All posts filed under: Physical

Beach shots after a long hike

Believe. Belong. Become.

Over the last few years, as I’ve been recovering, my thinking has really shifted in terms of how I viewed my illness and my recovery.  At first I focused a lot on the physical side.  Being a trainer and general movement outdoor freak, this clearly was the answer. I was fortunate enough to have some incredible people come along side me at certain times of my recovery, who would just listen and gently suggest things, but I know overall were simply praying and waiting to see me come through it all.  Part of this, “coming through it” was to change the way I saw myself and treated myself – after all you don’t just get CFS/AF, it happens due to stress, life circumstances and more importantly the way you handle them and yourself.  I came to realise that my choices and actions had great consequences and it wasn’t that God wasn’t there with me in them, as actually he meets us where we are at and takes us to where we should be.  He wanted …

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How’s your love muscle?

Phew! I just got done an interval and weights training session which I haven’t done in a very, very long time. It felt so good to get the old love muscle working, to get that blood pumping through my veins.  It also happened to be the start of Lent last week.  You know, that time of year when it seems that everyone gives up chocolate or cake, or chocolate cake, or alcohol – depending on how dry January went – for 40 days but no one knows why.  It also happened to be Valentines Day on Sunday.  It seems to me that last week was love muscle week.  That’s right, your old ticker, the old ‘strawberry’, the old “your heart is the size of a fist so fight with it”. Our hearts are muscles which need to be tested in many different ways to grow.  Just like any other muscle your heart needs working, perhaps even more so than others. Hearts are synonymous with love but how many of us actually look after and take note …

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HIIT for beginners

HIIT is a term which has recently been flying around the fitness industry like a kid in a sweet store (which is interesting as HIIT is supposed to shift the sweets – the effect of them that is). HIIT stands for ‘high intensity interval training’.  It means putting in all your effort, a harder amount of work, everything you’ve got for a short interval followed by a rest period or a low intensity interval.  This type of training burns fat and in a shorter amount of time – so no lack of time excuses here – and if that weren’t enough it also produces ‘afterburn’ in your muscles.  Once your workout is through your muscles will still keep burning calories.  So not only do you burn more fat, and in less time, you then continue to burn fat afterwards.  Essentially HIIT gives you the best bang for your buck. Give these HIIT sessions a go:                                         …

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I’ve got my Tight Pants on

In my room I’ve got my favourite pair of jeans hanging up, nope not in the cupboard, but hanging from a shelf. They don’t fit me anymore. Sure I haven’t tried them on in a while but the last I did I couldn’t pull them over my legs. I distinctly remember when I thought the washing machine was shrinking them, turns out it was just my legs growing, in the wrong direction. I’ve kept them as a reminder, and goal, of where I used to be and where I’d like to get back to. One fitness tip which people always suggest for weight loss is keeping old clothes. If you get rid of all your old clothes you won’t remember, or realise, how much weight you have put on. Makes sense right?! In a way it’s like a frog in boiling water, if a frog is placed in boiling water it jumps out. If I try and put these old jeans on I just won’t fit. If a frog is placed in cold water which …

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Today I punched my health choices in the face

Exercise and I have had a tumultuous relationship, one which started young and continues to this day. It’s like a bad relationship or phone contract you just can’t let go off. You know what I mean, we’ve all been there. This, for me, is exercise. “Exercise if you kick my butt one more time I’m out, it’s over. No more jumping HIIT sessions, or weights which I can’t even hold, no more moves which should only be done on a twister mat and if I hear one more thing about crossfit and its acronyms I’ll take its AMRAP and show it what I really think” Why is it that something which is so good for us causes us to go through pain? It’s so much effort and quite frankly I’d rather have Netflix judge me again for how I spend my time than have exercise make me throw up again, physically or metaphorically. Why is it then that exercise can create so many benefits and happiness for us, in the long run (no pun intended), …

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Compound vs Isolation Exercises

Weight lifting exercises are categorised into isolation and compound exercises.  Isolation exercises use a single joint for the action to take place and it puts stress on one major muscle, for example, bicep curl (elbow joint), leg extension (knee joint).  Compound exercises are multi-joint exercises, using multiple muscles and incorporating the whole body for stabilisation during the move, for example, squat (ankle, knee, hip joint), chest press (elbow, shoulder and scapulothoracic joint).  The most powerful athletes train with compound exercises, yet bodybuilders will use a lot of isolation muscles.  They both have their place so which do we use? Compound Compound exercises have a lot of correlation to everyday function.  Compound training, as a whole, is a great approach to training as it not only strengthens and stresses your muscles, but your ligaments, tendons and joints.  You need to have a strong frame to place muscles on, and I’m not talking bulking I just mean general toning, you want to be strong all over.  These types of exercises require significant amounts of body stabilisation.  Due …

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Way Back When…

If you have read the my story page then you will know where I am currently at in life, and if you’ve read the  about page then you know what this site is about. How, though, did I get to this point in life at wanting to help people be healthy in every area of their life and not just be physically fit. I grew up enjoying being outside, I broke my arm at the age of 5 falling out of a tree and hitting it on a brick, I came off my bike at 6 as apparently the brakes didn’t work (I’ve hence learned a little bit of bike maintenance, common sense.. Oh and forgiven my parents) and I fell down a huge gravel hill at about 7 as the fence and ‘Do Not Enter’ sign intrigued me.  I loved cycling and grew up playing football. I dabbled at athletics but stopped after pretty much always coming last and never being able to clear the hurdles. I tried my hand at judo, as a kid, until …

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80/20 Rule

Why is it that sometimes a seemingly easy task can become so difficult and complicated? This has become the case with food and nutrition.  Sure, nutrition can get really complicated if you want it to but it can also be pretty simple.  The most common question I encounter as a PT is “My body has plateaued, why can’t I shift anymore weight?” As long as their workouts are effective we’ll then look at their eating habits.  Two problems I often seen are, clients either not eating clean enough or they’re being extremely strict then bingeing.  One effective way to get round this is the 80/20 rule. The Pareto Principle states that roughly 80% of the effects come from 20% of the causes.  This theory has application in more than economics and business, it plays out in our general lives. In this context, it affects the way we train. When people who work out frequently and mix between hard and active recovery still can’t seem to shift the weight they want to, the problem is often …

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CFS…. So what is it?

Chronic Fatigue Syndrome noun – a medical condition of unknown cause, with fever, aching, and prolonged tiredness and depression, typically occurring after a viral infection -a viral disease of the immune system, usually characterised by debilitating fatigue and flu-like symptoms Hopefully you will have read my previous post on CFS and are now asking yourself ‘So what is CFS?’.  Well, after much controversy and research,  what CFS is can’t fully be known.  How you get it and how it is cured is also not fully known.  There has however been significant progress recently and CFS is now recognised as a disease (read about that in this NPR article).  Some people have argued that it stems from physical conditions, others physiological and still others psychological.  However,current opinion is now moving towards the likelihood of CFS resulting from an interplay of all of these and is very likely a made up of many of symptoms and conditions. It is estimated that around 25,000 people in the UK suffer with CFS and not all cases are the same …

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Chronic Fatigue Syndrome… it’s a real thing people.

“I think a lot about chronic fatigue syndrome.  It’s symptoms sound awful, like a flu that will never ever end, that drains you and makes you an exhausting burden on your family and friends until you finally are just an idea of a person” Not That Kind of Girl, Lena Dunham Out of all the definitions of chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) that I’ve read this has to be the most accurate, and humourous.   It beautifully explains how you physically feel in relation to yourself mentally and emotionally. You do get physical symptoms of flu, colds, feeling run down and drained.  No amount of sleep helps, or food.  You’re consistently tired and always want to sleep but I, personally, could not always sleep due to my hormones being flat out.  This is what’s known as “tired and wired”.   It’s not a tired that most people know, it’s a dull mind, bleary eyed, achy bones and joints, sore muscles, restless mind, feeling jittery, deadened emotions, confusion driven, always buzzing tired. It’s these physical symptoms which lead to …

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12 character muscles // Forgiveness January

As a Personal Trainer, and general fitness freak I’ve focused a lot on my physical health and bodily muscles.  But long before this I was interested in my character, in fact at 22 I proudly declared to my 38 year old coworker that I was more interested in my character than my career.  I’m pretty certain she thought I was the strangest 22 year old she’d ever met and proceeded to call me “Young Jedi”.  Anyway.  A friend of mine leads a fitness and leadership program called PayanX.  In his leadership program he talks about 12 character muscles: Forgiveness; Gratitude; Self-awareness; Self-control; Social-awareness; Passion; Curiosity; Ingenuity; Love; Resilience; Optimism and Heroism. So this year I’m joining him, and many others, to focus on one muscle a month.  Unfortunately I only just started so I missed forgiveness January, but thankfully I’m about to start gratitude February so I am grateful that there will be another January (or sooner) to work on forgiveness.  However, what I have learned about forgiveness, from either ignoring it or swallowing my …