Retreats

Day Retreats

We are extremely happy to announce our very first day retreat here at Limelight.

It has been our dream since day 1 to have clients here milling about for the day/weekend/week and so we begin…

Although we are not quite ready to sleep clients here, it won’t be long. Anyhow, in the meantime we would like to offer up to 12 clients the opportunity to practice and learn Qigong with Kseny Gray on the 4th of May 2019.

Price for this event is 120€ p/p and booking is essential as we expect places to fill up fast.

If you are interested in this event and would like to secure your spot, then please get in touch via the contacts page we’d love to hear from you.

Thank you for your interest. X

Have a fantastic day!

Please find below our program and a break down of the flow of events during the day…

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Qigong Day Retreat copy

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Boot Camp, Gym, Life, Personal Training, Running

Life Should Be… I Should Be…

There is a Buddhist saying that ‘life is difficult’. In the west it feels like there is a widely held belief that ‘Life Should Be a Certain Way’. People often say, or think, that something is not fair, or right.

Whichever view is correct, the latter view is not helping us.

At this moment you may be thinking, not me, I am different, I am chilled. I ‘just get on with life’. We, (Saski and Cathie), have coached many hundreds of people, and it would be helpful if you accept that, like the rest of us, you have felt this on occasion.

Just think of this example, ‘bad things should not happen to good people’. Of course we know that they do, yet when stuff happens, this thought often occurs. So if you could just accept that, sadly, this is how life is, we can save ourselves both pain and time. Forget whether this is true, let us look at how we can adopt a more helpful viewpoint to dealing with issues.

We are not suggesting that we are any different, trust us, we can both feel that life is unfair, even knowing that this is not a helpful thought. Nevertheless, we have found that when we do accept that life is not fair, or unfair, it becomes much easier to be at peace with ourselves, and others. In turn this acceptance can really help us to change, or have peace with ourselves.

This month, we are writing a joint article, to focus on improving our bodies. In particular how changing our thinking about diet and fitness, can help us achieve our goals. We will also offer practical tips which, if followed, will develop us, and help us to develop more flourishing lives and healthy bodies.

Here are some examples of views that we have been told by clients in the past.

I can’t help my weight. It’s alright for my brother, he’s thinner because he’s younger. Wait until he is my age. (This has been said over fifteen years)

I would really like to exercise, but my knees are shot through rugby/running/falling off my horse.

It’s alright for him, he likes exercise.

I shouldn’t need to diet, she eats more than me and she never puts on weight.

Why should I exercise, I have so much going on at the moment?

Why do I have 24 packs, not 6, I have a very healthy diet

So do these thoughts help your health and well-being? We can all agree they don’t. Is there anything we can do to change? The secret to success is to stop expecting life to be fair, or a certain way.

Life is the way it is. The main thing that you can change is you.

It is easy as you are reading this to think it is obvious. We sip our wine, or eat a snack, and agree, for the next ten minutes; but what happens when you decide to get fit and/or eat well?

We have all made decisions about changing our behaviour. We think, “I’ll start on Monday” This is usually said on a Thursday or Friday because we couldn’t possibly give up all the things we enjoy during the weekend. Or, “I will start in the New Year” because eating and drinking lots is part of Christmas!

How about “The best time to get fit is May, the weather is starting to get better by then”. Sadly you can’t start then because your guests come over the summer and obviously you can’t abandon them. So you will start in November, although Christmas does get earlier every year!

See where the patterns start to emerge?

The difficulty is always starting the new behaviour, so we delay just for a few days, or maybe weeks/months. If we’re not careful, it becomes years, and we’re still just having one last indulgence before committing to something that, sadly just keeps getting harder. Even after we have started, we don’t maintain the new habit.

This is why you need to commit, explain to your friends and family. Ask for their help. It is hard. Life is tough, being leaner and fitter will give you a glow of satisfaction.

Ask yourself

Think about your body shape, and how fit you are. How do you think you should be?

If you think it should be different, have a look at this thought.

How should your body be?

What do you ‘need’ to do?

How does thinking about changing, while doing nothing, help you?

How, if at all, does it affect your moods and relationships?

Where did you get this view of how you should be?

Is this view useful or realistic?

What will you do when you achieve your goal?

Now Imagine

You have decided to get fit but at the moment: –

You just need to finish this film.

It’s raining.

It’s too hot.

It’s too cold.

It’s too windy.

You need to finish the kitchen.

This will give you one day or maybe two, a year, to get fit! Obviously you can only get fit when everything aligns. Why is this? It is because we are human! We don’t think we should have to work hard to change, this is normal. We secretly believe that one day we will wake up and want to eat less, and exercise more. We don’t. These thoughts will not help you achieve your ideal body.

If you are thinking about losing weight, we may find reasons to wait…

I am going to start Monday, (see above).

I can’t do it while the family are staying.

I need to finish what is in the freezer/cupboard.

I have just fallen out with my best friend and I am too upset.

My husband/wife/son have to have a pudding.

I have to finish the kids tea, can’t waste food.

Kids/mother/grandchildren need to have sweets in the cupboard, (even though they don’t live there…).

I am about to sign up with Weight Watchers.

Getting leaner can be hard. It is easy not to cook, we can eat out, or put something processed in the microwave. If we are feeling peckish we can eat a chocolate bar, this will give us our afternoon sugar rush. This is easier, and quicker, than waiting until dinner time. It’s readily available and many of us have taste buds that have been engineered to crave the high sugar/fat tastes of fast food.

So how can changing your thinking change your actions?

The most powerful approach is to start by accepting yourself, and choosing what you want to do.

You move your thinking from:

“I should be slim/fit”, to

“I am bigger than I want to be and I want to get fitter”.

In other words, ‘this is how I am, and I accept me’. Don’t beat yourself up. It is powerful to accept how you are before choosing to do something different. There are several options, including one, or a  combination, of the following

1. Start to change your routine, don’t allow excuses/other people’s appetite, to stop you. Of course they can have sweets/puddings, you are not going to.

2. Accept that you are not going to get fit/lean

3. Stop worrying or moaning about it, with others or yourself

4. Feel free to continue moaning and be miserable/or miserably content. We all love a good moan

We know all of this stuff, and, as normal human beings, we continue to do all four. However we, (Saski and Cathie) have both occasionally, under difficult conditions still managed to achieve something helpful.  Whether ill, broke, or having a major upset within a relationship, it is possible to move your thinking and your actions.

Living in the moment is not always easy, but it is a break from unhappiness. It is much cheaper than a holiday. People recommend mindfulness, meditation, positive affirmations, all great things. Sometimes just experiencing each moment, as it is and, as it is not, is the only way to be. Incredibly, acceptance is the start of you doing something different.

 

If you would like to learn how to apply this to health and well-being, as well as other areas of your life, we are holding a seminar in the Montmorillon area of France (86) on Thursday 9th May Please contact Saski for tickets and info by email at saski@limelightretreat.com. Thank you for your support.

I teamed up with Dr Cathie Woodward this month to do this joint article on ‘The Human Paradigm’. Dr Cathie runs a coaching practice with clients both in the UK & France. She is trained as a coach and a therapist. If you’d like to speak to Cathie directly her email is: cathie@arturo-consulting.com 

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Boot Camp, Gym, Personal Training, Running

Love your planet through health & fitness…

Here are 6 ways you can love your planet through health and fitness.

  1. Walk or ride as often as you can. 

If you live within a short distance of the shops consider either walking or biking. Carbon emissions are a huge contributing factor to our rising earth temperatures and even though you may seem like your small contribution won’t make a difference, then think about what it’ll be doing to your health and wellbeing also. The air doesn’t get much fresher than rural France, let’s try and keep it that way.

2. Eat less….

Packaged and highly processed foods. Not only are you consuming high amounts of salts and sugars, and possibly harmful chemicals from the packaging in your meal, but the plastics used to pack these products have a poor recycling rate and are therefore bad for our planet. So hopefully this may encourage you to…

3. Think Local.

I must admit I get so frustrated when going to the local supermarkets here in France, the choice of products is extremely limited especially if you want something just a little bit different like Kale or chillies, you need to go a bit further afield for those things but if you know where to look some of the local farmers markets, mobile vans and local butchers have some incredible produce. Beautiful lean meats, in season vegetables and fruits, a great selection of cheeses, locally made bread and milk fresh from the farm but the best thing is you don’t have to travel far, the food is much fresher because it’s hasn’t travelled miles across countries, and you’re supporting your local traders and helping small towns thrive.

4. Consider growing your own.

If you’re not very green fingered like me then start with something like a tomato bag or some fresh herbs, they’re pretty easy to grow and you don’t have to have dig up your garden if your not sure you’ll be into it. Or on the other hand see if you can get a few of you to grow different produce and share your food around between you, building friendships and a love of fresh grown produce. Yum!

5. Drink Tap Water

I don’t have a problem drinking our tap water but if you aren’t keen then think about getting a water filter and keeping it topped up. Have yourself a re-usable water container or camelbak for taking on runs or hikes. This way you’ll be helping reduce plastic usage and you’ll not have loads of recycling to do. Bonus

6. Active Wear

There are plenty of companies out there who are using eco friendly, renewable fabrics to produce their active wear. One such company (whom, by the way, I am not affiliated to in any way) Vivobarefoot makes shoes from shredded, melted and re-spun plastic bottles, to produce their PET range and are even working on designing and manufacturing a shoe made almost entirely from plants.

“In 2017, we collectively bought 1 million plastic bottles every single minute”   Vivobarefoot

These have been turned into high performance, highly durable shoes. Not only are these shoes environmentally friendly, the studies behind barefoot style shoes is notable in restoring and correcting the bodies natural gate through the flexible materials used to mimic barefoot walking and running, helping feet that have been strapped up in shoe prisons to do what they naturally do best, support and aid in balance. Vivobarefoot. Healthy feet and a healthy planet.

Boot Camp, Gym, Personal Training, Running

Happy 2019 Everyone!!

Wow what a year last year was, on reflection there were many things I could have been more on top of like my health and nutrition but that’s what’s great about reflecting, it helps you to move on and do things slightly differently going forward. This month keeping with the top tip theme of Christmas I would like to introduce 10 ways to lose fat and get fit this January and onwards.

  1. Get familiar with the kitchen again. Home cooked meals should be something that everyone’s involved in. If you ‘can’t be bothered’ to make a good nutritious home cooked meal then you really need to address your relationship with food in general. Teach yourself that food is a fuel the more nutrient dense your food the more you stoke the fire and keep it burning, processed foods need to be kept to an absolute minimum so don’t buy it in if you are weak willed.
  2. Stop lying to yourself! That extra chocolate biscuit or glass of wine is not ok if fat loss is your goal.
  3. Fix your head. If you have negative thoughts about food, your body and exercise. Consider seeing a professional to help you get those negative thoughts straight and put to bed. There is no shame in this, sometimes we just need a little advice and some direction.
  4. Try a variety of different things. Just because everyone else might be running or doing zumba doesn’t mean its necessarily your cup of tea. Find something you want to do, not what you think you should be doing, you’ll be more likely to keep it up x
  5. Eat a high protein diet. This not only sets you up for the day but will reduce food cravings and help you control calories throughout the day.
  6. Eat your food slowly placing your knife and fork down on the table after every bite. Eating slowly helps you to be more aware of when you are actually full rather than feeling stuffed from eating all your food to quickly.
  7. Drinking water before your meals not during will help you to gauge exactly how hungry you are as sometimes dehydration can be confused with hunger, and consuming water before a meal can actually help you to eat less calories.
  8. Keep healthy snacks in the house ready for when you feel a hunger pang coming on. An apple with some nut butter or crudités with some hummus are a couple of great options and will satisfy any craving.
  9. Make exercise the last thing you think about. That doesn’t mean to say it’s not important, but it only contributes to 20% of your efforts, the other 80% is done in the kitchen so like I said in tip 1 get familiar with your kitchen again.
  10. Small steps remember, don’t try and do it all at once, we are only human. Make it manageable for you. Your way of doing things is not going to be the same and your friends or the fitness professional doing it online, that doesn’t mean that you can’t get some useful tips but it does mean you don’t have to replicate exactly what they do, so experiment and get to grips with one useful tip until you’re ready to progress to the next.

Happy New Year everyone, onwards and upwards as they say xxxx

Boot Camp, Gym, Personal Training, Running

I love Christmas and a top tip…

So here we are…….7 top tips for a Healthy Christmas

It’s common knowledge that around christmas time, the alcohol and food consumption are at an all time high so for those of you who like to indulge a little over christmas (me!) my tips are all about exercising some control.

  1. Up until christmas practise eating 3 meals a day with no snacking in-between. These meals need to be big enough to take you from breakfast to lunch then lunch to dinner without feeling the need to eat in-between. So make sure they are filled with good nutritious ingredients. No processed or rubbish food. EAT LIKE AN ADULT would, not a child.
  2. Eat from 8am – 8pm then fast for the rest of the evening. No food after 8pm if this is possible. There are many benefits to intermittent fasting or ‘time restricted fasting’ like promoting blood sugar control by reducing insulin resistance, helps to fight inflammation, improves blood pressure, triglycerides and cholesterol levels, and it aids in weight loss as a part of calorie restriction, to name a few. So even if you can’t fast on certain days because you’re out with friends for a meal then try on the days you aren’t. Your body will thank you x
  3. You’ve heard this one a thousand times before but it’s one of the most important. Water! keep yourself hydrated, 7 glasses of water a day minimum, and, no tea and coffee do not count! you need an extra glass for every tea and coffee you consume. Unless you drink herbal teas. Not only will drinking water keep you hydrated it will stave off hunger and also keep your skin looking young and fresh.
  4. Use your hand as a guide for portion/calorie control. Your own hand is a great way to see visually how much of a certain food you can have on your plate. For example the flat and thickness of your palm is the perfect size for protein-dense foods like meat, fish, eggs, dairy, or beans. 1 palm sized piece for women 2 for men. A fist determines your veggie portion, broccoli, spinach, salad, carrots, etc, 1 fist sized portion for women 2 for men. Your cupped hand determines your carbohydrate-dense foods – like grains, starches, or fruits, 1 cupped hand for women 2 for men. And your thumb determines your fat portions like oils, butters, nut butters, nuts/seeds, 1 thumb for women 2 for men.
  5. Be selective when eating out. Chose meals that are well balanced, avoid all you can eat buffets as these will encourage you to ‘get your monies worth!’. If you know before hand where you are going then have a look at the menu online to see what the best choice for you is, then when you get to the restaurant you know what you’re having and avoid the temptation to go for the stodge.
  6. Plan your free meals. By free meal I mean you get to eat what you want. Get yourself a week to view calendar and mark on it three days whereby you can have a ‘free meal’. That doesn’t mean pigging out all day, it means choosing when you get to have that treat. It could be dinner with friends on Monday, lunch out with the other half Thursday and Saturday morning in your pyjamas. These are your days/meals to eat that pudding, or pizza or ice cream or chocolate, without beating yourself up about it. BUT the rules are not to go mental and stuff yourself silly all day, and to stick to these days ONLY. The rest of the week you must exercise restriction because you will savour the days you get to have that treat and you won’t feel guilty for it.
  7. Last but not least. EXERCISE. Get out and about or get to the gym. Be one step ahead at the start of the new year x

So there you go another year done and dusted and with a bit of luck and a whole load of discipline you will not be pouring on the pounds like your lesser prepared friends, family and acquaintances.

Have a wonderful Christmas and an Excellent New Year!!!! xx

Boot Camp

GLUTES GLORIOUS GLUTES

This month I want to talk about the benefits of having a strong butt.

I love to train the glutes not just for aesthetics but mostly because when my glutes are strong I have no hip, or back pain at all.

The function of the glutes help you to do just about everything like run, walk, go up and down stairs, sit, stand, etc. If your legs are moving your glutes should be working. However when they are not doing their job this can cause major problems for you.

Unfortunately most of us sit on them all day while at work, school, on the sofa, in the car, at the dinner table etc leaving them in a constantly stretched elongated and weak position. The professional name for this is “inhibition’. Inhibited glutes can be the root cause of almost any problem associated with lower body or low back and can even be the reason for some upper body issues.

The glutes are made up of 3 muscles Gluteus Maximus, Gluteus Medius and Gluteus Minimus. These muscles around the hip are essential for total body functional movements, athletic performance and injury prevention.

The Glutes are like anchors that creates stability and allows accuracy and control of the movements of the hip joints, knee joints, and ankle/foot joints.

I won’t go into too much detail, but I will tell you what each muscles function is.

The Gluteus Maximum’s function is to maintain balance as you walk or run.

The Gluteus Medius’ function is to stabilise the pelvis and also assists in externally rotating and taking your leg out to the side otherwise known as abduction of the leg.

The Gluteus Minimus’ function is to promote hip abduction and rotate the thigh bone, but it also aids in stabilising the pelvis when the opposite leg is lifted up.

Having a nice shapely round butt isn’t all about appearance or vanity. Having strong glutes not only improves your posture but it significantly reduces your risk of injury.

They are one of the strongest muscles in the body and are crucial to movements involving the hips and thighs, without them activities like walking, running, sitting, standing etc would be extremely difficult if not impossible. And yet so many of us take them for granted.

Weak glutes can cause problems like poor posture as over time the hips tilt slightly forward creating what we call ‘anterior pelvic tilt’. If not corrected can also lead to upper and lower body injuries.

Weak glutes can also cause low back pain. Your low back depends on there being a balance between your hip flexors, glutes and hamstrings so if there are any imbalances between those 3 your low back bears the brunt of it.

Weak glutes can also cause hamstring strains and knee pain and can cause mechanical stress up chain around the shoulders, neck and upper back.

So if you’re now wondering what kind of exercise you can do to make your glutes stronger you need to look past the squat and deadlift, these are fantastic exercises but if your experiencing sleepy glutes already these exercises will not help create a rounder stronger butt they will help your legs grow bigger and stronger but not your butt. We need to activate the muscles in the butt and a great exercise you can do is the hip thrust.

The hip thrust is like a traditional glute bridge with a slight difference, your upper back is on a bench or sofa this allows a much greater range of motion through the body.

  1. Start with your shoulder blades on a bench or sofa or coffee table if its big enough. Spread your arms out to the sides palms to the ceiling. If your shoulders don’t reach the bench you will need to lift your butt off the floor slightly until they do.
  2. You want your knees bent to 90 degrees. Your ankles underneath you knees and feet flat on the floor
  3. Inhale as you dip your hips to the floor
  4. Exhale all your breath out squeeze your core and drive your hips towards the ceiling whilst squeezing your butt hard. DO NOT hyperextend your low back to finish the movement. Finish with a squeeze of the glutes
  5. Repeat.

This exercise is ideal for protecting the spine and knees from unwanted strain commonly associated with squats and lunges, it develops strength and power and it maximises growth of the muscle tissue.

Boot Camp, Gym, Personal Training, Running

3 Reasons You’re Not Losing Weight

Usually when I ask my potential clients what they do for exercise they might say something along the lines of, “I walk for 1/2hr-1hr every day” or “I cycle 3x a week along the same 2 or 3 routes I like” or “I do a home circuit session online using the weights I have at home”. This is great! it’s good that you’re active at home but herein lies the first problem.

  1. You do the same things all the time.

The same routes on your walk, the same weights in the gym, the same cycle routes 3x a week.

The body responds to change through progressive overloaded this can be through a variety of different ways for instance:

  1. decrease your rest periods
  2. increase the load. in other words make it heavier
  3. increase the amount of sets you do.

On your daily walk change the direction maybe there are more hills the other way round, to get your heart pumping a bit faster. Or maybe you can walk your usual route in a quicker time? Or if safe to do so how about trying to run it?

On your cycle route have you tried intervals like peddling as hard as you can for 30secs then easy to moderate for 30secs repeating for 5 or 6 sets.

Or taking your bike on a longer more challenging route

Analyse your variables and strive to make a positive change in your outlook towards a healthy lifestyle.

My second key point to why you’re not reaching your goals is your diet. I’ve had numerous clients when asked what their diet looks like they say “Oh my diets really quite good actually” but then when asked to do a food diary they soon realise that it’s not as optimal as they once thought.

Keeping an honest food diary is a great way to initiate change. That what get recorded or monitored can be altered and improved

Also if you have a good week and lose a few pounds it’s easy to replicate if you know what you did right.

My last point is consistency, you need to be consistent over a long enough period of time to truly see some results, it’s no good starting for a couple of weeks then as the sessions slip you realise you haven’t done anything for a couple of months then it seems like much more of an effort to get going again and create a routine.

Little and often is the way forward. If an hour seems like too much then how about a short 12-15 minute HIIT session. Anyone can carve that amount of time out of their day but it’s a matter of priority. How high does your health and fitness come on your agenda?

I’m not saying you will always be 100% consistent because life has it’s way of twisting and turning at times that catch us unaware but if you at least give it your best effort week in week out you’ll be doing better than the 60% of the UK and USA combined who do absolutely nothing about their health whatsoever.

Don’t be 1 of 60%. Be a warrior and own your health and fitness.

Boot Camp, Gym, Personal Training, Running

Exercising in the heat

7 top tips.

Summer is a wonderful time to go outside and have fun. It’s one of my favourite times of year because there are so many outdoor activities you can choose from. Everything is more fun outside, whether you’re swimming, running or cycling.

But the summer heat can be a problem if you’re not careful, particularly in areas with extreme heat and humidity.

one of the biggest problems is staying hydrated and maintaining your body’s electrolytes and salt. When you sweat, your body loses not only water, but electrolytes and salt, too. This delicate balance of water and electrolytes is crucial to keep your body functioning properly.

If you don’t drink enough water, you can get dehydrated and suffer from light-headedness and nausea. If not recognised, dehydration can even result in kidney failure and or, in extreme cases, death. However, if you drink too much water without replenishing your electrolytes, you can experience hyponatremia. This can lead to confusion, nausea, muscle cramps, seizures or even death in extreme cases.

So here are some things to keep in mind when going out into the heat.

1. The time of day is important. Unless you are training for an event that takes place in the daytime heat, try to avoid exercising from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. It’s the hottest part of day. Generally, the early morning is the best time to workout, especially if it’s going to be really hot that day.

2. Wear loose, light-coloured clothing. The lighter colour will help reflect heat, and cotton material will help the evaporation of sweat. You may also want to try specially designed, “sweat wicking” running tops and leggings/shorts. They are often made of material meant to keep you cool.

3. Put sun tan lotion on. It’s important to protect your skin. You don’t want to get burnt.

4. Stay hydrated. Before you go out, drink a glass or two of water. Carry a bottle of water or even a CamelBak. Take a drink every 15 minutes, even when you’re not thirsty. When you’re done with your workout, have a few more glasses of water.

5. Replenish your electrolyte and salt intake while exercising. I like to drop a electrolyte tablet into the drink I take with me, you can purchase them at the sports shops or simply make your own.

here is a recipe I pinched online from Livestrong.com

“A citrus-based drink is a good source of electrolytes after a strenuous workout, and the slightly sour taste helps mask the salt and sugar in the liquid, making it a truly refreshing drink. Use a 1-3 ratio of any citrus juice — orange, lemon, lime — to drinking water. Add just a pinch of sea salt and roughly 12 times the amount of either sugar or a natural sweetener, stirring to mix the ingredients thoroughly. The drink is ready when the sugar, sweetener and salt are fully dissolved. Double or triple the amounts to make more, storing it in a sealed jar in your fridge so it is ready when needed”.

6. If you can, choose shaded trails or pathways that keep you out of the sun.

7. Most importantly, listen to your body. Stop immediately if you’re feeling dizzy, faint or nauseous.

So there you have it, my 7 top tips to keeping you safe and active during the summer heat.

Now go and enjoy!

Boot Camp, Gym, Personal Training, Running

#EverydayAthlete

I recently headed back to the UK to do a certification. Which I am pleased to confirm that I accomplished and am now a Strength Matters Professional Level 1 instructor.

Strength Matters is a company that I have followed and been closely connected with for the last 2-3yrs. First off with their high quality magazine featuring some of the best and pioneering minds of the health and fitness world, then later as a client on their Everyday Athlete Training Program and as a client attending their certifications.

So I’d like to tell you a little more about the certification I went back to attend and what it means for my clients.

The Everyday Athlete, is a new hierarchy of training set out by CEO/founder James Breese and Head of Athletic Development Philip McDougall.

We believe that an Everyday Athlete is

  1. A person who trains with the intention of being able to handle anything that everyday life throws at them.
  2. A person who trains with the goal of improving the quality of life they will have when they reach 80 years old.

Our goal with our clients is to improve their levels of mobility, stability, balance and co-ordination right through to being powerful and agile enough to jump out of the way of incoming danger or to break a fall without breaking themselves, to be able to play games with their grandchildren, and put luggage into the overhead locker of an airplane without needing assistance or injuring themselves.

Data taken from the UK and USA government websites have established that the majority of the adult population are completely sedentary. That means no purposeful exercise whatsoever. Roughly 60% of the population.

Strength Matters have a system or “Scale Of Athleticism“  in which our everyday athletes are ranked and they are as follows.

IMAGE 1.png

The couch commandos are the sedentary population, the pre athletic are the people who are in the initial stages of doing something about their health and fitness, and our clients the Everyday Athletes, are the people who train for health and fitness as consistently as they can between 2-5 times a week and the Elite are, well…..the elite. We don’t worry ourselves about them as they are not our clientele.

So where do we start?

IMAGE 2.png

The layers above are based on the 10 components of complete fitness.

The first things we look at in the Layer 1 assessments of a client is Balance & Co-ordination, Mobility and Stability. The scoring we give for each assessment will rank you either a ROOKIE, EXPLORER or PRO. This helps us to decide whether to give you the next set of assessments or wether to program just for layer 1. 

Layer 1:

Balance & Co-Ordination: the ability to control movement without falling over.

Mobility: The ability to control movement through full range of motion

Stability: Being able to resist movements in some parts of the body, generating force in others.

We believe that without this base line of 4 components we risk injuring ourselves once we come under load for layer 2 and 3. So if you score Rookie for any of the assessments in layer 1 then you are a Rookie. We work on these till we get EXPLORER or PRO, then we can do the layer 2 assessments and progress onto Layer 2 programming.

Layer 2:

Strength: The ability to create force

Cardiovascular Capacity: Your circulatory system’s ability to deliver oxygen to where it’s needed.

Once we have corrected our layer 1 components we can start to add load and work on building

Layer 3:

Power: The ability to generate force quickly

Agility: Being able to move from one movement to another with speed and grace

Endurance: Run Forest Run!! The ability to keep going and going.

Speed: Minimising the time cycle of a given pattern of movement.

You’ll see Mental Resilience up there because that is a master quality that is required to make progress across all areas of the Hierarchy of Athletic Development.

We see training layer 3 as fruitless if you don’t have a good foundation of Layer 1 and Layer 2. The same goes for Layer 2 if you don’t have a good foundation of Layer 1 etc etc.

So there we have it. An introduction to a new system of training. I’m back to the UK in September for the Level 2 and even though I have passed the level 1 assessments and criteria I still need to keep those components a priority going into the next layer, as Balance and Co-Ordination, Mobility and Stability are the base line fundamentals.

Yours in Health and Happiness.

Saski xx

Boot Camp, Gym, Personal Training, Running

The Benefits of Sports Massage

Following on from last months self care article I want to talk about the benefits of sports massage, as this not only benefits clients in the sporting field but also the every day client that comes through my door.

Not only do you have physiological effects of sport massage but also the psychological effects and the physical changes.

Since sports massage can affect the mental state of a client by either stimulating them or reducing their level of stress, the psychological effects are also closely related to the physiological effects

The physiological changes occur as a result of the sympathetic/parasympathetic response.

The psychological changes are the changes that happen to a clients mental state.

The physical changes are the changes which occur regardless of either the clients nervous system response or mental reaction.

The physiological effects of sports massage depending on the method of application can induce either a sympathetic or parasympathetic response from the clients body systems.

However, the majority of the time it is the parasympathetic (relaxation) response which is most beneficial, since this causes:

  • vasodilation to both blood and lymphatic vessels as the smooth muscle relaxes.
  • reduction in neural stimulation (contraction) of muscles as the skeletal muscles relax
  • reduction in the production of sympathetic (‘stress’) hormones

A sympathetic response would cause the opposite to occur.

The sympathetic response.

When massage is performed vigorously it can help increase mental alertness and leave the client feeling stimulated and ready for activity. The physiological response from a treatment will result in chemical changes such as an increase of adrenaline and endorphins in the body, altering the clients psychological state.

The parasympathetic response.

General anxiety can be reduced by similar chemical responses as tension is mechanically lessened in tissues allowing blood to flow into a greater area thereby reducing blood pressure. As the body perceives a reduction in physical tension the mind follows, bringing about feelings of well-being and relaxation.

The placebo effect (i.e. the clients preconceptions about what the treatment will do) can have a significant impact on performance or treatment outcome.

Therefore to maximise the effectiveness of any treatment, and avoid any undesired effects, I as the the sports massage practitioner have to be aware that the mind and the body are reflections of each other.

Alteration/stimulation of either the sympathetic or parasympathetic response, through treatment or communication, will influence all corresponding reactions.

The physical effects

  • the mechanical pumping and squeezing action of the strokes will assist in the flow of fluids (i.e. blood and lymph)
  • techniques which involve longitudinal and transverse stretching of soft tissue will improve its mobility and will influence the formation of collagen fibres.
  • specific techniques can separate muscle fibres that have either become adhered to one another, or to other soft tissue structures, even bones.

So to summarise the benefits of Sports Massage

The increase in circulation due to vasodilation and mechanical pumping/squeezing will:

  • increase the supply of nutrients to vascular tissues enhancing their health and aiding in healing and repair.
  • aid in the removal of metabolic waste products from tissue assisting in recovery from activity
  • help reduce pain, by removal of pressure build up due to congestion and metabolic irritants

Relaxation and mobilisation of soft tissues will:

  • increase range of movement, thereby reducing risk of injury and aiding in efficiency of movement
  • aid in pain reduction by lessening tension in muscles)
  • increase functioning of the muscular system e.g. any adhesions may impair function)
  • greater positional awareness, aiding in correction areas of dysfunction, such as poor posture.