All posts tagged: 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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That’s not your identity

I wish when I was growing up someone had told me my identity was not in my floral patterned denim jacket (although to this day every time I walk into a charity shop, I have misty dream like visions of having an encounter with it), or that my identity wasn’t in the fact that I could eat and eat and not put weight on (I really wish someone had told me that, slight backfire – in more ways than one), or that my identity was not in the fact that I could run for miles and be ok with it. Identity, where do you get yours from? For years I placed my identity in my athleticism, in fact I even remember at school getting annoyed at a friend who also did particularly well in P.E.  “You’re too good at everything else, at least let me have this”. I should have realised that the end of lesson bell didn’t just signify home time. I’m all or nothing so when I started competing in triathlons and doing …

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Sugar: The good, the bad and the ugly

As a kid there was no downside, nothing negative about sugar; it was only good in my eyes. I was the ‘Candy Queen’ (for those non-Brits the ‘Candy King’ is a pick ‘n’ mix sweet station at the cinema. Now I’ve explained you can see the level of humour we’ll reach). I could comfortably finish the biggest bag of pick ‘n’ mix during a film, or otherwise, with seemingly zero consequences. A bag of marshmallows – annihilated. A giant Toblerone – not a problem. Re-sealable chocolate bags – why would you do that?! A dessert, or anything sweet, was obviously to be consumed. Sugar to me was a friend; a warm comforting friend. I stayed active, running a lot, cycling, playing football and competing in athletics, so all that sugar got burned off. That was, until the teenage years, when hormones kicked in and I was less active – this was when ‘the sugar hit the fan’. I had multiple diabetes tests and episodes of passing out (all linked, I now believe, to too much …

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Opening your heart…. with a crowbar

Sometimes opening your heart looks like a flower blossoming in the golden sunlight of a crisp spring day.  Sometimes opening your heart looks like acknowledging that person who smiles at you, even if there is an awkward tension between you and their situation.  Sometimes it looks like a hug from a friend, a cup of tea or dancing round the kitchen. Sometimes it means keeping  your gaze on that person who is speaking into your life, or letting the pain of losing a loved one flood in. Sometimes it’s continuing to love even when you have different connection goals within a relationship. Sometimes it looks like forcibly, and consciously keeping your heart open with a crowbar and letting the love and pain pour in even if all you want to do is drop the curtain. This has been my experience the past few months.  I’ve generally worn my heart on my sleeve, but I’ve also known how to keep my heart closed, at a distance and protected.  However, over this past year I’ve made a …

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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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I need your help….

As far as I see it, if you’re on this site and have been looking around, then you are now part of the rawroots community which means you get to input.  Although a lot of this comes from my story and experiences, and ongoing story and experiences and although I have a lot of ideas for posts I would love to hear if there is anything specific you would like to know.  It can be related to any aspect of your health, whether it be a workout theory, nutrition tips, to how our brain and digestive system have so much affect on our bodies, to can my emotions make me sick, does my spiritual life really affect me physically and emotionally, or simply what is spiritual health.  Then please drop me a line and I will do my best to post about these issues and thoughts and I look forward to the conversations that may begin.

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12 Character Muscles // Social Awareness May

This month called on my social awareness muscle to get strengthened.  I’ll be honest, I’ve never really been on top of the news – watching it daily or reading the papers.  I haven’t been completely lost in my own world and unaware of events around me but I could definitely look outside of myself and my life a bit more.  I have, obviously, been aware of some things going on around me in my community, my country and the world but I’ve never particularly followed through on certain issues and I guess never really thought that I could make much of a difference.  That, I think is what Social Awareness May has taught me. It got me thinking again about a friend of mine who, with his wife and a team of people, runs a charity that tackles anti-trafficking and modern slavery.  I had the opportunity to visit them last year and was in absolute shock at some of the statistics and stories I heard.  This was all before actually meeting some of the girls …

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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 …