however I did find myself using less than I would with other creams for the same effect.
Warm up creams are used in pre activity to ‘warm up’ muscles in every sense of the word. The cream will warm and stimulate your body, ensuring those cold morning rides are that little bit more pleasant. This cream combines a mix of natural extracts and a warming sensation, which actively ensures you are in optimal condition before you start a training session or competition. I tested this cream in the summer but can definitely see more benefit for this product in the colder months. Thankfully there was no burning sensation that I tend to have with other ‘warm up’ products. I would happily have a bottle of this in my kit bag for the winter months but note it is at the higher end of the price scale. If a fair weather rider like me, this cream is an effective luxury that may encourage me outside in the cold weather.
The science behind this cream suggests it improves the availability of oxygen and nutrients to your muscles, which helps to increase strength and energy. The cream contains Arginine Aminos, which are used to make nitric oxide in the body dilating the blood vessels, and leading to an increased blood flow to the treated muscles. The benefit of a warm up cream over tablets is that you can target specific muscle groups through direct application.
I am not sure I felt any more explosive with the cream applied to relevant muscles, but I would like to test this product further. I think in an overall training and race strategy there may be some benefits. The jury is still deliberating on this cream………….
Designed to relax aching body parts post-workout, this oil is made with natural ingredients like ginger extract to help to ease tension by creating a mild warming sensation, whilst tsubaki oil and arnica extract add an additional luxury. This is a difficult product to review as a recovery aid because you can’t use without having the massage, so is it the massage or the oil making the difference? However, the product itself smells wonderful and is easily applied to the skin with lasting greasiness. The oil can also be added to a warm bath for total body relaxation.
This balm calms, relaxes and rejuvenates your body to help regeneration and boost energy levels using Glutamine, which is the most abundant amino acid in the muscle cells. Muc –Off state that the formula is designed to speed up natural regeneration processes.
Whether it is the fact I am massaging my muscles more or the actual product working its magic, I am unsure. I did feel recovery was quicker and had less delayed on-set muscle soreness. This may be psychological but I believe if something works for you then continue to do it. With a soothing scent, the balm revives and reconditions whilst providing a gentle cooling sensation. It will make a good addition to any post activity, especially if you get up and do it all again tomorrow.
The Athlete Performance range is definitely seen as a range of more luxury products, with the prices reflecting that. I was a big fan of the chamois cream and recovery balm but that isn’t to say the other products don’t perform either. I think the quality is noticeable in some of the products and I will look to use again with these again, especially pre and post extra long runs and rides.