Answering Your Questions – Injuries


I’m not going to lie to you all, lately I’ve been staring blankly at my computer screen a lot.

In the last few months I’ve been focusing on the staples – clean eating, calories, macros, carb cycling, cheat meals, what cardio to do, when to do it, weight training, supplements, my own progress…I know there’s hundreds of topics I have yet to cover and hundreds more that you guys are interested in, I just can’t seem to come up with any!

So to social media I went, and hey presto, I was inundated with questions. I’m going to answer them one by one, which hopefully will give me enough time to get my creative juices flowing and will also help each and every one of you out. So, without further ado…

@iamamyholmes Have you ever had any injuries and if so, what did you do to work around them and did you manage to stay positive?

@leadan91 I train / rugby 4 x a week and if I pick up a niggle (usually shoulder, back or knee) I get so down as the advice is usually don’t do anything strenuous for X amount of weeks.

@sherryd82 Are weights a good way to fix a dodgy shoulder? Mine is weak and clicks and clunks. X-Rays and ultra sounds show nothing. On bad days I can barely lift my arm.

INJURIES

Please bear in mind that the below is the advice of a PT and fitness professional, not a qualified physiotherapist or doctor. It goes without saying that any injury should be seen to by a professional.

Yes @iamamyholmes, I have been injured and I am currently, funnily enough!

What inspires me to stay positive? I don’t give myself a choice. Period. I find a solution, I find an alternative, I stay patient with my body and I absolutely refuse to take no as a final answer. For example…

The first injury I ever got was shin splints from running, which may not sound like a real injury, but trust me, when you’re mid sprint and your shins tighten up like frozen chewing gum, the pain is so intense it makes you feel sick. The first time it happened I had to sit on a park bench for an hour before I could hobble back home. I rested my legs for weeks, iced them, bought new trainers and special insoles, but that was it, they were gone and I could no longer run without pain. Sometimes that’s the case, you just have to stop doing that one specific activity completely. For me, running is now a once in a blue moon event and man alive do I feel it for days afterwards.

The second injury I got was tendonitis in my forearms from pull lifting. I had to go very light with my pull weights for a while and spent a LOT of time icing and massaging my forearms, but eventually I got stronger, my arms adapted, and now I no longer suffer the problem.

The third is my current injury – a stress fracture of my middle metatarsal (foot bone). I cannot cycle, row or use the cross trainer currently, but anything that allows me to stay 100% flat footed I can manage – so the Versus Trainer and Stepmaster are getting all my love right now.

And that pretty much sums up your 3 outcomes when it comes to injuries. You may have to accept that a certain physical activity is out of bounds for you, period. You may find that by strengthening the surrounding muscles the injury will become obsolete. Or you may just have to find an alternative activity until you heal…

Which brings me to you @leadan91 – if you have a niggle and you are playing a contact sport like rugby, that will absolutely have to take a back seat until you are healed. The fact of the matter is, if you have a bad back or knee, you are risking A LOT by taking big hits. Don’t get down about this, your body should be your number one priority as an athlete and you should be patient and with it. Seriously, rest and injury is as much a part of the sport as the sport itself, get used to it and don’t be hard on yourself. HOWEVER, your training absolutely doesn’t need to stop. If a certain area is playing up, don’t train it for a few weeks, ice it, stretch morning noon and night and it will get better. There is always an alternative on that gym floor, look for it and you will find it.

Which finally brings me to you, @sherryd82 . As I have said above, rest injuries, ice them, stretch them within their means and they will get better. HOWEVER, if your shoulder is not injured but very problematic, you are a candidate for strengthening the muscles AROUND the shoulder and it will eventually ease up. So really focus on your traps, upper back and upper arms, and your shoulder can take a bit of a break.

To end this piece I want to say this – injuries suck and initially it is scary and annoying that your training will take a hit. HOWEVER, as I have said above, REST AND INJURY IS AS MUCH A PART OF SPORT AS SPORT ITSELF. Get used to it, accept it, and go easy on yourself. Rest now, recover later, you do not want the injury to become a permanent fixture.


An Email from a Fondue, her Battle, and THAT Poster…


I was reading your latest update on Fitness Fondue and I completely agree with what you’re saying. YES the media, fashion industry, celebrity world, modern society etc have a lot to answer for in influencing men, women, boys and girls on body image (especially impressionable younger generations). BUT, as you said, people are not taking enough responsibility for themselves and their own feelings.

The amount of times I’ve heard the same response from adult women in the past week with regard to the Protein World ad that caused so much controversy – “It MADE me feel so fat!”-  I’m sorry, a poster MADE you feel fat? An inanimate object forced a feeling on you? I find that highly unlikely. More likely is that you already felt unhappy with your body and this advertisement unfortunately brought that feeling to light. Yes, that sucks, but take some responsibility for yourself if you are feeling that way. No person, no object, certainly no poster can make you feel anything; you feel your own feelings, and only you dictate that. Don’t give a poster power – it’s just paper. 

I may sound like that Protein World poster doesn’t bother me in the slightest, and truthfully, it doesn’t. It’s not that I think I’m “beach body ready” (or whatever it was all about), it’s just that I’m FINALLY confident and happy with what I have. With my lot. And I’ve worked hard to get here. At age 29 I’m finally at a place where I actually am proud of my body and I never thought I’d get to this point! How did I get here? Well, therapy, which in itself was obviously hugely beneficial (goodness knows where I’d be without it) and helped me learn to ACCEPT my body and teach me how to have a healthier relationship with food. It can still be a bit of a battle at times (long time habits die hard) but finally the light has gone on in my head – I want to treat me body with respect, I want to nourish it, take care of it and make it the healthiest it can be. I don’t want to punish it or destroy it anymore. If I saw a friend treating their body the way I had been treating mine, I would call them crazy – why on earth would they be trying to kill themselves? Why do they hate themselves so much? But I couldn’t see that I was doing that to myself. Like so many people out there, I just thought I was doing what I could do to keep my body where it was and not gain weight. I didn’t see how much I actually hated myself. Eating disorders have a magical way of pulling the denial curtains over a person’s eyes and not allowing them to see the true extent of the damage they’re causing.

ANYWAY, I’m digressing a tad here…so yes, therapy set me on the right path to finally allowing me to accept my body. Which is a miracle in itself after spending half my life battling my body.

I’ve always been a complete cardio junky – running junky really. After buggering up my ankle training for a marathon a couple years ago, I had to find something else to tide me over while running was a no-go zone. I’d always been under the misconception that weight training was for men. It made you bulky. It didn’t really keep you fit. It certainly wasn’t for girls – especially girls with eating disorders who wanted to be the skinniest wee thing. What utter bollocks. In the past couple of years I have been constantly learning, working, training, achieving new goals with my weight training. And through it I have felt stronger, fitter, happier and ultimately more confident than I ever have.

Sure, it’s tough as hell. I’ve made a lot of sacrifices along the way. Goodbye alcohol. Goodbye processed food. Goodbye late nights. Goodbye sugar. I could go on, BUT, what I keep reminding myself of, when I have those moments of “Oh, its not fair, I just want to have a big slice of cake/bag of sweets/*insert most delicious food item imaginable here*” is that this is my choice. My decision. My responsibility. No one is forcing me to chose this lifestyle – similar to how no one can force me to feel any which way. I can easily go out, get drunk, eat as much as I want to, lie in front of the TV all day and do sweet FA. But I choose not to – I choose to get myself out of bed at 5:45am every morning to train. I choose to plan my meals ahead. I choose to spend my money on gym kit and supplements instead of girly clothes and beauty treatments.

And why? Because I love feeling strong, healthy and fit. I love learning new exercises and techniques and trying them out. I love seeing my body develop and refine itself. I love how when I started, I had no upper body strength whatsoever, now I am continually amazed at how it can push itself further and further. I love looking in the mirror and seeing a 6-pack staring back at me (when my lower abs aren’t feeling shy…the buggers).

There is no ‘end game’ with this, I can’t imagine I will get to a point where I think “ok, that’s me done now”. Because it’s not just about the aesthetic results (although yes they play a huge role) it’s also about how this has made me feel mentally stronger. When you see your body changing and evolving in a way you never thought possible it really makes you think “Damn, I’m pretty strong, I can really focus my goals and achieve what I want to achieve” and that can tap into all aspects of your life.

It’s such an ace journey (even though I might grumble and moan at some points from hunger/tiredness/achiness), and thats exactly what it is – a journey to keep learning, and keep training.


Female Fitness in the Media


The fact of the matter is, the fashion industry, film industry, music industry, fitness industry and mass media all have a huge say in the way women feel they ‘should’ look.

The blame is not on any one organisation, model, celebrity, TV show or newspaper alone. Truthfully, we have allowed outside influences alter the way we see ourselves and each other, and seemingly enjoyed it in the process.

While I agree that the above culprits are all at fault, I also feel frustrated that we as men and women take no responsibility for allowing it happen, and that change, however insisted upon it may be, is only really in our control.

As anyone who follows my fitness journey will know, I get a hell of a lot of flack on social media, gossip websites, and in the press for both the way I look, and for what I have chosen to do with my life.

A few years ago, such criticism would have torn me apart. But today, I love what I do, I love how I look, and I could not care less what my critics think of it.

If you love being curvy, be curvy! If you love feeling skinny, feel skinny! If you love having muscle, build muscle! The only thing I’d say is try to do all of the above in a healthy way. There are ways to do all of the above and still eat healthy foods and avoid under or over exercising. 

If we can all individually make the choice to look how we want while making health a priority, if we can start supporting each other instead of tearing each other down, and if we can side line the critics, we can actually have an impact on society and body image.

Eat clean most of the time, treat yourself sometimes, move your body, sleep well, drink water, and achieve your own aesthetic goals.

 


Stomach Fat, Thigh Fat, Arm Fat = FAT


Every day I receive emails and comments on my social media from men and women looking to ‘spot fat reduce’.

To ‘spot fat reduce’ means to shed fat from target areas, such as your stomach, legs, arms, back etc…

This is quite a divisive topic amongst fitness professionals, but I am of the opinion that it is IMPOSSIBLE to do.

In both my personal experience of training myself and professional experience of training others, I have come to find that when we shed fat, we shed it evenly from all over our bodies, the more stubborn areas being the last to go.

Stubborn areas are hormonal and genetic footholds of fat, and they WILL respond eventually if you are 100% on point with your diet and training. However, they are often the reason people give up prematurely, and I cannot stress enough that full body transformation IS POSSIBLE if you STAY CONSISTENT!

You need to get your diet and training right, which takes time and research, but if you can get a handle on it, that last roll of belly fat WILL disappear eventually. Trust me.

Still to this day my lower stomach FIGHTS me. It’s always first thing to pop up by the third day of a holiday the last thing to go when I’m getting back into shape. But I’ve shed it before and I know I can do it again, so I stick with it.

So, how do you get rid of your problem area? Diet, exercise, patience and consistency.

There is no magic pill, there is no fitness genie, it is up to you, so DO NOT GIVE UP!