Category Archives: Bouldering Monk

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  🙂

 

 

Have you tried meditating? Does it have a darker side?

Have you tried meditating? Does it have a darker side?

I’ve just read an article in New Scientist about the darker side of meditation.

Its surprising to learn that for some, meditation can mean depression, mania, hallucinations, terror, psychotic breakdowns.

On long meditation retreats, the outcome can be distressing for some, but blissful for others. David Shapiro of California University found that 7% experienced profoundly adverse effects, including panic and depression. Apparently is doesn’t matter if you are an experienced meditator or not.

After a relationship breakdown a few years ago, I went on a 3 day silent meditation in Dorset, and although I cried and let go of a load of baggage on the first day, I found a lot of peace, and continued to meditate when I got home, although the car drive back was a nightmare, because of the noise, the madness of the traffic, the pressure of driving, almost negated the whole 3 day experience.
Also,  I used to meditate for 30 – 45 minutes every morning with a friend in the village. I was usually away with the fairies and in a state of bliss, she , however, seemed quite distressed at times, because it was hard to relax the mind and feel happier and serene.
My take away from the article that relates to life, fitness, wellness and your self esteem is this – mindfulness can be a stressful thing. Trying to focus on your awareness om what you are feeling and thinking can be demanding on the brain.

When the “bad stuff” arises, it can be hard to negotiate with those memories and thoughts, and its this side of meditation that is the darker side of it.

So, if you are considering meditating, have an awareness of the effects, of what may happen, that it might not be the blissful stress free experience that you are seeking, but then again, it might, this all depends on you and what has happened in your lifetime.

Theres also an article on wellness, and the issues with the wellness industry, Ive got my thoughts on that too, thats for next time.

But for now, I want to thank everyone who has bought their Phase I of the corrective exercise project, and have received great feedback, helping a couple of guys with tight hamstrings , and a woman with long term back pain to name but a few, thanks, keep your good comments and questions coming though to mel.collie@live.co.uk

Mel Collie
Want a copy? Go here  and click the corrective exercise tab at the top.

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
www.posturegeek.co.uk

www.melcollie.com

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?

IMG_0995

 

 

 

 

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?

Mel

www.posturegeek.co.uk

www.melcollie.com

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 :

Vision

Vestibular

Respiration

Spatial Awareness

Proprioception

(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

Dehydration

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

Weight

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