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How staring at your phone could be causing your weak ankles.

Our bodies are incredible.
They are mad feats of improbable engineering with bone, muscle and connective tissue working in balance to move smoothly and with accuracy.

We have pretty much the same bones as a llama, a bat or a seal. Variations the lengths, tension and kinematics mean that we move and function completely differently. That's awesome.

I've been fascinated by movement since I was a teenager. I remember being a precocious 17 year old at my university interview. I had taken a trip out to the Equine Sports Medicine Centre to look at the high speed treadmill. It's an amazing (and very expensive) bit of tech that allows a horse to gallop while being relatively stationary, so accessible for all kinds of diagnostics. My interviewer asked what I thought of it. I said it was pretty impressive but I wasn't sold on how the horse moved on it. They still offered me a place. I still don't like to assess movement on a treadmill, you don't see natural locomotion.

A…
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Why I won't take weight-loss clients.

When I tell people that I am a Personal Trainer and Nutrition Coach, the conversation inevitably turns to weight loss.

When I started out my business, I was told that I should gear my advertising towards weight loss, because that's what people are looking for, even if it's a case of drawing them in with a short term fix and turning that into a long term programme.

One of my specialisms is nutrition, and that brings the automatic assumption that dieting and weight loss is my bag.

And for a long while, I have had this uncomfortable juggling act going on. Knowing that my credentials and ability to help people lose weight is valued, but also knowing that this isn't how I feel comfortable operating.

You see, I don't appreciate weight loss as a singular goal. Eating more nutritious food and moving towards a healthier weight, yes, love that. Doing more of the exercise and activities that you love and finding you need a size smaller jeans? Smashing. Centring a diet and exerci…

Gym myths: The fitness foods stalling your progress.

Eating for your goals.
We all know what fitness people eat. If you are at all interested in sport or fitness you are undoubtedly being bombarded with adverts for "performance foods". Shakes, bars, teas, all kinds of stuff.

And you could be totally forgiven for thinking that including these in your diet means faster fat loss, better performance etc. So it's very disappointing when this doesn't happen.

Why are some foods and supplements, like protein shakes, so cool, when others, like a tin of fish are completely overlooked?

Let's break down my top overrated fitness foods....

Peanut butter.
Peanut butter in itself isn't a terrible food choice. The decent ones aren't heavily processed (go for the ones that are just nuts, no sugar and oil added). But there is one thing about peanut butter which is overlooked....

PEANUTS ARE A FAT RICH FOOD, NOT A PROTEIN RICH FOOD.

Bodybuilders and some strength athletes eat a lot of peanut butter *when bulking*. Its purpose…

Fitness goals for women...

...That don't involve getting smaller.
I've been thinking about body positive personal training again (OK, you got me, I never stopped...)

Specifically because Lift the Bar (a CPD provider for fitness professionals) brought it up recently.

It brought me back particularly to goal setting.

Goal setting for women.
It's often assumed that the reason a woman takes up any kind of "fitness" is to lose weight "tone up", get rid of a body part or otherwise alter the look of her body to one that is normatively considered correct for a women.

Often women turn up at a facility and have goals of this type thrust upon them, because that's got to be why they are there, right?

But more and more, it's not. Plenty of women are fed up with people telling them to get smaller, and whether you are one of those women, or someone trying to help those women, I'm going to throw you a primer.

Not sure what your new goal should be? Not sure what to offer a client who …

Training with Fibromyalgia - a primer for Fitness Professionals

Fitness and Fibromyalgia
The second of my posts about training clients with chronic illness (the first on EDS is here)

Learning how to achieve fitness in a chronically ill body was first my way of life, and later, my profession; as I train or programme for a number of Personal Training clients. I have EDS and Fibromyalgia (which commonly presents alongside EDS).

While the physiology and mechanisms behind EDS are relatively well understood, at least in terms of recognising the roles collagen plays in our bodies and the effects of an anomaly, fibromyalgia is a bit of a tricky one. The diagnosis, causes and management of fibromyalgia are not very well understood, and while progress is being made in terms of recognising physiological markers etc, we are still very much in the dark.

One thing that is generally agreed on however, is that exercise is good therapy for fibromyalgia, and that's where we come in.


Scope of practice
Here we go again...

Fitness professionals are there to help …

Training Ehlers Danlos Athletes - a primer for the Fitpro.

When you have a rare health condition, it's pretty exciting when you encounter someone who knows about it. Even more so when you encounter people who are interested in it and more importantly, understanding how to bridge the gap and work with it.

This is why I am really happy to be seeing more and more fitness professionals asking "I have a client with Ehlers Danlos Syndrome, what do I need to know?"

As a fitpro, and athlete living with Ehlers Danlos Syndrome I am always happy to chat to trainers looking to broaden their understanding, and as I am often answering the same questions, I thought it would be good to do a write up.


Quick disclaimer before we start - I'm not a medic, and this is not for medics. I'm going to provide you with as many references as I can, but please seek specific medical input from your/your client's health care professionals. And with that we get to our first point.

Scope of practice.
Quick, check your job title. Are you a personal tr…

Becoming a powerlifter - Getting into my stride.

It's been ages since I updated on my powerlifting journey, so what's been happening?

I did my second competition
Last July in fact. It was the Gloucester and Wiltshire Championships. It was good to get out and compete again, and I felt well prepared by Ryan from Project Barbell.

Good news: I put 40kg on my previous meet total. Which I was pretty happy about.
Annoyances: I was disqualified on my 100kg squat (a pb I'd never even attempted before) for reracking the bar too fast *DOH* and my third deadlift was a bit sloppy. I got 6/9 lifts.

I came away from that meet realising I needed to work harder at getting my head in the game, and not being either stressed or distracted in the competition environment.


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My favourite #squat #bench and #deadlift from yesterday's meet. Thanks to @breaking_barbells for filming @ryangriff_projectbarbell for coaching and handling @swindon_barbell_club for hosting Fab day. #powerlifting A post shared by Claire Salem