It’s time to get friendly with FAT

Yep that’s right. FAT is your friend… but wait, before you get carried away this isn’t a hall pass to go and stuff your face with pizza & hot chips.

Dietary trends are funny. For a while carbs were to blame for all our health problems…. Then the focus switched to fat, apparently we ate too much of it? Now it’s sugar (although I think they may actually finally be on the right track).

Fat is a necessary component of a healthy diet & something which many of you probably don’t eat enough of. I think that’s the media’s fault, for way too long now it’s been drilled into us that fat is bad bad bad. Well guess what? It’s all a big FAT lie!

Our muscles need fat. Our heart needs fat. Our nervous system needs fat. Our organs need fat.

Just so we are clear…. We need fat. Now nod your head slowly, have you got the message?

There are a few types of fats. A few we need more of and a few we need none of.

Unsaturated fats known as the ‘healthy fats’ by many can be separated into monounsaturated and polyunsaturated depending on their chemical makeup.

  • Monounsaturated fats are found in foods such as avocados, nuts and olive oil. These fat sources are important for the cardiovascular system, helping to raise our levels of good cholesterol whilst lowering the bad.
  • Polyunsaturated fats are also important for cholesterol control. They are found in foods such as salmon, seeds and fish oil. Unsaturated fats contain omega 3’s and omega 6 ‘essential fatty acids’. Both are particularly important for a healthy heart, normal brain functioning & can also assist with reducing inflammation in the body.

Saturated fats can sometimes get bit of a bad rap, but it’s just another big misunderstanding. There are a whole heap of hfat freeealth benefits that come from the consumption of foods such as eggs, dairy and red meat which contain saturated fat. For one they are more satiating… meaning they will make you feel full for longer. They are packed with lots of great nutrients and play an important role in producing hormones, particularly testosterone.

Then there is trans-fats. The black sheep of the fat family and the one you want to try and avoid at all costs. These fats are found foods such as hot chips, deep fried foods, pastries. Generally these are ‘man-made’ fats. If your food is pre-packaged it’s probably safe to assume it’s filled with trans fats.

The thing to remember about fats is that you want to make them a good friend BUT you don’t want to necessarily hang out with them all the time. Good healthy fats found in nuts, seeds & avocado are high in calories so you don’t want to be going overboard, especially if you are trying to lose weight.

Personally I love the motto ‘Everything in moderation’. If you have a healthy lifestyle, exercise regularly and feel like a little treat one in a while a chocolate bar of pack of chips isn’t going to kill you!

Healthy snack ideas? Celery & peanut butter, this is probably my fave snack like ever (don’t knock it till you try it); A tablespoon of almond butter with fresh blueberries or the homemade protein bliss balls with a mix of nuts, seeds, protein and coconut.

 

Have a great afternoon!

2014 ‘Injury of the year’

Yep I’m calling it… a little early maybe but it’s hard to imagine anything knocking this injury out of its top spot. Lachie  is one of those people that always manages to outdo himself when it comes to injury. It’s never simple or straight forward, and this one was no different. I wasn’t there to witness the actual injury but the photos speak for themselves…. it really is the most unbelievable injury I have EVER seen so much so that it even had high profile sports surgeons running for the hills. (if you don’t like gory stuff I suggest you don’t look at the photo).lachie

We see a whole range of acute knee injuries that require surgery. Usually people tear one, maybe 2 ligaments or injure the cartilage in the knee. Not this guy though, he actually managed to tear the big 4. Yep that’s all 4 major ligaments that are basically responsible for holding the knee together.  ACL… gone. PCL… rutured… MCL.. split… LCL…torn.

Take a moment to process that. I didn’t believe it until I had the MRI report in my hands and could read for myself.

How? well its kind of funny you asked. It was ‘rugby related’.. but not exactly on the footy field but rather in the ‘tram tracks’. Tram Tracks is a one-on-one tackling battle that continues until someone taps out. Its probably the dumbest game in the world but rugby boys seem to love it (especially after one or two beers). Must be something to do with testosterone and a little ‘healthy’ competition.

So amidst a Saturday session in the ‘tram tracks’ Lachie managed to dislocate his knee, not his kneecap his knee.

He required a full open knee reconstruction where the surgeon used two donor ligaments to pretty much design him a new knee. Usually a knee reconstruction uses a ligament created using a tendon graft from your own hamstring, however  in this case donor tissue was used because the surgeon wouldn’t have wanted to compromise the stabilitylachie 2 of the knee any further. Taking a graft weakens the hamstring tendon in the short term and potentially could slow the recovery & rehabilitation.

Lachie is now 10 weeks post surgery and I’ll admit I’m very surprised with how well he is recovering. He’s back in the gym doing a full legs program (with light weights). The focus is primarily on developing good hamstring & quadriceps control. His rehab also includes proprioceptive training and balance exercises on a wobble board.

This week he will progress to jumping and hopping to prepare him for a return to running program. His surgeon is very happy with his progress and expects him to make a good recovery.

The bit I still don’t get…. I asked Lachie the other day if he wanted to play rugby again next year, he did hesitate a little but not as much as I would have expected, before saying ‘yeah probably’. I guess it’s one of the things I love about my job, these guys go through so much just to get themselves back on the field. For many it’s a play at all costs attitude. Is that just a guy thing? Or is rugby really that good of a game? Maybe that’s why they say rugby is the game they play in heaven, because these boys literally can’t get enough.

Lachie works for Adwords Management Australia and is available for interviews upon request…. or he can just help you with website marketing & design stuff, he’s pretty good at that too!

Hope this has helped you through the Wednesday afternoon slump!

Have a great day

Em 🙂

What is muscle? How do they work? How do they get bigger?

Yes, everyone knows what a muscle is… in the sense that we all have them and we need them to move around…. BUT have you ever actually wondered what muscles actually are and how they work?

A lot of us probably take our muscles a little for granted. They are literally our ‘engine’. Our ideas and thoughts manifest in the brain but in order to convert those ideas into action we need muscles. Feel like smiling? For that you need all your facial muscles. Type a text message? You need the muscles in your fingers and arms. Want to dance around in your underwear? You need almost every muscle in your body to do that.

Clinically speaking ‘muscle’ is a bundle of fibrous tissue in a human (or animal) body that has the ability to contract, to produce movement within the body. Most people think biceps or triceps when they think of muscles, these are examples of ‘skeletal muscle’. Skeletal muscles are not the only types of muscles we have. In fact there are 3 types. Did you know that the heart is actually a muscle? Cardiac muscle is found only in the heart. The third type is smooth muscle which is found in our organs such as stomach, intestines and bladder.

For the purpose of this blog we are going to focus on SKELETAL muscle. That’s what we (as physios) treat, and also what many of us flog ourselves in the gym to tone & sculpt. Skeletal muscles attach to the skeleton (bones) and bring about movement of our limbs. Contraction of these muscles is almost always voluntary meaning that you think about using them. The exception is cramps or muscle spasm!

We have two types of skeletal muscle: Type I fibres or ‘slow twitch’ fibres: Known as red muscle, these muscles can contract for a long period of time but with little force. They carry more oxygen so are used for aerobic activity. Type II fibres of ‘fast twitch’ fibres: Known as white muscle, these fibres contract very rapidly & with greater force but fatigue quickly. They are used for short anaerobic bursts of activity.

To make our muscles move (or contract) we need electrical impulses which travel from the brain via our nervous system. There are a series of complicated processes involving ions & so on but I think that’s getting a little too technical.

HOW DO WE BUILD MUSCLE?
Putting aside natural growth progressions our muscles get bigger as a result of stresses put through the body during exercise. When the amount of stress is greater than what your muscles are used too there will be an increase in muscle tension which in turn causes changes down at a biochemical level. This progressive stress also causes muscle ‘damage’ which is the reason why we get sore the day after a hard workout.
TheUpper Pecs_0 body then works to repair this ‘damage’ by forming new muscle strands. The increase in number and thickness of muscle fibres results in muscle hypertrophy or growth. It is important to note that this process of growth occurs during rest not while you are actually lifting weights!With this in mind it’s only goes to say that rest & nutrition are both vital to the recipe for building bigger muscles. Your muscles need protein for recovery & repair but also need carbohydrates to replenish glycogen stores following a workout. Poor nutrition is one of the biggest mistakes people make when trying to build muscle mass.

Finally there is the effect of hormones. Testosterone increases protein synthesis, inhibits protein breakdown & stimulates other anabolic hormones. Strength & resistance training releases testosterone into the body which can then increase levels of growth hormone both of which contribute to tissue growth.

Keep in mind there are certain factors such as genetics, age & gender than can impact on how much your muscles can grow, which is why females don’t have as much muscle mass as their male counterparts. Muscle growth takes time with visible changes taking at least 4 weeks to come about. To stimulate growth you need to place stresses on your body that it’s not adapted to through heavy weights & mixing up your exercise program. This induces muscle damage and will stimulate the ‘rebuilding’ process which contributes to overall muscle bulk.

As we age, our muscle mass naturally decreases (along with other things such as bone density etc) watch out for upcoming blogs on why it’s so important to maintain adequate levels of both these things!!

Have a great week!

Em

PART 2: Eat your way to healthy glowing skin

We have all heard it before…. ‘you are what you eat’. It’s no new discovery that our diet affects our bodies in many weird and wonderful ways. Our skin is one of the big ones but unfortunately one that a lot of people don’t consider when it comes to nutrition.

I have spoken in previous blogs about foods your skin LOVES (check out that blog HERE). As always there are several foods that can play havoc with your skin and leave you with breakouts, blackheads or dry, tired skin.

One of the worst offenders is DAIRY. Removing (or significantly reducing) dairy from your diet could be the single best thing you can do for your skin. Milk contains high levels of a hormone IGF-1 which is designed to make baby cows grow big and strong BUT in humans this hormone contributes to build up of inflammation in your body. Dairy products also increase the production of oil and mucous which clogs your pores and can eventually lead to acne.

The other obvious one is SUGAR. Cakes, lollies, chocolate… all those deliciously sweet foods are bad bad bad for your skin. Sugar disrupts many of the natural processes that occur within the body. Excessive sugar will cause a spike in your blood sugar, high blood sugar increases inflammation levels in our cells causing them to ‘age’ at a faster rate. Sugar also latches onto collagen making it stiff & less elastic eventually leading to wrinkles. Collagen is the connective tissue that keep our skin firm and supple.images

Then there is ALCOHOL. Alcohol is a diuretic, meaning it dehydrates you. The more you drink the more dehydrated you become and the more water & vital nutrients are depleted from the skin cells. Our cells live for water, the more hydrated they are the firmer they are (and the better your skin looks). High levels of alcohol consumption can result in the appearance of red spidery vessels on the face, whilst also aggravating other dermatological conditions such as psoriasis and eczema. If you want to enjoy a few drinks (which let’s be honest most of us do) make sure you keep your water intake throughout the night to stay hydrated!

DEEP FRIED FOODS….. fries, chicken nuggets… these foods are cooked in oils at very high temperature. These oils oxidize during this process & go rancid. You then put that into your body. These bad fats are really hard for your body to digest which can impact on circulation and metabolism. Healthy skin relies on the efficient working of these processes for oxygen and nutrient delivery. A lack of oxygen to the skin can effect skin cells and reduce the elasticity of the collagen in our skin.

I think most of us are already probably aware that the above foods aren’t amazing for our health for many reasons. Well now you can add skin to that list!

Healthy glowing skin which screams youthful radiance

OR

Dry, wrinkly, tired skin

Which would you choose?

Have a fabulous week!

Ems

 

Are you running into problems?

Iliotibial band (ITB) Friction syndrome is one of the most common causes of lateral (outside) knee pain that we see, especially in runners. It’s also probably one of the most frustrating problems both for myself and for the patient. It is largely an overuse injury due to the repetitive nature of activities such as running. It often starts out as a little ‘niggle’ however gradually worsens & worsens until it quite literally will stop you in your tracks.index

The ITB is a band of connective tissue that spans the length of the outer thigh. It originates up at the hip from another structure called the TFL (tensor fascia lata) and inserts onto the tibia just below the knee. It plays a crucial role in stabilizing the outside of the knee during activity. ITB friction occurs when the ITB gets tight & inflamed (as a result of overuse) and begins to rub over the lateral femoral condyle on the outside of the knee joint producing acute, often sharp pain in this area.

Many of my patients ask WHY? There are some factors such as pronated feel, tight calves, poor pelvic stability, anterior hip inflexibility and poor lower limb control that can increase the likelihood of developing this problem. Other extrinsic factors such as footwear & training loads also need to be addressed and considered when looking into the management of this issue.

SYMPTOMS

  • Pain felt on the outside of the knee
  • Tenderness over the outside of the knee
  • Pain generally worsens with activities such as running, particularly downhills and downstairs
  • In more severe cases there may be swelling and or crepitus (creaking) over the side of the knee
  • Pain can extend up into the thigh along the length of the ITB

Often people suffering from ITB friction may be able to run a few hundred metres before the pain will kick in. It is not advisable to try and run through this pain, you will aggravate the tendon which can then take several days to settle down.

DIAGNOSIS: A skilled physiotherapist will be able to diagnose ITB friction from your clinical history and a thorough examination. There is usually no need for further investigation unless you do not improve with appropriate management.

TREATMENT & MANAGEMENT

Physiotherapy is a vital tool to manage ITB friction syndrome. In the initial stages rest from aggravating activities will be required to allow inflammation and pain to settle.

Physiotherapy treatment should involve a variety of the following:

  • Soft tissue releases to tight structures such as the ITB, TFL, gluteus medius, lateral quadriceps and lateral hamstring. This should then be complemented with use of a foam roller at home on a daily basis
  • Addressing bio-mechanical factors such as poor pelvic stability and anterior hip inflexibility
  • Advice regarding exercise modification, footwear & training loads. Some elements within training sessions should also be looked at such as the direction of running if using a track, if you are repeatedly running the same bend you will be overloading one side more than the other which can result in overuse injuries such as this.
  • Dry needling is an awesome way of releasing tight bands of muscle. Often with this problem I find these all around the outside of the hip and down the length of the thigh.
  • Electrophysical therapy such as TENS to help with pain & inflammation.
  • Icing & use of anti-inflammatory medication

With the correct treatment most people with ITB friction syndrome will make a full recovery, however rehabilitation can be a lengthy process in those patients who have had the condition for a while. In saying that it is so important that this problem is caught early. If you get on top of ITB issues in the first 48-72 hours you will drastically reduce the amount of time off running.

Can it be prevented? There are some exercises that I would advise runners do on a regular basis in an attempt to prevent excessive tightness of structures such as the ITB. Use of a foam roller is a great form of self massage, it’s a bit of a love / hate relationship but it is extremely effective. Hip flexor stretches, general pelvic stability exercises and bilateral calf strengthening are essential in the long term management plan. Chat to your physio if you want someone to go over such exercises more thoroughly.

Have a great week!

Ems

The importance of ‘post race’ nutrition

You finally did it….. you are a finisher… you can’t get that shiny medal around your neck fast enough…. and yes you will wear it (along with your race bib) around for the rest of the day, just so everyone knows….. that you did it. (that is totally me)

It’s a pretty good feeling crossing the finish line of a fitness challenge you have spent weeks training for. It’s relief, exhaustion and a whole lot of satisfaction all bundled into one.

You catch your breath, find your feet, collect your thoughts. Now what?10598527_712421025515643_1007091943_n

Well for me the first thing on my mind always is FOOD. Post-race nutrition is really important when it comes to how well your body will bounce back. Not only do your muscles need nutrients to help with repair and recovery BUT you sure as hell deserve to reward yourself with a little bit of a feast.

First… WATER. Re-hydration is one of the keys to post race recovery. Consciously drink at least 1 full bottle of water in the first 5-10 minutes of finishing. Almost as important is replenishing electrolytes which are lost via sweat. Some people choose sports drinks, I personally find these way too sweet so I prefer to add a little sea salt to my water and sip on that.

Second…FOOD. Following an intense exercise effort your body needs two main things; carbohydrates and protein. Carbs will replenish your energy stores while protein helps with repairing damaged muscle.

Carbohydrates are best consumed in the 30 minutes post exercise as this is when your muscles are most receptive to replenishing glycogen stores. Protein is essential for muscle repair, the best sources here are meat, fish or eggs Vegetarian options include legumes and beans.

If you struggle with the idea of solid food after exercise which I know a lot of people do, opt for a protein shake. This can kick start your recovery until you feel ready to stomach a proper meal. Protein shakes with berries, banana and coconut water is packed with all the right things! A pea protein is the best option if it’s available.

What happens if you don’t refuel effectively?

Are you human?!? Seriously, for me the 8 hours after a hard event my brain is programmed to eat… but I always try to eat well. I’m not necessarily reaching for a greasy burger & bowl of chips instead my go to is generally breakfast as it’s normally my first meal for the day. Think eggs & bacon, lots of bacon. I get my carbohydrates from something like sweet potato chips or a grain free bread such as sprouted quinoa bread. For the remainder of the day I try to always have a carb & protein source in every meal. I also ALWAYS have my favourite little treat…Coconut Rough. Chocolate & coconut all mixed into bite size pieces of heaven (I’ll have a whole bag please).

If you are craving something in particular EAT IT. Your body is telling you something and you have well and truly earned it.

If you don’t give your body adequate nutrients after an intense bout of exercise you will take longer than usual to recover, you will feel tired, run down & the likelihood of you falling sick is slightly higher.

The next obvious step for many is a couple of ‘celebratory drinks’……. Champagne, beers & jugs of pimms; let your hair down & congratulate yourself a little. Just remember alcohol will dehydrate you more so probably not a bad idea to alternate with waters for the sake of your body.

Hope you are having a great week!

Ems

Eating your way to healthy, glowing skin

The skin is our largest organ… yes it is an organ, and a very important one. It protects us from the elements, regulates our body temperature & allows us to feel sensations such as hot, cold, sharp or blunt. Given the huge surface area that our skin covers & what we expose it to its no wonder many of us run into skin related problems…. Acne, rashes, dermatitis, skin fungus, scars or eczema. These are not uncommon problems and may of us will be faced with at least one at some stage.

Can you eat your way to better skin? Simply yes you can. What you feed your insides will be reflected on the outside. The
re are other lifestyle factors that can affect your skin such as smoking, alcohol, makeup & skin care products, hormones, stress & in some cases genetic factors BUT your skin can be a whole lot better if you start being a little more conscious of what you put in your mouth.

Want to get the glow? Then include a little more of these foods in your diet.

  • BROCCOLI the most wondrous of all the green vegetables. It’s packed full of things that every part of your body will love. High in vitamin C which helps with the production of collagen & it also contains lots of vitamin E which helps protect your skin against damage from UV rays.
  • ALMONDS speaking of vitamin E, almonds are another great source. Grab a small handful of raw almonds as a snack or add them to your salad at lunch.
  • OILY FISH such as salmon or trout is packed full of omega 3 fats. These are good fats that help to keep the skin soft & supple. If you have issues with dry or inflamed skin you need to get a little more fishy fish in your diet,
  • CARROTS contain an antioxidant called beta carotene… This can be converted into vitamin A in the body and is important for repairing tissues. Not enough vitamin A = dry, cracked skin. Insiders tip… cooked carrots actually deliver higher levels of antioxidants so roast away (just be aware of what you roast them in)
  • PUMPKIN SEEDS are full of zinc which is important in skin renewal and wound healing. Next time you go to bin the pumpkin seeds DON’T. Rinse them in water, place on a baking tray with a little sea salt & roast for 5-10 minutes. Enjoy as am afternoon snack!
  • BERRIES…. especially blueberries are high in antioxidants & vitamin C both of which are great for fighting against cell damage and guarding against premature aging of the skin.
  • WATER, the elixir of life & it’s great for your skin. Being adequately hydrated keeps the cells plump & full which gives your skin a firmer clearer look. Having enough water also ensures your body can expel unwanted waste & toxins whilst maintaining important nutrients within the cells. We all know the number… 8 glasses (at least) every day!

Eating plenty of the right foods is easy enough… but what about avoiding the bad ones? It’s a little more difficult.. and the list is slightly longer…..

Keep an eye out for next weeks blog about what foods to avoid if you really want healthy, glowing skin!

Have a great day

Ems 🙂

Dealing with stubborn tendon problems

Treating and managing ‘tendon’ problems one of the most frustrating group of injuries I encounter, mainly because their recovery often has no time frame, it’s never linear, instead they tend to be a 2 steps forward one step back kind of problem. If it’s frustrating for me, I can only imagine how my patients must feel.

Why?

The answer isn’t black & white (it never is in medicine). There are however a few anatomical and physiological factors that can help explain why tendon problems can be stubborn as all hell.

I’ll quickly given you a little anatomical insight as to what a tendon actually is, and no a tendon is not a ligament (I do kind of understand why people get this concept confused). Tendons are thin fibrous bands which connect a muscle to a bone. Their function is to transmit forces, essentially providing stability with no real ‘active’ work. Not all tendons function the same. Some are positional purely assisting with controlling the position of the joint (fingers) while some can actually store energy & work as springs to assist with basic movements of the body such as walking.

Tendon dysfunction is usually a result of overuse due to repetitive stress being placed through one particular area of the body. Common sites include the Achilles, the patella tendon, the rotator cuff, tennis elbow & the hamstring tendon. Problems can be categorized as either

TENDONITIS: inflammation of the tendon OR

TENDINOSIS: inflammation with additional micro tearing and wear & tear of the tendon fibres.

Many clinicians also now use the umbrella term ‘tendinopathy’ which encompasses aspects of both.

Anyone can suffer from tendinopathy if there is great enough forces transmitted through a tendon that may not be conditioned to deal with it. Take me for example when I was 22, no history of knee problems, started doing a lot of stair running & plyometric training (jumping lunges, squats etc) combined with running. Ended up with acute patella tendonitis.

Such cases in ‘younger’ athletes are easier to manage. Tendonitis is acute & generally we are dealing with inflammation which with rest from aggravating activities & appropriate rehab will clear up in a matter of weeks.knee

Tendinosis is a little different & this is where the frustration sets it. Athletes in the 35-40+ category who do a lot of activity are those we worry about here. At this age (which is by no means old) most tendons will be starting to show signs of wear and tear. Small degenerative fraying of the collagen fibres at a microscopic level which is usually asymptomatic. When you start to place a lot of load through that ‘weakened’ area problems begin to arise. It starts as a dull ache, which gradually gets worse. Often stiffest in the morning upon rising. The area may also be tender & swollen if inflammation is also present. In very acute cases there can be ‘crepitus’ or creaking in the tendon itself.

The longer you push through some of these seemingly minor symptoms the harder it will be to manage.

Why are they stubborn?

Well for one tendons don’t get a great blood supply in comparison to our muscles & organs which are constantly bathed in fresh blood filled with oxygen & other lovely nutrients. This contributes to a slightly slower healing process.

Microscopically tendinosis is due to the disruption of the collagen fibres of the tendon. Normal healthy tendon fibres line up side by side while inflamed injured fibres will bunch together & get a little ‘tangled’. It can take up to 100 days for our body to reestablish strong collagen fibres.

Is there any good news?

Yes. Kind of.

In the acute stages you will need to rest from aggravating activities whether it be running, weights, tennis, surfing. However some activity will actually be favourable to your rehabilitation by promoting remodeling of the tendon fibres, however this will normally need to be cross training of some sort so as to reduce the overall load through the tendon.

There will also be certain exercises depending on the tendon in question that will be required to strengthen the tendon for long term management. Such exercises are usually eccentric & focused on the negative phase of movement, this simply means loading the tendon as its lengthening. This has been show to encourage rebuilding of collagen.

The treatment course is always individualized & you and your physiotherapist should work together to develop a rehabilitation program that controls your symptoms whilst also incorporating appropriate strengthening.

There are also alternatives… such as injections, patches to promote blood flow & more recently the PRP (platelet rich plasma) which involves an injection of a concentrated solution made from your own blood to promote healing. (more to come on this in an upcoming blog). Such options can be discussed with your physio or doctor.

Have a great day!

Em

Your City 2 Surf ‘preparation guide’

Isn’t it so EXCITING that City 2 Surf is only 5 days away!?! It’s easily the best day on Sydney’s fitness calendar & my favourite day of the year to run a muck (literally) in Bondi. For me this day marks the beginning of the end of winter… It’s usually always sunny, people rock bright clothing & some of the most incredible costumes, there is music, people dancing, face paint & people lining the sidewalk cheering the runners on. It’s almost as if for a day everyone in Sydney is one big happy fun fit family!

So many of you have been training for this day, getting up early & braving the cold for early morning running sessions and heartbreak hill sprints. This weekend you get to see all of your hard work pay off & then there is the celebratory breakfast (or brunch) with a few celebratory beverages of course! Nothing says congratulations like a jug of fresh Pimms punch!

When it comes to being prepared, what you do over the next 5 days is almost as important as what you have done for the last 6 weeks. Don’t fall off the wagon in the home straight, just follow these couple of basic tips so you are super super prepared come Sunday.

  1. TAPER: Yes you are allowed to finally back off the training and have a light week. I would suggest 2 runs (max 3 if you really really cityneed too). Early on in the week aim for a steady 8km sitting just under race pace. Later in the week push out a 6-7km flat effort just to wind the legs over.
  2. DAY OF REST: Saturday is your day off. Have a massage, do a yoga stretch session if you feel like you need it, but give the legs a day of rest.
  3. RACE DAY PACK: don’t forget you need to collect your race day kit with your bib and timing chip. Available for collection Thursday – Saturday at Moore Park (check your registration details for times etc). You cannot collect these on the day!
  4. NUTRITION: I am not a huge believer in altering your diet in any significant way in the lead up to an event. I have been eating my usual diet throughout my training regime so the last thing I want to do is load up on a whole heap of foods my body isn’t used to the day before.
    • Friday & Saturday eat a few more good ‘complex carbs’ like sweet potato, lentils, quinoa and nuts in your meals.
    • Don’t stuff your face the night before, keep dinner relatively small make sure you have some good sources of carbohydrates on your plate. Think sweet potato, starchy vegetables (carrots, pumpkin, green peas, beetroot, parsnip) or lentils as opposed to white bread & pasta.
    • Do you eat before you run? This comes down to personal preference. Some people can’t stomach the thought of food before a 14km run, others like to have something small such as a banana or small bowl of oatmeal with fresh berries. Do what you are familiar with!
  5. HYDRATION: Your body needs water more than anything else. Make sure you are getting your 8 glasses every single day this week. I like to add a little sea salt (NOT TABLE SALT) to my water bottle, it helps you’re body stay hydrated!

Most importantly, don’t forget to HAVE FUN!

GOOD LUCK RUNNERS!!

EMS xox

 

Yoga vs Pilates. Which is better?

I get asked this question ALL the time from my client and honestly I sometimes find myself not really knowing which to suggest as there is no straightforward absolutely correct answer. Both forms of exercise have many positives and from a clinical point of view I don’t think either is necessarily superior to the other.

Some would say it’s a head to head battle between strength & stretching BUT I tend to disagree. I’m certainly no yogi or a Pilates guru but I have done a little of both and I would say there is definitely a strength & flexibility component to both styles. The main difference I believe lies in what not only your body but your mind will get out of each session.untitled

Yoga is one of the most widely practiced exercise forms in the world, it’s said to help with uniting the mind, body & spirit to restore balance and harmony within the body. I would say it’s somewhat therapeutic for many, if done correctly it facilitates awareness about alignment, posture and imbalances within the body. There are many styles of yoga with choice purely a matter of personal preference.

Pilates has more of a focus on strength and stability throughout the entire body & incorporates floor based work with reformer machine work. The poses & exercise are targeted towards the hips, pelvis and legs using your body weight to create resistance and improve strength. There is a prime focus on engaging the deep abdominal muscles to support the spine & strengthen posture.

This is an important focus for me when discussing options with my clients. Chronic back & neck pain sufferers will gain huge benefits from Pilates where the focus is on core stability. Patients suffering ongoing episodes of back pain will most than likely have weakness through their core and pelvic stabilisers. The only solution in the long term is to develop a strengthening program for them which in terms of compliance and effectiveness is best done through proper structured Pilates classes.

I think when it comes down to choosing what is better for you, the breathing and spiritual side of things will be the deal breaker. Studies have shown a link between practicing yoga and improvements in mental & emotional well-being. Me, well I can’t sit still for more than 5 minutes. Focusing & engaging my mind is so challenging that I find yoga classes harder than a 14km run. That’s a pretty good indication that a certain area of my well-being that needs work.

In yoga the breathing is all about relaxation. The breathing cycles are performed in rhythm with movements & flow patterns. You inhale with certain movements and exhale with others; the aim being to relax  areas that may be holding stress within the body. There is a certain level of spiritual focus, finding your inner self & being at peace with it.

Pilates uses breathing to provide energy to working muscles. Concentrating on the breathing will help channel oxygen flow to the muscles that need it for that particular movement. Generally there is no spiritual connection in these classes, rather slow controlled movements focused on quality not quantity is the key.

Both styles have similar goals being to achieve control through balance of the mind & body. I won’t sway you with my personal preference as clearly both yoga & Pilates have exceptional merit.

If you want to escape from the stresses of everyday life, be calm & get zen go for yoga. Recovering from an injury or you have weak muscles / joints and you want something to strengthen and stabilise I would tend to say Pilates may be the choice for you.

At the end of the day it’s about what you WANT to do. Try both and make the decision by which one you get more out of.