lifestyle

Hot chocolate that helps your healing & recovery

As the days and nights get colder it's tempting to reach for warm foods that give your comfort but may not be nutritionally beneficial.  Nutrition is an integral part of recovery from injury and pain as well as supporting a healthy happy lifestyle.  

You really want your food intake to be doing the following:

1.   Reducing inflammation in your gut and in your body overall.  Inflammation stresses your immune system which means healing and recovery are compromised.  You want to promote healing and recovery by reducing inflammation.

2.  Nourishing your body with antioxidants, vitamins and minerals for healing and recovery and for all the vital processes for a healthy, happy functioning body.

3.  Fuelling your adventures or your rehabilitation is that's where you are currently at!  Whatever your life is filled with you want your food intake to support you so you have the energy to enjoy it.

A quick and easy way to fulfil all these criteria and even take with you on your adventures is with this incredible rich hot chocolate drink.  It's loaded with anti-inflammatory foods such as coconut cream and super antioxidant rich cocoa powder containing maca and cacao as well as plenty of vitamin E from the fresh almond milk.  I drink it as a bedtime warmer when I make my hot water bottle at night.

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Rich Hot Chococo

Ingredients

* 1 cup fresh pressed almond milk

* tablespoon coconut cream 

* 1-2 tablespoons Of The Earth Superfoods Hot Chocolate powder

* Stevia to taste 

Instructions 

Place the almond milk in a saucepan on the stove and heat gently so as not to burn it.  Place the almond milk and all the ingredients in a blender and whizz up.  Drink with joy and let the nutrients heal you!  

How self care impacts health, healing and recovery from injury

How self care impacts health, healing and recovery from injury

Precision Movement's 5 categories of self care and how they positively impact injury recovery and healing.

My secret antioxidant loaded winter warmer drink!

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I have a secret to tell you... I've been drinking this super amazing antioxidant loaded drink every morning this year.  And it makes me feel super virtuous! So I thought I'd finally share it so you can be virtuous too.  Also it's more of a winter warmer than a spring/summer refresher so it's more apt for October. 

 

KT's super antioxidant Winter Warmer drink 

juice of 1/2 a lemon 

juice of half a lime  

1/4 teaspoon of Clear Spring matcha green tea powder  

A slither of fresh ginger grated  

2 teaspoons of baobab powder  

manuka honey to taste  

Boil the kettle and place all the ingredients except the honey in a mug. Fill the mug with hot water and stir until all the ingredients are blended nicely. Add making honey to taste.  You're good to go!  I take mine in a KeepCup so I can enjoy on my morning commute :) 

Precision movement philosophy phrases to live by

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After last weeks blog about checking in with your goals for the last quarter of the year, I thought I'd follow that with some motivational inspiration. Sometimes we get so bogged down with the day to day stuff we forget the big picture reasons for living and enjoying life. So here are the Precision Movement phrases to live by... Everybody say Om! 

 

1. You are what you absorb 

Sadly just eating the right foods is now not enough if you are not absorbing their goodness! How do you know if you are absorbing the nutrition you eat? Well you should feel good for eating highly nutritious food but most of us don't know what good feels like if we have only what we feel like now to compare it to. So my recommendation would be to get your gut tested and see how functional it is. See our partners page for contact information on Karen Maidment and Hannah Richards who can help with this. 

 

2. Movement is the foundation of life 

From the movement of blood and transport of nutrients and removal of toxins to getting around town movement is absolutely essential for life. It's also really important to move well, efficiently and effectively to minimise injury and discomfort. I believe movement is as important as breathing, eating and sleeping.  Stagnation leads to injury, depression and indifference.  So move more and move well - if you need some help with this you know where I am. 

 

3. Your body is a thoroughbred 

We can take our body for granted. We don't think about what it does every day to enable us to live, to see, to hear, to communicate, to move, to breathe, to digest food. Our body is a gift, it is our house and we should take care of it like it's a thoroughbred race horse or a top of the line sports car. You wouldn't put sludge in a sports car so don't put rubbish in your body. You want to nurture your body, feed and water it well, give it sunlight and fresh air, move it regularly and give it a bit of challenge every day to make sure it can withstand the toughness of life. 

 

4. Study your user manual 

Too many people assume they know how to move well. Here's what happens - we are born, we teach ourselves to move (amazing!), we continue to learn good movement and sports in childhood and hopefully our teen years. Then we go to university and we either continue (super amazing!) or we stop moving. Then we go to work and it's basically all over. I'm generalising here but you get the idea. When we enter the work place we teach our bodies to adapt to the sitting work environment which can give us all kinds of issues. The greatest gift you can give yourself is re-learning good movement either through a sport like martial arts or dance or working with a movement specialist to support you and get you back to your sports. 

 

5. If you don't use it you lose it

I am a personal testament to this! If I don't exercise regularly I start to lose my strength, my stability my tone and my shape. Many of the people I work with begin to lose their postural endurance and flexibility.  You've got to make an ongoing commitment to yourself to maintain your body. You'll live a longer happier life if your body is agile, functional and well taken care of. It really comes down to loving yourself enough to take care of yourself. 

 

6. Get in your discomfort zone

Comfort doesn't lead to growth or change. I purposefully placed myself in some very uncomfortable situations this summer to remind myself what it's like for my clients to change movement patterns and posture - it can be frustrating and uncomfortable both physically, mentally and emotionally. So I do know what it's like to start something completely new - I highly recommend it regularly. The joy comes when you master something that you've been struggling with - that's growth, that's change, that's a life worth living and an example worth setting to your children, friends and family around you. 

 

7. Movement is a constant teacher 

I'm finding more and more as I work with clients watching them learn and connect with their bodies that movement serves as a fantastic teacher. No matter how long you have been training you can always learn some new movement or reconnect with how movement feels in your body. To me, mastering movement is not about just exercising it is about really understanding how your body works and serves you. I highly advocate using movement and sports for challenge and personal growth. I am still humbled by movement - it's always been my greatest teacher. 

 

8. Mind over matter 

Firstly the brain is the control centre of movement. We don't move unless the brain is motivated towards something. Many things are involved in the motivation of movement. One of the important factors is how you feel about/towards that intention. If you dislike what you are doing your brain gives a different output in contrast to if you do like what you are doing. So, when moving, even if the movement or exercise is something you don't particularly like, train your mind to find the benefit in it and feed that information through the brain and attach it to the exercise. The brain/mind/body will avoid things it doesn't like - so override the dislike factor - reframe it. The saying mind over matter is never more true than it is here! 

 

9. Be present 

When anyone comes to work with me in the studio yes there are reps and sets and alignment and gains and goals etc. But what I really think they gain is the experience of being present in their body. It might sound a little kooky but going to the studio or the gym and just going through the motions, the reps, the sets, thinking about work or what you'll do afterwards is really not as beneficial as being present with your body for your workout. Movement is an enriching educational experience. It's an outlet, a form of expression, a release of energy or a way of conjuring up energy. But all this good stuff only happens when we are present in our movement. It's like anything really - when you are present you are alive and the experience is banked. When you are somewhere else you're just wasting what you're doing in the present. 

 

So there you have it - 9 magical philosophical paragraphs to live by.   Now go forth and conquer... :D 

Your last quarter goals for 2015!

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I'm a bit nervous about writing this blog. When you write about accountability you really need to be accountable yourself right? I can't believe it's almost the end of 2015. As I get older I begin to get quite panicky about how quickly life passes particularly when it comes to business development and growth. The point of all this is to expose my goals for 2015 to you all again and find out what I have done already and what still needs to be done, in the hopes it will spark some inspiration in you all about what you still have left to do for 2015. 

 

My 2015 goals - recap 

 

Reading

I've read 8 books this year so I'm on track with that! Check out my top 4 summer reading recommendations here. 

 

Meditation 

My Meditation practice is going ok. I do an average of 3 meditations a week which is better than any other year I've tried. Now I know when I need a meditative time out to rest my brain and quiet the noise. I'd love to do meditation every day so I'll definitely make a bigger effort for the last part of the year.  I've been accepted on to a 10 Vipassana silent meditation retreat in October where I'll be meditating all day so I'll make up for lost time then! 

 

Gratitude journal 

The Gratitude journal is something I do every day. I've only missed a few days this year. It's probably the best goal I've ever set myself. It's easy to complain about what we don't have but really we are so lucky. Expressing gratitude for what we have puts us in a wonderfully productive mindset too! 

 

Time outs 

I did go away early in the year to Prague which I really enjoyed. I also took a staycation in late July to enjoy London and then took a trip to Sicily in mid-August. And as mentioned above I'm doing the silent retreat in October for 10 days. I'm giving myself bonus points for time out I've taken already this year. I find it really hard to do! 

 

Selfless service  

I had planned to produce a free eBook this year which is not yet completed but other freebies are coming in the last quarter of the year which I'll reveal in the next couple of blogs.  I am also working on an outreach project which I'll be talking more about in 2016.... Watch this space! 

 

Education

My sports massage course is booked and I've added A-level biology which I need for planned study later on. I also added in a Japanese language course over the summer. Konnichiwa! Ogenki desuka? 😉

 

Fitness 

The Vietnam trip will not happen for me this year. I've been so busy with work that I've not been able to recruit a sufficient number of people to come with me. Maybe next year... 

I bought my bike in January and I've been cycling with my Dad 4 times this year. Not quite every month but better than nothing at all! 

So as you can see, I'm as human as you. Some goals I've done well with, others not so much. I am really happy about the reading, meditation and gratitude journal. But I can tell you, if I hadn't set any of these goals I probably wouldn't have achieved much this year! 

Anyway, my point of sharing this is for you to check in with your own goals for 2015. What do you still have left to do this year? It's ok if your goals have changed and it's also ok if you haven't achieved some things you wanted to. Don't give yourself a hard time. Evaluate objectively - perhaps it was unrealistic for this year, look at the deep rooted motivation for your goals. What can you still do in 2015?  

 

My closing message is - just do it. You cannot live 2015 over again. So if there are still goals to achieve this last quarter then do it.  That's what helps you grow and makes your life interesting and enjoyable. 

An hour with KT how can I help you further?

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My work as a rehabilitation specialist is an important but relatively small part of health and wellness. I always try to give as much verbal advice as I can along with reading material and tonnes of motivational and moral support! But sometimes we need a little extra... Freebies anyone? ;) 

I'm offering an hour of my time throughout the months of September and October (to the first 15 people who sign up) to sit down and ask me anything about your health and wellness that you feel will support your work with me in the studio - (coffee and treats included obvs). If you are not currently a client of Precision Movement you can still book in with me - we don't discriminate here! 

All you need to do is:

1. Think of up to three topics you would like help with or would like to change. It could be a nutritional question, how to optimise your sleep, how to fit your home programme in to your life more optimally, to a new goal such as climbing Everest! 

2. Email me direct to book yourself in and list the topics you would like to chat about with me so I can prepare accordingly. 

3. Meet me at The Atrium restaurant at Grosvenor House Apartments and we'll discuss the topics and formulate a plan about how to integrate changes into your life for a healthier happier you. 

How does that sound? 

 

Contact KT direct at KT@precisionmovement and with the subject line "an hour with KT". Valid through September 1st - October 31st 2015. Appointments subject to KT's availability although we'll try to accommodate as much as possible. Appointments are non-transferable and cannot be rescheduled once booked. 

Breakfast Hacks part 1

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The buzz word for 2014/2015 is hack - which basically means shortcut. If you are an entrepreneur like me you need to be efficient with all the other stuff that takes you away from working or having fun in life! Introducing KT's 4 top breakfast hacks to make at home upon a request from a client. 

 

1 min smoothie 

Prep time: less than a minute  

Smoothies are great but I always find they take a bit of prep time so when your priority is to get out of the house in the morning.  You can prep most of your smoothie the night before by adding fruits and veggies that do not need to be cut in the blender and then adding the cut fruits in the morning just before you blend. Cutting fruit and leaving it means it will oxidise and lose its nutrients. 

Use a blender that you can put a drinking lid on so you can blend and go. I recommend The Nutribullet.

 

KT's Go-To Get-Out (#GOGO) 1 min smoothie

Put in blender the night before or put in a sealed snack bag and put in the fridge overnight.

Handful of Spinach

Handful of blueberries 

Handful of raspberries  

Tablespoon of coconut oil 

2 tablespoons of Raw cacao powder 

2 tablespoons of Great Lakes gelatin 

In the morning chop up a banana and add a nut milk like hazelnut or almond or coconut water.  Blend all ingredients for up to 30 seconds place your drinking top on and you're good to leave the house with a nutrient packed breakfast to start the day! 

 

1 minute yoghurt brekkie

Prep time:  1 minute 

To really save time, buy a one portion yoghurt rather than a big tub. I like full fat Greek yoghurt.  Pack up a portion of berries, nuts and seeds of your choice and store them in a seal packed bags for use as needed.  Add in chopped banana.  Add 2 tablespoons of Great Lakes gelatin for an added protein boost. If you need a sweetener use raw natural honey or agave nectar. Stir up and enjoy. 

 

Eggy muffins 

Prep time: 10 seconds grab & go 

For those who love a good protein filled breakfast try making egg sausage and cheese muffins.  You can make a batch to last you through the working week for a grab and go solution for energy that lasts to lunch time.  If you prefer a lighter option go for veggies instead of meat.  Let them cool fully then pack them in a tupperware box, tin foil, or in a sealed snack bag and store in the fridge.

http://allrecipes.com/recipe/scrambled-egg-muffins-2/

 

Quick pancakes 

Prep time: 4-5 mins 

If you have 5 minutes to prepare a breakfast with a difference make up pancake batter beforehand and store it in a squeezy bottle.  Heat the pan, and squeeze out your pancakes which take about a minute each to cook.  Serve with berries and banana or full fat yoghurt.  This is great solution for a house full of kids that need to be fed and out the door to school on time!

 

My healthy pancake recipe 

1/2 cup bobs red mill pancake flour 

1/2 cup almond flour 

1/4 cup raw cacao powder 

1 egg beaten 

1 tablespoon coconut oil 

almond milk to preferred batter consistency 

I also add 2 tablespoons of milled flaxseed Q10 mix 

I serve it with plain yoghurt, chopped banana, strawberries and a drizzle of agave nectar.

 

Breakfast hacks 2 features next week which is a selections of the best grab and go breakfasts around town and a few of my favourite places for longer sit down breakfast meetings too! 

Happy breaking your fast! :p  

Precision Movement's hand picked specialist partners

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At Precision Movement we often work in conjunction with medical experts and therapists to help clients get better faster.  We've hand picked specialists in orthopaedics, physiotherapy, osteopathy, specialist chiropractic, nutrition, lifestyle and stress management.  Our MO is to get you better - whatever that takes we'll make it happen.  We want our work to benefit you at the right point in your recovery so we may send you to another specialist first or in conjunction with the work we are doing.  

So here are our hand picked specialists and a bit about how they could potentially help you. Click on the links below to find out more about them and how to contact them.

 

Lucy Bransgrove

Lucy Bransgrove is a private visiting Physiotherapist who specialises in back pain and injuries as well as working at Kings College Boys School in Wimbledon as their pitchside sports physio.  Lucy provides treatment at the Precision Movement studio as part of our injury rehabilitation programme.

 

NUCCA 

Heidi Grant is a NUCCA Chiropractor and specialises in head and neck trauma as well as how the alignment of the head and cervical spine affect the whole body.  Patients range from professional athletes to those recovering from strokes, neurological disorders, chronic pain, and common injuries.  I work in conjunction with Heidi a lot to help clients hold their adjustments better.

 

London Orthopaedic clinic 

If you require more medical and invasive interventions from trauma or long term degenerative changes, Precision Movement recommends patients to The London Orthopaedic Clinic on Wimpole Street, W1.  Founded by Mr Brian Cohen, it houses a team of 14 surgeons and specialist physicians who I would trust with my life!  

 

Philip Waldman at Chelsea Natural Health 

Philip Waldman is the owner of Chelsea Natural Health clinic and my personal Osteopath.  As a local practitioner to my home I am always recommending his treatment to clients if they are close by.  Many of my clients have said he has magic hands!  He is truly gifted.

 

Karen Maidment at Pure Body Balance 

Karen Maidment is a Functional Diagnostic Nutritionist and is my go-to girl for all the inner workings of the body.  Karen provides a comprehensive assessment of the digestive and hormone systems and helps you heal your insides with anti-inflammatory nutrition.  She has also written a book called Meals that Heal which I have found invaluable.  If you need any kind of nutritional support I highly recommend Karen - she does much of her work by Skype so don't let her home town of Cheltenham put you off!

 

Richard Skudder at Pure Sports Medicine in Kensington

ure Sports Med Richard Skudder is the Osteopath at Pure Sports Medicine Kensington and specialises in the biomechanical aspects of human movement, injury prevention and injury recovery.  Richard helped me overcome my elbow tendonitis last year - a great practitioner.

Avni Trevedi at Avni Touch in North London specialises in women's and paediatric healthcare.  Avni sees many women while they are trying to conceive, during their pregnancy and when the baby arrives often treats both mother and child.

 

ONYX 

Joanne Halstead is a remedial sports massage therapist working from practices in Mayfair and Shoreditch.  She works with clients who need regular release work as a result of their sports and the stresses of every day life.  Joanne comes highly recommended by me personally as I've hugely benefited from her treatments.

Fabs Massage Fabian Adami is a remedial sports massage therapist who has worked with Precision Movement clients to assist in their recovery from injury.  He often works with rugby players.  Having received treatment from him on a number of occasions I can highly recommend him.  Fabian works in Putney and also offers a mobile service - visiting you at home which comes in very handy for us time poor busy folk!

 

Fitness Adventure Travel 

Rob Tynan's company, Fitness Adventure Travel provide bespoke fitness travel life changing experiences.  I am due to lead a trip to Vietnam this year for F.A.T and I highly advocate setting yourself a challenge like this and gearing your training towards it.  Life is for enjoyment, adventure and experience, and if your training can support this then all the better!

 

Florence Parot

Florence Parot is a Sophrologist specialising in sleep and burnout.  As you know I for me sleep is an essential foundation of health and wellness. It's where we heal and recover both mentally.  For those really struggling with the quality and quantity of their sleep Florence can help you.  As a former corporate ladder climber Florence knows how burnout starts, what it feels like and how to recover from a total crash.  

 

Be Sophro 

Be Sophro is owned by Dominique Antiglio a sophorologist who specialises in birth preparation, stress management and preparation for special events.  Sophrology combines gentle movements, visualisation and meditative practices which make it a comprehensive system for mental and emotional support and rebalance.

In summary, at Precision Movement we are specialists in movement - in rehabilitation and strength conditioning.  We also highly advocate optimising all areas of your health and well-being and that's why we have picked these specialists for you should you ever need their assistance.

 

 

 

 

Precision Movement's summer smoothies!

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What you refuel your body with after a workout is as important as the workout itself which is why I designed the Precision Movement post-workout smoothies for Grosvenor House Apartments by Jumeirah Living which are freshly prepared and served at The Atrium Restaurant on floor 2.  If you've not had one after your workout yet have a nosey at the selection and make sure you order one next time... you are what you eat and absorb so refuel that body right!

 And if you're not already working with us at the studio but still fancy a smoothie then pop in and visit us and we'll prepare one for you. 

My favourite is 'Continue the Calm... I always need a reminder! ;)  

 

 

 

Do you want to know what KT is really like?

Let's face it, I'm hard to sum up in a tidy little phrase - though many have tried!  So I asked my lovely clients, the recipients of my knowledge and expertise to describe their experiences of working with me. My fabulous web/video/media guys at SquareGlu sprinkled magic dust over it to produce this little movie... 

 

Thanks to to my lovely clients for taking part - I did tell you I'd get you your five minutes of fame! And thanks to SquareGlu for making such a professional end product.  

 

Popcorn at the ready.... ;) 

 

Precision Movement's inspiring summer book recommendations

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As many of you will remember I set myself some pretty hefty goals this year.  One of them was to read a book a month. I haven't quite stuck to this time frame but I have read 6 books this year so far! :) 

 

I try to think of many random ways I help make life a little easier for you all. So at this critical time of year when you are packing for your vacation and you realise you haven't got a book to read on the beach I have put together a list of my top four reads from this year so far. Now you can't say I don't look out for you all... ;p Without further ado my four hand picked book recommendations for summer 2015...

 

Winning Without Losing by Martin Bjergegaard

Probably the best business book I've ever read. Martin interviewed many of the top entrepreneurs on the planet asking them how they find and maintain what he calls the new dual optimum (a fancy phrase for the more globally recognised "work/life balance"). Hugely inspiring, with some great instant take-aways and broken into manageable chunks so you can read a chapter then take a dip in the pool, read a chapter then go for lunch. I'd recommend it if you need to recharge your business brain. 

 

13 Things Mentally Strong People Don't Do by Amy Morin 

Amy has a brilliant personal story to tell about her hardships and how she overcame them by NOT doing what mentally strong people DON'T do. If you're feeling a bit beaten up right now then this is a good booster for the spirit and the soul.  

 

When I Stop Talking You'll Know I'm Dead by Jerry Wientraub 

For a lighter story that reads more like a novel try Weintraub's life story of becoming a self-made man in Hollywood. With anecdotes about Sinatra, Elvis and a host of celebrities and musicians it's an engaging and fantastical story of a man who has lived what seems like a charmed life but he's worked his absolute socks off for.  I love his chutzpah - every good business person needs that! 

 

 The Road to Character by David Brooks

This is my most recent read.  I actually went to see David being interviewed in May which was a real treat.  This book is all about cultivating the eulogy virtues. We're pretty good at the CV virtues but perhaps not so focussed on the virtues that develop our character - such as bravery, kindness and selflessness. David takes 9 inspiring people from history who have made a difference to the world with their strength of character. He explores their lives and how they developed their eulogy virtues.  It's a beautiful and humbling read - good for an ego check! 

 

For those of you who are jetting off for the summer I wish you happy travels. Be safe. Make memories. Enjoy every moment. I'll still be posting so keep reading and read a book or two - it's really good for relieving stress! 

 

Beneficial breathing for back pain & injury recovery

For this weeks blog post, I’d like to touch on a subject that is often overlooked.  What plays a major role in the alignment and stability of your body, is critical for your survival and is also integral to maintaining a sense of calm?

It’s breathing. Your ability to breathe is truly amazing.  It keeps you alive, it’s highly linked to how you feel and what state your body is in, it’s autonomic (you don’t have to tell yourself to breathe) but you can also take conscious control of it.  The control and awareness of your breathing is your own little magic remedy for stress relief.  Do a quick test now and count how many times you breathe in and out per minute.

Rate yourself!

A normal natural breathing rate is 12-16 full breaths (inhale and exhale) per minute.  Obviously, when you are exercising breathing rate increases as a necessity of the need to transport more oxygen to the muscles for work.  If you breathing rate is higher than normal for every day living this may be an indication that you are stressed.  This could be mental, emotional or it could be nutritional or digestive.  Whenever the body is disturbed or under stress it has the same response.  Breathing rate increases with stress.

Discover your Depths

There are a few ways to breathe.  The most common, although not most beneficial is chest breathing.  This is a short sharp shallow breath, which is usually quite fast and is associated with the stress response.  This type breathing contributes to getting more oxygen into the top area of your lungs as muscles in the upper back, shoulders and neck are use to lift the chest during strenuous exercise.  This is not however, a breathing technique that should be used in every day life.

Breathing that causes pain and injury

When someone breathes like this they usually inhale and exhale through their mouth and this can often bring the head position forwards and create mild (and sometimes major) stress on the neck and shoulders.  The body will also respond hormonally, as it thinks it’s under stress so it will secrete a low constant level of cortisol – the stress hormone.

Breathing for healing and recovery

Deep breathing/belly breathing or diaphragmatic breathing is a full breath where by the whole lungs are filled with air, the diaphragm drops down and the organs below it push out against the abdominal wall.  Two thirds of a full breath happen below the chest, then last third of the breath should lift the chest if needed.  This type of breathing takes the body into a state of relaxation and rest.  Often a diaphragmatic breath is inhaled through the nose and exhaled out through the nose or in through the nose and out through the mouth.

Breathing for exercise

A simple effective berthing technique that helps you to relax and destress is to inhale for 6 counts hold your breath for 3 counts then exhale for 6 counts and rest for 3 counts.  It takes a bit of time to slow down the breath so go easy to start.  Practise this for 5 minutes a day and within a week it will seem easy.

 

Precision Movement's top 10 essentials for super slumber

cat sleeping
cat sleeping

Sleep is an essential part of healing and recovery from injury and equally essential to your performance throughout the waking hours!  It is very easy to make changes to maximise the rest and recvoery you get whilst sleeping.  Whether you think you sleep well or not, implementing these top tips will ensure that you get a good nights sleep every night for the rest of your life.

1.Quantity

It is recommended that you sleep between 7-9 hours per night.  I aim for 8 hours.  Try to be in bed by 10pm for lights out at 1030pm.  Your physical recovery takes place between the hours of 10pm-2am and your mental recovery from 2am-6am.  If you miss any of this your recovery will be impaired and your performance the next day may be impacted.  Recently some experts have said that you can recover sleep debt from the weekdays at the weekend.  I would advise getting into a routine during the week as recent research has also found that varying your bedtimes is akin to the effects of travelling through different time zones.  If you've travelled to Asia or Australia you'll know what that does to your body!  Even a 1 or 2 hour time change frequently can have an unsettling effect on your sleep quality.

2.  Electromagnetic interference

Reduce and ideally eliminate exposure to TV, ipad, smartphone, computer 2 hours before bed.  The light from these screens stimulates the retinae and set off a hormonal response that it is still daylight.  This will not calm you down in preparation for sleep.  Take the TV out of your bedroom and any electrical items that are plugged in.  Electromagnetic stress will disturb your sleep quality.

3.   Dim the lights

If possible spend the last 2 hours of your day in lower lighting.  This gradually prepares the body for sleep.  When  light sources to your eyes are reduced it increases the production of melatonin the sleep hormone and your body then starts its preparation of slowing down to sleep.

4.  Black out your room

Black out all sources of light from your room.  If you live in a city you'll need to black out your windows.  A great product I have come across recently is

Lights Out Blinds

- black out blinds that are easy to put up, take down and travel with.

5.  Silence!

Quiet your sleep chamber.  Our body and brain responds to sound even when we are asleep.  The quieter your sleep time the better quality you'll enjoy!  Use ear plugs if you are in a noisy area of town - just make sure you can still here your alarm in the morning.

6.  Night time routine

The best way to prepare for sleep is do just that - prepare.  I recommend a bath in low light.  Scents like lavender and rose are calming and soothing.  You can replace watching TV or surfing online for reading.  Read something that will calm you - that means no work documents or scary stories.  Choose something escapist and fantastical.  You could also do some light stretching - if you have been given a daily corrective exercise programme by Precision Movement we encourage clients to do 10-20 minutes of this as a wind down before going to sleep.

7.  Meditate

This can be a controversial one but the act of focussing on one thing helps quiet the mind and prepare the body and brain for sleep.  I use a meditation CD as I like to be guided.  My favourite CDs are by Deepak Chopra but there are many prodcuts out there that work.  If you struggle to drift off after all this preparation then I would recommend a sleep CD.  There are some amazing products out there which I have used myself.  My favourite one that always send me sweetly off is Pzizz from

Pzizz.com

.  As well as a guided meditation style speaker they have music and tones that activate theta brain waves - theta is the frequency our brain waves vibrate at when we sleep.

8.  Gratitude x 10 + 3Qs

Sounds like an equation?  Well let's call it the sleep equation!  This is my favourite one and I love getting ready for bed just to complete this task. List 10 things you are grateful for that day.  Then answer the following 3 questions -who did you help today?  Who helped you?  What did you learn?

9.  Anyone for tea?

Limit and ideally eliminate caffeine after 12pm.  Your body has a natural hormone rhythm that gets you up and puts you to bed.  Caffeine really interferes with this and in turn interrupts your sleep quality.  Use herbal teas before bed.  Look out for special sleep blends and ingredients such as camomile, valerian root and fennel.  My favourite sleepy tea is

Bedtime Yogi Tea

.

10.  Don't you worry don't worry child!

If your head is flooded with worries and things you forgot to do today, then keep a journal by your bed.  Write everything down that is bothering you.  This act of transferring it out and into your 'to do' book will calm your mind so you can prepare to rest.

The key to making this work for you is to get into a routine.  That is why I have designed a sleep chart for you to fill in.  Download it here and track your progress over 30 days.  Let me know how you do on Facebook or Twitter.  And with that said I feel a yawn coming on.  Wishing you a super sleep every night of your life.

5 sources of stress that make your pain worse

stress ball
stress ball

In my

1st newsletter

where I shared the link to

Kelly McGonigal's Ted Talk

on How stress can be your friend I promised I would also share the other 5 unsuspecting sources of stress that may be compromising your health.  Although is true that your conscious perception of stressful situations can transform the outcome, there is little you can do about forms of stress you do not know about.  

Did you know that stress can come from foods, hormone imbalance, electromagnetic sources, too little or too much exercise, and temperature changes?  And did you know that all these sources of stress can contribute to a relapse of your injury, pain or discomfort?

Stress build up throughout the day

I'll use an example of how stress can build up without you even knowing.  You wake up to an alarm after a restless nights sleep. You force off your tiredness with a coffee and rush out the house because you are late.  You leave the house without a coat and it's too late to go back to get one now - you'll be cold all day.  When you get to work the computers are down  The You won't finish that proposal for a client today, you'll lose the contract and your bonus!  You have a makeshift late lunch and more coffee to stay awake.  You decide to shake off your stress by going for a run even though your back hurts and when you get home, you order a take-out and you can't wait to get the kids in bed so you can 'unwind' with a few glasses of wine before you fall asleep on the sofa in front of the TV.  Sound familiar?

Many stressors one response

What if I told you that everything in the above example stresses your body?  Think of your body having a threshold - a tolerance for all the stressful things we put it through.  What if I told you that repeating this over and over would create a build up of stress that might result in a seemingly 'random' injury or illness?  It does.  The body only has one response to stress.  It does not matter if the stressor comes from a food that you are unknowingly intolerant to or over exposure to the sun.  The body's response is to shut down so it can heal.  Repeated abuse of these systems results in tiredness, compromised immunity and suppression of healing and recovery.  This leads to discomfort, pain, injury, illness and disease.

How to combat these sources of stress...

In this blog i'll give an overview of how to combat these unsuspecting sources of stress so you can begin to change your mindset on how to deal with your discomfort, pain, injury and or illness.  As each of these subjects are pretty hefty on their own I'll be sharing information in more depth over the coming weeks.

1.  Nutrition

Eat from the earth.  Refrain from eating any foods that are packaged, processed and tampered with.  Reduce stimulants like coffee to the minimum to prevent stressing out your adrenals.  Be aware of your alcohol intake

2.  Hormonal/Adrenal

Sleep enough and rest properly.  Sleeping and rest are not the same thing!  Sleep 8 an average of 8 hours in a blacked out room in silence.  Maintain balance between work and life.  Acknowledge that you are not superman/woman and that rest is as important as action.

3.  Electromagnetic

Get enough sunlight for vitamin D but not too much - hardly a problem in the English winter months!  Eliminate all electronics from your bedroom and switch off lights at the mains.

4.  Exercise

Definitely exercise but make sure you are not overdoing it.  If you are injured seek professional help to recover effectively.  Strike a balance between healing restorative exercise like tai chi and hatha yoga and more energising forms of exercise like hitting the gym or running.

5.  Make stress your friend

If you haven't watched this video on how to make stress your friend I highly recommend it.  Kelly McGonigal says it better than I ever could.

How to make stress your friend

6.  Thermal 

This seems rather obvious but pay attention to your body temperature. Anything that keeps you too hot, burns you or adversely keeps you too cold is a stressor.  Make sure you are temperate in all situations - at home, work and when you sleep.

Lastly, this is a huge topic and I'll be covering smaller chunks in finer detail as the weeks go on so you can begin to make changes that will result in a healthier, happier pain free life!  If you have questions please email me.  

Information sourced from Paul Chek's How to Eat Move and Be Healthy book, CHEK Institute, USA.

5 top must-have tips for a long healthy career

kid superhero
kid superhero

If you are in business and or climbing the corporate ladder you'll know all too well that feeling of invincibility. It's a divine trait and can also be equally as detrimental - unsuspectingly to your spine and your heart.

Clients come to me in their mid-30s to mid-40s with back, neck and shoulder pain and in their mid forties to fifties with heart trouble. One way or another, a life time of stress will get you. And when it does you will have to stop completely to heal and recover. There is nothing more soul destroying than being close to the height of your career and having to take 6 months or longer off because you can't get out of bed.  It's probably not something you think about at all - and I am with you that you shouldn't have to. An awareness and application of a few basic support systems can minimise the risk of present or future work related back pain and injury. Here are my top 5 counteractions to minimise the risk of irreparable damage to your spine so you don't have to think about it!

1. Your state of mind. No one is invincible. If you are striving to achieve a top job it is an endurance race not a sprint. Pace yourself and take time out. The first step is to rethink the invincibility cloak - save it for dress up with the kids!

2. Your body heals and recovers from the stress you put it through daily when you sleep. Sleep is not an option for minimising injury and illness prevention in the future - it is a necessity. Both quality and quantity are important. Aim to sleep for 8 hours a night ideally between 10pm and 6am. Take out any electronics from your bedroom and switch off lights at the mains. Your room should be pitch black and as quiet as possible for a really good quality of sleep.

3. The food you put in your body becomes you. If you eat sugary processed foods your body will be starved of the nutrients that heal and restore from daily stressors. Also not eating enough will cause stress and impair effective recovery. Every cell in your body is renewed over 7 years. So short term fixes will not work well for injury and illness prevention in the future. Make a commitment to yourself to make a change for life - feed your success by eating what nature grows for you.

4. Movement is absolutely essential for injury prevention. If you sit at a desk during your working day you MUST make an effort to move either in the morning or in the evening. Exercise plays a direct role in maintaining good posture and keeping your joints strong and stable. A balance of high intensity and restorative exercise is also important. Too much high intensity will stress you out and could lead to an over-training injury. The quality of movement has a huge impact on how successful it becomes for injury prevention. If you turn up the gym and have a go on what looks good or manageable I would suggest seeking advice. At the very least find a good trainer or corrective exercise specialist with experience, top qualifications and a passion for their job to design and regularly upgrade a programme for you.

5. Strive for a balanced life. Spread your energy and interests wide. This idea is about giving your brain a new stimulus - a chance to work in another way. It is said that a change is as good as a rest right? So change your stimulus to give your brain a rest. Mental stress is as detrimental to your body as physical. This will mean stepping away from the office - and the blackberry.

Taking these 5 points on board and implementing them for life going forwards will minimise the chances of injury and illness so that you can enjoy a long, healthy and successful career.