Monthly Archives: March 2015

Mel Collie | Do Foam Rollers Really Work?

Mel Collie | Do Foam Rollers Really Work?

Foam Rollers – all the rage, and I bought 8 of them a few years ago and used them in Pilates classes and on myself too, however, I have recently looked further into foam rolling and the science behind your brains reactions to this trend, and this is what I found..

Once you get to know your nervous system, what it sees as a threat, and reactions, foam rollers may not be your first choice in releasing tension & massaging to those painful trigger points and heres why…

1. The Foam roller is used a lot for massaging the outer edge of the thigh. This area is called your Tensor Fascia Latae, a band of fascia (web like connective tissue that is predominantly water – big hint there on how to help it be less tight) The muscular part of the TFL is at the pelvis , the iliac crest, between glute medium and sartorius. Anyhow, seeing videos on You Tube massaging the outside of your thigh on these white foam things (other colours are available..) can be doing you no favours at all. Your TFL is tight for a reason, a bit like your hamstrings, they won’t let go until they are happy that another muscle in your body is doing its job, so you may have some imbalances in your pelvis and thighs, possibly ankles and feet too. Get checked out and get a posture assessment. 🙂

2. Your nervous system is your CEO, its in charge, and will send tightness to your muscles if it feels you are under threat. So , imagine then, if you then go an massage your tight muscles with a hard foam roller, what does your brain think is going on if it feels pain? It will sense that you are under threat, won’t release tightness, will reduce movement and range, sending you back a step, rather than forward a step, which is where you want to be.

How can you assess yourself? Test your range – for example:

Standing with feet either together or hip bone distance, put your arms out in front of you, just lower than shoulder height and place the palms together, like my fellow climber in the picture below.

The turn to your right(keep pelvis and feet the same though, just turn upper body) then back to centre and to your left, note how far you can turn to on each side, there will be one side you find tighter or a reduced range of movement. Don’t hold your breath, keep good posture also.

Do you have a foam roller?
Do you have a foam roller?






Then , perform your foam rolling session, once you have finished, re assess your movement with the same drill.(this can be substituted for a toe touch as the forward bend range can be reduced if the nervous system feels threatened – think tight hamstrings and painful lower back)

You can do the same assessment when you exercise. A client came to me with nagging right side and right shoulder pain. During assessing him, we did some push ups , which were his usual warm ups and training exercises, and found that after the push ups, his rotation had decreased considerably which meant that he was either doing too many or his form wasn’t perfect during each push up.

Practicing his posture, breathing, and doing vision drills (which all help in push ups, especially if you keep the head in alignment but use your eyes to down as you descend, and up as you come back up – the down eye movement facilitates the flexor muscles in the thoracic, the up eye movement does the opposite)

Keep assessing your reactions, then you can tell if your brain is sensing threat, reducing your performance, increasing the possibility of injury.

Train safe for the best results, overtime, why would you choose not to?


Personal training, Pilates , nutrition and neurological training all rolled into one for the best results.


Mel Collie | Your Nervous System is All Powerful!

Mel Collie | Your Nervous System is All Powerful!

Whilst the planet is still stretching hamstrings, expecting them to “let go” (which they wont , because they are tight for a reason…ever wondered why?) ..theres a small section of the fitness industry that searches for the truth and asks “why” and searches for the truth, trying to change the industry to avoid the untruths that still abound on the internet.

Anyhow..heres the thing, I went searching for more answers, mainly to help my hamstrings lengthen, help my glutes work (squats do work, but only if the muscles are responding well)  and to understand exactly how the body responds to exercise and nutrition.

Heres what I discovered : the body is a complex system ( No surprise there) but at the same time, it responds to simple ways to re-boot it.

Heres one – your nervous system is in charge, you know that I am sure, but if you didnt, it means to check with your brain that its happy before checking with your muscles.So, with that in mind, heres one way to get your brain to let go of your restrictions…(see your brain at the CEO, and the rest of your body as the departments, if the departments are short of staff or have issues, their reports back to the CEO will warn it of a reduction in the workforce, which means reduced production which means reduced performance )

Quantum Scone | Climbers Brain

So…the CEO see these things as a threat :




Spatial Awareness


(not necessarily in that order)

Whats a threat to the brain? Now thats the question, because it varies from person to person as your are unique, so a threat can be :

Financial worries


Nutritional Stress

Family stresses (getting the kids homework done, cooking, planning holiday, car needs an mot, keeping everyone happy etc etc)

Lack of Sleep

Judgemental comments from other people


Failure at work

Past Injuries (the brain doesn’t forget you broke your toe at 5 years old or fell over at 2 years old)

Athletic performance (worried about strength, falling, stamina, failing)

Its a little known fact that something as simple as lack of hamstring length can be improved by massaging the head and forehead, a focus on deep breathing for a minute x 10 a day, improving vision with simple exercises and spatial awareness drills.

All of this and more you can find in an hours assessment, online or at my home studio in Llanberis, Snowdonia.

Its so fast and so amazingly simple, its like that illusionist, Dynamo, looks simple, happens quickly, leaves a lasting impression.



Mel Collie | Stick Your Neck Out

Mel Collie | Stick Your Neck Out

Since moving to Wales, my hair has grown so fast, it needed cutting, the fringe was really driving me crazy, getting in the way, and when my hair gets too long, it bunches out at the sides, hate that look…

Anyway, besides the fact that the heaves opened on may way back from the hairdressers, so I walked home in a massive hailstorm, it was a lesson for me about me neck.

Reminded me about this little video, a simple way someone taught me on how to prevent neck pain, as when you are in the hairdressers, you move our head this way and that, but then keep it still for a moment , as you sit there patiently, trying not to fidget like a little kid

Here is the link, have a watch, only takes up 2 minutes of your time, and best done at the laptop or mobile, as your head is in a weird position right now as well.

Mel Collie

Mel Collie | Check your own posture

Mel Collie | Check your own posture

This very simple exercise to help you check your spine, ribs, shoulders and pelvis is the bird dog or the Superman, its known as both of these, and can be made really hard if you put a wooden dowelling rod on your back so it touches the back of your head, the middle of your back (bra line for girls, heart line for guys)and the sacrum and tailbone. The only gaps are at the neck and the lower back.
As you move you keep the post on this line, you will realise if your hips move, the post will fall off…so focus and connect traction on how you move and what is moving will be highlighted.
Don’t forget to breathe and smile, your face tells a story of what you are doing to your brain.
Visualise that you are lengthening your spine through your fingers and toes as you lift them and reach.
Its not how high you are going with the limbs, but what you use to get there, so start small before you jump in and think you can do the whole thing and have to start agin. When you train with bad posture, your brain remembers this and will repeat it, so start as you mean to go on.

Mel Collie
Pilates & Level 4 Kinetic Chain Assessor

Mel Collie | Posture & Your Story

Mel Collie | Posture, Back Pain, Your Brain

I saw a couple of clients at the weekend for posture assessments, and one of them sits all the time, drives a lot, uses the laptop a lot, but her posture was pretty good.

Why was that?
We are constantly bombarded with information that sitting is bad for you, and well, it is, but you can change your seated posture as much as you like as sitting perfectly straight is not what you want to do, but move and fidget as much as you can.

Her posture was pretty good because she meditates…

Her most constant repeated muscular contraction was with her diaphragm, as is the same with all of us.

Breathing is your most repeated “movement”. 25,000 times a day ( or there abouts)

With a focus every now and then on your respiration during each day, help the mind and body.

Start with just acknowledging the breath, so you can hear it, feel it, dont try to control it, you might find that its quite fast and shallow, by and by your breathing will slow a little more, it will settle.

Mechanically, you are breathing into the lower belly, as if you had swallowed a balloon and each breath , each inhalation was inflating the balloon, and each exhalation was deflating it.

That means it uses the diaphragm and the whole core to breath, the sides and the back.

This allows the mind to calm, the thoughts to settle instead of racing around.
It allows the shoulders to settle, to relax.
Many of us think our shoulders relax when we tell them to or arent sure how to relax shoulders.

Simple breathing helps them let go. It allows us to stop using those smaller shoulder and neck muscles for breathing, and instead use the body as intended.

Breathing into the lower belly can help strengthen to core, the back, let go of tight back muscles, release tight shoulders, help digestion, help calm the mind so a great habit to introduce before bed if you have trouble calming the mind before sleeping.

You dont have to meditate to watch the breath, you can do this at any time, for me, I like to watch my breathing when Im feeling scared, judgemental , think I cant do something, that I will be rubbish at something, Its when I hear that negative voice in my head, thats when my breathing really helps me.

Sounds a bit cuckoo? To some it does, maybe its because they have never tried it, or are scared by the realisation that they can be powerful beyond measure, and a way to get there is to know yourself first, know when you are lying to yourself.

And we do that all the time – too tired, too busy, too stupid, not ready, not enough money, not enough knowledge, etc the excuses we tell ourselves are lies we believe from past conditioning.

These can all change your posture, more so than just sitting at a laptop.

Your beliefs change your posture.

Anxious fearful people can have a stooped posture, always thinking about the next thing, worrying about what others think or that they aren’t good enough, posture can close in, being protecting.

Posture tells a story of our beliefs.
What do you believe?
How are you telling others your story through your posture?
Mel Collie

Posture Assessments online and inhouse

£50 for your initial assessment

£40 thereafter

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