I do not condone body shaming. Or shaming of any kind.

Nor will I claim that my journey is something that you should aim for.

Mine was a long one, that forced me through over 15 years of hard work, injuries, relentless self-criticism, depression, therapy and finally, acceptance.

I really think you can skip a couple of those steps and save yourself some trouble.

Anyway, let me get to the story.

Looking back I’ve always been extremely shy.

I hated being in the spotlights and any time it did happen, my face would go full on tomato mode in instant. Inside, I would feel like a pressure cooker and all I wanted was just to dissapear from sight. And somehow, no matter how well I tried to hide, these moments kept finding me.

It was all not too bad, because luckily enough I never really got bullied. I had good friends and for some reason I always fitted in quite easily. Always a part, never the part that got the attention. I liked it that way,

Things got worse when I hit puberty. My friends grew bigger, stronger and most importantly, cooler. They dressed better, had the trending haircuts and well… they got the girls. I could never imagine getting what they had.

At around that time, my mother was in a long term relationship and my brother-in-law was pretty much the epitome of coolness. He was everything my friends were, but magnified. He was my way out. My hope.

But I could never spend enough time with him to get his coolness to rub off on me.

One day though, we were planning a holiday and he would come along. This would be my chance to spend time with him and absorb whatever I could learn off him. I was stoked.

The very first day, we were off to the pool and I could not wait to start picking his brain. But that was not how things went down.

When I came up, he looked me up and down and then, pinched my my chest. What he said then would leave a deep mark for a long time.

“What’s all this? Look at that belly, and those fluffy nipples. You’ve got some bitch tits going on!!”

Absolutely Shattered.

I spent the holiday and many after hiding, afraid to show myself especially without a shirt on.

Not very long after, I saw a Men’s Health magazine at my doctors place. I obsessively read every part and from then started to devour every magazine and book on the topic. My obsession began.

Little did I know that even though my body would soon start to change for the better , the extreme focus on my appearence would only cause an endless pursuit towards an appetite I would never be able to satisy.

I’ve come a long way since then, but it has only really been the last two years where I have been able to let go, of focusing on how I look and shift the focus on how I feel, how my body works. I’ve shifted my focus from self-sculpting to self-care and it has been a massive load off my shoulders. But that has been a process for more than 15 years now.

And still….

The shy insecure, scarred boy is still in there somewhere. But instead of hiding him, I’ve decided to embrace him and care for him.

I can only hope my experience helps you on your journey.

Mark

Readers Question:

I am 65 years old and have a lot of complaints about my back .. osteoarthritis, scoliosis, increased lordosis, pelvic torsion ..

And a well-worn hip.

I have always been fitness until 2 years, but also got fibromyalgia .. too many complaints and I stopped ..

Do exercises at home with light weights and elastic and on the exercise bike.

I now have a spit and think it is advisable to start building up more muscle.

GP prescribes pain relief for nothing else ..

What do you recommend, low-level fitness or pilates for example?

Sorry for the long mail!

Answer (Mark Chen, Physiotherapist/Personal Trainer)

Hi Monique,

Thank you for your question. That is quite the list! Fortunately, none of the problems need prevent you from having a pain-free life.
I agree, strength training can help a lot.
It is important that a strength program is designed by someone who knows what they are doing.
Pain due to a scoliosis / lordosis often has to do with a imbalanced amount of stress on the muscles and joints as a result of the abnormal shape of the spine.
A properly chosen exercise program should be aimed at making the “underloaded” muscles work more, and the “overloaded” muscles less.

Pilates can be a good option for this because of the focus on tightening the right muscles. Nevertheless, I would go for a personal approach under the guidance of a physical therapist.

OCA is a company that focuses on an active approach to health complaints and they have locations all over the country. Take a look and hopefully they can help you on the right track!

good luck,

Mark

A friend of mine, a very good golfer, has a lot of lower back pain (facet joints) as a result of playing and training a lot.

Manual therapy increases the symptoms. Is treatment on a traction table a possible solution?

Mark Chen, Physiotherapist:

Thank you for your question.
I personally do not consider a traction table as a ‘solution’. It can, however, provide a good relief of the discomfort and can therefore help as a way to start the recovery.
Traction works by relieving pressure on the facet joints. It ‘pulls’ the vertebrae ‘apart’ and gives space, so to say.
This can certainly provide some relief, once it has been determined that pressure, or ‘compression’, plays a significant role in causing the symptoms.

So it’s mainly a matter of trying. If there is no clear change in symptoms after 3-4 times, I would consider another method. It’s also worth noting, that it is fairly easy to create traction on the lower back yourself. For example, you can hang on a horizontal bar or use a Gym ball and lie down on it face down.

With both methods it is important that you fully relax the muscles.

Finally, I would advise him to have a good look at the mobility of the spine. Golf is, after all, a fairly one-sided sport that therefore loads the body (and especially the hips and spine) in an unbalanced way. With a view to the long duration, it is certainly advisable to follow an exercise program that keeps and maintains a muscular balance on the spinal system through flexibility and stability training.

I can help with that via online guidance, but there are of course plenty of Physiotherapists / Personal trainers who can help with that!

Hopefully this will help your friend!

Physio-Fitness is a way for you to work on your physical discomfort or injury under supervision of a professional .

After a personal consultation and assessment , the therapist will design and instruct a corrective exercise program for you.
During the Physio-Fitness classes, you will be able to exercise and get instant feed-back and answers to your questions.

This class is perfect for:

  • Posture correction (anybody with an office job)
  • (chronic) Low back/ hip / shoulder pain
  • When you have tried any sort of therapy except training
  • When you find it difficult to create the time to do your exercises at home
  • If you want to get started with fitness, but have some weak points to work on


    Currently, the class is on Monday 12- 1 PM.
  • Please note the maximum attendance is 4 pax per class (currently 3 attendees)
  • if you don’t require the full hour, coming in late or leaving early is fine
  • Class is only available when you have a program designed for you
  • Monthly Fee (1x pw basis) 60$
  • Drop- in 20$

You can go here to make an appointment for a (free) Assessment

January Kettlebell Program theme will be: SWINGS.

Also known as the “King of exercises”, a total body movement that works almost all muscles at the same time.

Burn fat and get strong at the same time 😉

Sign up now for the full cycle for 40$ (4x class)
Drop in: 15$

This is what you’ll learn:

– Swing
– Hand- 2 Hand Swing
– Swing Specific warm-up
– Clean
– Pendulum Swing
– Chop-n-pop
– Power plank (the most effective version of the plank)
– Breathing mechanics
– Challenging workouts that you can do anytime, anywhere.

*NEW* It’s now possible to RENT a Kettlebell so you can train during the month by yourself (20$ for the month, switch weight anytime). Availability is limited so do let me know!

Question:

“Hey,

My name is Priscilla and I am 26 years old.
I recently discovered that I have hypermobility syndrome.
And my question was what are the best exercises to keep up with my body?
Because you are told and that’s it.
I don’t know how ,what ,where from now.

How can I best keep track of my body, what is best to do, how to prevent things, what resources are helpful to me in daily life?

I really hope you can answer me

Sincerely,

Priscilla”

Answer:

Mark Chen,

Physiotherapist / Personal Trainer / Nutritionist

 

“Hi Priscilla

A very good question and coincidentally one that I recently encountered.
This lady had been complaining about hypermobility for more than 10 years, even while she had followed the advice she had received.
“Do not train too heavily, but focus on low-stressing exercises such as swimming and yoga”.

She particularly enjoyed Yoga, but it had no positive effects on her symptoms.

For me, that is a lot less surprising than for her for a very simple reason. Hypermobility means increased mobility of the muscles and joints. In those cases, flexibility is the problem!
Then why would you focus on Yoga, which is specifically designed to increase mobility?

I advised her to (completely) stop Yoga for the time being and fully focus on stability. As soon as she can support her own body in the right way, it is time to carefully start Yoga again.
She followed a strength/stability schedule for 12 weeks with a strong focus on gymnastics and is now completely free of pain for the first time in 10 years. So this is very possible with the right approach.

Of course, that is where the challenge lies, and you will have to find someone who can guide you through this. If there is nobody around you who can do that, then the new video guidance I offer might be something for you!”

Good luck,

“Since a month I have had pain in my lower back. Also occasionally in my right buttock and when sitting. I regularly use a heat patch on those spots and a broad back strap, which relieves the pain slightly so that I can keep moving. If I sit too long, walking is painful afterward. This is due to my age, I am 65 years old. I also regularly have sensations in my legs when I sit too long, after about two hours. After ten minutes of walking or standing for too long, my right leg hurts. Whether it’s the bone or the muscles, I don’t know. I think the muscles myself. I’ve had this for a few months.

Now I have a dead feeling in my toes of my right leg. In addition – for two weeks – also my heel and side of my foot. Since today also the side of my lower leg and thigh. Can this be the result of a pinched nerve in my back and does this go away on its own or is it necessary to consult the doctor?”

Sylvie

Mark Chen, physical therapist:

Hello Sylvie,

Of course, your complaints may be the result of nerve irritation, but in most cases, nerve problems are very obvious!

Nerves are responsible for very sharp, recognizable, almost “lightning-like” sensations. Other nerve-related pain, such as toothache, is characterized as a constant nagging pain that can be so strong that it is difficult to focus on anything else.

It may also be that the problem is muscle related. Sometimes problems in the muscles can cause radiating feelings to other places in the body.

By applying pressure to the designated areas in the muscles, the signals can sometimes be generated in the radiation area. You can try this with your fingers, but it is usually easier to use a tennis ball or another hard ball for this. If there is a clear link between the pressing of the muscle and the sensations in the known area, then there is a high chance that it is a muscle related problem. That is a good sign because muscle problems are generally a lot easier to solve than nerve problems.

If this were not the case, the most logical step would be to go to a therapist for a diagnostic examination. He/she can then give you a good idea of what is going on, and otherwise, you can be referred for a scan.

I hope this helps.

Mark

I just had a procedure done ( a herniated disc between the sixth and seventh vertebrae.) The bulge has been removed at the back of the neck. I had nerve failure in my left arm because the nerve was blocked by the herniation. Now I have one problem: I walked an hour two or three times a week, but according to the GP that is not so good for my neck, because I have osteoarthritis between my sixth and sixth cervical vertebrae (strongly narrowed intervertebral space with slight disc herniation and the other neck vertebrae have a small disc protrusion).

My question now is, whether it is wise to buy a cross trainer and keep my fitness level, or are other sports suitable? I mainly did fat burning and endurance. I am 50 years old and still want to be active.

-Christine

Mark Chen, Physiotherapist

I think it is certainly a good idea to keep the condition maintained with a cross trainer. I would also put the advice of the GP to the test. The idea that osteoarthritis should be a reason to be careful is very old-fashioned.

Recent scientific research has tested the causal relationship between abnormal findings and pain by allowing people without symptoms to take an MRI scan. These studies show that there is a huge percentage of deviations that in these cases are totally unpaired with pain or discomfort. For example, for a disc protrusion or a “bulging” as you describe, 87 percent. For degenerative changes of the discus, such as dehydration / narrowing, as many as 96 percent of the older population. This group, please note, does not experience any complaints.

This should be a reassurance. The findings in your neck are normal, and not necessarily responsible for any complaints. Of course, from my position, I can not determine whether there is actually a connection!

My advice would be to find a passionate sports physiotherapist who can help with this process. The neck must be tested calmly to see what is and is not possible!

That way you will probably be surprised at what is possible. The idea to reduce a basic activity such as walking at such a young age (provided there is a good reason for this) does not seem sensible to me.

I hope this helps!

What’s up #KetoCorporal.

This assignment is as pleasant as it is practical :  Snack options.

Goal:

Having snack options for every situation of the day. On the road, at the office, before the gym.

What to do:

Take a look at the list below and then check the fridge. See which 5 snacks you can prepare for the next couple of days

easy.

Show me your commitment and inspire me by posting your 5 snacks right here 

What’s up #KetoCorporal.

Here’s a new assignment: Breakfast options.

Goal:

Prepare a Ketobreakfast and come up with 3 other options for the week

What to make:

This is an all-time favorite when it comes to Keto breakfasts. And what’s not to love?

We’ve got eggs, bacon, tomatoes, and maybe a bit of cheese thrown in?

Delicious.

The site I’ve directed you to is awesome because it’s like a google specifically for Keto Meals. Just note what the main ingredients to a dish should be, click “keto only” and BOOM. Plenty of options.

What to do : Use the link provided to come up with 3 meals to make over the week.

 

Show me your commitment and inspire me by posting your favorite recipe on the page here

 

 

 

https://www.dietdoctor.com/recipes/classic-bacon-and-eggs