I have been using collagen protein for some time now; about 2 years at an estimate. I started using it when Dave Asprey’s Bulletproof Radio Podcast introduced me to it.Here’s my top 3 reasons I continue to take it.
Top Reason 1: Easy to add to normal food
One of the main reasons I have managed to stick with taking the collagen protein is because the hydrolysate variety mixes so well into my cup of tea or coffee, my kefir and my protein shakes. There is no taste so it doesn’t ruin the flavour of my food either! The brand I use is Great Lakes which is from grass fed cattle but it should also be available at your local health food store. There are 2 different types I use. The first is the hydrolysate, as mentioned above, that mixes well into so many different things. The second is the gelatin kind that is amazing at making an array of yummy desserts! This one lasts a lot longer in our cupboard but mixed with coconut and chocolate or berries makes an amazingly tasty, healthy dessert (recipe at end of post).
Top Reason 2: Anti-aging inside and out
Who doesn’t love a bit of anti-aging! For me it’s the inside anti-aging I’m most interested in. Collagen supports the repair of bone, tendon, ligament and cartilage. As you may know (from my other posts and from me telling you!) I like to keep active with running, weights and studio Pilates. This means on occasion I put my body through it’s paces and then some! Collagen Protein Powder is a type of amino acid that is quickly absorbed in the digestive tract. These amino acids are vital in the lubrication of joints, building new tissues and repairing damaged tissues. Check out this link to a study on athletes with pain taking collagen as a supplement.
I’m generally not a huge fan of protein powders because they take away from eating real food, they are often expensive and most of them are heavily processed and loaded with sweeteners and other unpronounceable ingredients. Collagen however, as mentioned earlier, is really easy to add to real food. One of my favourite ways to consume it, is to mix it into my coconut kefir and have it with some nuts and raspberries in the morning (see Kefir recipe here). To add merit, researchers found that consuming the collagen peptides at breakfast (when compared to other protein sources such as soy, whey and casein) it resulted in a 40% greater satiation rate and a 20% reduction of food consumption at the lunchtime meal, (link to study). It gets better; the amino acid profile of collagen also helps to repair the digestive tract and stimulate stomach acid production which in turn improves digestion and your bodies ability to absorb other nutrients effectively.
As promised my favourite way to eat gelatin protein!
Dave Asprey’s Shockingly Rich Chocolate Truffle Pudding
When you use the best-quality ingredients, desserts like this are nutrient-rich foods that will help you lose weight instead of kryptonite that will leave you inflamed and craving more. Tip: Use Grass- Fed Bulletproof CollaGelatin to provide 2 times the protein of normal gelatin.
1/4 cup macadamia nuts plus additional for topping (optional)
Heat 1 cup of the coconut milk, xylitol, and gelatin in a saucepan over medium heat until dissolved. Place the remaining 3 cups of coconut milk in a blender with the vanilla, chocolate powder, butter, and oil. Blend thoroughly. Add the hot coconut milk/gelatin mixture to the blender and pulse until mixed, with or without the macadamia nuts. Pour the entire mixture and let set for an hour. Top with more nuts (if using).
Please note that this is a high fat dessert so don’t consume it with high carbohydrate or it will go straight to your hips!
I have occasionally recommended ‘Active Feet’ to people in the past because other people had told me of their good experiences but today I finally got to see for myself and wanted to share my thoughts. I should start by saying, in no way am I affiliated with Active Feet!
Active Feet is a sporting shoe shop. They have treadmills in the store and all the normal brands of sports shoes you would see elsewhere. Their stores are both owned and run by sports podiatrists which is one of the reasons I decided to visit there today. Another reason for my visit today is that I signed up for a 12km trail run for April which has meant an increase in my running distance and speed. Long story short mix increased running with old shoes = injury (silly me!). I have ended up with a bit of a muscle strain, nothing serious but I thought while I was in the area I should go check out Active Feet and see if they can fit me in a more suited shoe.
I was kindly greeted as I entered the store and the podiatrist listened patiently as I explained (in a circular kind of fashion) the history of my bodies aches and pains and what was currently going on in my lower leg. I sheepishly described the shoes I was currently wearing which were some old Brookes Adrenaline shoes with Kumfs branded inserts for a bit more medial and lateral arch support, to my surprise there was no snickering or judgement made, just more listening and nodding, this was refreshing!
Next they asked some follow up questions about the pattern of pain, whether I was wearing orthotics outside of my running (which I do), why I don’t wear my orthotics when I run (because I get blisters), if I will do anything else in the shoes or if they will purely be for running (they will just be for running) and why do I know so many anatomical terms (because I am a Myotherapist). They were seemingly pleased with my answers and soon arrived back from the storage room with about 5 different boxes of shoes!
They wanted to see me run in a Brookes Adrenaline first because that’s what I had been using, even if it was a slightly modified version. It’s kind of cool when you run on their treadmills because you can see the back of your feet and ankles as you run, I played the fun game of trying to guess if the shoe was good for me or not to see if maybe I’d make a good podiatrist. I don’t know how, but they could tell me so much about my feet and my run, amazing stuff, I was impressed, and FYI, I am going to stick to being a Myotherapist for the time being, their knowledge of feet and running put me to shame, as it rightfully should!
The Adrenalines were reasonable but they also wanted to see me in a neutral shoe to see what my run pattern would be like without all the support, then they picked up that the problem was more at the rear of the foot rather than the mid foot so I tried on another shoe, then we went back to the Adrenalines to compare both feel and postural performance. We decided the Asics were the best, I thought we were all done, but no! Next I had to take them for a spin outside. The podiatrist wanted to see if my run pattern would change when pushing off the ground something you don’t get on the treadmill. Apparently it did change so we tried one more option which we both simultaneously decided we hated and settled on the Asics shoe.
So I am now the proud owner of a pair of black/glittery Asics that I am very psyched to get out and try, just have to wait for the leg to heal a bit more first though. Also, be prepared that next time you mention sport, pain and shoe to me, I am probably going to tell you to go into Active Feet, they even gave me a referral pad today so look out!
As usual, if you have any questions, please drop me a line and if you have had a good/bad experience with Active Feet or any other sport shoe company we’d love you to share!
We all know that exercise is good for us but for some the idea of slimming down or gaining muscle isn’t enough to motivate us to actually do it. I am one of these people, honestly I can loose weight through my food, and my job is physical so I have adequate muscle from treating people (Myotherapy) and teaching Pilates. So yes, I need alternative motivations to exercise. Here are my top 3 better reasons to exercise; especially number three!
1. Increased healing and adaptation
Exercise places a mechanical stress on several systems of the body including but not limited to the cardiovascular system, the immune system and the musculoskeletal system. This stress forces our body into an adaption state which increases our good gut bacteria, our immune system response, our bone density, our cardiovascular health and the strength of our muscles and tendons.
2. Stress Relief
Not just the stress of the office, this includes relief from fear, anxiety, depression and other psychosocial factors. Exercise releases certain feel good chemicals or hormones that have a positive effect on our psyche such as dopamine and serotonin which in their synthetic form often make up the basis of depression and anxiety based medications. I am not suggesting you ditch your medication and go for a run instead but together with the help of your doctor or psychiatrist you may be able to use exercise to reduce your medication over time.
3. Pain Reduction
A combination of things are responsible for pain reduction from exercise. Part of it is from the adaption process mentioned above. There is emerging evidence to suggest that our gut flora is partly responsible for how sensitive our nervous system is and exercise tends to promote the balance of flora that promotes reduced pain, pretty amazing stuff! Also a lot of our pain experience is heightened by psychosocial factors particularly fear around old injuries or pain and anxiety created from having too much on our schedule. Some of the same hormones released during exercise that are effective for helping our mood are also natural pain relief hormones in addition endorphins and cortisol are also released during exercise.
So now you know my 3 top reasons to start or increase your exercise regime you are probably asking if there are specific types of exercises you need to do?
Research shows that a general strength program where you do at least a push, a pull and a squat; a minimum of twice a week to failure and at least 72 hours apart is as good as a specific tailor made program when it comes to reducing pain for most people. If you are more into yoga or pilates these are absolutely great as long as they incorporate all parts of your body, again you want to be looking for some pushes, some pulls and some squatting type actions, and again, hopefully you get to work to failure to encourage the adaption process.
Cardiovascular can be incorporated into your strength training especially if you are into the HIIT style training (High Intensity Interval Training) that is very popular at the moment. The way to tell if you are in the right zone for cardio is to ask yourself out of 10 how hard are you working. For moderate cardio you need to be working at about a 7/10 and for intense cardio you will be working above so like a 8/10 or a 9/10. Another way is to say a sentence as you are exercising, easier if you are working out with a friend or trainer, but if you need to take a breathe after approximately 5 words you are most likely in the moderate zone and if you need to take a breathe after 3 or less words you are most likely in the intense zone. For general health and fitness and to reap the rewards of my top 3 reasons to exercise you will need to work out for at least 10 minutes in the moderate or intense zones, sorry, your warm up doesn’t count as you won’t be in the right zone yet. The government guidelines for how much cardio to do in a week is 75 minutes of intense cardio or 150 minutes of moderate cardio. You can of course do a combo of the two.
Happy exercising everyone, hopefully this has motivated you to get into action, it’s certainly the right time of year to start a new plan! If you have any questions, as always, please get in contact with me via email at [email protected] and attn: Sarah.
Clinical Pilates versus General Exercise for Chronic Low Back Pain: Randomized Trial HENRY WAJSWELNER1,2,3, BEN METCALF3 , and KIM BENNELL3
Exercise Psychology 2nd Edition (2013) – Janet Buckworth, PhD; Rod K. Dishman, PhD Patrick J. O’Connor, PhD
The Microbiota: an Exercise Immunology Perspective Stéphane Bermon1,2, Bernardo Petriz3,4, Alma Kajėnienė5,6, Jonato Prestes7, Lindy Castell8, Octavio L. Franco3,7,9
Femoroacetabular Impingement (FAI) also known as hip impingement is a problem among active and sedentary people alike.
Symptoms may include pain in the groin or hip area and restricted hip range of motion (ROM). It may be aggravated by activity (both intense and endurance types), sitting for long periods of time, operating the pedals in a car and crossing the legs.
There are 3 main types of FAI
Cam – This type of FAI occurs from a bit of extra bone on the head of the femur which then jams on the hip socket (acetabulum) during activity. This type typically occurs in young athletic men.
Pincer – This occurs more often in middle aged women and is the least common type of the 3. This type is caused by extra bone around the lip of the hip socket at the front then as the femoral head rotates it catches or jams against the extra bone.
Mixed – This is a combination of the two previous types; cam and pincer. As described above it causes a catching or jamming in the front of the joint capsule.
FAI is officially diagnosed with a x-ray that will show the bumps on the ball (femoral head) or socket (acetabulum) of the hip joint however; it’s not uncommon for healthy people to have bumps independent of pain. Pain science tells us that this could be to do with the nervous system sending ‘danger’ signals back to the brain that then ignites the whole pain process. Danger signals could potentially arise from the bones not being in the right place, the body feeling stressed or under pressure whether that be emotional, mental or physical stress, memory of past experiences such as a previous hip injury and so on.
Clinical Myotherapy or other similar interventions can be helpful for FAI. We can test if the bones are in the right place. We can test if certain muscles are pushing the ball forward in the socket, if certain muscles aren’t strong enough to help hold the ball in the right place and if there is more or less load transferring through the joint. We can test if the pain is actually referred pain from the back or due to something else going on further down the leg. Once we know what is going on we can help to send ‘calm’ signals to the brain via the nerves by using manual therapy on the muscles, motor learning correction exercises, tape to help your conscious mind understand where your bones should be and much more. We can then give you exercises to help continue the process at home or refer you to your doctor for X-rays when necessary.
I have seen 3 people with this problem in the month of January alone; it’s not as common as neck and shoulder pain but it is common enough that it could be affecting you or someone you know. Of the 3 patients I have treated 1 is now able to run pain free when before it was hurting whilst walking, 1 has increased the pain free ROM dramatically but is still having some trouble with driving the car, well on her way to a full recovery and 1 reduced their pain but not there range of motion and no abnormalities were found on X-ray, although she is very happy to not have pain anymore and we are using equipment based Pilates to slowly increase her ROM.
If you have undiagnosed groin or hip pain get it checked out because you may be suffering unnecessarily and if you have had FAI please feel free to share your experiences, we’d love to hear about it and I’m sure everyone else would too! Happy Thursday everyone!
I have mentioned Undulated Periodised Programs (UPPs) for increasing strength and endurance several times in my blogs and it’s lengthy to explain properly so here we’re going to talk all things UPPs, getting you up to date with everything you need to know about them and about the research supporting them.
What is a UPP?
A UPP is a program that can help you to achieve a strength or endurance goal. We often prescribe them to people when their assessment has shown a link between a weak muscle and a musculoskeletal pain they are experiencing; however you can use them to increase your running length or speed, your overall fitness with a well rounded gym program or your core strength with some planks and bridges for example. A UPP mixes up the reps, sets, minutes or intensity each session. Normally we take a 16 week block and break it into 4 sections. These 4 sections are then broken into another 4 sections so what we end up with is a easy month, medium month, hard month and rest month and then those months are broken up into a easy week, a medium week, a hard week and a rest week. The whole 16 week period is often referred to as a macro cycle, the months are often referred to as meso cycles and the weeks as micro cycles. Here is an example of what a general strength program for a week might look like. Notice how both the sets and reps have changed?
Monday – light day
Thursday – heavy day
Barbell Squat 1 set @ 15 rep max
Barbell Squat 2 sets @ 8 rep max
Chest Press 1 set @ 15 rep max
Chest Press 2 sets @ 8 rep max
Row Machine 1 set @ 15 rep max
Row Machine 2 sets @ 8 rep max
Ab Machine 1 set @ 15 rep max
Ab Machine 2 sets @ 8 rep max
The following week of this particular program would see Monday staying the same and Thursday would increase to 3 sets. The 3rd week we would see the Thursday increase to 4 sets and then the 4th week would be a rest week where we advise doing your light day at the same weight as the week before but only 12 reps so you want be working to failure on that day. Meso cycle 1 complete!
This whole month is then repeated for the 2nd meso cycle. It differs slightly from the first month in 2 ways. First of all your weights will all be slightly increased from your strength gains in the first month and secondly the Thursday or heavy day will see you start on 3 sets in the first week, 4 sets in the 2nd week, 5 sets in the 3rd week and then your rest week will be the same as month one’s rest week.
The following month is your 3rd meso cycle. Again your weights will be slightly higher as you have gained more strength in the 2nd month. And again you will change the sets on your heavy day to 4 sets in week 1, 5 sets in week 2, 6 sets in week 3 and then rest in week 4.
The following month is the final meso cycle which will see you completing 1 macro cycle! This month is a recovery month where you do 1 set of 15 reps on the Monday or easy day and 1 set of 8 reps on the Thursday or heavy day. You drop the weights back to what you could lift at the start of month 2 and when you get to the rest week you do the same as all the other rest weeks which is only 12 reps of the same weight you were doing that month on your light day.
Hopefully you grasped all that, it’s a lot to take in though so don’t be put off if you don’t quite understand it. Feel free to email me and I will send you some more resources to help you. Once you have done it a few times, you really don’t even need to map what you are doing anymore, you just naturally follow the program, the only part I have to remember to do these days is the rest weeks and the recovery months, it is very easy to get stuck in the frame of mind of more is better, but the research tells a different story!
What are the benefits of using a UPP?
According to research using undulated periodised programs give better strength gains than standard block style programs in the long term (12 weeks and beyond). In the short term however the benefits are fairly similar so if you are into doing 6 week bootcamp challenges or similar it really doesn’t matter what style of program you are following; however if you are trying to gain thickness of muscle or gain strength or endurance for a particular reason, following the UPP approach will see better results. To be fair it is only a slight advantage, but sometimes a slight advantage is worth it. For example in a race or competition or if you have a clinically weak muscle and are trying to recover from a injury or pain. If you are interested in seeing some of the literature for yourself I have included some references below.
The easiest way to use this model is by creating a spreadsheet for yourself. If you would like help with this please book a Clinical Pilates session with me here. To create a spreadsheet you will need a list of the exercises you wish to perform and your 1RM (rep max) for each of those exercises. There are caculators online that can help you figure this out. For example if you reach failure at 15 repetitions of a squat with 50kg on the bar, you punch in these details into the calculator tool and it will give you your 1RM. If you want to do it manually the formula is: weight/(1.0278-(.0278*reps).
Once you have your 1RM you can then very easily calculate your 15RM and your 8RM (for your spreadsheet you can use % of your 1RM to calculate all the weight for you). Basically you now have your first month ready to go. The following month you will be able to increase your weight which you can work out by your 3rd weeks success at a particular weight. For example if at the start of meso 1 you could squat 50kg at your 1RM then your 8RM is going to be 40kg. By the 3rd week you might be getting 12 reps out at that same weight so you go back to your 1RM calculator and work out your new 8RM which would be 45.6kg (1RM is now 57kg). So now you know what weight to start at for your 2nd meso cycle. You continue this process as you continue to advance through your meso cycles and macro cycles, remembering to include your rest weeks and recovery months!
What do I do once I have completed my UPP?
You just continue along the path of increasing your strength and cardio fitness! I change up my exercises each macro cycle to keep it interesting and I use a variety of body weight and machine based exercises. For cardio I use the UPP to know what distance and times to aim for each run or swim. I am running a 12km event in 12 weeks time so am currently putting the endurance model of the UPP into practice pretty seriously! I can currently run 5km at a pace of 6km per hour. From that I can work out a light run day, a medium run day and a heavy run day in terms of distance travelled. According to my spreadsheet I should be running 14kms by the end of my 3rd meso cycle, I will then have a week of recovery before the big race! Wish me luck!
It’s that time of year when summer sports such as cricket are underway. Training and playing hard to achieve the team goal of becoming the best in the division and ultimately taking out the championship. One of the biggest obstacles in achieving these goals are injuries.
Part of the problem is that sports such as cricket, are seasonal sports so there is opportunity to lose conditioning in cardiovascular endurance as well as sport specific strength over the winter months. Often players then really slog it out and work hard in pre-season, sometimes pushing too hard, another opportunity for lurking injuries to present themselves.
Even at the elite level of cricket as seen by Michael Clarke, who suffers from hamstring tightness and lower back problems, injuries can affect form and your ability to play what you love. So here are some common cricket injuries and some simple ways to prevent them.
Common Cricket injuries
Hamstring tears and/or tightness
Lower back pain
These strategies can help prevent musculoskeletal injuries and to help with overall fitness levels. You could add them to your regime now but they are great to continue with during the off-season and pre-season as well. They will help to reduce risks when coming back to training.
Core strengthening and stability control
Dynamic stretching as a warm up before training and static stretching after training
Dynamic stretching is where you move in and out of the stretch such as in a lunging walk
Static stretching is where you hold the stretch for 30-60 seconds.
Specific cricket strengthening/stretching routine (bio-mechanical analysis)
This may involve rotator cuff muscles for shoulder stability for example. This is where you need someone to assess your strengths and weaknesses and write a program specific for you. This is often done by a Clinical Pilates instructor, Exercise Physiologist or a Myotherapist just to name a few.
Select Physiotherapists, Myotherapists and Exercise Physiologists that have had experience with cricket players in the past will be able to help with this.
General fitness levels (aerobic fitness)
Running, bike riding, swimming and so on. It is good to do a mix of cardio activities to avoid overuse injuries.
Treatment options and advice if an injury occur
RICER (Rest, Ice, Compress, Elevate and Refer)
From time of injury and then for 48-72 hours post injury
Avoid HARM (Heat, Alcohol, Running and Massage)
From time of injury and then for 48-72 hours post injury
Early injury treatment or advice
Musculoskeletal experts are great for advice when you injure yourself. Depending on the injury there may be varying treatment options available.
The wait and see approach
We often hear patients say “I thought it was better, the pain had gone and now I’ve done it worse!” Without correct management or rehabilitation a simple ankle injury, for example, can be 85% to 90% recurrent if left untreated with residual symptoms occurring after a lateral ankle sprain affecting 55% to 72% of patients at 6 weeks to 18 months. So just because the pain has gone away, doesn’t mean that full strength and usability has returned to a joint, muscle or tendon. It is always best to get it checked out.
Daniel Bishop is a Clinical Myotherapist at Waverley Myotherapy Clinic. He and colleague Jonathan Ebersberger can help you with any Cricket injuries or questions you may have. Go to http://www.waverleymyotherapyclinic.com.au for more details.