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.

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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).

 

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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 :)).

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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…

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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.

 

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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.

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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

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CORE workout

Straddle Pike Core

Client Sophie has advanced to the deep stuff. Oh yeah. Today we worked on Silent Strength. The Yin of exercise. SLOW movement. Everything is about speed these days. I’m into form and core developing alongside speed and power. Speed and power on their own lead to injury.

So we did suspension training, dance conditioning, deep stretches and inversions very very slowly. Poise, form, control, consciousness, feeling the minutiae of muscles, ligaments, weak spots, working out who you are physically!

The slow movement movement….

A session like this can be adapted to all levels and is offered as part of the journey you’re taken on when you buy a series of sessions. Sophie started out this journey like everyone else just looking for weight loss but after 18 months is on a new dimension of body strength and fitness. Although most people come to me wanting high intensity sessions to get rid of the fat quickly, the value of spending time holding positions and developing deep core strength is critical for long term health, fitness and peace.

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Little by Little…. advice on how to start out training

My motto to achieving progress is ‘little by little’ ; faith in action no matter how small it is.

However unfit you feel, you can make progress. Dream BIG but don’t let the magnitude of the dream crush you! You just have to break it down into what is manageable for you to do in your current state; physically, emotionally, practically.

The parts of you that stop you working towards a goal are your demons. They are there for a reason! You need to face them, accept them as part of you and hopefully find a way of moving on from them and I guess maturing as a person. They won’t go away until you do.

This does require you to know yourself a bit, but don’t worry! You get to know yourself by trying this process out. The art to training is picking yourself up again when you lose the pace. This happens to people of all levels of fitness and experience. The demons can come back! You think you’ve lost it, everyone else is fitter, you’ve not trained hard enough, it’s all over arrrgghh!

Ok so for example take someone who hasn’t really trained before as an adult feels totally bewildered by exercise and fit people but dreams of having a super fit hot bod! The answer is: it’s all possible. The method is:

Little by little: do one thing each day that’s more than what you did before. No matter how little it is. If it’s more it WILL add up.

This person could try:

1) 10 half press ups a day.

2) or, go outside first thing in the morning and walk/jog for 10 mins.

3) or just take 5 minutes to be still, in a comfortable seated pose or lying down and be aware of your body. Allow your ‘mind’, identity, consciousness to connect with your physicality; muscles, bones, blood, breathing. And that’s it!

Even not managing to do this everyday but just aiming to do it and managing 3 times a week or if you’re lucky 5 (!) will make a difference. If you can focus on the process and allow the goal to be present but not overwhelming, to excite you but not crush you and to fuel the activity but not prevent it, you will begin to see results.

At the heart of this philosophy is patience. It might just be that the process is the point not the product em (or goal). The rhythm of the routine has to take over and for a moment become the product itself; you feel good after doing it, so you begin to do it because you feel good, then all of a sudden you forget about the big goal of hot tight bod and just enjoy doing it, being it!

In doing so you change just a little as a person/personality, your body changes in reflection, your cardio vascular organs begin to work just a little harder, become a little more efficient, your heart and lungs will grow a little too and you feel a little bit better about everything. Then you notice a result (maybe you lose an inch around the waist!) Just a little result. And once you have your hard ‘little’ fact it’s easier to convince yourself to carry on. You’ve got evidence now!

When you reach this stage you’ve grown enough physically and emotionally so that you’re naturally ready for the next stage. A bigger workout!

The beauty of this is you begin to really understand yourself. Inside your gut you know when you’re ready for something. There’s lots of outside social pressures that make you feel wrong for taking your time to do something. No. When it comes to exercise and physical growth you’re allowed to develop in your own time. Build a firm foundation of confidence physically and emotionally.

Your 10 half press ups a day may feel like nothing in comparison to what you think other people are doing. If it’s more than YOU were doing before then it will make a difference to YOU. And when you’ve become at ONE with that routine, you will feel ready to try something more, maybe add 20 crunches a few weeks later or months! Who cares. It’s ok.

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