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

“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

If you’re reading this, you’ve probably come from step one of the Keto Diet Guide.

*If not, please go here first. It’s important before moving on

Assignment: Elimination

 

Goal: Target and Eliminate all Carbs

The Why:

The point of the Keto Diet is getting into a “Ketogenic State”. A situation in which the body is forced to use fat is a primary and only use of fuel.

What do to: 

I need you to go into the fridge and make note of everything you can not eat during the Ketogenic diet. Look for products like the following

  • Bread
  • Rice
  • Grains
  • Pasta
  • Fruit*
  • Juices/Soda’s

All of these (and many more) are heavy carbohydrate-based and will need to be completely eliminated before attempting the diet.

Choose to either discard of it all / give it away / eat it before starting the diet.

 

Let me know your decision below in the comment box or on the Facebook Page

By the way, the page has a bunch of free workouts also, so keep up to date by liking it!

 

Ready to continue? Click here for the next assignment

Hi there , #KetoRecruit !

If you’re reading this, you’re ready or interested in getting on a Ketogenic Diet.

I’m on ‘the Keto diet right now, and since I’ve gotten many questions on how to get started, I’ve decided to lay out a practical guide.
The only thing you have to do is follow along and if needed, drop me a question below.

Before even getting started, I’ll ask you this: “Are you ready to make a big switch in your diet and lifestyle for at least 4-6 weeks?”

The reason I’m asking is, if you’re not, there is no point in going further. The Ketogenic diet offers lots of interesting effects and it’s simple, but it’s not necessarily easy. 

80% of what we do during the day and the decisions we make are from habit.  Taking on a lifestyle change like this will force you out of “autopilot”, or make you realize that these habit based decisions are a lot stronger than you thought.

In this way, the Ketogenic diet is very clear:

You are either strict or can forget about it.

If you are ready, show me your dedication by dropping “I’m ready to commit” in the comment section below.

 

Afterward,  click here for your first assignment

 

See you on the other side!

 

I have lost cartilage in my knee and a little bit in the hips, can I still do spinning? I’ve been doing it for years.

-Diny

Mark Chen, physiotherapist

The advantage of spinning is that it is not a weight-bearing activity (except the standing parts , of course). That makes it a ‘safer’ option than, for example, running, in which your knees and hips have to endure huge impact for miles. So if you look at it purely from a mechanical perspective, no problem at all.

You indicate that you have been doing spinning for years.

Could it be that the amount of years and intensity have contributed to the amount of wear?
Ultimately, spinning is  a very one-dimensional and repetitive form of sport. Do you clearly have more issues immediately after spinning, or the morning after? In that case you can question how beneficial spinning is for your body.

I am personally in favor of variety, not only because I like to do different things myself but also not to stress my body too much in one way. I also recommend this to the majority of my clients. Ask yourself the above questions and if spinning does indeed cause issues to you, then consider reducing or varying with a different sport.

 

Mark Chen

Physiotherapist / Personal Trainer / Nutritionist