Precision Movement's KT explains how to get good at your injury rehabilitation exercises so you can become injury and pain free, design your life and boo your next adventure!
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 :)
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
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
I've read 8 books this year so I'm on track with that! Check out my top 4 summer reading recommendations here.
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!
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!
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!
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!
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? 😉
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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 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.
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.
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 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 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.
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! ;)
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.... ;)
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!
PrecisionMovement2 workouts are the fitness part of what we do here in the studio. Even though client may initially come to us with an injury, once they are better they often want to get fit again or set themselves a goal or train for an event.
To support your fitness workouts it's really important to get the right nutrition. We advise the following:
1. Count nutrients not calories. Every time you sit down to eat it's a chance to nourish your body. Choose the most nutrient dense foods containing vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, enzymes, reparative proteins and fats. If you find eating lots of fruits and vegetables a challenge then take a fresh vegetable juice every morning. It's the best vitamin hit you can get!
2. Avoid processed foods, sugar and caffeine.
3. Balance out alcohol with proteins and fats in your meal It will minimise the risk of blood sugar spikes and crashes.
4. My top ten food recommendations are salmon, spinach, kale, pomegranates, blueberries, avocados, apples, ginger, lemons and carrots.
5. For water intake multiply your body weight in KG by 0.033 for the optimal intake in litres. Opt for Evian, Vittel, Fuji or Hildon Spring (which we have at Grosvenor House Apartments) as they are natural spring waters and have the highest natural mineral content.
In addition to optimising your nutrition sleep is essential for the healing and recovery of exercise. It helps the body metabolise more efficiently, you can mange stress better, and it improves mental and emotional health too. For more information on optimising your sleep read my top ten tips for the best nights sleep every night.
Karen Maidment is co-owner of Pure Body Balance in Gloucestershire. She is also the author of Meals that Heal and the creator of specialist cooking workshops that teach you how to make meals that really do heal your body. Karen not only specialises in nutrition but in all the systems of the body and how they work together to optimise a healthier happier lifestyle. Karen works with clients of Precision Movement to optimise their lifestyle and nutrition aspects of health to support the training they do with us.
KT: What sparked your interest in Nutrition and wellness?
Karen: I have always had a love for cooking and food. From a very young age my sister and I were encouraged to get involved with our parent’s back garden allotment. We would get paid a penny for every caterpillar we removed from Dad’s cabbages! And my mum would pop us on a foot stool so that we could reach the worktop and make little cookies and fairy cakes. I grew up in the countryside where blackberry picking, locally shot pheasant and rabbit and home grown produce were part of the norm.
Later on in life during a dip in enthusiasm for my post graduate career in fashion my now husband and business partner Adrian, encouraged me to follow my heart and begin a distance learning course in Nutrition Coaching. Three years later as I was coming to the end of this first course Adrian was taken seriously ill with Crohns Disease. After 2 years of misdiagnosis he finally ended up having major surgery and so we used both his education with the CHEK Institute and my knowledge in nutrition and lifestyle management to turn his health around.
KT: For you, what is the foundation of health?
Karen: Actually to me a healthy mindset is the key. After a decade studying and working in the health industry I have come to realise that as health coaches we tend to be way to hard on ourselves. There is a level of perfectionism that we seem to aim for that is simply unattainable. Yes eating organic food, clean water and seasonal produce are the foundations of my nutritional regime, BUT honestly none of this matters if I don’t like, love and respect myself enough to make those choices daily. Most importantly, it's to treat myself with compassion when I don’t make the most healthful choices. I am only human after all!
KT: What types of people usually seek out your help and why?
Karen: This has evolved as I have evolved both as a coach and with my own health journey. During my 10 or so years in the industry I have worked through numerous health issues myself, in fact I am still a work in progress. From Adrenal Fatigue to Amenorrhea, IBS to Insomnia. I tend to find that clients with similar health issues to those I am working through seek me out. A few years ago I started my website endibsnaturally.com at that time I was working through major IBS symptoms and so it seemed natural to me to share how I was healing myself with my clients. Now I tend to be working a lot with auto immune disease and adrenal fatigue. Many of my closet family members have various auto immune diseases, such as my husband and after an incredibly successful and busy year in 2014 my adrenal health certainly took a hit! My clients tell me that they connect with me due to my authenticity and ability to show compassion through my own challenges. It requires a great deal of courage on my part to show what I sometimes feel are my imperfections, but my clients LOVE that. It makes them feel understood and shows them that if I can get well they can too.
KT: How do you help people achieve better health and wellness?
Karen: Nutrition and lifestyle coaching fused with practical recipe and cookery support. Ultimately there is no point knowing what you can and can’t eat if you don’t know how to cook and follow a basic recipe.
KT: What do you specialise in?
Karen: Many back pain syndromes and injuries are caused by inflammation which creates instability leading to injury. For instance tennis elbow and lumbar spine weakness have show to reduce and resolve themselves once inflammatory foods such as gluten and dairy have been taken out of the diet. I often see reoccurring injuries failing to heal after corrective exercises and hands on therapy due to this inflammatory process. In addition using foods as medicine you can actually facilitate a quicker recovery from pain and injury. Saturated fats for instance are known to improve bone, muscle and tissue structure, as is homemade bone broth which contains high amount of collagen and gelatin. I have seen fantastic results by supplementing with a mixture of bone broth and Great Lakes Gelatin in structural and tissue related injuries. Anti inflammatory juices containing ingredients such as fresh turmeric and beetroot and calcium rich greens such as kale and spinach are also great nutritional medicinal tools to promote recovery.
KT: What do you typically eat for breakfast?
Karen: We follow a Paleo type diet so we often have eggs, salad and some root veggies. I make us a seasonal green juice everyday which nearly always has fresh lemon and ginger, two of my favourite juicing ingredients. I always make sure I have live foods with my cooked protein. Poached wild salmon is a favourite as are the most incredible organic handmade pork and herb sausages from our local farm shop.
KT: What are the four foods/supplements you cannot live without and why?
Karen: Food wise I love organic coconut oil and ghee, these are my staple forms of fat. I do not tolerate dairy very well and so ghee gives me all of the great fat soluble vitamins without the casein and lactose. Wild honey, which is my favourite sweetener, it tastes great and contains live enzymes to help you break down carbohydrates whilst offering up antibacterial properties. Homemade broth to keep my digestive system happy and my bones, skin and muscle strong.
With regards to supplements I cannot live without the North American Herbs & Spice range, these are food grade, wild and handpicked. Particularly I love their probiotics (Healthbac), there adrenal and B vitamin booster (PurelyB) and their mineral support (Purelymin). I do not take any supplement every day, rather I listen to what my body needs and take them as and when I feel my body needs a little boost. Bear in mind that most supplements that you buy are synthetic and are actually of very little use to your body.
KT: With Easter just around the corner, can you recommend a healthier option for a chocolate Easter egg?
Karen: I am totally in love with Booja Booja chocolates, particularly the champagne ones. They taste insanely good and contain no dairy or gluten, to big no-nos for my health. They are also organic. You could also consider making your own raw chocolates, there is a fab recipe in my cook book Meals That Heal.
Karen's book Meals that Heal is available to purchase HERE
Details of Karen's next cookery workshops can be found HERE
To find out more about working with Karen to optimise your nutritional health please contact her at email@example.com or call the centre on 01285 83127.
The number one question I get asked is "Are you a physio?" - unfortunately I cannot lay claim to this esteemed profession! I am not a physio. The second question is, "So are you a personal trainer then?". Again I cannot say I am a Personal Trainer either - well not anymore. I fall somewhere between the two and work under the grandiose title of "Corrective Exercise Specialist". This line of conversation invariably leads to a discussion about what type of exercise I do and how it differs from gym training. I will now humbly attempt to explain in an effort to give you a better understanding of the difference.... Wish me luck!
What is corrective exercise?
Corrective exercise is a special type of exercise usually used as part of the rehabilitation process in healing and recovery from chronic pain, injury or surgery, or given to those who suffer from poor posture. The emphasis really is on optimal alignment, stability, mobilisation and then strength development.
In comparison regular exercise that you might do in the gym or in sports has a different goal - often increased fitness, body shape change, weight loss etc. As the goals are different the exercises and movement given are bigger and incorporate more muscles. This helps co-ordination for sports and is also effective for conditioning the body to change shape and increase fitness. If I were to give these exercises to someone who is in pain and has poor alignment, poor stability, mobility and strength they would not be able to perform them effectively and could potentially hurt themselves further.
It's important to mention here that corrective exercise also forms a foundation for all movement and exercise. If your foundational principles are good then your risk of injury is much reduced. When clients come to Precision Movement with fitness goals we still take them through foundational principles to make sure alignment, stability, and mobility is optimal for more complex movements.
The types of exercises
The majority of exercises I do with clients at the beginning of their programmes are floor or swiss ball based. I ask them to repeat the repetitions many times to elicit postural change and I also ask them to engage in mindful exercise which includes some psychology techniques. Corrective exercise rarely makes you sweat and definitely doesn't increase your heart or breathing rate. It is not easy though! The areas we stretch are usually tight and stiff and the muscles we train are weak to begin with. When clients adapt and improve, programmes are updated to challenge them further.
A classic exercise I teach clients is the horsestance series. It looks very easy but it is actually quite challenging. Before clients can do this exercise effectively I'll also teach and often reset their breathing mechanics, help them effectively activate their core and how to activate stability through their hands and feet. When the exercise is performed correctly it is exceptionally effective in training stability and forms a solid foundation for more complex movements that you would do in the gym or in sports.
Typical exercises you might see in the gym are squats, lunges, pullups and pushups. These are all neurologically complex movements meaning the brain needs to send a huge amount of information to the muscular system to perform the movement successfully. You might use a kettlebell swing which is a dynamic form of a deadlift pattern. Running, martial arts and many other sports are also exceptionally challenging to the body and brain. To perform these exercises and sports well you'll need optimal joint stability, understanding of core function, breathing mechanics, optimal joint mobility and to minimise the risk of injury good alignment throughout the body as well as in the movement.
When does corrective exercise become regular exercise?
At Precision Movement we are specialists in change. Our goal with everyone is to get them to a fully functional movement state for life and whatever sports they participate in.
We don't want someone lying on the floor doing a mundane exercise forever. We may ask someone to do this in an early stage of rehabilitation to get certain muscles firing but when they adapt to the exercise we make it more challenging. All the exercises we give have many many progressions right up to regular exercise that you'll recognise well. Perhaps the difference in giving regular exercise at Precision Movement is we might make changes or modifications that are specific to an individuals needs eg. A static lunge might include a band to emphasise the inclusion of the hip stabilisers that have a tendency to be lazy - they might now be strong but the band acts as a reminder for the individual to maintain good knee alignment.
In a way, we use corrective exercise like servicing a machine. A machine that has been running for a while might need some parts changed, an oil or water change. Similarly, we'll do a maintenance check and make sure all the stabilisers are firing correctly and alignment and mobility are good.
For more information on corrective exercise for postural alignment, pain relief and management of injuries and degenerative conditions please contact us.
Last month I was invited to speak at the Lansdowne Club in Mayfair about the tragic death of Moritz Erdhart. I posed the question 'does the responsibility of your health and wellness lie with the company or does it lie with the individual?' In part 2 of this blog I'll be focussing on how you the individual employee can take responsibility for your own health and wellness at work.
The buck stops with you
I truly believe your personal health is your own responsibility. That is not to say you should automatically know how to attain optimal health - that is what health specialists are for. But, however many health benefits your company offers you it is your responsibility to use them. I think we can all attest to feeling sharper, more productive and more amiable when we are well rested, well fed and have a sense of content and happiness about our lives.
Every time you order a meal you are making a personal choice about how to nourish your body. Only you can get to the gym, or get to the 5-aside football, office rugby game or pilates class. Only you can make a decision to sort out your desk related back pain. And it also your choice (within reason) about when to leave the office at night.
The LifeRez - It's a state of mind
You can minimise the chances of injury or illness by taking responsibility for your health now and making LIFESTYLE changes that you can maintain for the foreseeable future. A few blogs ago I wrote about Precision Movement's Life Resolution campaign - making smaller manageable health changes that you can maintain for life. At work your priority is work but health and wellness will make your work more enjoyable. The liferez system is perfect for implementing health and wellness into you work life.
There are a few small essentials that you can easily incorporate into your work place. Start with your work station - ask for an ergonomics assessment to ensure you have the best possible posture when you are working. Drink more water and you can start by adding just one extra glass of water a day. Make sure you leave the office at lunchtime for fresh air, natural light and movement. There are many more things you can improve easily and you can find out what they are and how to implement them on Twitter page and Facebook.
Have you ever watched a baby learning to move? I think it is possibly one of the most fascinating things in this world. Babies are hard wired to learn movement and the most amazing thing is they do it by themselves. We can't teach them because they have not yet developed the communication skills. They can certainly teach us a thing or too!
What motivates babies to move?
Babies are solely motivated to move by attaining something. They might want a toy or to get to their Mother. The need to achieve this is greater than staying put so they figure out with the facilities they have at any given developmental stage how to get to where they want to.
Sight leads movement
Have you ever noticed that babies only move towards something once they have seen it and they keep looking at the object of their desire until they get it? It can be behind them but if they can see it their whole body is sent messages to move towards the object of desire. This mechanism stays with us and vision can be used to rehabilitate muscles that are not firing effectively. Try it - look towards something behind you and you'll notice your body starts to rotate towards it. It's a new technique I'll be using going forwards so get your movement goggles on!
Babies will repeat a movement at a particular stage of development over and over again. It is how they teach themselves unconscious movement and also how the get strong. It is also why they need so much food and rest because they are moving and learning all the time. This applies to adults too - especially in a rehabilitative setting. If you are injured and you need to relearn movement patterns or a better breathing pattern or how to activate your core again it is repetition that is the key to success. You want these mechanisms to be unconscious.
Pure movements and postures
If you are looking for perfect posture and pure movement patterns look at babies. They use the most efficient and effective movement patterns to get them where they want to go. Have you ever seen a 12 month old in that beautiful primitive squat position? That is what our squats should look like. We lose the ability to do this because we stop moving.
Set for life
The postures and movement patterns that babies develop form the basis for how we will move and function as a child and as an adult. If faulty postures and patterns develop in this crucial stage they need to be corrected immediately as it can result in problems later in life.
I love this question! It is something I get asked when I am out socially and people discover I work with back pain and injuries. The truth is no one set of exercises fits all back pain problems. In fact, every person I see in my practice is so completely different it never ceases to amaze me. For instance someone with a disc prolapse may really benefit from a back extension mobilization and stretch. If I give the same stretch to someone with stenosis (bone spurs) it will push on the already smaller spaces where the nerves exit the spine and aggravate their condition. It gets more complex when I have someone who has both of these conditions or multiple spine issues. Believe me there is no one size fits all. Here are some golden rules about exercise that apply to most all back pain sufferers.....
If there is one thing you take away from this article please make it the importance of movement. Every day moving around trumps sitting or lying still every time. The key to movement for relief of pain, especially when it is very sore, is to do it gently. If you are desk bound at work get up and walk around, take the stairs for a few floors, get out for lunch, walk to the water cooler. Walking can often provide a sense of relief (however if it makes it worse and sitting relieves it then take a rest periodically). Things to avoid are heavy lifting and too much bending over to pick things up off the floor.
2. Specific back mobilizations
I recommend my clients do gentle back specific mobilizations upon waking daily to ease the back into the day. If you suffer from stiffness upon waking these mobilizations can be very effective at reducing your pain in less time. Ideally you should have someone show you how to do mobilizations that are specific to your back problem. However, you can download your copy of the
that I give my clients
. Be sure to read the instructions carefully - small and gentle is key!
3. Corrective exercise for postural alignment and stability
Here lies the key to getting your back pain sorted. Corrective exercise focusses on your alignment, stability and core activation and moves your through stages of development from small isolating exercises right up to functional often loaded movement. This is where you can get mobilizations, stretches and exercise tailored to your specific condition. At Precision Movement I always give programmes for the relief of pain when your back is sore, daily home programmes, a set of stretches to do at your desk, and a programme for the gym as required.
4. The Gym
If you are suffering from intense back pain avoid lifting heavy weights. Weights create axial (vertical downward) loading on your spine and if you are already in discomfort the worst thing you can do is increase the pressure on areas of discomfort. You could seriously hurt yourself. Do not use machines as a substitute either. Machines isolate and stress your big muscles without using the stabilizers around the joints. If your back is sore the last thing you want to do is make it more unstable or have the larger muscles pulling on it. It would be better to do some gentle yoga or pilates work being mindful of your postural alignment and core activation until your back settles. If you are a regular gym user make sure you have a professional with rehabilitation experience look over what you are doing.
5. Running, biking, rowing and cross trainer cardio machines
If you would like to do some cardio work the key to not aggravating your back is to change it up. Sustained positions can be aggravating for the back. When your back is sore avoid jumping and running as a greater amount of load is placed through the spine and this can be jarring to the back. Cycling and cross trainer are gentler options for cardio and can be alternated. For the bike make sure you are sitting properly and have a professional check your position before you begin. I would avoid rowing when your back is bad especially if you have any disc prolapses and proceed with caution under supervision.
For more information about how corrective exercise can help your specific back pain or injury contact KT at
. Download my eBook '7 steps to getting your back pain sorted' - the link is on the right hand side (just scroll up a bit!).
I recently saw a man working out at my Mayfair studio who was wearing a back brace. I asked him what it was for and he proceeded to tell me that he had terrible back pain and was advised to exercise with a sturdy back support. If there is one thing that I find contradictory, it's wearing a brace that stops movement so that you can exercise/move in the gym. If you want to make your back pain worse then wearing a back brace or support is the quickest way to do it and here's why....
Casting is for breaks
Have you ever broken any bones? Last year I worked with a lady who broke her ankle. She was in a cast for 6 weeks and a boot for another 6 weeks. When she started her rehabilitation with me the difference in the musculature from left to right was incredible. It looked like she had two separate legs! You see the body is mighty clever. If you are not using muscles they atrophy (shrink). A similar phenomenon happens to astronauts when they go into space for long periods. Because there is no gravity their bones become less dense. The good news is that when there is an increased need for muscle the body responds and adapts to the stresses it is put under.
This is why I am so adamantly against back braces for back pain. If you have back pain from disc prolapses, spinal stenosis, disc degeneration, or non-specific back pain back braces are really not going to help you in the long term. I am not saying do not wear one but I would like to educate you on what they do to the body so you can make a more informed decision about wearing one.
The off button
Effectively, just like a cast, a back brace will cause muscles to switch off. One of the first things you learn when you start corrective exercise is how to activate the core. Core activation is absolutely essential to the support of the spine and surrounding structures. Switching off these muscles is just asking for trouble. You cannot rely on a brace to give you the support you need - that is the job of your muscles and connective tissues! If you stop conditioning the muscles under controlled conditions with gradual development you will leave your back even further unsupported and at risk of further injury.
The point of exercising is to move. Wearing a brace can result in muscles getting tighter as they are not able to move through a full range. This will create further imbalance as certain muscles will become tighter and others will overwork to compensate further pulling you out of alignment and causing more stress on your back.
If you are wearing something that restricts movement and causes muscles to switch off you will effectively change messages to your brain and alter movement patterns. The brain responds to the movement patterns you put it through and with repetition it creates a blueprint that is stored for future use. It means we do not have to learn a movement every time we come to do it. However, if you change the variables for instance by putting a brace on, the brain will change it's blueprint accordingly. When you take the brace off and go through daily movements, the brain will use the newly formed blueprints with restricted range of motion and less muscle activation. This leaves you even more vulnerable to injuring yourself further.
What to do
You body has its own brace system - your core. The great thing about the core is you don't have to put it on every day - it is always with you. If you do not know how to activate it then seek out help from a corrective exercise specialist. To find out more about your core read my article "Does having a strong core relieve low back pain?" Equally important is your postural alignment. If movement is not your specialist area then chances are you won't know if you have poor posture or to what extent your posture is affecting your back pain. Optimal alignment, core activation and gradual progressive corrective exercise are the keys to getting your back pain under control. There are no quick fixes.
If you are currently wearing a brace and would like to explore another option for improving your back pain then contact me at
I love sharing knowledge! Which is why I have compiled a list of my top 5 reads for chronic back pain sufferers. They are all easy to read and most of them have tips and information you can apply immediately. If you are suffering from chronic back pain and you really want to know what to do about it and how to handle it then read on....
A comprehensive information packed book that explains how pain comes about and what it means. Although it's a little pricey I think it is must read for chronic pain sufferers.
A wonderfully entertaining book that uses the authors personal anecdotes to explain the mechanisms of pain and about taking responsibility for recovery.
This is a good book for anyone with disc prolapse. It gives easy to understand advice and information and is a great starting point for approaching recovery.
This book is a bible of information if you are a desk bound office worker with back pain or any workplace associated injuries such as carpal tunnel or RSI.
I recommend this book to everyone I meet. It looks at all areas of your health and wellness and is an integral part of healing nad recovery from any pain or injury.
And here is one I wrote myself - myeBook '7 steps to getting your back pain sorted' - scroll up and you'll see it on the left. Happy reading!