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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This week’s body blast workout

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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.)
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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! 🙂 ) 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’ 😄. 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

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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)

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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 

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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