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About Free Living Fitness

This blog is maintained and authored by Claire Salem of Fire Lotus Fitness

Claire is a personal trainer with a pre/postnatal specialism, professional dancer  (at Scarlet Lotus Dance), doula and perinatal yoga teacher. She is an Anatomical Sciences graduate, former Medical Physics researcher and teacher. Claire lives with Ehlers Danlos Syndrome and has a special interest in exercise for joint stability and chronic pain.

Claire likes dancing, lifting heavy things and helping other people to be more awesome.

Claire believes that everyone has the right to access good health in whatever way they are willing and able and as such, that fitness belongs to everyone as laid out in the Free Living Fitness manifesto which opens this blog.




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Managing Fibromyalgia flares

I've written before about living with EDS and Fibromyalgia ,  much of my personal fitness and health practices are geared around managing those conditions and keeping me as well as I can be. When managing a chronic health condition, particularly one that involves fatigue and potential flare ups, pacing, good nutrition, good sleep and generally taking care of yourself is always the first priority. Ideally we want to have as few flares as possible. But sometimes they still happen, and when they do, it's good to have a strategy in place. And I'm going to be talking in fairly general terms, because while EDS and Fibro are my personal experience, there is so little understanding of the mechanisms behind these conditions, that most strategies are going to be applicable to a number of conditions where crashes of exhaustion and pain are a feature. So what is a flare? A flare is a period where someone with chronic illness suffers increased symptoms for a short while. The

Step away from the scale. Why weigh ins and weight loss don't match.

I have a persistant bugbear when it comes to health coaching, and it's this issue of "weight". People are often talking about "losing weight", the number on the scale becomes a focus. "If only I could just get under 65kg" they say. Or worse I see advertised "buy this supplement and you can lose 20kg in a fortnight". I've found myself frequently sitting with a weight-focussed client and asking "if you were 2 dress sizes smaller, fit and toned, but you weighed the same as you do now, could you be happy with that?" You might be surprised how challenging a question that can be. For many people, particularly those who have struggled with weight loss, that number is the absolute key. They can wake up, feeling energised and full of life, slip into those jeans that used to live hopefully in the bottom of the drawer, check themselves in the mirror and love what they see... then they step on the scales, see the number is half a kilo

What's the deal with yoga and hypermobility?

I wanted to address a question today that keeps coming up on various hypermobility and EDS forums that I frequent. It comes up so often in fact that I feel like I have to write this all up in one place, to save me 1000s of key strokes of individual responses and distil some of my opinions and thought processes on the matter. It always goes like this. Someone asks a question like "I've just been diagnosed with hypermobility, I've been told I can't do yoga anymore..." The responses are always a mixture of "yes, my doctor/physio told me yoga was the worst thing I could do for my hypermobility" and "I do yoga and it's been the best thing for my hypermobility". So what gives? Well, I'm firmly in the "yoga is useful" camp, and I have to disclose that. I'm a yoga practitioner of around 20 years and a perinatal yoga teacher , as well as a personal trainer and bendy person. While I have the deepest respect for the medic

Running with wolves

When I started trying to reverse my post-baby weight gain , I spent several months, probably a year or so really floundering. I was exercising, hard. I didn't feel like I was overeating, but I wasn't losing weight. In fact sometimes I was gaining more and I couldn't figure out why. Often I get personal training clients coming to me with the same problem. They eat wholesome foods with few treats, they exercise hard several times a week, but there's no weight loss. The answer to this problem is a staple for a PT or nutrition coach. It's about activity levels. If I sit on the sofa all day, I burn through just under 2000 calories. If I do a 30 minute HIIT workout, I burn about 200 more. But if I spend my day doing housework, walking to town to do errands and generally being on my feet, I burn 3000 calories or more. It's not the workouts, it's the activity or NEAT (non exercise activity thermogenesis if you feel fancy). So how do you keep up your NEAT or

Wishing you a Bigger, Better New Year

This is a tricky time of year in fitness. It's kind of the best time, because suddenly everyone is very interested in what "fitness people" like me are up to. Many people are making a new start, figuring out what they need to do to be healthier in the coming year. Also Aldi and Lidl have what I like to call "Personal Trainer Christmas" where they suddenly have a tonne of low priced fitness equipment on the shelves. That's my favourite (do I really need another foam roller? Sure I do!). But it all comes from a very harsh place. For the last couple of months we have been bombarded with advertising telling us we need to buy and eat more rich food. Conform to the cultural norm of well, conforming to the sofa and none of it in moderation. Now, the tables turn. What? You actually DID the eating and the movie-watching and you ACTUALLY overindulged? But now your body is unacceptable! Of course all year around we are subjected to the message that ou