Category Archives: Stress management

Mel Collie | No Pain No Gain

Mel Collie | No Pain No Gain

If you are of a certain age and go to the gym, you will have heard the “no pain no gain” phrase..and believed it. However, the more I practice as a therapist and Pilates teacher, the more pain I see as a result of too much gain.

That means that the lie the fitness industry has fed you for years that you have to feel pain, push harder and do more reps to get results is the norm…

In my therapy clinic I often see inhibited core muscles. This means they arent working as you think they should be, this means that something else has to work harder to stabilise, like the neck (neck pain doing core exercises anyone?) or the diaphragm when the breath is held.

Try this. Lie on your back. Lift the legs and arms like in the picture below. Move the opposite arm and leg away from each other, now bring them back, then change sides. Note how many reps you can do with the following:

A relaxed jaw-  so you arent clenching your teeth.

Shoulders down your back so you aren’t using your shoulders

Glutes relaxed so you aren’t clenching

Breathing fully as you move so you aren’t holding your breath

Tip – place a folded towel under your lower ribs, ask someone to hold one end and to pull it as you work, that towel should not move…

Note when your body has to move into a “cheat”

Regress to progress, if you want less pain in your neck, back, hip, shoulder, stop using them as compensation patterns and start to do the exercise correctly with the correct muscles.

If this means you may only do one rep in the beginning, whats the point in doing one right and 3 – 5 wrong? do you think that will make you stronger? It only strengthens the compensation patterns.

 

  1. If you have pain, stop going to a general class in a gym with 30 people in it and a teacher that doesn’t correct or spend time with you. If the pain is persisting, you need to get assessed and see what your compensations are. You may just be surprised that your core isn’t as strong as you thought.
  2. Years ago I attended a Pilates class for 2 years in a gym, that sometimes had 30 people in it. I thought I was at an intermediate level, I went twice a week and I attended other fitness classes..every day, sometimes twice a day. When I trained to be a Pilates teacher, I was upset to learn that I was back at beginner level because I knew nothing. I had no stability in the easiest of moves. I had to start over. Weak glutes. Weak Core. Tight neck. Tight shoulders.
  3. Speed hides need. If you are speeding through an exercise with no attention to form, you are compensating. Your speed hides your compensation. Slow down, Take it ultra slow, its really hard ..and thats where the magic happens.
  4. Listen to your body. What does that even mean? well, if your hips are tight, they could be compressing for stability because you have none from your core. Same goes for your lower back and shoulders.
  5. Final top tip – core exercises –  If your head is tilted back and your ribs are lifted , even if your toes are scrunched up- you aren’t doing core work – you are doing future pain work, compensation work. Re check your compensation patterns by building your awareness.

Mel

Pilates & NKT therapist.

Mel Collie | Ever massaged your Diaphragm?

Mel Collie | Ever massaged your Diaphragm?

 

Todays Neuro Kinetic Therapy special was a curious one, but as I have learned with this technique, I go with what the body tells me.

diaphragm

I was going to do some work on the right foot , but as the diaphragm was flaring and something my client had mentioned in our chat at the beginning of the session, I tested the diaphragm against the abdominals and her glutes as she has a tucked under pelvis and shortened space between lower rib and hip bone, slight kyphosis and altered neck position…(I will ask you questions later..:) )

I found a facilitated spot on the diaphragm, a bit tender, and when I theory localised it, the glutes switched on, as did her core muscles, which meant that when we tested the core muscles, there was no visible shaking in the upper neck, and no jaw clenching.

The diaphragm can be a compensator for so many things…
It may seem too simple for you as a client to do breathing homework (what you don’t get 100 sit ups and press ups? !!…umm…nope…) ..but breathing is the most repetitive movement you will do each and every day, and I guess you’ve been doing those reps for quite a while now…

 

Mel Collie

NKT Level 1 Practitioner

www.melcollie.com

Mel Collie | What happened when I stopped eating “Clean”

Mel Collie | What happened when I stopped eating “Clean”

So many diets, so many statistics showing us that obesity is an epidemic, an overburdening NHS with no money and out of date health advice leaves us confused, unsure about what to eat, when, calorie counting, colour counting, weighing, guilt..this confusion leads to overwhelm and overeating, thats why I stopped eating “clean”…sounds like a crazy thing to do when theres an obesity epidemic, but I think that the trend of eating clean/paleo also has its issues that no ones talking about. It can be totally the wrong thing if you are anorexic or have eating disorders as its another way of controlling food.

(What is eating clean? Eating clean means no sugar and a whole lot of fresh food thats not processed.)

Obesity hit the headlines again today about the fact that fat doesn’t make you fat..

Its something that us health and wellness instructors have known a while

Its important to eat fat, avocados are actually good for you, as are nuts and seeds and butter. Whole milk is better than semi or skimmed milk.

If its low fat its not healthy for you, its full of chemicals that your Liver doesn’t know how to break down and use.

Veg and healthy body movement makes a big step towards a healthy future for your body, which means less burden on the NHS and on your heart.

Flora is rubbish..its not good for you..butter is, its a healthy fat as is coconut oil.

However…as good as you are at eating well you will have days when you don’t…and want to eat sugar.

And thats ok!

Its ok to eat in moderation, have chips, cookies, cake, chocolate.

Im sure that you will go out for dinner and have a pudding, and thats ok, as long as at the time you actually enjoy it, without the stress of feeling guilty, thinking it will all make you fat and sick and you’ve fallen off the wagon.

We are doing less activity in our lives, but we are rewarding ourselves more, thats why sitting in front of the TV is a great pastime with a bowl of crisps , we love the reward..but don’t like the task.

And the task is? Working your body, like its supposed to. Stressing the body by moving it.

We are creatures of movement, hunters, gatherers, our brains haven’t changed or evolved to accept or understand modern stress.

We now sit in front of a screen and don’t move for hours. We wonder why we get fat, sick, with painful joints.

We don’t challenge ourselves anymore, we love the comfort zone, nothing we do scares us anymore, unless you make yourself join something that challenges you, do an activity that means you have to soul search for answers.

At the risk of boring you about my time in Snowdonia, thats exactly what I faced.

High mountain climbs, testing myself, abseils, questions, challenges.

Realisation and acceptance is key to living in the here and now.

We lie to ourselves all the time, even when we tell ourselves  we aren’t.

I do believe that eating clean is the only way to have a healthy heart, liver, mind, movement. However, when I started eating things like biscuits and cake again, I started to love food again, love the energy around food, love the places I ate them in. I believe that eating clean can be addictive and controlling, we can beat ourselves up when we don’t, which leads to a hormonal cascade which is just as bad as eating something viewed as a “chemical shit storm” ..

Anyway, I just chose to eat less..

I don’t eat three meals a day, I don’t eat breakfast because I don’t feel hungry before mid day. Doesn’t mean I eat loads later. Sometimes I don’t eat lunch either. I have more energy on the days I don’t eat before dinner.

Ive tried a few diets overtime, Ive listened to how my body reacts, how my energy changes, what happens to me. Not how it works for someone else.

Metabolism is unique and it changes all the time.

Its your job to be true to yourself and eat to suit you.

For me, my diet looks like this

Lemon water in the morning, 5g Vit C and some Ashwaghanda

Lunch, if I feel hungry, (do you know how that really feels?) is a couple of eggs, watercress and ham, sometimes, if we have some, in the house, I also have a couple of slices of Ciabatta or a flat bread , toasted, with the eggs, lush! Sometimes some Kabanossi sausage as well.

Its taken time for me to stop the “breads bad for you, its gluten” thought..however, it is for some people, it isn’t for others. If you find it leaves you bloated and tired, then you have an intolerance, and your gut has trouble digesting it, the same can be said of milk, but its not true for everyone.

Find what works for you.

For dinner then, maybe I will have a curry, with nana bread (shock horror!), or a tuna salad, or fish and salad – my gut isn’t a  huge fan of potatoes, they leave me feeling tired, or a picky tea which is a mixture of cold meats, cheese, beetroot, crackers, pickles..stuff like that, a shepherds pie, pizza, pasta and bolognese sauce…just good old fashioned food. I also love a slice of cheesecake, I also love chocolate peanuts and chocolate buttons, apricots, blueberries..but..in moderation.

 

Knowing that you can have a food, thats its not a sin, its not bad for you, means you are more likely to not binge eat it, because its is plentiful supply, you aren’t denied it, its not going to run out, it will always be there. Its not like Charlie and the Chocolate factory when the chocolate river and the sweets were all such a treat, it seemed they had to to eat it all and extra fast or it would all be taken away from them, so its a knowing that the food you have is plentiful and will always be there. You aren’t going to starve.

I just eat when I feel hungry. I do believe though that many of us truly knows how that feels, to be hungry, the feeling of being lonely, upset, stressed, unworthy, fed up, wanting a cuddle…can all be mistaken for the feelings of being hungry. We can snack in the car on the way home from a bad day at work and eat a bag of sweets before we’ve even left the car park. Empty calories we forget about because we’ve eaten them in a daze and without being conscious of it.

So, I suppose I stop eating at about 8pm, and don’t start until 1pm the next day if I feel like lunch, or 6pm for dinner.Its not an exact science, and its not regimented..sometimes those times change.

Thats a gap of 17 – 22 hours between meals.

The scaremongering stories are that your metabolism will slow down – thats not true, or that you will faint, thats not true, or that your body goes into starvation mode, that also isn’t true. Your body 2- 3 hours after eating,  is in a “fed” state, its still digesting the food you have just eaten, but you could still feel the urge to eat.

This is usually because we’ve been conditioned to feel hungry by the adverts we see, the words we hear, the smells from the supermarket pumping bread and coffee smells..

I’m just eating less.

Its how human used to eat. Sometimes a big kill and lots of meat, sometimes just nuts and berries and fish, sometimes nothing.

However…We are moving less, we don’t need to eat 3 meals a day. We don’t need to snack. We don’t need to graze. We are bombarded more with images of food through marketing of course, reminding us to eat , eat, eat…eating on the train, in the car, as we walk, we just eat mindlessly.

On the days you are doing a whole lot more like hunting tigers and climbing mountains, you may well need more sugar based energy releasing foods.

On days you aren’t, then your body just doesn’t require food as much as you think it does.

Dont diet, still eat the foods you love, but less, its simple really, but as I said in the beginning, its a journey, you will travel, you will stop and get off, you will get back on again, you will discover, you will feel fear, anticipation, wonder and happiness.

Thats the joy of life.

Realisation and acceptance.

Mel Collie

4 weekly woman group from Portreath, Cornwall incorporating exercise, nutrition, self esteem, confidence and acceptance of where you are.

Apply by sending me your name via email to : melcollie@gmail.com and we will send you an application form for when the next group begins. There are only 4 spaces . Let me know if you want to be considered for one of those spaces.

www.melcollie.com

 

 

 

Mel Collie | Effective abdominal exercise you probably aren’t doing…

Mel Collie | Effective abdominal exercise you probably aren’t doing…

Sit ups are popular if you are after an abdominal exercise, and thats ok, as long as your lower back and neck aren’t doing the actual sit up work for you and you are also doing other stuff as well, like rotational exercises for example, power lives in rotation if its a great midsection you are after…however, the most repetitive exercise you do, every day, is breathing, the overlooked muscles, the diaphragm, is a major part of your core, and if your aren’t breathing well, you are using your neck muscles, which means your inner core stabilising system is well and truly on holiday…

How to use your breath effectively

Practice – lie on your front, gently allow the lower belly to press into the floor as you breathe in

This can be very tricky for some of us, as we are told to pull our bellies in all the time to create a look of having a flatter belly, when in fact what this does it to encourage breathing into the neck and chest…I’m guessing they are tight enough from sitting at a computer all day or driving for a living, or watching TV most evenings. Your shoulders don’t need any more tension.

So, when you exhale, the lower belly will come back by its own elasticity.

You may feel light headed and dizzy. The brain may not be used to having as much oxygen as you are now taking in, because you have been a shallow breather for a while. You may also find that your blood pressure and heartbeat come back to a normal range for a human being.

How does that diaphragm move?

When you exhale, it relaxes upwards, like an umbrella, pushing out the used air into the lungs, this is why, an exhalation, when lobber than the inhalation, allows oxygen to be pushed into the blood supple.

When you inhale, the diaphragm contracts, it collapses downwards.

If this is the first time you are practicing this with awareness, its better done lying down, so you don’t also have to consider posture as well. Practice it for one repetition before you get out of bed,and before you go to sleep

Just 1 rep?

Yes…just one – if I ask you to try it for a minute x 4 a day, you might do that for a couple of days, then forget, because life takes over and practicing breathing may not seem so important to you when the kids are screaming and you’ve got the shopping to do , the dinner to cook and the house to clean.

1 rep is doable.

Then it becomes a habit.

You will naturally do a few more when the times right.

The benefits, apart from a healthier heart, better nourishment from your nutrition, reduced anxiety and stress, better abdominal connection which can help pelvic floor and ab tone, reduced back pain and better movement in the ribs…are many..

But you know what..its up to you. I’ve realised that you can’t tell someone to do something, but you can help someone who asks, who wants to change, who changes by trying something out themselves.

Mel

www.melcollie.com

 

Mel Collie | Is it true? You are a biased liar…

Mel Collie | Is it true?You are a biased liar…!

I’m moving house…its all happening over the next few days

Moving house is the most stressful thing..

And last night it snowed..today we should be packing, cleaning , and all that stuff..but we want to go outside and play in the snow

On top of all that my legs are aching from yesterdays 5 hour walk amongst the mountains of Snowdonia

I could do this easily:

  1. stay in the house, complain about my aching muscles and pack up the house, feeling sorry for myself..

or

  1. change my story

I chose to loved those aching muscles, a result of a fabulous walk over great mountains and wonderful scenery…then the distress over having those aching muscles just vanishes, along with the painful ache..

The packing can be done tonight, tomorrow and Friday…we don’t have a lot of stuff…no big pieces of furniture, just a landrover full of bags and boxes.

All I did was ask myself if I believed my story

Turns out I didn’t

I was lying to myself, finding excuses as to why I couldn’t do something…

We do it all the time..I bet you do it too..why you cant lose weight, why you cant eat healthily, why you cant just have 2 biscuits, why you cant just eat 1 square of chocolate, why you cant go for a daily walk, why you cant go to bed earlier, why you cant spend more time on yourself…etc

Its one of the hardest things you will do in your lifetime

You believe you hate heights..its a lie

You believe you cant do it..its a lie

You think you should have the abs of a 20 year old …its a lie

You give up because its too hard…its a lie

Looking to have instant results? Its about the long term vision. It has to fit into the lifestyle you already have, its a recognition that you aren’t the same person that you were, its about asking yourself  …does this work for me..are you looking for a new method. a new way, a new way of thought?

Change the way you think, which changes the way you act

Change the way you do ..which changes the way you think

They lead to the same thing

A new and improved you

If thats what you are searching for…

Its basic human nature to want, looking around the next corner..wondering whats next.

Our software has evolved not to wait for anything, forward plan..

Thats why 14 day fat loss programmes sell, they sell you the instant result.

Does it last?

Probably not…does that mean it could take more than that to get results?

Yes

Are you believing that you wont be happy until you are skinny? Thats a lie…

You have to wait for a “new you”

Come January, its all about the fast fix, come February most people have given up.

They don’t want to put in the effort..lets face it, you can go and have plastic surgery these days and get it done super quick, instant gratification..

We get moody if we have to wait a couple of seconds for broadband to work! Waiting behind 2 people in a queue is annoying!

If we get like that with people we don’t know, imagine how moody you are with yourself!

If you lying to your personal trainer/your other half/best friend,  then you are most definitely lying to yourself..all day long..and you are THE most important person!

Questions you can ask yourself about your story: Is it true? Can you ABSOLUTELY know that its true?

How do you react , how do you feel, when you believe that thought?

Who would YOU be without that thought?

Where would you be?What would change?

Get back to me when you have answered those questions…

Its a massive realisation when you question yourself..all the time..life changes, results change, you change.

For me..I realised that a flat belly wasnt what I wanted, realised that post menopausal was the stage in my life where I was at, I realised that my hormones needed some help, I realised certain foods weren’t serving me anymore, I had to change a few things if I wanted to have health, energy and less cravings.

I chose willpower training too

I chose to try having just one or 2 bites of a dessert, then leaving the rest

I chose to have 2 sips of coffee, then leaving the rest

I chose to have a couple of slices of pizza, then leaving the rest

I chose to have a handful of walnuts/almonds, then leaving the rest

I chose to have 2 biscuits, then leaving the rest of the packet (which I would normally devour!)

I chose…I changed my story..I asked questions..

Your choice

Its all down to you

 

Mel

x

www.melcollie.com