Monthly Archives: June 2015

Mel Collie | 2 Reasons to Stop doing Crunches (and what to do instead)

Mel Collie | 2 Reasons to Stop doing Crunches (and what to do instead)

Ok, my last post was on adrenal fatigue…and one of the things that makes us tired is over training at the gym, usually because we’ve bought into the marketing idea that flat abs will make you happy, more desirable and sexy…

So, if you believe that to be true (it isn’t by the way) I would love to share some facts with you about crunches..

1. You can do loads of them , many about 22,000 of them, which burns a pound of fat, thats all. How long does it take to do that many crunches? You tell me…I can’t be bothered to even work it out. However, a point of your lovely fat contains 3,500 calories. Still doing crunches?

2. Ok..you’ve got a LOT of time on your hands. But, heres the thing, this is time you could spend doing other stuff that actually makes you happier which = improved self esteem, and when your self esteem bank account gets a boost, it tends to mean that the next time it gets a knock back, you won’t feel it as much because you’ve got some reserve in the bank account, hugely powerful stuff when you are worried about what other people think of you and your body.

3. Sit ups can give you neck ache and back ache, when done badly. I recently had a couple of friends staying for a couple of days and one of them had a baby recently, 3 years ago in fact. Her line alba hadn’t yet knitted back well (Google: diastis recti, it will tell you all you need to know)  and she was doing a well intentioned Pilates class twice a week, but at a big brand name gym in a class with lots of people, it hadn’t really helped her out, she’s now considering surgery. . I spent 2 years going to similar classes in a gym. You won’t get individualised attention. It isn’t geared towards that. She wasn’t to know, not her fault at all. I know physics and chiropractors recommend Pilates, but also know that they have clients coming to them with pain from going to Pilates sessions at gyms because of the amount of people in each class who have certain things going on that a one size fits all class won’t be covering. Crunches will not help a post pregnancy belly at all, it will create more problems for the muscles and pelvic floor, find someone who has been on a specific course on the issues that need to be addressed. Check out Hypopressives, a brilliant way to get the body back to alignment

So what can you do instead if you are a lover of sit ups?

Theres so many exercises, my top favourite is to learn how to breathe from your lower belly first to reduce cortisol levels , which when elevated, sit in the belly tissue, so you can exercise harder for longer, but if you are stressed, and have a continual high stress lifestyle , you may just find that belly fat sits around you for a lot longer than you originally intended. Breathing and doing less, working out smarter, not harder, is the key, which means a change in mindset, and that isn’t easy.

It may be easy to accept it, realise it, but then to actually implement it and stick to it is the hardest bit. You need to check yourself every now and then, make sure you haven’t slipped back into old patterns.

Exercises that you can do instead of loads of crunches are (and remember , always, with each repetition, to be in the moment and fully focused , as when you do that, you are sending signals to your brain about alignment to help each rep be very effective. Reps done without focus, when the mind wanders to other things because you are bored, then your alignment suffers and your results will reduce. True story!) :

Side Planks

Push ups

Burpees

Mountain climbers

Handstands

Cartwheels and many variations of them

Kettlebell swings (or use a dumbell)

Jumps

Go for a walk everyday, get outside and breathe, get some sunlight on your skin and get some laughter and love in your life

That doesn’t mean, if you don’t have one right now, that you should look for the perfect partner, but look inside yourself for your own self acceptance, do the exercise that you love to do, not whats trendy or what others are doing, it might not work for you.

Find your own blueprint, then you may find that you choose what foods and what exercises make you feel awesome, you choose to nourish yourself, rather than beat yourself up.

Mel

x

Helping women be themselves and love who they are in her 1:1 studio in Llanberis, North Wales, UK. By appointment only.

 

 

Mel Collie | Are you always Tired? 2 ways to have more energy.

Are You Tired In The Morning? 2 Ways To Wake Up With More Energy

Adrenal Fatigue is common, what is it and how can you overcome it?
Adrenal Fatigue is common, what is it and how can you overcome it?

Do you find it hard to get up in the morning, then find that later in the day you do wake up and then cant get to sleep? Do you have anxiety and crave salty and sweet foods?  If you have ever heard of adrenal fatigue, you aren’t alone. Its something I notice when I’m tired  & over stressed, so, this is what adrenal fatigue is and a couple of simple things you can do to overcome it.

What are adrenal glands? They sit on top of the kidneys, and secrete different hormones, one you may have heard about it Cortisol.

Theres a cascade of hormones that trigger this though, before the Cortisol is released.

This is the science bit – Your Hypothalmus (part of the brain) secretes a chemical corticotrophin releasing hormone. Its the bodies first level of action when we have a stress response to a threat.  Stress response, feeling anxious, feel that life under threat, the body believes it, so secretes hormones as an expression of reality to what it believes is a threat, the body reacts, does that make sense?

A threat can be a utility bill on the mat, the bank account not looking healthy, a deadline at work, not feeling part of the local community, a relationship issue.

So, your hypothalmus secretes the hormone, sending message to pituitary  gland to secrete adrenal hormones, which send message to adrenal glands to release , amongst others, cortisol being the one you have probably heard about.

So when we are under stress which is . for many of us, constant – anxiety, worrying thoughts that don’t go away, the hormones are secreted all the time. Our body is always at a Fight, Flight, Freeze reaction.

This means Cortisol is always at a high level in the body, you might find that belly fat hangs around for longer than it used to and is hard to shift, it takes more than regular dieting and doing crunches or going for a run. You find you are tired, hard to get up in the morning but hard to get to sleep at night as well as craving salty or sweet foods.

Replenishing your system is the way to work with your body and your bodies responses.

1. Deprived of sleep, working at the office, deadlines to meet, families to look after, training at the gym for hours, can all lead to chronic fatigue. Sometimes we have to reach the point of pain in order to stop and take a look at our life and see whats happening, listen to our bodies reactions and decide to do something. So when you are tired and wired, you may notice that this is the time to take the foot off the pedal and take time to change some things to reduce the revs .

Simple things like shutting off the lap top an hour before bed. Keeping the bedroom in total darkness at bedtime, turn the mobile off, turn the digital clock the other way around, the glare can disturb sleep. have a bath before bed, lock the door, have 10 mins to yourself. Go for a walk every day for 15 mins. Remember if you are already time short, make it just 4 minutes, and see if you have any extra time to add the next day or week. What you do during the day for yourself is like putting money into a bank account, it soon adds up and you begin to see the rewards and earn interest.

2. Training – going to the gym before work, training again at night, going for a run, training some more, doing 2 classes back to back then rushing home to cook dinner, wash up, clean the house, do the ironing, get the kids organised…to tired to have a bath for yourself and fall into bed exhausted to wake up tired. OK, for just 2 weeks change your training program. Walk every day for 15 – 30 minutes. Try training for 1 – 2 days with weights if you like doing weights, then 1 – 2 days doing a HiiT session (no more than 30 mins though for each session) Training for hours is a drain on the system if you are not supporting it in other ways, its fine if its your life, or a celebrity who has a chef and a PT and a maid etc etc or  if you are an athlete, however, many fitness instructors also find their body stops responding when they do too much and suffer burn out and injury, you just don’t hear about it.

3. Thinking. A drain on the inner energy are your thoughts, this sounds too simple to be true, as we are conditioned to thinking we should be DOING stuff , rather than DOING less, which is where your replenish comes in. Keeping a journal, writing down a couple of things you are grateful for, a couple of things you noticed that day that made you feel grateful, happy. Notice how you speak to yourself , maybe you push yourself, expect a lot from yourself, beat yourself up a lot. This is me! I used to do this…a lot…the only thing that slows me down is meditation, questioning my thoughts (Byron Katies books helped a lot, check her out on You Tube…do her worksheet…) Theres no one more important than you, if you aren’t healthy and there then you are able to give to others what you would like to give. Fit your own oxygen mask first.

4. Eat well to nourish, not to punish. Supporting ourselves with nourishing minerals and vitamins are our fuel. Eating at the dinner table, not on the run or in the car or as you walk to and from appointments at work for example, sitting down, slowing down as you eat helps the system digest the food and improve gut flora (not those sugar laden stupid gut flora drinks..). Noticing how much caffeine you drink. Me, I used to drink 6 or more espressos a day with a couple of sugars too, now I barely touch it, maybe 1 or 2 a week, and I notice that sometimes I sweat afterwards and feel so wired, so definitely no caffeine after mid day at the latest for me. Noticing these habits and your reactions is the beginning to a journey that may take a while to grasp, but the first step is the hardest, but so is step 2 and 3, sticking to your plans are tricky at times, then the body will send you some signal to tell you to get back on track.

Herbs are also helpful – when I went through a programe and changed my diet and noticed my adrenal issues, I used Ashwaghanda and Rhodiola (from health food shops, you drop a few of the tinctures into water and drink it). Now,maybe you don’t need both, but I tried them out, and found that the former worked well for me in helping support the immune system, but also helping to calm me down and help sleep and stress levels reduce. Magnesium also helped massively, and I still take it today. (https://www.philrichardsperformance.co.uk/index.php/better-sleep/magnesium-relax.html)

Eat good fats and proteins. Nuts, avocado, seeds, good quality protein like fish, chicken , eggs, quality green veggies like Kale, Cabbage, Brocolli, Watercress.  Oils like coconut oil, a great quality fat, so cut back on processed oils like vegetable oil (canola, sunflower oil can increase inflammatory joints and aggravate the gut)  Sat is important, sea salt or himalayan salt (its pink!) is also great for supporting the adrenals.

So to recap – as I’ve mentioned more than 2 things you can do, and doing too much can lead to overwhelm, which means you then do absolutely nothing..So, just 2 simple things you can do right now are theses …cut back if you are over-training at the gym. More isn’t necessarily better, but how you train is, work smarter, not harder. Rest is key. And the second is – don’t be scared of eating good fats. Eat good fats as described above, help to heal your gut to help heal your inner workings, put the right fuel in the car and it runs…all the TV and media adverts saying low fat is bad are a load of total rubbish. Theres tons of scientific research out there. If something isn’t working for you, then change it.

Look inwards for the answer.

Its a short life, make the most of it by having a healthy and stress free one that you love living, not one that you are just struggling to crawl through.

Want to research adrenal fatigue a bit further?

I recommend reading this by Fawne Hanson &  Dr Eric Wood. http://adrenalfatiguesolution.com

This is an ebook thats easy to download, means you can get reading right away , implement changes into your lifestyle that will help you find you again.

Mel

x

Changing womens lives by helping them see through the myths of fat loss, menopause and life itself, Mel works 1:1 from her home studio in Llanberis.

 

Mel Collie | Are You Normal? 3 ways to STOP!

Mel Collie | Are You Normal? Stop it Now…

3 ways not be normal in the trendy fitness world right now could be these…

1. The trend is to exercise to be slimmer, tone up, work the abs, well, maybe as far back a when Jane Fonda started wearing leotards, we’ve always been exercising with flat abs as our goal, why is that? Are we worried that is we don’t have flat abs then we won’t be loved, won’t look good naked, it will reduce our confidence in the bedroom? Who said that in order to be more desirable we should be slimmer and more toned? Is it true? How about we stop thinking of exercises to give us a six pack …(are you aiming to be on the front of a magazine? if you are, share your story of dedication and what it takes)  its not consistent, doesn’t last a lifetime and can burn you out,  Could we try to change the word “exercise” , one that many see as torture, boring, a chore, for “play, movement” and practice cartwheels, handstands, forward rolls, tumbles…do things you did when you were a kid. They are awesome for reduced pain and increased alignment. When the body is in alignment it works beautifully…check out www.amnacademny.com

2. Could we scrap the word diet, which in our modern day vocabulary, now means restriction but..it  didn’t used to mean that at all..we have changed it through the years, words change as we change, instead , pick a different word, why not use the word “nourishment”. When you choose that word, you choose to eat foods for your wellbeing, rather than eating “clean”for 19 – 30 days  because its a trendy thing to do right now. You don’t hear the stories of what happens after that. Maybe we should hear more truths. Maybe nourishment is more sustainable. Would you rather nourish yourself that diet? This is remarkable, as it gives you permission to remove from your vocabulary “bad foods”  and “good foods” Did you know you can actually test a muscular response to things like sugar? I will do a blog post on this one day, but for some people, nuts are good and for other they aren’t. Realising your bodies reactions to food can open up an understanding to how your unique nervous system works.

3. Your metabolism changes all the time. So what works today for you may not work next week, so go with the flow,  as my Body balance instructor used to say…It doesn’t mean that you failed, far from it! It means you are a great listener. And great listeners are few and far between. Listen to your body, accept that theres days it wants to rest and recover, work with it, love it, cherish it. When you look back at history, how things have changed over the years, we really are here for a very short amount of time, but what a privilege to have the chance to be here at this very point in time, with the choices we have, the technology we have, the travel opportunities we have, the luxuries, the natural world around us.

4. (There’s always a bonus number)…So..I was thinking about  cellulite. You know its normal don’t you? Everyone has it. Accept it, love that its a part of your body. Its a human being that decided they didn’t like it and that its not acceptable. (its was also a human that said it was acceptable to have a divide between the colour of the human skin, what a load of crap that was, we are all the same, all connected, no matter where we come from ) Who are we to say that about the body? Do you really understand what it is and why you have it before stating you think its ugly because its on the front of a celebrity magazine as being touted as unsightly?For nay of us, thats damaging to the self esteem, and we will eat a bar of chocolate or a donut as we read the magazine. You could choose to eat an apple instead, however, the female brain is wired for comfort food when stressed. Having more articles helping you understand how your brain works in times of anxiety, stress and pressure, would be more beneficial.

If you really don’t like cellulite, choose to eat more greens, watercress is a prime example (google “indole 3 carbinol”)   to help you excrete cellulite as well as less sitting watching tv/checking Facebook etc, more exciting different ways to move ( go outside and do 10 cartwheels right now…) , but understand more about what it is and that females are more predisposed to it that males, especially in the thigh area. Who really cares? You could have the perfect thighs and be so unhappy.(reach for the donuts…uh oh..) .

Stop following everyone else. How do you know they are right? Is it true? What if they were wrong?

Do what works for you, this may take a bit of time, because you may not be sure, and thats ok…Im still experimenting too. We are all scientists 🙂

So, why not have more fun and be happier, however, you have permission from no one else but yourself.

Let go and give yourself a greater life experience. We have wayyyyy too short a time on this spinning rock to be worrying about what people think of you, give that up for a start.They are only worrying about the same thing. Honest! They are!

I love you of course, as you are..

Mel

x

www.melcollie.com

Mel helps change peoples lives who feel a little bit lost. You will find her in North Wales right now , probably being attacked by the midges as she practices using her Canon camera and new filters… whilst still attempting a cartwheel  🙂

 

 

Mel Collie | Can You Relax Away The Belly Fat?

Mel Collie | Can You Relax Away The Belly Fat?

Did you know, theres a hormone called Cortisol that increases in our bodies when we are more anxious, worried, stresesd, sleep less?  Did you know that stressing when you are eating is like eating with a bowl of soup laden with cortisol?

That means, if you are on a diet, and restrictive eating, and hating it , you are more than likely to find that results are slow coming, that belly fat isnt budging.

How can you lower those cortisol levels? Try these 2 simple ways…

 

1. Relax (I know, you dont have time and relaxing is for wimps…)

A couple of years ago, I went through a relationship break up and  wanted to go away for a while. I chose to jump in at the deep end , going on a beginners weekend silent meditation retreat in Devon at Gaia House that a friend recommended.

It was bliss….just what I needed.

Fear puts us off doing so many things doesn’t it? For me, the silence aspect meant I didn’t have to talk to anyone. I quite liked that! Especially as you were sharing a room with 2 other people, if I didn’t like them I didn’t have to be nice all weekend…as we were all being quiet, and all there with the same aim. meditation doesnt have to be like that though, it can be choosing to do something you love every day, like taking 10 – 20 minutes to go for a walk, play a musical instrument, have a bath, read a chapter of a book, have a nap, go for a massage.

2. Eat. Take your time eating …it can take time to prepare meals (the prep time is also like a meditation, calming, social, methodical), but it can take a few moments to demolish, watching the TV, looking at a lap top, texting , driving. .not noticing the food we’ve just eaten.  Instead, take 20 minutes and chew the food really slowly. Look at the food on the plate, notice the colours, the textures, when you chew notice the flavours, the spices, the textures.

 

Choose simplicity : )

By taking time to calm down, to find how you would like to meditate you give yourself permission to be just you for a moment, you can pick up your worries and stressors afterwards if you feel like you cant live without them and need them.

That is your choice. We all have a choice what to pick up and what to put down.

Some choose to meditate quietly every day for 15 – 60 minutes, morning  and evening, some feel they can’t start their day without this routine or the day becomes a tangled mess.

No, don’t you think that they started their routine somewhere. They didn’t jump in at 60 minutes of silence and just have a clear mind.

They probably don’t ever achieve a clear mind, it’s always jumping about.

It takes practice, and practice always stays at just that, practice, you don’t want to reach perfection, as no ones perfect, maybe in your mind you think that other people are because you see yourself as not quite there yet and judge yourself.

You don’t want to be perfect.

(Get used to that thought….)

You just want to released from what isn’t serving you right now, the baggage you carry everyday thats weighing you down and making your life not as amazing as you would love it to be, as you can make it be.

So, start slow and small, just one step, with the mindful eating, watching yourself, watching your habits.

We all learned how to drive in a car park or a quiet side road, not on a busy Motorway on a  Monday morning, That would have put you off and the Insurance company would have had heart failure : )

Take time to focus on something as simple as your breathing during the day, at your break times at work.

Notice how you feel.

Notice how you are just here in the present moment, not the past, not the future, just now.

Notice that you are not lacking a thing.

Notice how you don’t have to acquire anything.

Notice that you are already right here where you need to be.

Notice that if your mind wanders that it is OK

As soon as you notice it has wandered, you are back here in the present moment, and you can address it and focus on your breathing again, simples!

Theres no judgement, there’s no telling off, there’s no shouting and feeling you are wrong, there’s just you and your breath.

Enjoy your stillness and calm.

Mel

www.melcollie.com

Mel Collie | Pelvic Floor – Know the names?

Mel Collie | Pelvic Floor – Know the names?

A Hiatus is a word that can be used to describe a gap in the program schedule of a TV series, maybe your favourite series ended in May and it has a Hiatus until September. Its bittersweet isn’t it really…you love the program and don’t want it to end, yet you also love the long summer nights (hopefully the sun is out…) and want a break away from the TV to do fun things!

So, there is a Hiatus in your Pelvic Floor! Only its always there, it doesn’t come and go! But it is a gap – and one that has to be there, as its called a Urogenital Hiatus which is at the front insertion of the levator ani – an area free of muscles which is there to help you when you are ready for childbirth(so I’m relating to the female pelvis here..obviously..!) but also the area for the vagina and urethra.

So its important that the Levator Ani has good tone to support the internal organs in this area – we are mainly concerned with the bladder and the uterus, as a weakness in the fibres can cause prolapse or incontinence. However, a stressed lifestyle, which can also mean someone who has nutrition stress or dehydration (lack of nutrients and drinking more caffeine than water for example) can have too much tone in pelvic floor muscles than too little. Reducing stress by looking after ourselves more, even if its 4 minutes a day, can help reduce pelvic floor muscles that are too “tight”, you can then see that doing more tightening pelvic floor muscles on top of this doesnt do much to help.

The Levator Ani is a powerful muscle consisting of 2 main parts – it’s also a horseshoe shape and is made up from bundles of muscles – part one is:

1. puborectalis and pubococcygeus, which start from the area of the pubis and slings around to the rectum the lateral part is called the iliococcygeus all important for the internal organ support.

2. coccygeus muscle – which is found behind the levator ani and stretches between the spine of the ischium( can you see the ischium in the picture here) , sacrum and coccyx(tailbone)

Now you know more about your pelvic floor (applies to men as well…a healthier pelvic floor helps improve sexual performance) one of the easiet things you can do to help relax it is to breathe through your lower belly.

Place your hands on your lower belly and breathe in pushing into your hands with your breathe, hold for 4 counts. Exhale as the belly lowers down, hold for 4 counts. Repeat for a minute up to 10 times a day for 10 days.

You might find this easier lying down at first, so maybe a bit tricky to do at work 🙂

Ways to help your pelvic floor:

Breathing slowly

2 litres water a day(more if exercising)

Nutrients from greens – broccoli, cauliflower, watercress, cabbage, red onions, garlic, spinach, basically lots of greens every day…

Looking after your nervous system by relaxing more – massage, walking min 20 mins everyday in nature(woods, beach, by a lake)

Doing exercise that you actually like doing, not whats fashionable.

Sleep – going to be by 10.30 x 5 times a week, improving the quality of sleep and allowing your body to repair itself.

Magnesium, a good quality magnesium also helps.

Simple eye and vestibular exercises that help balance as well as pelvic floor and abdominal connection(more on this next time)

Enjoy Life 🙂

Melanie Collie

www.melcollie.com

www.postutegeek.co.uk