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Your fitness questions answered

Session #1 transcript - August 16th 2017

Hello and welcome to the first questions and answers at Strawberry Vibes. Main goal is to really just get a perspective of what you guys are suffering with and actually showing you ways how you can fix yourself by doing some stretching, some foam rolling, and save you a ton of money that you don't have to go to the chiropractor for. You don't have to go paying loads of fees for massage therapists but actually by learning how to stand properly, how to sit properly at the desk, and just do about 15 minutes a day of stretching and some ability work, you can actually cure all these injuries yourselves. So I asked a couple of days ago for you to drop some comments on the status saying about this Q and A session and I've had a few. I've had a good response actually. So I'll run through a few of these.

"Since I had an op on my left foot, I'm still unable to bend my toes properly, which caused my ankle to seize up." - Gaea

Okay, this makes certain exercises impossible. What exercise could I do to keep my ankle supple and also exercises that avoid toe bending?" So, basically after an operation, there's a lot of soft tissue damage that goes on in the joints. That can then restrict the range of motion in your joints, which can stop you doing certain exercises. That can then cause certain pain. So if let's say you've had an ankle operation, that'll change the way you're walking, that'll cause pain to the calves, it will cause pain to the feet, it will cause pain to the knees. There's a link on that always. There's a chain reaction that happens from there. So it's really important that we increase the flexibility in the ankle. And when we increase the flexibility in the ankle, everything's gonna get better.

So, Gaea, if you watch closely, there's a couple of really good exercises for you, okay? So first of all, I want you to just dig your toes into the ground and just push your ankle forward. You can hold on to a wall and that will help. By pushing your ankle forward, you're gonna increase what we call plantar flexion, which is pushing the toes down. You're just stretching out the front of the ankle and you can do this anywhere when you're brushing your teeth, whether you are standing in a queue. If you get any chance to stand, push your foot into extra plantar flexion or run the toes forward and just ease that ankle forward. And you can hold that for up to two to five minutes, you can start easing the ankle in and out to work the different angles. What that's gonna do, it's gonna help stretch and improve the flexibility in your foot, okay, which is gonna help you to push your foot when running and stop any shin splint from exercise or any kind of ankle pain, okay?

Another great trick to do leaning up against a wall is pushing your front knee as close to the wall as you can get it and then locking that leg, okay. And then just to ease in there. And that's gonna increase what we call dorsiflexion of the ankle, which is the toes towards the shins. Another thing I'd love you to try, Gaea, to help with that ankle, it's called the 10 minutes squat test. So we're gonna go into a good squat, nice wide knees. And you can just hold it down in this position. This increases flexibility in the ankle, you've got full flexion in the knees, you've got full flexion in the hips.

So this position here is just perfect for increasing everything. So this will reduce back pain, this will reduce knee pain, this will reduce ankle pain. If you can make 10 minutes a day to get into this position, this could cure so many injuries, okay? So to get into this position, sometimes 10 minutes is too much at first, so you just stay down there for say 10 seconds, stand back up, shake it off, and then try again. You just build up to that 10 minutes but time yourself. And the more you practice this, the easier that gets.

So that's gonna really, really help you get back into exercise, Gaea. And the rule of thumb really with exercise is, if it doesn't hurt then you're not causing a problem. If there is pain, if it feels junky, if it feels sketchy, then it probably is sketchy. Time to stop, bring everything back down, you address the exercise. Let's say you were into a squat jump, okay, and that's too painful in the ankle, just turn it into a squat. So that's too painful for the ankle, turn to half squats. You can make everything easier and then build yourself back up, okay? But keep in touch, Gaea, and we can see how that ankle feels after a certain amount of time, okay? Next question:

"I have a very slim build. I find it impossible to put on any mass. I'm exactly the same weight as I was 12 months ago. At the moment, I find it really hard to commit to any fitness plans. What one thing can I do to start gaining mass naturally without guzzling protein shakes and lifting weights?" - Charlie

So basically, Charlie, what you will be suffering with is something called a high metabolism, okay? Now, this is as detrimental as having a low metabolism. So people who are overweight will often say, "Oh, you're so lucky because you can eat what you want, you don't put on weight." But, on the flip reverse, someone that want to be putting on a mass, someone that wants to be putting on weight, that body's burning too many calories that they find it very hard to put on muscle. So what's really important for you, Charlie, is to be eating like a horse. Just eat tons of calories, good calories, mostly from vegetables, loads of calories.

And unfortunately it's all about resistance training. You've got to put your muscles under stress in order to build them. So high cardio moves are just going to keep you slim. That we need to be doing heavier weights, lower repetitions, that's what's gonna build mass. But if you're not eating enough food, you're gonna continue to keep burning calories like the clappers, while you need those calories in order for your body to absorb those in order to build muscle. If you're burning too many calories your body's gonna burn fat and muscle at the same time, hence why you're gonna really struggle to put on mass. So it's very important that you eat loads but unfortunately, the only way to be putting on mass is to be lifting heavy. So lower repetitions, heavier weight, and doing it regularly, okay? So stay consistent but if you need any tips just drop me a message and I can send you over a program.

So, next up we have Kat, who I know from an NCT class that I've been going to recently. She has mentioned that she gets pain in her pelvic girdle from pregnancy. She's finding it very painful to roll over in bed, from one side to the other, "Plus I can only stand on one side for a certain period of time before it starts to hurt and kind of inside the hip." She says she keeps a pillow between her legs when she sleeps, it probably helps a bit. Is there anything that she could do? And there is. So after a pregnancy what that does is that is a constant anterior load, so you're front heavy. What that can do is that puts an arch in the back, which kinks out the posture, which then unlevels the hips. And so going through pregnancy is basically hell on the body that you girls go through. All us guys are very lucky we don't have to go through that, okay?

So all those posture changes can actually change the way your hips are aligned. The front of the pubis, which is where the pelvic girdle attaches, if that is slightly misaligned, that that one leg longer than the other kind of lobe, one hip higher than the other kind of lobe, all it has to be is a slight misalignment and then that is going to be crunch and grinding. And that's gonna be causing pain to be in the same position, but also moving, okay? So there's one fantastic tip for you Kat that's gonna be really good at helping you do this yourself, realign the pelvis.

So watch carefully. You're gonna lie on your back, okay? And you're gonna have your knees up in the air like this. You have one hand on the top of your thigh and the other hand on the other side of the knee, okay? We're gonna do a push-pull action, okay? Your hands are gonna stop here. So it's an isometric exercise. So you gotta pull with this knee, you gotta push with the other knee. Your hand's gonna stop you so they stay central, okay? So you gotta push and pull as hard as you can for five seconds, two, one, relax. You are gonna switch hands and do the opposite. So push and pull as hard as you can for five seconds. Three, two, one, relax.

And then you're gonna keep switching until you do that three times each way, okay? So five seconds, make sure it's a maximum pull, hard as possible with the knees. Keep going, keep going, keep going. Okay. So yeah. So you're gonna do three times each side. So six rounds of pushing and pulling. What that does is that actually contracts the correct muscles in the hips and that will help align your pelvis. So if you were to do that say, I mean you could do this in bed. And then you do this every evening, every morning before you get up, and that is gonna help get those pelvic and that pubis realigned to save you any pain, okay? So this is also really important is the pelvic tilt. So often, like I said with pregnancy, we have an anterior load with your bump's out the front here. We tend to get this anterior arch in the pelvis, that curve in the spine.

Okay, when we got that curve in the spine, we put an immense amount of pressure on your hip flexors, which gets tight, your glutes can't work and your back muscles get tight, and you're not engaging your core muscles enough. So it's really important to squeeze the core muscles, I just need you to keep trying to tuck your tailbone under, okay? By tucking your tailbone under and squeezing your bum muscles, keeping your rib cage engaged and tucked in, you give yourself a nice and neutral spine. As soon as you relax that, you're gonna be putting extra pressure on the discs, on the pelvis. So from the moment you wake up, to the moment you go to bed, focus on tucking your tailbone under, tucking your rib cage in, and that's gonna be really really helpful keeping your posture correct, keeping everything aligned and everything working properly. Next question...

"What would be a good exercise to help with the muscle ache across my back if a massage isn't available?" - Sue

So what can happen after exercise, if a posture is incorrect during exercise or during the days that we've sat at our desks all day and we're typing away, we're in the wrong posture, we're too slumped, we get this rolled forward kind of action on our shoulders and we don't know what we're doing. Suddenly you look and you see and you go like, "Oh my God, my posture's awful." Okay? You need to have a think about your posture all the time until it's automatic.

So if you're getting that shoulder roll forward, you're putting loads of pressure on your rotator cuffs, you're putting loads of pressure on your upper back, and you're gonna get tight in the chest muscles. What that then does over time, often that neck drops forward too, your back muscles are fighting to keep you in the right posture, they're often working too hard and they're trying to pull everything back. Thereby, being in this position you're making your back muscles weak and then they can't do it. So you end up always being in this slumped over position, okay?

So again, it's all about doing this in everyday life. This isn't just when you exercise. This is when you are just doing your shopping, when you open the door, when you're working. Whatever you're doing, focus on just having a little 10% pinch of your shoulder blades, okay? And then that's gonna engage the back muscles which will then keep the muscles strong, and then in the correct posture so you will not get any backache if you're in the right posture. It's as simple as that. So if you're in that standing position, I'll do it kneeling because the camera won't show you otherwise. Again, if you're slumped over, just get into this position, hands faced back. Just open out your palms, and pull your shoulders back, okay?

That's like a reset button, okay? So you just open out, tuck the tailbone under, and then you can get on with your day. There's just that reset. So if you feel yourself slumped, make sure you're nice and tall, open up, push your shoulder blades together, and then that will do you a world of good, okay? So especially if you got a weight on your shoulders and you're exercising or if you've done bicep curls, you're doing bicep curls and your shoulders are out forward, you're causing an almighty strain on the rotator cuffs and your upper back muscles. Which is so important, before you line up, you get the shoulders in the back of the socket that's where they are most powerful and then continue with your exercise, okay? But nice one, Sue. Ask any questions if that hasn't answered them for you.

So next up. So we had Dave get in touch about his lower back. And he says his lower back hurts when he wakes up and then especially when he is exercising. And this is, I mean, a classic case. So lower back pain, statistics have showed that 97% of people in their lifetime will suffer with some sort of back pain, okay? This is completely avoidable. Completely avoidable. As humans, we're lazy. We forget how to stand properly, we forget how to sit properly. If you can control your pelvis, then you're not gonna get any back pain. It's as simple as that. It doesn't matter if you have a slipped disk, doesn't matter if you've broken your back, whether you have had trauma and you've fallen.

If you can control your pelvis and your pelvic tilt, especially while engaging your core muscles, if you could do that all day every day, then you're not gonna have any injury. It's as simple as that, okay? So coming back to it then, so it's all about that tilt. When you see people sticking their bums out and then they stand, tell them off because they shouldn't be standing like that, okay? They've got to be tucking the rib cage in, so if your ribs are flared out, that's a problem. That means an arched back, okay? So you tuck your rib cage in, you squeeze your bum muscles about 10%. You don't have to be rock tight all day every day because you'll pass out. It's just a little 10% squeeze, 10% squeeze, you're locked in, that is how you should be standing for the whole day, okay?

Something that's gonna help that is your foot position. So often we see, again, people standing like a duck. And that's that collapsed position. You're relying on the joints to hold you up, not your core muscles. So have a little look down at your feet when you stand up next. See your foot position, okay? Often we see this rolling in of the ankles. That rolling of the ankle is what we call pronation. When we roll in the ankles, there's a...your base is flawed, okay? So, I'll get back down [inaudible 00:15:30]. When your base is flawed there's a knock on effect. That is gonna affect ankles, you're gonna get knee pain, you're gonna get hip pain, you're gonna get back pain. As often people come to me with sore necks and I can link it to the feet.

So sort your feet out and everything's sorted, okay? So we're gonna stand with our feet pointing straight, you're gonna put your toes into the floor and then just ease onto the outside of the feet, okay? Automatically, you then have a lovely arch support instead of that flat foot look, okay? Your knees are aligned, your hips are aligned. Okay, because as soon as they collapse in your hips drop in, that's what causes you pelvic pain. So it's just standing on the outside of your feet whilst keeping your big toes down. And then tuck your tailbone in, tuck your rib cage in, and then you're set, okay? This might seem like a lot to take in at first. I promise you, if you are doing that every day, all day every day, it becomes easy. And I can tell you now, if you do that all day every day, your pain will stop no matter what injury it is, okay?

So, right. That's all the comments that I had to run through. If this was a success, I could do this every month and we can just have a list of injuries, like really common injuries and we can run through some seven foam rolling things, some more stretching ideas. Today was very much about posture, okay? And everyday life, like getting your posture right. But we'll certainly run through some more stretches, some more foam rolling, some ability ideas, some self-massage ideas which are very good for treating injuries. If you struggle to engage your core, I can teach you how to strengthen up the core in a laying position, a stand position, and then how to run that through into exercise, okay? So drop us a comment, see what you think, and see whether or not it's worth doing another one. Thanks very much, enjoy your Friday, guys.

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