Category Archives: Bouldering in Cornwall

Mel Collie | Stretching Your Thighs?

Mel Collie | Stretching Your Thighs?

I sit here at my laptop studying, reading, writing, and I do exactly what we shouldn’t be doing. Crossing my legs, tilting the pelvis, shortening the quads – rectus femurs mainly – front of the thigh.

You know what though?

Theres no perfect seated posture! yay!! Stop sitting up straight!

I’m so happy about that because I can be such a fidget. I hate sitting still, well, for too long anyway. I will sit still when I am meditating, or watching a really good movie.

I sat still watching About Time last week, such a sad movie, a bit cheesy, but I adore Bill Nighy! He’s a great actor, but I also love that he is very rarely in the celebrity limelight. He is just himself.

So, anyway, back to those hips – which Bill sways quite nicely in the film by the way when he does a little dance, but also when he’s playing Table tennis.

Tightness, and restriction in your hips can create tightness in the lumber spine, and further up the chain, affecting the head position too. No hip sway, more lower back and shoulder compensation.

So when you stretch the thigh, what happens?

The thigh muscles, the quadriceps – theres 4 of them – one of them attaches at the knee and runs up the front of the thigh to your hip bone. Hip flexor and hip extender.

It can affect the knee as well, but thats for another post as theres other things that can affect the knee like limited ankle mobility and side thigh muscles like Tensor Fascia Lata .

Tightness can affect the knee and pelvis when walking, running, walking up and down stairs.

It can also inhibit the hamstrings from doing their thing and compress the hip joint which can in turn inhibit the glutes.

Pretty amazing muscles then aren’t they?


If you are used to stretching it by holding the ankle, have a look in the mirror and see whatyou do this what happens to the rest of your body

Shoulder must be level

Hips must be level

Knees must also be level


Common issues are that the shoulders change position

The ribs lift

The breathing changes, usually gets held

The knees change position, usually the knee thats being stretched moves forward.


Use a band around the bottom of the leg to assist you until you feel you can stretch the quads without affecting any compensational movement patterns in your body, the first picture is how not to do it, and how I see it done often though.

Standing Rec Fem stretch when knees aren't together, missing the stretch of the hip and affecting shoulder levels
Standing Rec Fem stretch when knees aren’t together, missing the stretch of the hip and affecting shoulder levels








Stretch of Rec Fem using the band, keeping knees level.
Stretch of Rec Fem using the band, keeping knees level.







Heres what I mean lying down on your front- as long as you keep your pelvic bone ON the floor, if you don’t, your pelvis will be arching and your lower back gets tight. Don’t hold your breath as you stretch. When you lie on your front you can use the surface as feedback for your breath, breathe in press the belly out into the floor/mat, exhale as you gently draw it in.

Rec Fem Stretch Prone.
Stretching the Rectus Femurs on your front – prone – with a band.









Melanie Collie is an anatomist and movement therapist who specialise in helping clients out of pain and back into a life of loving movement again. Her studio is where you usually find her with her bands, balls, and circles, mats, circles, weights and TRX. She calls it her torture chamber, her clients call it their little haven.

Mel Collie | MOVE is a 4 letter word

Mel Collie | MOVE is a 4 letter word

The society today has this notion that to relax means being lazy and being unproductive, so you now feel guilty when you say you are relaxing, you feel you have to justify it, apologise for it.

This is absurd.

Relaxation is so important, now more than ever.

Lifestyles now look like this:

Get up
Eat cereal/toast (too busy to cook breakfast)
Organise the kids
Race to work
Try to keep on top of the deadlines
Spend 4 – 8 hours at a computer screen
Drink coffee/tea to stay awake
Eat biscuits as a treat
Eat at the desk (sandwich probably)
Get home to cook dinner
Clear up, wash up.
Get kids to bed.
Sit Down – finally
Watch TV/catch up on Facebook/Read emails/
Drink glass of wine/coffee/tea
Do some ironing
Fall asleep on the sofa
Go to Bed


How do I know this?
I did this for a long time. Up at 6am, home at 9pm. Working, some weeks, 6 days a week.

Why was I still so tired? Why did I have constant illness? Anaemic. Cystitis (almost had an operation…glad I didn’t now!). Ulcerated tonsils. Constant tiredness. Black rings under the eyes. Weak muscles.

What wasn’t in my lifestyle?

1. Love for myself – too busy
2. Nourishment for my skin/bones/muscles/hair/energy levels- didn’t know what to do , how to do it or have the time to implement it.

Those 2 things can cover a multitude of stuff that todays lifestyle convinces us are either too selfish to do or we are too busy to do them.

TV, social media, are now mainstays in the household
I’m not going to preach and tell you not to watch them. (though I did away with my TV for 4 years, because I wasn’t watching it or benefitting from it, and I hated paying that licence fee!)

However. could you, for one week, match the amount you move with the amount you watch the screens in your life, (mobile phone included too!)

“Move” can mean many different things, it can be a swear word, a four letter word to your brain, as when you’ve been told to move in the past, you may have felt pain, so your brain remembered that, and like Google, it stored it, and Googles itself, telling you that when you are told to move again, it will hurt, so you had better not do too much or else..

Sound familiar? However, to move can be a way to relax. To unwind, can mean to switch off from the external stressors we have bombarding us everyday. Something as simple as unplugging from the wi-fi can help a sensitive nervous system recover.

Heres a few helpful ways you can move:

Deep belly breathing (the most repetitive movement you do every day)
Walk in nature(park/beach/woods/garden/hills )
Ankle rotations
Neck movements
Arm movements like drawing big circles with them
Simple vision drills
Simple balance drills
Simple proprioception drills like gently tapping all the joints all over the body to wake up your proprioception.
Throwing and catching a tennis ball
Dance (doesn’t have to be a full on cha cha cha..)
Jiggle your wiggly bits (no ones looking)
Shake your hands as if you are trying to shake water off them
Smile, a lot. It gives your brain good feedback,
Wiggle toes, what your feet feel gives your brain good feedback and helps the core switch on. (better than sit ups…)
Drink water (helps movement in the whole body and recovery)
Eat green veggies(helps muscles recover)
Take off the shoes and walk on bumpy ground like the sand on the beach, earthy ground in a woodland or grass in the park. (gives the brain good feedback)
Paint a picture
Draw a picture
Read a book
Write a poem
Help someone out who needs some advice or just a chat
Take up a hobby you’ve been meaning to do for a while
MOVE can be so many things.
Have I missed anything from the list? Sure, I could add loads more. The beauty of it is, theres no rules as to what you should or shouldn’t be doing.
What you do is learn to listen to your bodies reactions. Its messages.
When you hear it, the you that can choose, chooses to move. The you that cant choose , which is your survival voice, the voice that tells you to watch out, danger, sends you pain, will quotient and realise that its not so bad after all.

When you pick up a knife to cut an apple, you know its not going to kill you.
When you move, its not going to kill you either.

An old pattern and belief system in your brain is being held there, for whatever reason, your brain is only interested in your survival. It doesn’t care that you have things to do, it only cares about survival.

Being safe means it will tell you that sitting and watching TV is what you should be doing, the alternative means a life of pain.

However, a life of sitting is also a life of pain, but the brain sees it as safer, so thats what it chooses.

So, choose a task you would like to do, just one, choosing too many can lead to overwhelm, which can lead to procrastination, which means the days ahead stay the same and nothing changes. Confusion leads to giving up.

1. Get clear on what you want
2. Be aware of your current situation-be clear about it.
3. What do you NOT like about it
4. What happens if nothing changes with the current situation?

Need some assistance? Come to a weekly session with me, in Llanberis, Monday 10am or Wednesday 6pm.

Click this link for the classes or message me and pay on the day:

Don’t live in North Wales? Skype/Facetime sessions coming soon.

Worskshop dates being released soon too.
Mel Collie


Mel Collie | Posture and your extensors

Mel Collie | Posture and your extensors

Posture is affected by stress, sitting, sports, nutrition, thoughts, depression…so many things..and how you can help correct it can be a long process if you are looking at an exercise program. This, however, doesn’t replace exercise, thats still very important as we are creatures of habit and sitting is one of those, we sit more than we exercise, and the extensor muscles that keep you upright get weaker in tone and fail to help keep our bodies upright with good posture, affecting breathing, digestion shoulders, abdominals, legs and feet…

How you can switch on the weaker side of your body by simply doing a balance challenge test and using your proprioceptive system?

Put one foot in front of the other, feet in line, perfectly, stand tall, arms out like frankenstein, be safe in your balance and eyes focus on a point in front of you.

Close eyes, and where do you notice you are swaying too…this is the weaker side in your inner ear possibly

So..this is what you do next…Happy practicing and enjoy your results

Mel Collie


Mel Collie| 2 ways on Monday morning to embrace stress

Mel Collie| 2 ways on Monday morning to embrace stress

Earlier this week, a client was stressing about her Monday mornings

The build up starts on Sunday night though, an atmosphere of wanting to enjoy the last night of family and “me” time before rushing around on Monday morning.

Me too! I’m with you here, and I’ve been there.

2 things you can right now, without actually having to use up any precious time, because you are busy, right?

1. Embrace the stress. I know many gurus will tell you how to combat stress (I’ve done it loads of times) but stress keeps on coming back. We battle it, it comes back, we fight it, it comes back.

Stress, anxiety, fear, insecurity… is just this – thoughts that you are worrying about that haven’t happened yet. Its ok to feel stress, anxiety fear..whatever you name those feelings, its ok, we all get those feelings. How you deal with it – notice it, notice your breathe for a moment.

Just noticing your breathing slows down the “aaaauuugghhhh” feeling in your brain, but theres no time to discuss the science bit right now! As Nike say…just do it 🙂

2. Theres only 1 person who can create these feelings – thats you, that means theres only you who can deal with it, take it away, thats you. Taking responsibility for your thoughts in your head is hard, but worthwhile.

Ask yourself , when you get the next fearful thought ” is it true?”





Ask if its true when you next have those thoughts


You then let go of becoming a victim

You begin to see what you actually want

You suddenly have the clarity to act on what you want to do, be, have.

You accept what is.

I read this yesterday..When you realize that every stressful moment you experience is a gift that points you to your freedom, life becomes very kind.

So go to work with a different view to everyone else around you today, stop fighting the stress, and accept it.



Ever read the book “The Tiger who Came To tea?” Invite the Tiger in like the little girl did, and it wasn’t as bad as we all thought it would be. the Tiger isn’t that bad after all. Its all preconceived ideas , thoughts from past conditioning.

The Tiger is the stress.

Invite the Tiger in.



Mel Collie | Dont Let The Scales Steal Your Smiles

 Mel Collie | Dont Let The Scales Steal Your Smiles

Uh Oh…no doubt you’ve seen the adverts to use protein powder or increase exercise to get flat abs for the summer..

And maybe thats what you are thinking too…must be skinny for that summer beach body..I’ve been there and done that, I have taught Bootcamp classes and been in a few tone up your abs in 21 days (or less) . I could even tell you I learned my Bootcamp skills from the Bootcamp King himself Paul Mort (google that name, he is now a marketing genius with inspiring daily emails) and Jade Teta of Metabolic Effect.(creator of the brilliant rest based training ) and the awesome Dax Moy for his Elimination Diet coaching (understanding the endocrine system – basically, your liver is the organ that helps you lose fat)

And yes, Bootcamps work, and yes I love some of the sessions, and the results, and having been through them, researched how the brain and body connect, the ONE most important element in all of my lessons learned was…(actualy theres 2…but heres the first one..)

Don’t go by the scales, but go by how you feel….love yourself as you are right now, regardless of your size.

This one can go on forever, because it encompasses your emotions, how you feel about yourself, your reflection, how you feel in your clothes, how vulnerable you feel without putting on your best outfit or your make up, how you feel before opening the kitchen cupboard and looking to see if you can find foods to make you fill that hole that drove you to open it in the first place, how you feel when you are exercising (is it punishing or rewarding?)
How you feel when you weigh yourself..

During one Bootcamp session, we weighed before class, one girl had put on 2 llbs in a week, she burst into tears, because she had been “good” all week…denying herself chocolate, working out every day, sometimes twice a day…and she looked great, but was tired, so what happened?

Well, her happiness was set on the number on the scales.

Muscle builds, fat goes (muscle tissue is great at eating up fat) but the weight can stay the same or increase. What changes is your clothes size , use that as a guide.

If you train too much it can be counterproductive, sleep can be an issue, stress can increase stress hormonal release which increases belly fat – or makes it very stubborn to lose no matter how much you train.

These are crucial to your success. Mindset is everything.
Find something that works for you, that you enjoy, don’t over do it, recovery is key, love yourself as you are from the inside (that can be a hard one that requires daily reminders for some of us, including me) be kind to yourself, chocolate isnt the “baddie” – have a hot chocolate (as organic as possible with no added sugar) every day (made with water or almond milk is a bonus), this helps reduce cravings, boosts magnesium, helps the body “balance”.

Don’t watch the scales, have fun instead, you find that you might just enjoy life and not be obsessed by a number.
Oh, and the second lesson was…choose your health as the reason to change your nutrition, training and lifestyle.

It seems that reason to choose good food and movement lasts a lifetime.

Mel Collie