Friday, 12 October 2018

Put in your time = Reap the Rewards

Like anything in life;  

If you put in your time you'll reap the rewards!

I've always been good with doing as I'm told when it comes to rehab work / treatment for an injury. Thankfully, until a little over 8-weeks ago, my rehab was short lived (2-3 weeks maybe at most).  But I've always wondered why some people choose not to listen to the advice they're given by a rehabilitation professional.  If you do as you're told, you'll get better sooner... sounds like a good deal to me!  

It's been a little over a month now for me rehabbing my ankle.  Each week, I've achieved the goal my Athletic Therapist and I set out, and continued to progress (which was also a side goal for me;  it didn't matter how quickly I progressed, as long as I don't regress).  

My exercises have gone from simplistic things like scrunching a towel with your toes (my least favourite LOL), light band work to begin to strengthen the muscles surrounding the ankle joint, drawing the alphabet with my foot/ankle for mobility etc... to slowly progressing to walking, balancing, doing stairs etc... All the while learning what each different feeling meant, and to decipher between "keep going" or "hold back a bit".  The body is fascinating.  

I'm now into the "fun stuff" as, Leah (my Athletic Therapist here at the studio) says;  squats, lunges, balance drills, increased walking and walking speed, calf strengthening.... My entire right leg feels it let me tell you after several weeks of not being able to use it much, it's at that point where you feel so good to be using your leg again, but at the same time it "burns!" :) 

This morning's exercises reminded me of my progress.  Going from immobilization of the joint, to walking with a limp/discomfort, to the ability to perform a quarter squat and now to a full depth squat like I used to be able to do, and be able to do it comfortably without a second thought! Yes!!!! I've even got the "green light" to try to put the skates on and go for a light public skate this week to see how that feels.  Woo Hoo!!! 

I'm reminded of some important things to keep in mind when doing rehab from an injury;  

  • Your support network can be an asset or a hindrance.  Negativity or those trying to be a "doctor" and diagnosing your situation will not help your already weakened mindset that occurs naturally with injury.  Find those who support you, help you stay positive and who help keep you on track with your treatment. 
  • Get professional help to guide you.  The day after I fractured my ankle, I had a doctor and an athletic therapist helping me (in addition to my own knowledge of human physiology).  Don't ignore professional help - that's what they're there for.  They can keep you on track, educate you in understanding the situation and keep your body healing more efficiently and safely. 
  • Set weekly goals for yourself during your rehab.  I've found that by focusing only on what happens between my weekly rehab appointments, has helped keep me on track and staying positive in my progress.  Don't look too far ahead, just do what needs to be done. 
  • Do the work.  As with anything in life - put the work in, and the results will follow.  Do as recommended.  
  • Don't rush things - as much as you want to. Give the body the tools to heal, and let it do it's thing. It'll tell you when it's ready.  Don't rush anything so progress continues, no matter how big or small that progress is. 

Wednesday, 26 September 2018

**Special class event coming!**

We are excited to announce a special class coming, for one Saturday only, put on by our Living Energy yoga instructor, Guylaine Lanthier:

Yoga with Weights

Saturday, October 13th @ 9:30-10:30am

at Living Energy fitness and wellness studio in Belleville, ON.  

Cost:  $15+HST/person

*If you are currently registered for our fall session yoga classes, enjoy a discounted rate of $9+HST/person*

Space is limited to 5 people.  
Call, message or email to reserve your spot by October 10th. 

Living Energy's yoga classes, led by our yoga instructor, Guylaine Lanthier are small, comfortable and enjoyable.  The small class size provides a less intimidating atmosphere and allows our instructor to ensure everyone gets the help and/or modifications necessary to make their class experience a great one.  

We run sessions in regular blocks of anywhere from 12-15 weeks depending on the time of year.  In addition, we offer $15+HST drop in option if you are unable to commit to a weekly session.  

All of our services, including our yoga classes and current Fall schedule is listed on our services page on our website:   Living Energy Fitness & Wellness Studio

Thursday, 20 September 2018

You don't know how lucky you are

I'm sitting here between clients, 6-weeks post injury.  It's been a long month and a half.  I finished my second rehab session last night, and started walking without crutches for the first time in 6-weeks. It was mind blowing how "strange" and "awkward" it felt.  It was re-learning the movement pattern again, which I've never experienced in my life!

I'm at the point now where I can walk, as normal as possible, for 10-20min every hour, and build up slowly over the next few days.  It's incredible how the body works, breaks down, re-builds and adapts. As much as this entire process has been brutal on me, mentally and physically (sorry I keep whining about it), it's been an eye opening experience into a whole other aspect of health. 

I've never so badly in my life wanted to do the little things that we all take for granted; 

  • Go up the stairs without using the railing (and on two legs instead of one)
  • Go for a nice walk outside
  • Take the garbage out
  • Poopey-scoop the backyard
  • Go for a jog
  • Jump, play and be silly
Those are just a few examples.  I joke with my clients and share the story of how in week 2 post-injury, my wife had to cut the grass because it was getting so long (as if she doesn't have enough on her plate. She's honestly a superhero!!).  I so desperately wanted to help and do "my job" at home, that I was out with my crutches, and my stupid boot, watching her cut the grass, just wishing I could do it.  

I've been asking myself over these weeks, "how could anyone ever not want to be active or just do things!?" I think of the times where I was just simply "lazy" and passed on the opportunity to go for a quick run or even a walk along the water.  We truly don't know how lucky we are until that ability or option is taken away from us! Until you experience an injury or condition that prevents you from doing things, you don't realize how hard it is doing the simplest things.  All tasks are harder, more thought has to go into every move and every task in order to do it, and it takes more out of you.  I've said it before that I feel like I'm whining and being a baby, but again, I've never experienced this before in my almost 37 years of life.  I can't imagine a more severe injury, soldiers who lose limbs, people with permanent disabilities who have to find a new way to live and do things on a permanent basis.... Wow! 

Our health is 100% a blessing and we should NOT take advantage of it.  It is a gift that can very quickly be taken from us.  We need to learn to be thankful for the ability to move and take care of ourselves. You don't have to go to a gym to be healthy or buy fancy equipment; you just need to move everyday and eat well often.  It doesn't need to be complicated, but it needs to be consistent and above all, it should damn well be appreciated that you can do whatever it is you choose to do, no matter how big or small the task!! 

Friday, 31 August 2018

Lessons from my "social media vacation 2018"

My social media vacation began back on July 11th, 2018.  It was something I've been wanting to do for a while, but just never put it into action.  But it was time.  I was ready, and I was excited for a "break from it all".  For those who maybe didn't read my post My social media vacation 2018, here's a reminder of the "rules" I set for myself;

  1. Twitter and Facebook are off limits.  Period.  No need to check them. If something is important to me, someone will share it with me in person or via text, email or messenger.  
  2. Facebook messenger is ok.  It's personal. It's not needlessly sharing thoughts, stories or things with "the world", it's like a text message;  private and directed to someone specifically so that's ok. 
  3. Business services updates are allowed to be posted during my "social media vacation" (music gigs included).  I decided that I would still post business updates regarding services to the Facebook business page but that is all. No random posts. No pictures, no stories etc... Just service updates. 
To be honest, I thought this would be a challenge, but it really wasn't at all. This tells me that my feeling of being "addicted", really wasn't completely true apparently. Yay!! Throughout my time away from social media, I learned a few things that were great reminders to share;  

The main thing....  The world slows down and becomes a much simpler place again.  It's a funny feeling, but it's true.  You have less distractions in your head, your focus is solely on the things you care about, and you're not being bombarded with unnecessary news or stress.  I have had the privilege of living in this world before social media even existed, and being away from it reminded me of how good it feels.  

The world still moves on if you don't share all your thoughts or details with it.  I got better over the years in terms of posting useless stuff that people really don't need to hear, or that I don't need to share.  But I would still feel this strange urge to share an interesting article I read, or comment on someone's post or article that they shared etc... Why??  What's the big deal if I don't??  

You can more easily avoid STUPID.  It's common today to find on Facebook, Twitter etc... people who chime in with nothing but negativity or stick their nose in where it doesn't belong because they can "hide behind the internet curtain".  Well, when you're not on social media you don't have to worry about that.  And that little moment of stress that you feel when you are sickened by what you're reading, simply doesn't exist. 

It's simply a breath of fresh air.  Simplifying your mood and your thoughts just plain feels good.  I can't say anything more than that. 

We are not meant to share everything with everyone.  If something connects with you, or you think it's really interesting or exciting, you'll remember to talk about it with those around you.  It doesn't mean you have to share it with EVERYONE.  

**I'm maybe portraying myself as more of a social media addict than I was, but really I think to myself, "why??".  Why would I post that? Why would I feel the need to share that?  Just before my "social media vacation" my family and I went down east for a family trip.  I was posting ocean pics etc daily.  Why??  If I take pictures that's fine, but why not just show my clients, friends etc when they're around (and if they want) rather than sharing with my entire Facebook community of people??? It makes no sense when you break it down.  ***

You LIVE NOW.  You're present at all times.  When you break the habit of grabbing your phone just because, and mindlessly scrolling through Twitter or Facebook, you're just simply more THERE.  You're present.  You don't feel an urge to see what your friends are having for dinner, what "Bob" down the road looks like in his new car or what's happening in the world around you.  You don't even have the thoughts of "Oh I need to take a picture/video to post on Facebook".  You just don't.  It's not a thought. You take in the moment.  

Now what????

I never set out to abolish social media completely, but more to control the habits and the use of it.  Understanding what it does to your mind was a major bonus to my experience.  I did do what I said I would do ..... Here is an excerpt from my previous post and my comments as to what I've done;

My personal Facebook page will be become a lot emptier.  I plan to delete most pictures etc and make my account pretty basic. Minimalist if you will.  I have all these pictures myself, so if I ever feel the need to share them with anyone, it'll be with people who are with me or who I message directly. 
  ***My personal Facebook account has become emptier.  All my albums I posted are gone as well as quite a bit of personal information.  It just doesn't need to be there.  I gradually plan to delete some tagged photos, but that will take time. There's a bunch and it's a tedious activity to do unfortunately (thanks a lot Facebook).  

My business page usage will change. I can see myself posting random tips, stories etc to my business page again, as I enjoy getting good information out there to share.  However, I see myself utilizing the scheduling feature more often and more or less having a set day where I do all my posts for the week (be it 1 or a bunch) and after that, not worry about it until the following week. 

***I kept updates posted when necessary on my business page, as well as responded to private messages.  I see this plan to utilize the scheduling feature more often, still as what will happen.  It will allow me to still post information I enjoy educating people with, but I won't have to be on it as often. 

My Twitter account will change. My main love of Twitter is the connection with professionals I admire and look up to.  There I can find research articles, blogs and information that other professionals share that I may not have found otherwise. But other than that, I see myself again, cleaning up my account (minimalist again) so that I am only following those accounts that benefit me in what I do. 

**This has already happened as well.  I currently have 788 followers.  I WAS following 600-700 accounts myself.  Many of which either wasn't anything I needed to see/hear or I simply wouldn't see in my feed because I followed so many.  I cleaned it out, so I'm following accounts that I enjoy professionally (strength coaches, research, health and fitness information/organizations) and that has brought me down to following 113 accounts.  Big change and I like it. 

In the end, this was an amazing thing I did for myself.  It truly is hard to describe how good I feel from doing it.  I can't stress that enough.  I'm excited to move forward in a way that accepts social media, but doesn't overuse it, in a way that does NOT stress me out, and in a way that allows me to have it as the LAST thing on my mind rather than one of the first things.  

Monday, 27 August 2018

Be ready for the situations you least expect

As a follow up to my recent blog post Harsh Reminders , I am currently on week 3 post injury.

I learned last Monday (exactly 1-week after suffering the injury) that I had suffered a minor avulsion fracture (this is where the ligament is strained to the point where it actually takes a piece of bone off;  in my case a chip off my lateral malleolus/ankle).  So this means, 3-weeks of immobilizing the joint to allow it to heal, followed by a rehab process to build range of motion and strength again.

Obviously, this could be much worse, however be it as it may, injuries of any kind are not fun and especially ones that are somewhat lengthy.  This is my first ever "bone break" (not that it's much of a break) and worst injury in my lifetime for sure.  And yet it's nothing compared to what many of you have gone through.  I can't even imagine a worse injury like a broken leg etc... Wow.

The point to this is, it has really made me think about why we all need to keep ourselves fit and healthy to the best of our abilities.  Not to be a "superhero" or "elite athlete", but to be healthy and strong enough to handle the situations you least expect when they happen.  These situations have nothing to do with how we look, how much we lifted or how far we ran.  It has to do with, can we handle unexpected scenarios where we need to function differently than normal.

My family and I live in a century home.  You know what that means?  Stairs and obstacles to navigate.  Every day to get upstairs I have to hop on one leg up 16 stairs to get to my room.  It makes me think, "what if I didn't have the leg strength to do this??".  I would have to sleep on the couch or lounger on the main floor in the family room, which would mean I probably wouldn't get a great nights sleep, which therefore means I'm impacting my body's ability to heal and recover!  To get down stairs (safely that is), I have to squat down on my left leg as I hold the railing so I can sit on my butt to slide down the steps without worrying about falling.  Sure I can hop down on one leg as well, but being a century home it's a long way down if I make one misstep.  So I prefer to take the safe option. BUT - If I didn't have the leg strength or mobility to get down like that, I would potentially put myself at risk.  It wouldn't even be an option to get on the floor.

None of these things require me to lift 500lbs and be a power lifter.  All they require is for me to be able to be strong enough to control my own body weight in different positions and conditions.  When you think about it, it puts a different perspective on what you do for your workout routines doesn't it?  For example, sure you might be able to squat 300lbs in the gym, but you don't have the mobility or flexibility to get down on the floor easily, or be able to sit in a deep squat rest position for any length of time.  You need to find that balance between overall strength and mobility for times like this! 

One of my favourite Strength Coaches, Michael Boyle preaches single leg strength work. My current situation is a prime example of how beneficial that approach can be (among many other benefits of course).  Over my soon to be 18yrs in the industry, I've dealt with many people (of all ages) who can't even get up and down off the floor with two good legs, let alone just one good leg!! As tough and depressing as these injuries can be, it's these kinds of thoughts that help me see the positive side of things.  It also serves as motivation to continue to take care of myself no matter what as I move through the years.

This injury has really opened my eyes to accessibility of places locally, rooms in your own home etc... It's made my mind work differently in some ways (which is fascinating really).  And I will say it over and over again.....

 It has given me a WORLD more of respect for those with permanent disabilities/conditions who have to go about each day with physical and mental challenges much tougher than I'm experiencing right now.  

There are some amazing people out there!

Thursday, 16 August 2018

My "Social media vacation" 2018

Nearly 5-weeks ago, I decided to take a "social media vacation" and from the time I did until now, I've felt great! 

This has been an idea in my head for quite a long time leading into it.  My main concern for not doing it for so long was my business page and my music page on Facebook. My presence won't be out there to the same extent.  But when I continuously would catch myself, mindlessly scrolling through Facebook or Twitter, for no reason at all, and I would even feel stressed or moody for no reason when I did, I decided to finally TAKE A BREAK! 

But what about my Facebook pages for business and music you ask??  

Before I started my "vacation" I began really focusing on what my business page did for me.  Does it get me new clients often? No.  Do the majority of my clients follow the page? No (several aren't on Facebook at all).  So why do I do it?  I do have a good amount of followers and supporters and honestly it's often for brand recognition and to share stories and information.  It's not a means of bringing in new clients, that's just a bonus if it does.  So what's the big deal if I don't post as often? And my music page (which doesn't have nearly the amount of followers my business page has) is more to be a place my followers can go to see where my next gig is around the area.  So again, what's the big deal if I don't post as often? 

What were the "rules" of the social media vacation?

  1. Twitter and Facebook are off limits.  Period.  No need to check them. If something is important to me, someone will share it with me in person or via text, email or messenger.  
  2. Facebook messenger is ok.  It's personal. It's not needlessly sharing thoughts, stories or things with "the world", it's like a text message;  private and directed to someone specifically so that's ok. 
  3. Business services updates are allowed to be posted during my "social media vacation" (music gigs included).  I decided that I would still post business updates regarding services to the Facebook business page but that is all. No random posts. No pictures, no stories etc... Just service update. 
That's about it. Pretty straight forward.  :)

How have the nearly 5-weeks made me feel?

Amazing. I've learned a lot about how social media impacts our mind (and body for that matter).  It truly is an addiction, and yet I know for a fact I wasn't as bad as others.  But there would be times I would come home from work, and the first thing I did was pop on Facebook to see "what's going on with everyone".  Why!?!?  Nothing is private anymore. Nothing is personal.  I kept saying to myself;  

Why do I feel the need to share my opinion on something? 

Why do all my followers need to know I'm not happy or that I'm happy about the performance of my favourite soccer team? 

Why do I feel the need to share a cool article I read on my Google News with all my Facebook friends?  If it's that good of an article, I'll remember to talk about it those who might care later, right?

Why do I feel the need to mindlessly scroll through these social media sites instead of doing something I truly enjoy;  play a game, be present with family/friends, read, draw etc...?

For whatever reason it clicked with me. The memory of life BEFORE we suddenly felt the need to share everything with.... well, everyone practically.  

From the time I began my "social media vacation" I've truly felt life become simpler.  Weird I know. But the world just got a whole lot smaller again, like it used to be before social media was a thing.  I truly felt like a weight was off my shoulders.  Only the things I care about are the things I'll read about, talk about or listen to.  I don't get caught up in other people's battles (not that I would comment often, but you read them and feel anxious or stressed in doing so).  Life got a little bit more simple again ..... and I love it!!! 

Where to after the "vacation" is over? 

When I announced the "vacation" on my Living Energy Facebook page video, I said I'd be doing this until September 2018 (which is a couple weeks away).  However, my plan is to do the following before then or at that time.... 

  1. My personal Facebook page will be become a lot emptier.  I plan to delete most pictures etc and make my account pretty basic. Minimalist if you will.  I have all these pictures myself, so if I ever feel the need to share them with anyone, it'll be with people who are with me or who I message directly. 
  2. My business page usage will change. I can see myself posting random tips, stories etc to my business page again, as I enjoy getting good information out there to share.  However, I see myself utilizing the scheduling feature more often and more or less having a set day where I do all my posts for the week (be it 1 or a bunch) and after that, not worry about it until the following week. 
  3. My Twitter account will change. My main love of Twitter is the connection with professionals I admire and look up to.  There I can find research articles, blogs and information that other professionals share that I may not have found otherwise. But other than that, I see myself again, cleaning up my account (minimalist again) so that I am only following those accounts that benefit me in what I do. 

**This "vacation" is like everything else in life;  you get a "boiling point" where you're so fed up with certain habits, you finally just say "#@$% it!!!" and move on.  Honestly it feels incredible.  It goes along with one of my aspects of my Living Energy philosophy, "Live Now" and easily helps me do so.  We've had trips and vacations as a family this summer (for once in our busy lives) and the need to share things with the world is non-existent. If I took any pictures, they were for us or to share with people I'm in contact with - but not social media.  

I'd recommend this to ANYONE who has social media and who wants to simplify life more to the way it should be.  Personal. Simple.  Less (needless) stress.  **

Harsh reminders

Currently, I'm writing this post on day 3, post injury....

During my soccer game Monday night this week, later in the first half, I jumped to intercept a ball and clear it with a header.  I was running back toward my own 18-yard box as the ball was coming over my head, so to clear it I had to jump and twist a bit to head it away from my goal.  I did that and got the ball away, but as I landed, I came down awkwardly on my right ankle and that was the end of my night.

I used to roll my right ankle often when I was younger. From my second year of U17 rep soccer, through my regional years and into college.  I wore a brace for some of those years to help prevent re-injury.  Since then, I've been fortunate and haven't had ankle injuries.  This one however, is my worst ever.

The past several years my only concern in soccer has been not straining my hamstrings. I've had one minor episode this season that kept me out of one half of soccer due to my hamstrings and that's it! Which is a record, and I attribute to my, Chiropractor for sure! This latest injury (if we have to find a positive in the situation) is just one of those fluky things, and risks that come with playing any sport. In hindsight I've done great with soccer this season;  playing lots in games, feeling good out there, and to date, I've missed 1 game worth of play (granted, I'll be missing at least the next 1 or 2 I'm sure). But that's pretty good in comparison to my past 8-9 seasons!  (Thanks again to my Chiropractor!)

I've currently had two treatments with my Athletic Therapist, and the initial diagnosis is a bad sprain and most likely nothing broken.  However, here I am on Day 3, still not working (because I can't drive - still can't put enough pressure on my foot to do so, and on crutches at home).  I'm waiting for a call to go get an x-ray and ultra sound to hopefully confirm I'm just dealing with a sprain as we figure.  To be on the safe side. My Athletic Therapist thinks it's a good idea as well since then we'll confirm the direction of rehabilitation. Granted, there's been minor improvements each day, but I am still hobbling around on crutches and still dealing with swelling, discomfort etc.  I'm in the typical stage of "injury depression" people go through and of course, it sucks!  But it's really made me think and given me harsh reminders, which is why I felt like writing this post today.

Here's a few things that have been floating in my mind during my injured state....

  • There are always others who are worse off.  Whether my ankle has a break/fracture or is just sprained, there are plenty of others suffering worse things.  I can't imagine having a permanent disability or condition that would force me to have use of only one leg permanently. The strength and perseverance of these people is incredible, and you can't truly respect it until you (temporarily) go through a similar time in your life.  Then there's the loss of a family member a client has had to deal with this week;  while I feel sorry for myself and feel useless at home not working, my client and her family are dealing with the loss of a loved one.  Sure makes me tell myself to "suck it up!"
  • We take for granted being healthy and mobile way too much.  It's always the way - until we can't do something, we don't truly appreciate being able to do it.  All I can think of (besides being able to play soccer again soon) is; I want to go for a walk or a hike, I want to go for a run, I want to squat, lunge and workout. Not to lift 'x' amount of weight, or to run 'x' amount of kilometers in a particular time... just to move and be healthy. This makes me ask myself;  when I am healthy and uninjured, why do we (I) stop doing these things sometimes? why wouldn't I do these things regularly and never stop? Why would anyone not appreciate the ability to do these great things that make us healthy in both body and mind?
  • I am so lucky to be surrounded by loved ones on a daily basis.  No matter how crazy life gets, what stresses are happening around us, it's so important to have loved ones with you and supporting you.  My daughters are amazing, and my wife is amazing.  I'm stuck at home, unable to work, meanwhile my girls are waiting on me if I need help, and my wife is working her butt off (as usual) and then coming home to do the same for me.  It sure makes you appreciate how you've raised amazing kids, and how incredibly strong and helpful loved ones can be when it's necessary, without a second thought.  
Maybe this is a "sob story", or me "being whiny", but my entire athletic career (since I was 4-years old) I've never broken a bone, or had many injuries that have kept me away from work or out long term.  Granted, I hopefully only have a bad sprain as we suspect, but regardless, as an entrepreneur it's incredibly hard to take time off for something like an injury. And in my line of work as a Fitness Coach, my ability to move is "kind of important".  

Thankfully in addition to my support at home, I have an incredibly supportive client roster, and practitioners who are helping me get back to work and hopefully back to healthy function again soon! But until then, my mind will continue to remind me to appreciate the little things in life that so many of us have the abilities to do and enjoy. 

Thursday, 21 June 2018

The Gift of Injury: Book Bucket List

A professional I follow, fellow Canadian and world wide leader in spine and back mechanics and understanding, is Dr. Stuart McGill.  He recently came out with a book called, "The Gift of Injury" he co-wrote with one of his clients, Brian Carroll.

I haven't read the book yet, but it is high on my "Book Bucket List" without a doubt.  Just the title alone (aside from the amazing content I hear about) catches me, as it's something I'm experiencing myself.

I've been a lifelong soccer player (literally). I've played the game for 32 years now, since I was 4-years old, including the regional level (the former CSL) and college level (OCAA).  It has always been my biggest passion.  In addition to playing, I was a referee for a couple years, and enjoyed coaching for 21-years.

However, since 2009 I have been plagued by recurring hamstring strains.  To the point where retirement has been contemplated several times since turning 30yrs old. Some seasons unfortunately were knocked down to a handful of games, combined with pain, frustration, anger, and a whole host of emotions athletes feel when they can't play the game they love.

As a Fitness Coach I couldn't figure it out, which then of course made me question my own knowledge at times.  Every year brought new research, new findings into what maybe is the root cause of my injuries, and gearing my training towards being able to play pain free and reduce the risk of re-injury.  Every year when I thought I found the solution, I was disappointed once again. I saw multiple professionals;  Athletic Therapist, Physiotherapist, Massage Therapist, Osteopath.... But none seemed to get to the root cause.

To make a long story short, even last season, playing my first season in "old timers soccer" (35yrs and up) and strained my hamstring and my season was over.  I went to my doctor (who is also a sports medicine doctor) to see if I'm doing any permanent damage and if retirement should be considered.  We had an incredible conversation, and he told me there was no permanent damage being done and that he highly recommends playing as long as I can.  He recommended seeing another professional to help; chiropractor, physio etc... but to approach my training holistically, as a whole, rather than focusing on one particular issue.  Prepare the body (and mind) to play.  We discussed how when athletes stop doing the sport they love (for whatever reason), that's when health issues can arise. So it's important to do what you love, as long as you can.

From there, I began to consider chiropractic help (which I've always been leary about my whole career through experiences with clients). Thankfully, a client of mine (whom I've known for many years) is a Chiropractor (Sean Girduckis of Bridge Street Chiropractic in Belleville, ON). He and I had a great conversation in what my chronic issue was (which he knew right away and was not too concerned), but also discussed his approach to his practice.  I loved it. I loved his explanation and his mindset when it came to his practice, and better yet, it was a great reminder to not judge a profession on "the bad ones".  Just like any profession, there's good practitioners and not so good practitioners. But it doesn't necessarily mean the practice is bad itself.

With his help, my client has helped me get back to loving the game, enjoying playing full time again, and playing without fear of injury or playing through discomfort.  Granted we're early in the season, and I have 9-years of injury to rehab, but so far (knock on wood), it's been a great start to the season.  In the past handful of seasons, playing 40min a game would be a "personal win" for me without pain, discomfort or injury.  This season, I'm playing 70-80min a game and feeling fantastic! In addition, my workouts have been positively impacted as well.  Not only because I have no discomfort, imbalances etc, but also because my body is responding as it should.  Muscles that are being targeted, are being worked and felt as they should (unlike my years during injury). Meaning, my workouts are having a much more positive impact on my strength, endurance etc.

Let me just say that it's made such a difference, that at 36 years old, after a game, when I get out of the car back at home, I feel like I can play another one!  I had forgotten this feeling.   For 8-9 years leading up to this season, I would get out of the car after a game, and literally hobble into the house,  immediately feeling fatigue, soreness etc... Proving that we have gotten to the root of the problem.

So why tell you all this? What's my point?  Well I have a few.....

  1. For the first time I'm looking at my history of the same injury issue in a different way.  It's now not the cause of potential retirement, but instead it was a learning experience.  Granted, a much too long one.  But without the injury, I couldn't have learned so much about the lower back and hip region, rehab practices etc... 
  2. It's re-confirmed my "team approach" to health.  I've always believed that there is a place for doctors, naturopaths, physios, fitness coaches etc... Having a few professionals working to help you gives a greater chance for success.  
  3. Like in all professions, there are good and bad professionals. Find one you trust and you're comfortable with.  
**Since drafting this post a couple days ago, I played my fourth game of the season which was our toughest yet (more like a first division game);  higher pace, hard tackles, hard runs, lots of work.  I played 85min that night.  Again - for too many years before this season, this wouldn't even be possible physically due to pain, discomfort and/or injury. **

Monday, 18 June 2018

Carbonated water or regular water?

The Living Energy blog took a back seat the past week or so, as I've been busy with several different things going on;  2 workshop presentations, music gigs etc... It's been a busy, but good couple weeks since my last post.

I had the pleasure of being a part of the L.I.F.E conference at Loyalist College here in Belleville, as a guest speaker, doing a workshop on day 1 and 2 of the faculty conference.  I was totally pumped to be a part of it, for a few reasons:

- I love to speak at workshops / seminars
- I was excited to do a new workshop on breath work and meditation, and to expand on my Shift the Focus seminar.  
- It was my first guided meditation/relaxation session done with more than 10 people (there were 38 participants) 
- I feel honoured when my old school supports me, and asks me to be a part of things (especially to this scale).  I am a proud alumni and I'm always happy to give back to my school where my career began. 

Carbonated water or regular water??

Following my "Shift the Focus" seminar on Day 2 of the conference, a nice lady came up to ask me a question.  She asked if carbonated water instead of regular water is ok to drink (in general) because she really doesn't drink a lot of water otherwise.

I mentioned that providing the carbonated water is not flavoured water, she should be fine.  It's just
additional carbon dioxide.  By "flavoured" I mean the artificially flavoured garbage you buy at the convenience store or grocery store.  If she desires flavour I suggested adding her own by adding lemon, cucumber, mint leaves etc...

My colleague, and former teacher was with us as well, and he was asking if she meant during a workout or in general? She did mean in general, but mentioned she also drinks nothing when she works out.

Typically, it's probably a better habit to be sipping some water at least a bit during workouts. Of course, it all depends on the weather, intensity of the workout, etc... But as a general rule, having some sips is probably a good idea.  In the workout case though, carbonated water wouldn't be the better option due to the fact that the carbon dioxide could make you feel bloaty and gassy.

 She did acknowledge that it's a problem and she needs to work on drinking water during her workout routines.  This gave me the perfect opportunity to expand on what we discussed on the "Shift the Focus" seminar, and building new health practices slowly and progressively.  I suggested during her next workout....

- Have a bottle of water, but aim to take 1-2 sips during the workout.  If she feels like more go ahead, but don't worry about it if she only takes 1-2 sips.
- Start with that target for a week or two, and then add a few more sips.
- Progress like that every couple weeks, and within a couple months, she'll be drinking enough without a doubt.

We all rush to be "perfect" or reach our goal before our body-mind are even ready for it.  What's the rush!?  Progress slowly. Chip away at it.  As I mentioned earlier, if currently this woman is drinking nothing during her workouts, and in a couple months she's drinking a 500mL bottle...... That's fantastic!!!!

Keep your health goals and practices SIMPLE.  Drinking water, enough water, on a daily basis is a perfect example of a simple target to hit that will have a massive impact on your health and energy levels. 

Monday, 28 May 2018

Nothing works for Everyone

Nothing works for everyone. There is no perfect program or form of exercise. There is no perfect eating plan or "diet".

So stop being such an ass about it!!! 

17-years in the fitness industry allows you to see and hear a lot of things.  One of my pet peeves is when people try to push their routines/habits on others, because "they're way is the best".  If that was really true, we'd all be doing the same thing by now wouldn't we?  With the internet and how quickly word travels world wide;  if the perfect program or eating method existed we would all know about it.  

Reality is it doesn't!  And there's so many ways to achieve the life and goals YOU want to achieve.  But you have to be ok with doing it your way.  I have some fitness and health professionals I follow and trust. All of whom are at the top of their game.  Despite there being some similarities in what they teach, guess what?...... There's some differences too!  Would you say they're wrong??  

Uh.... NO! 

There are elite level athletes who are vegan, those who are crossfitters, those who are paleo, those who run endurance races, those who are sprinters etc.... None of these people are wrong for how they choose to train and perform.  We, as the general population, need to stop worrying about what everyone else is doing or telling us and start listening to our own bodies to figure out what works for ourselves!! 

NO ONE has the right to say their way is better than another.  My approach to health and fitness is not everyone's cup of tea, just like crossfit or bodybuilding isn't mine for example.  Get over it! Much of our fitness and health approach needs to be focused inward rather than outward. And within that thought, we need to learn to listen to our own body, rather than what a book says or our neighbour who lifts weights 3-days per week.  

What works for one, will not necessarily work for another. Too many life factors contribute to everyone's daily lives that impact how they need/should approach their own health habits.  Also, because we all do different things within our daily lives, it leads to different methods of training creating success for ourselves.  For example;  A football player will train differently than a soccer player.  A gymnast will train differently than a powerlifter, an office worker will train differently than a junior hockey player  and so on.  

STOP looking and worrying about what everyone else is doing.  The way that is healthiest for you is what you can do consistently and makes you feel good.  

Thursday, 24 May 2018

YOU have to make & take time for YOU

It's come up in a few instances for me this week, in dealing both with family and clients.  It makes me think of myself in the past 5-years, and how 2018 has really changed my mindset towards my health.  That is;

YOU have to MAKE & TAKE time for YOU

In my experience, it's a trend that lacks in a particular type of person who often puts others before themselves.  This is a great quality to be one of those types of people! However, it is also your worst enemy. It's easy to get caught into taking on more than we can handle, focusing our attention on others needs/wants more than our own, and spending most of our own energy on dealing with those other people (which inevitably leaves very little energy left to put into our own health and well being).  

My line of work is very easy to grab you and trap you into that way of thinking.  I care for all my clients equally and have had most of them for a very long time.  This makes it incredibly simple for me to put them first before my own mind and body health.  In turn, that leads to my own poor health, stress and burnout (which has definitely happened a few times in the past).  

Over the past few weeks, I've seen this in a couple other people;  putting everyone else before themselves.  In some cases worrying about things that they have no control over.  And in some ways, worrying about things that are a side-effect of the underlying issue.  I had a great conversation with a client last week about this.  2 weeks ago she mentioned some of these concerns to me, and so I sent her a sleep questionnaire to get to the bottom of things, and to see if we can start to attack the issues progressively; 

She can't sleep.
She wakes up feeling low energy. 
She's feels she needs to please everyone, and therefore sometimes takes on more than she needs to. 
She is constantly stressed out. 
She is concerned about her weight gain. 
She eats habitually before bed at times. 
and so on... 

I get it.  I think many of us are either there, or have been at some point in our lives.  I tried to help her understand that it's ok to slow down, step back for a bit, and solely focus on one step at a time (not to mention focus on herself).  I reminded her how some things are side-effects of another;  The poor sleep is most likely the underlying cause of things like weight gain, low energy and stress for example.  This can't be rushed and it definitely will not fix itself quickly. We need to chip away at it, slowly and ideally in a way that causes as little stress as possible.  

We reviewed 3-main areas of concern that I found from her questionnaire answers, that would potentially be a root cause of the side-effects.  From there, I gave her the option;  "Which one do you want to attack first?"  In doing so, we don't worry about the other stuff.  They will come in time.  We have one sole focus on a daily basis, and it's to attack the issue that you choose to change.  

I wanted to remind her that, without her own health, without her own energy, she won't be able to take care of those she cares about.  With trying to please everyone all the time, she will only burn herself out and in turn put a much greater risk on her own health.  No one can please everyone. 

I've done it, many people I know have done it (or are doing it).  I learn more and more through these experiences the importance of taking time to slow down, evaluate your priorities and evaluate your own daily practices that will lead to better overall health and daily energy.

There will always be an excuse not to do something for yourself;  

Get rid of that mindset. 

 Make YOU a priority and fit in time(s) throughout each day to focus on YOU.