The thing is, getting random items through the post is fun, so I’m prepared to ‘waste’ a certain amount of money for that entertainment value, and if I actually get some decent products out of it? Even better.
This time around I was after more of a fitness box. In the US there are some great fitness/CrossFit ones, but sadly the P&P costs are huge for the UK so they’d never be worth the money. The only similar one I could find for the UK is The Box Squared, a ‘functional fitness’ box that is just £34 a month with free P&P.
To begin with, the experience was *way* better than with SOFREP, with regular email updates including one letting me know when I was about to get billed for the box, and when it had shipped. It arrived in good time, well before the end of the month.
And what about the actual products. Well, the contents was as follows – with my approximations for what I could have bought the product for individually.
Barebells Coconut-Choco Protein Bar
Approximate cost individually – £2.45
Barebells seem to be a small Swedish company making ‘healthy’ protein products. They have a completely dreadful website, and I had never heard of them before, but that’s a good thing – the only reason you can really justify subscribing to a box like this beyond the sheer fun of it is the fact that you might be introduced to new brands who you’d never normally try. I’m a big fan of that, especially when it comes to workout foods, where I’m not particularly invested in a given brand and am always open to buying something new.
I was pretty impressed by these – they have a nice coconut and dark chocolate flavour, not too sweet but not bland. Most of all, the texture, though inevitably somewhat chewy, was a lot less dense and woolly than most protein bars. Definitely one I would buy again.
Trek Cocoa Peanut Peak Protein Energy Chunks
Approximate cost individually – £1.35
These are a new(ish) product by Trek, who also make protein bars, flapjacks etc and who I had come across before. I’d never tried, or seen these chunks though, so that’s a cool addition.
The chunks are little soft cubes, with a not-unpleasant savoury flavour that I think is mostly from the dates that make up 27% of the ingredients. Peanut and soya seem to add a bit of crunch, and in the end I found these surprisingly moreish. They definitely grew on me, after I was distinctly underwhelmed by the rather unusual taste on the first one.
Fission x4RI Protein RTS Individual Shake Bottle
Approximate cost individually – £2.25
This is another brand I hadn’t come across before, although to me most protein/recovery shakes are much of a muchness. It has a fairly strong strawberry flavour which I quite liked, although I can’t say it was really anything much different to any other brand. I don’t honestly know enough about physiology to be able to assess the ingredients and what benefits these may or may not have, beyond observing that each bottle contains 22g of protein which is pretty much bang on standard for drinks of this size.
Incidentally, while I can understand the shake being sent in this fashion in the subscription box, products like this are incredibly environmentally unfriendly. Disposable plastic bottles should be avoided at the best of times, and individual protein powder portions in one-use bottles are pretty hard to justify. Sure, it’s convenient being able to just chuck a couple of these bottles in your workout bag, and not worry about washing them up afterwards, but for goodness sake think of the planet and take those extra few minutes to use a shaker and wash it up afterwards. The same protein powder is available in big 2.25kg tubs so just get that.
Samson Athletics Workout Logbook
Cost online – £5.99
This is kind of a nice product. On the one hand, there are so many good apps out there that I’m unlikely to start logging my workouts in a notebook, but I can see that some people might prefer it, and this is a nicely designed book if that’s the way you want to track your training. The nice thing about it is that a lot of the kind of items you get in these boxes (which was a major problem with the SOFREP box I think) end up falling into the category of “if you’re the kind of person it’s designed for, you’ll have one already, and if you’re not the kind of person it’s for, it’s totally useless”. This book very much *isn’t* that sort of thing, being something that I could see actually inspiring a good number of people to start tracking their workouts when they never have before, or move to this nice book instead of a plain notebook, or even just put on a shelf and keep for when their current workout logbook runs out of pages. From that point of view, it’s a useful and worthwhile addition, though personally I’ll probably give it away.
Totum Fit Tshirt
Cost online – £24
This is a nice t-shirt – well constructed, out of nice soft cotton, with reinforced seams. I’m not wild about white t-shirts, and it’s a very large medium in my view (I vary from small to medium depending on the brand though, so that’s not unusual for me), but it’s the kind of thing I might use for a workout, and it’s introduced me to a new brand that seems to make some ok stuff, so that’s good I guess.
Overall, I’d say the box is “ok”. It’s heavy on what are effectively ‘samples’ of food products, which is fine as I always like to have protein bars and shakes around the flat so none of these will be wasted, and some of them I might actually buy again. Having new t-shirts is always handy, although this isn’t a particularly exciting one and it doesn’t fit very well.
The total value of the products is only about £36, so barely more than the cost of the box. When you consider that I won’t use the notepad, it’s not brilliant value for money for me.
Products: 3/5 – Nothing that blew me away, but all of it is useful and everything except the logbook will get used. The food products were quite nice and I may buy them again.
Value: 2/5 – Everything available online for only a pound or two more than the monthly subscription.