I think I’m an inversion addict…

 

#inversionaddict

I’d seen the hashtag for a long time before I realised! I still saw it as ‘other’, those clever people who can do that stuff. I think, because, I was still focussed on where I needed to go, rather than what I had become. Looking at the photos in this blog, I’m smiling, I’ve achieved some stuff. Stuff I NEVER thought possible at the beginning or even halfway through. I had faith in the process, that training made me feel good in the short term. On that day. (Check out my blog Little by Little for motivation on getting started)

As you grow stronger on the journey you naturally try new moves and often don’t realise they’re impressive until you see someone’s reaction! Check out my instagram… for more. And here’s some of my you tube links:  headstand on beamassisted headstand on beamOlympic Rings.

img_2066

My goal was and still is to conquer handstand, by which I mean hold it at will no support and eventually on parallel bars. It’s taken me a long time because I developed headstand strength first, which is more core and neck. And for handstand, despite strong wrists for barwork (pull ups, push ups, dips) and punching, my 90 degree wrist strength needed a lot of work and shoulders loosening.

However once I took a step back and gathered my thoughts I realised, that despite all the work that I have to do on inversions, that I too was a #inversion addict! (about 40% of my instagram shots are me up-side-down lol).

 

img_1412img_1513

Storytime

It began 9 years ago, it shocks me to say that, feels so recent and so distant at the same time. I’d been working in the office on and off for 10 years (minus 3 years for study). I had dabbled in some dance classes and mini workouts before a long steam but in short I had zero fitness, zero strength and absolutely no core.  At 28 I still looked fine on the outside but I could feel something was wrong on the inside and the rest would soon follow if I didn’t do anything. A looming darkness that something wasn’t right; IBS symptoms, depression, SAD, anxiety and insomnia. I had no idea what the answer was at the time and that training would become my new way of life.

I tried a yoga class at work and realised something profound: I felt like I should be able to do the moves but I couldn’t; it was weird seeing people holding one legged stances and pulling off headstands, I was shocked to the core. What had happened to me? I was really active at school. I didn’t know at this point that you could change your body to be able to do the movement you want (through A LOT of hardwork :)).

img_1519

img_2065

I was a long way off a headstand, in fact 4 years off (training for around 4 hours a day 5 times a week).  Your body knows when it’s not ready and I wasn’t ready. Some people were and I now know why; they had core.

[Piece of advice, when someone tries to tell you you’re lacking confidence because you don’t want to try something, ignore them, your body knows best. It’s moments like these when you get injured. Your body will naturally want to try a new move when it’s ready.]

Inversions are for all levels of ability

Inversions, however, are for everybody of all levels. An inversion at it’s most basic level is standing up on straight legs, bending over and letting your head hang. All the way up to gymnastics bars, olympic rings, flips, headstands, parallel bars…

.

img_6961

img_7373

no handed ankle weight headstand

Balance mind body and soul

They are an invaluable way of balancing the body system: physically, emotionally, mentally (and spiritually, in brackets because you can ignore it if you wish).

Physically you are putting your heart and lungs above your head. This is calming. It lowers the blood pressure (so any conditions of this nature ask your doctor if it’s ok.)

If you’re feeling mentally stressed it helps clear the mind just by holding your head upside down. If you put your head in the soil you’re ‘grounding’ your body too!

Naturally you feel emotionally calmer from being still, focusing on breathing and lowering your head; extreme emotions like fear and anxiety seem to be balanced by the physical system working against gravity and pumping blood the other way.

 

img_2252

Enter a caption

How to use an inversion in day to day situations

If you’re in a stressful environment or dealing with a difficult situation I highly recommend taking a minute out to go to quiet spot, empty meeting room, or even the toilet, put your back against the wall and lean over. This will stretch your hamstrings as well. Let your head hang as long as is comfortable, then gently raise, take a few deep breathes once in the up right position before moving. Make a note of how you feel after!

I find submissive poses (like the one below and the one described above where you’re not exerting yourself like in a handstand) help release painful knots in my back and realign my spine after tension.

img_8944

Hence my brand logo: my all time favourite go to move in any stressful situation: THE PLOUGH!

Finally an excellent way to cool down.. 

Even for those who have no interest in being upside down, I still recommend it to give the joints a break from the usual angle of force and pressure that you do in your regular training. Much like swimming it gives the lower body joints a break. And it is an excellent way to cool down from a workout.

If you want to book a PT session with me get in touch! book a PT session

Join the Facebook group for tips and inspiration

Daily updates on Snapchat: ionagroove

 

 

Advertisements

Eat your greens!! Β And your yellows!

Lately I’ve been eating enough to fuel 10 men 😁 which basically means lots of yellow foods to sustain my training whilst gaining some kilos. Why gain? It’s a common goal when weight training; if you want more strength and muscle tone you need more mass. You also get denser, which is why strength training is now officially recommended for a minimum of twice a week by the Government to avoid osteoporosis. For ladies who want a nice ass you have to eat to fuel the booty ok!

I burn A LOT of calories working outside, dancing all weekend and doing my own training during the week. To give you some perspective I can end up a kilo lighter at the end of a weekend of dancing. And during the week I replace the weight by rehydrating, eating carbs to replenish muscle glycogen, meditating and bringing heart rate/metabolism down and then as soon as I’ve eaten lots of calories (always as healthy and wholesome as possible but definitely not perfect) train again to improve my capacity on the dance floor the following weekend! πŸ’ͺ

I do all round training for dancing: one high intensity heavy weight training session 3hrs, a swim, a run or 2, sprint training, trx/suspension training, barwork, dance training (my own ting), stretch and gymnastics. Then every month or 6 weeks I sleep for a week and do no training other than teaching. Then wake up with a new body. It’s a very exciting journey!

That’s why I eat lots of yellow foods; they’re great! They are FUEL. You can’t do anything without them. Carbohydrates and fat and protein and calories = yellow. But the downside is they tend to be acidic so you have to balance with the raw fruit and veg which is alkali.

Yellow foods are: bread, eggs, cheese, pancakes, porridge, pumpkin and channa roti πŸ˜€, pizza, potatoes, falafel wraps, peanut butter on toast.  They can be healthy or they can be unhealthy depending on whether you’re using fresh ingredients at home or eating from a dirty takeout. This is where the effort comes in. I’m def not 100% there yet.

Here’s some wholesome yellow foods:

img_0524

pumpkin and channa roti

img_2074

scrambled eggs and smoked salmon on toast

img_5316

porridge with rice milk, coconut oil and shelled hemp

I haven’t been eating enough greens lately and I need to address the balance quick as flu season takes hold. I couldn’t fuel what I do on greens as there’s not enough calories. So I ordered a delivery from my favourites, the Organic Delivery Company. They’re fruit and veg tastes delicious and has a noticeable difference in quality to supermarket veg. The flavours of real fruits are a delight. I’m now sitting down to eat plate after plate of raw veg, steamed veg, salads, green smoothies etc… and get back on track. (As well as yellow foods!).

HWhy akali? Alkali foods tend to have lots of vitamins and minerals as they are mostly straight from the earth. The less you cook it the more nutritents. I think hot food is important too as warming the body is essential in the cold, just be aware it doesn’t have the same nutritional content.

You feel instantly amazing: clean, detoxed and energised! Gonna train hard tomorrow πŸ˜€

Fuel for training and nutritional support given to all client sessions includind food diary analysis if you buy 10.

Train Heal Breathe website
Facebook page
Instagram

This week’s body blast workout

img_1799-2

This was an epic workout. 2.5 hrs of strength training plus swim and steam. Covered all basic elements! Aristotle would be proud. That’s the whole in holistic: strength, cardio, air, earth (gym floor) and WATER. Lifting the body out of gravity and floating about in the pool after compressing it with loads of weights = BALANCE.

Swimming also allows you to see how hard you’ve worked and grounds your energy. Your muscles are on fire after repeatedly going to failure with weight training. Water brings them back down to earth, calms them and helps YOU acknowledge just how tired you are. (I think this can help avoid injury by not overdoing it later on in the day.)
1604-pool

If swimming isn’t your thing just getting in the sauna, jacuzzi or steam can have a similar grounding effect. Alternate hot (sauna or steam) with a cold shower (breathe through it! πŸ™‚ ) and your skin feels mwah! No words. 

Lungs, heart, stomach: all key bodily organs feel clean too! The best beauty and skin care products are: workout, swim, steam, cold shower and use natural oil on your skin whilst in the steam (olive oil, coconut oil, avocado oil). You won’t need any creams or foundations after and your skin will feel super soft.

Alternating hot and cold is an age old technique, ancient even, for aiding recovery from intense workouts, flushing away toxins and lactic acid. It feels incredibly detoxing to do it. Like it’s cleansing glands and rebalancing the nervous system (emotions too).

In cold season I’d do a workout like this no more than once a week if I’m dancing at the weekends and want to do classes like gymnastics as I need to be able to move lol! This sort of workout changes you, grows muscles, burns fat, challenges your psyche: it’s what’s known as a ‘beasting’ πŸ˜„. Body should be aching for days. You have to eat loads of extra protein, carbohydrates, fat and nutrition (as it affects your immune system too). You will be tired and unable to do everything you normally do, so account for it and do sedentary work the following day, even restrict socialising as you will be tired and need to rest.

(I trained on weds, I’m editing this Sunday morning and my body is still tired! Didn’t go out last night because of this workout.)

I went to my max for my energy levels this week. Only done squats every fortnight this summer as I play outside as much as possible. So the weight feels low. Enjoy. (more info on food for training Food Diary – what do YOU need to eat?

Barbell Squats

20kg 25 reps

40kg 20 reps

50kg 12 …

60kg 10 reps 4 sets

70kg 7 reps 2 sets

60kg 10 reps

50kg 10 reps (140)

Cardio

img_1746

10 min fast run 

Olympic Rings play around, leg raises upside down, turning body as repsetc

Chest press 

20kg 25 reps

30kg 10 reps 

35kg 5 …

30kg 10

20kg 15

Leg press (kinda lying down)

img_1752

40kg 20 reps 2 sets

80kg 10 reps 2 sets

90kg 5 reps 2 sets

100kg 5

Adductor 

40kg 10 reps 3 sets

Abductor 

40kg 10 reps 

60kg 10 reps 3 sets  

Deadlift 

25kg 10 reps 2 sets

40kg 5 reps 4 sets 

Rings play around 

Cycle 

img_1758

2.6km 8 mins. Go in at highest level possible around 44 RPM (yes slow and deep!) as I warm up I push the level to the max (on the ….. bikes) then cool off when I can’t take it anymore. 

Big Machines

Shoulder press 

40kg 5 reps 3 sets 

Low row 

40kg 10 reps 3 sets 

Abs 

Weighted twist 10kg 20 

Crunches 100 10 slow 10 fast

Weighted twist 10

V sit 20

Sit up 25

Leg raise 25 (100)

Splits 

1.5 min each side 

Weighted twist 10

Crunches 50

Straddle split 45 sec 

V sit 20

Sit up 10

50 crunches 

Weighted sit up

Bits and bobs

Handstand 1 min

No handed headstand against wall 2 min

Handstand half press up.

2.5 hours

 

 

 

Epsom Salt Bath

img_1198

A little reminder! 3 kg bag of Epsom Salts from your local independent chemist costs about Β£6.29. Put one kilo in a bath and if you fancy add some essential oils or like this bath Valerian and hops salts, a small sachet is Β£1.99. You can also add Bicarbonate of soda and seasalt for a deep cleanse.

Magnesium Sulphate or Epsom salts are great for relieving sore muscles, relaxing the mind and helping with recovery. They also make the body more buoyant in the water so you feel lighter and can let go of tensions more easily.

I feel really clean and detoxed after a salt bath as well deeply relaxed.

Highly recommend engaging in some deep breathing when in a salt bath. See if you can let all thoughts go and just breathe, as deep and long breaths as possible. Find absolute stillness. It’s a great way to explore meditation and develop your own relaxation go too’s in times of stress.

As the weather changes into a cooler climate it’s a great time to have a hot bath and take a moment.

Enjoy!

 

website

facebook

instagram

 

 

Dancing heals the soul: bank holiday weekend on a budget!

August bank holiday weekend! So close to not going out, was skint, should I be sensible and stay home? 

On top of that Carnival cynicism is strong but after going every year since I first went in ’99 I’ve honoured the magic of that experience by my annual return. Would 2016 be the year I break the pattern? Was almost swayed by the moans and groans; too big now, too organised, controlled, lost the soul, get squashed etc etc

Was in two minds. And then after an amazing Saturday afternoon of dancing, prancing and merriment I got home, put 90s RnB Hip Hop and Dancehall mixes on mixcloud and felt  electricity shooting through my spine! This music is what makes me, me: I had to go Carnival.

To kick start the weekend I went to Cambridge Heaths first gay street ball on Saturday afternoon, free(!). 

Facebook live recording of ball

And Room4Movement @Book Club Leonard Street on Sunday night (bi monthly?) free before 9pm. Extended till 3am for bank hol special. Broken beat, hip hop, jazz, beats.
Jazz re:freshed people

Room4Movement Facebook event

Each event visibly lifted the spirits of everyone I was with! Just half an hour of dancing in the street at the Cambrige Heath ball left us buzzing! Everyone was so happy!

Messing about at the ball

Positive vibes are actually tangible. You’re energised for days getting stuff done with focus and purpose. How does it happen? A combo of music, sound system, floor space and good hearted people. Spirits lift, you feel joy and you get a good cardio workout, which boosts the happy hormones.

By Monday not only was I going to Carnival but I knew I had to share the positive vibes with those couldn’t or wouldn’t go (and deal with the awkwardness of filming in the crowds, a test of endurance, agility and street awareness).

Carnival was the best one yet but you gotta know how to do it right. Follow your nose and see where you go! Here’s some vids of where I ended up:

Mini vid of carnival 2016
Longer vid of Carnival 2016

Epic weekend. Energy is on an all time high, feel bonded and inspired. All done on a super tight budget! About Β£50 for long weekend of food, travel and going out (not by choice! Just the way it went and decided not to let lack of money stop me). Free entry to all events, bring your own water and pack lunch to the street party/carnival. Stick to soda and water when you’re out in the club or mix a fruit juice with soda for a little bit of sugar treat!  πŸ™‚ Always always follow your highest joy and the rest will follow. 

Train Heal Breathe Personal Training website

Train Heal Breathe Facebook page

Train Heal Breathe instagram

joys of jogs

  I’ve got to share the love. The buzz from a jog. The freedom of being able to walk outside your front door and go. You don’t need to get yourself anywhere like a gym or swimming pool, you don’t really need any equipment (comfy shoes and any old clothes that you can sweat into), you don’t need money.

I know A LOT of people have fears to do with running. But a fast pace walk will do you the world of good too.

 After doing the ARNI course for stroke rehab and seeing how people can have their movement taken away within the space of a few hours, it gave me perspective. If you can move you’re lucky. Use it. As much as you can, everyday, explore, grow, conquer. The magnitude of strong will and effort stroke survivors go through just to regain basic movement like walking, sitting, reaching and grabbing makes you realise how lucky you are. Dance, sing, jump, run while you can. 

Spread your spirit through your environment. Know your land. Fill your third eye with light and colour and patterns; nature. Then go about your day, secrets of beauty inside your mind, fulfilled.

(I took these shots this winter in east London, top shot is from France) 

Train heal breathe website  
    
   

Food Diary – what do YOU need to eat?

Discipline to train and discipline to eat: as you develop a discipline for training you need to develop, in tandem, a discipline for eating healthy too. Exercise amplifies whatever good or bad food habits you have because you’re consuming more fuel (even if your goal is fat loss you still need to eat more – another topic).

What does healthy mean? What is healthy for one might not be healthy for another. You have to be clear about goals, weaknesses, types of training and how your digestive system works; what sorts of fuel work best for you, do you train on empty, eat before bed? We’re all very different and this journey is about becoming an expert on what foods work best for you. It might mean behaving differently from the crowd who can project their eating habits onto you, display shock, even arrogance at the way you eat and knock your confidence. This is a test of resolve and self belief: in becoming fit and strong you develop a stronger mind too; you can’t have one without the other.

What is your fuel? Some people thrive off fats as fuel, some carbs, certain training programmes require more protein, others less, some are looking to increase calorie intake or protein, others a calorie restricted diet that still provides adequate energy for exercise. Your fuel can also change depending on hormones, recent exercise history, stress, medical problems (life basically).

A trainer can help identify which foods are typically recommended for which training plans. If you don’t have an expert to hand then research. Never before has so much information been so easily available. We’re walking around with libraries in our pockets. Use it. Google it. Don’t be afraid to look at science research papers; read the abstract or conclusion. Always challenge authority, even the scientists (which is what science was in160316 glum2itially all about), always research whatever info you’ve been told, never take anyone’s word for it EVER because we are all different systems and scientific knowledge is fluid; it will change. Your body is your responsibility.

Process of elimination: you will make many mistakes before you learn what your body thrives off. As in business the mistakes are the most valuable lessons. To find out what doesn’t work is the journey of life! (Amen). The more experienced you are the quicker you learn from mistakes and adapt. Ponder but don’t dwell and never ever think it’s easier for anyone else.

Step 1 – Food diary

  • IMG_3221.JPGFood diaries are the first step to working all this out by looking at what you actually eaas opposed to what you think you eat. Write down everything you nibble, graze, sniff, guzzle, drink and it’s not just about meals, even if you eat one chip of your kid’s dinner, write it down. Everything.
  • Also write down any exercise you do and all activity like walking, DIY, domestic chores and shopping (this is considered light exercise).
  • At the end of 3 days or longer, write down your thoughts and feelings when reading it back. Is it what you expect? Are you a secret eater!? Are you ready to face this?
  • Don’t judge! Acknowledge and accept. 
  • Write down your goals (e.g include more greens, less sugar, min protein requirements [Protein] avoid over eating).

Step 2 – Take time to think

160316 cartoonThis is what people mean when they say ‘manifest your desires’; before you achieve something you need to concentrate on it. Have a sit down or lie down and think about your goals, what you’ve eaten in your diary, how you feel about it, any old demons? Are you ready to release them? (you might not be!) do you feel strong emotions like shame or guilt regarding food?

Write it down. You’ve just come a step closer to dealing with some stuff.

Think about healthy food that makes your mouth water, what would you really like to try this week, your gut knows what it wants/needs and will attempt to direct you to the foods that contain those nutrients but doesn’t always get heard.

If you have any junk food cravings like burgers & chips, chinese or kebab then try and recreate a home cook healthy version that will hit the spot as opposed to denying it. Junk food is often based on a healthy original version the difference is effort your effort! Also on a serious note you might need fat, salt, calories, protein and that’s ok simply look for ways to fill those needs using quality whole foods. We’ve moved on from ‘diet’ mentality as it’s not effective or healthy.

For example butchers beef can be much cheaper than supermarket meat and you can check the source of meat, give money to a local business and have good quality free range meat burgers. Instead of chips boil potatoes and grill with a little oil, add loads of salad. Or, you could decide in advance the healthiest alternative; lots of healthy kebabs for example; grilled chicken & salad wrap, houmus & salad wrap.

If you like sweet things google sugar alternative cakes and try out a new sweet treat without sugar and healthy alternatives. If it falls apart keep trying. Don’t deny yourself foods but be creative in getting the hit you like with nutritional ingrediants. Get involved.

Step 3: plan meals and snacks

IMG_3217

Preparing meals and snacks takes time. Most likely your calendar is already at its max so you have to make sacrifices; lose one social occasion a week or one activity in order to have time to prepare food and freeze it.

It’s tedious but you gotta do it. Include all the food types: carbohydrates (low GI, google it if you don’t know it’s important), protein, fat, fibre and the best bit GREENS (vitamins & minerals). Then think about snacks. What is easy to prepare to take with you to work or when going out? Can you freeze it and make lots? Based on your goals your snack will vary wildly!

Step 4: plan shopping

160316 delivery cartoonOn the same day plan through your shopping, food diary in one hand, shopping list in the other. This is a good time to book a delivery; straight after looking through your diary and analysing your emotions regarding the foods you eat. Organic delivery companies that use local producers are healthy on many levels (another blog topic). Generally deliveries allow you to be in control of what you’re buying in the comfort of your own home as opposed to being hungry after work, rushing about with lots on your mind and lots of promotional material steering you off your path.

You might have to dedicate a day or a half day to do this. Sacrifices are worth it when you’re parading your abs around the park this summer :). Fitness is democratic every effort you put in pays and equally any pretence will be revealed! Good luck!

 

website

facebook 

instagram