It’s Not About the Weight

By Josh Smith.

It’s not about the weight. It never has been.

And frankly, I’m sick and tired of the poor education that gets peddled in the media, in the stores, and by other so-called ‘health professionals’ (Yes thats YOU – dieticians, nutritionists, personal trainers, exercise physiologists, doctors, physiotherapists and anybody else peddling ‘weight loss’). It’s not about the weight.

Yes, some people must lose ‘a percentage of their body mass’ and sometimes a LOT of their body mass, before we can consider them healthy. But lets take a look at this for a second…

What are these people actually doing?

If they are doing things correctly, achieving ‘health’ how health should be achieved – they are bringing their body back towards homeostasis*.

They are taking their body from a toxic, stressed state to a size and shape that is normal for them, through the application of correct nutrition, training and lifestyle modifications.

This ‘normal size‘ is different for each and every person.

It is geneticially imprinted into each of your cells upon birth, and is innately linked to the ‘primal being’ inside you, and not some misinformed, misguided and mistaken pseudo-YOU that you develop through other people’s perceptions and beliefs.

Sometimes you must gain ‘weight’ to be healthy, but this does not mean you are fat. Quite the opposite.

If you are healthy, your muscles are dense. Your blood flows correctly. Your body is quite literally a fat burning machine, using that fat as fuel to feed your ever-thirsty, lean muscle mass.

So what is it we should be focusing on?

  • Body fat loss
  • Energy levels
  • Digestive ability
  • Taste sensation
  • Lean muscle mass
  • Bone density

All of these things can be measured, whether qualitatively or quantitatively, and give us a much better definition of whether we are ‘healthy’ than weight loss alone could ever give us.

So what is a healthy look?

In my own personal opinion, health looks like muscle mass. Health looks like clean skin. Health means sparkling eyes, reduced body odour, and a positively energised aura.

This doesn’t come with ‘weight loss’. This comes with a complete transition of your thinking, and comes from an understanding that a fading person is not necessarily a healthy person.

Healthy people can lift things.

Healthy people can move in all three planes of motion, under unstable loading parameters (gravity, instability), WITHOUT restriction.

Healthy people have ENERGY. They GLOW. They can digest GOOD FOOD.

Healthy people don’t look for energy drinks, protein supplements, schmancy machines or substandard training regimes.

Healthy people understand their BODY, know what their body WANTS, and then GIVE IN TO IT.

So don’t think ‘weight loss’. Think ENERGY. Think MINIMISE BODY FAT. Think FUNCTION.

Think HEALTH.

And for goodness sake – DON’T sit around moping when your Lite ‘n’ Easy diet, machine-based training regime and energy drink consuming lifestyle makes you THIN and SICK.

*Homeostasis is a state whereby the bodies’ systems are working in synergy, Yin and Yang, and that the balance of the sympathetic and parasympathetic branches of the nervous system are functioning optimally. What this means is that body fat loss is maximised, circadian rhythms flow naturally, and all muscles, organs and body systems are supplied with the right amounts of blood at the right times for repair and function, amongst other things.

It is within you.

Josh Smith
Josh is the Director of Mitise Health & Fitness, offering Personal Training, Nutritional Guidance, Lifestyle Coaching, Personal Development, Corporate Seminars, BootCamps and Boxing Groups. Josh is a qualified CHEK Exercise Coach, CHEK Holistic Lifestyle Coach Level 1 and GRAVITYPersonalTrainer, along with various other qualifications and trainings, and is a very inspirational individual. Mitise (pronounced my-ties) is a word invented by Josh and actually stands for “It is within/in Me“. Check out the spelling of Mitise and you’ll see the connection. Clever huh!

www.mitisehealth.com
twitter.com/MitiseHealth

Advertisements

Energy…Give Me More!

By Michelle Owen.

We all want to have abundant energy to get us through the work day…and still have more to go to dance the night away!

This is one of the most common things that people want when they come and see me – more energy.

As C,H.E.K Practitioners, we never treat the disease that has the person – we only treat the person that has the disease. So for those suffering from lack of energy and its consequent disease, we teach how to embrace the Six Foundation Principles. These are:

THOUGHT,  BREATH,  HYDRATION,  NUTRITION,  EXERCISE   and   SLEEP.

As far as energy goes, I have written many things on the importance of breathing correctly, hydration, quality of food, postural balance, exercise and sleep.

This time I am focusing on thought.

Thought triggers emotions. Every thought we have has a corresponding emotion, and every emotion has a hormonal and energetic reaction within our body. Hence our Psychology is our Biology.

Thought always comes first and the thought creates the emotion. For instance, if the thought is: “I don’t like my job” or, “Nobody loves me” these thoughts can cause us to feel very unhappy. Consequently our energy levels fall. The same goes for other life situations such as relationships; self image; financial status etc.

Poor thinking pumps stress hormones into our body. Over time this causes hormonal imbalances, leading to decreased energy and disease. Too much stress or poor thought of any sort will weaken the immune system, no doubt about it!

When we create what we don’t want, our energy decreases.

When we create what we do want, our energy increases.

When we are in tune with what we really want, we never run out of energy!


We are all given the same amount of life force. If people are sick or tired they still have the same amount of life force, they are just channeling their energy differently. Creating new and positive thought is the most powerful way out of this.

Pain of any sort, physical or emotional, is the compass of our soul. These experiences help to push us to make better choices to get to our higher self. The more the pain, the more we are out of alignment with who we really are.

For some people, injury or illness can be one of the most valuable things in life, maybe not in the moment, but the learning from the experience because it can be so life changing! It can lead to greater knowledge of themselves, greater health, love and appreciation of all they have in life. Quite often it is only on their death bed that people’s appreciation for life is amplified.

Wouldn’t it be far better to reach this appreciation while they are in fully involved in life?

Give yourself some energy

Energy is like money in the bank – What are you doing to put it back? Or are you spending it all?

A lot of my clients are so busy; they squeeze things into every moment of the weekday and their weekend! This is great for productivity, but we all need to stop and refuel at certain times. Running on the fast track without rest and recovery soon leads to decreased energy, depression, anxiety, long term adrenal exhaustion, and burn out.

There are many different ways we can give energy back to ourselves (get the money in the bank). For instance:

  • Meditation
  • Hot baths or spa pools with oils and candles
  • Saunas
  • Good quality food in the right balance for your metabolic type
  • Deep breathing
  • Any time spent in nature
  • Time with animals
  • Time with good friends/family/people that give you peace
  • Massage
  • Soul healing work
  • Pedicures/manicure/facials
  • Nice energy music, movies or reading
  • Good quality exercise
  • Low level exercise like stretching, mobilizations, tai chi etc.
  • Getting to bed before 10pm.
  • Having afternoon naps

Give to yourself often, even if it is small. If you spend all your energy without giving back, you will end up emotionally and physically bankrupt.

The importance of clearing past traumas

The human mind is an endlessly complex creation made up of the conscious/subconscious or active/reactive mind.

The subconscious or reactive mind stores every picture of our past, good or bad. This includes sight, sound, smells etc.

The reactive mind is so strong that in times of stress it takes over our conscious mind and can put us back into the feelings of past experiences. This can cause all sorts of pain physically and emotionally. It also keeps us stuck in feelings of loss, fear, anger; an endless list of negative emotions.

I believe that one of the most powerful things we can do to recreate health in mind, body, and soul is to get professional help in clearing past traumas/ experience that keep us stuck in poor patterns, repeating the same cycles. A professional will guide you along the path that best suits you, for many such paths exist. I have tried several and continue to do so. All are very powerful and each person will find a different one that works for them.

To me they are all different roads to the same outcome of cleaning up rubbish in our minds.

Michelle Owen
Michelle is a C.H.E.K Practitioner Level 3 and CHEK Holistic Lifestyle Coach Level 3. With a successful studio in Auckland, New Zealand, Michelle works as a Postural and Wellness Specialist, Lifestyle Coach and Practitioner. She also offers onsite Corporate Wellness Seminars and has spoken for a number of corporate companies including Hyatt Regency, Kensington Swan and ANZ Bank. As a Key Note Speaker, Michelle is passionate about bringing the CHEK principles to people everywhere.
www.michelleowen.co.nz
www.stitchedup.co.nz

FIT JOINTS Series #1: Atlas “The Master Control Centre”

Introducing a new contributor to the HQH Fitness blog – Dr. Theresa Dobson.

PART ONE OF THE “FIT JOINTS” SERIES

Introduction

Let’s have a look under your skin. OOOUCH!!!

No doubt you have spoken that profound word (amongst others) when you have engaged in the journey of a joint injury. Most of us have and this is not surprising considering life in the 2011’s requires most of us to be endurance athletes in and out of our work environment:

We wake to an alarm, toes to carpet and we’re off rushing in to the new day.

Combine that with the fact that most sports, jobs and hobbies (both recreational and professional) require that we use our bodies in very imbalanced and repetitive movement patterns…and our bodies will be sure to remind us of it at the end of each day!

Years of experience as a Chiropractor, Sports Practitioner, and having the delightful challenge of working with professional athletes, coaches and trainers in the full spectrum of sports has taught me that most joint injuries occur within a very small range within the joint – generally when a joint is taken past its normal end range of motion to the minute amount of 0-4 degrees.

Indeed this sounds quite ridiculous!

However, when you understand the intimate relationship of the body’s “playful threesome”:

Tendons + Ligaments + Muscle

which make up the basic foundation for joint movement, you too will become intrigued at the intimacy of this relationship.

So…lets take a peak beneath our skin!

FACT: There are 206 bones in the human body (note that this number will vary slightly for those special genetic off throws). In order for these eager bones to move and perform for us, they require the assistance of the “playful threesome”.  This threesome literally become the pulley and lever system for the bones. Quite honestly it is like a game of puppetry. Without this pulley and lever system we wouldn’t be much more mobile or interesting than a sea slug!

Here is a user friendly version of the threesome:

  • Ligaments are strong fibres (like thick fishing lines) binding bone to bone, allowing and limiting motion and providing attachment sites for muscle tendons.
  • Tendons are fibrous tissue (again like fishing lines) connecting muscles to bones.
  • Muscles are tissue made up of contractile fibres ( like elastic bands) that effect and create movement of bones.

So in short, as the muscle contracts, it shortens. With support of the tendon attachment to the bone it levers the bones in different directions depending on the joint type and shape. Ligaments secure, protect and hold bones together. This “threesome” allow our body’s the joy of movement!

So to keep a joint fit and healthy, we must keep it within the range of motion dictated by the joint shape and function as well as the ligament’s protective grip.

Joint Injuries in Relation to Sports:

Most sports force imbalanced muscle demands, demands which twist us one direction, loading one side of our joints, ligaments, tendons and muscles. This creates uneven contracted strong muscles on one side and weak, loose muscles on the other, in turn putting tremendous stress across the joint which ripens it for injury.

Then an athlete takes this stressed joint out to play and the slightest 0-4 degrees of unfamiliar movement or impact punishes the joint or muscle. In turn this angry joint punishes you!

A postural / length tension assessment can reveal and correct imbalances, but should be done by a qualified practitioner.

Not so FAQ’s…but on the “need to know” list:

Muscles heal quicker than tendons/ ligaments as they hog large amounts of blood (which contains the jewels of healing), whereas ligaments/tendons get very little blood and heal slowly (Zen patience required!).

JOINT OF THE MONTH:

This month I will address the most important joint – the top of the spine is top on my list.

“The Master Control Centre” – C1 (Atlas Vertebra).

Located just behind your earlobe, your atlas is a 2-ounce bone at the top of your neck that is responsible for supporting the weight of your head – which can weigh between 9 and 17 pounds! Not only is the atlas the first bone in your neck, but it is the foundation of your head and centre of balance of your body.

The atlas surrounds and protects the upper spinal cord and brain stem region, and houses over three trillion of your nerve fibres that live feed ingoing/outgoing data from your brain to your whole body.

It is critical for an athlete to have this checked, as a misaligned atlas can affect reaction time, balance, speed, recovery, sleep, immune system, and peripheral vision – just to name a few.

Did you know:

Your atlas can be misaligned via impact, muscle imbalance, repetitive movements and stress. And in most cases you won’t even realise!

What exactly is a “misaligned atlas”?

A misaligned atlas is essentially “vertebral subluxation”, where the head is not quite centred. And when your head is not sitting level over your atlas vertebra, your whole body can twist off centre. Essentially this creates a “domino effect” due to the pressure at the brain stem affecting your whole nerve system that feeds information to every part of your body On an x-ray, it simply looks like the head is at an angle to the base of the neck. In some cases it can be incredibly subtle, in others more extreme.

Side effects:

A misaligned atlas can result in tight neck muscles, neck pain, organ and joint dysfunction and the common headache. In some cases it can refer down the spine and result in lower back pain or other injuries or symptoms.

How can you tell if an Atlas is misaligned?

As a chiropractor, I studied the Atlas-Axis complex for four years – there’s much more to it than you may realise! Through specific tests, touch and observation I can tell immediately. However most people don’t have the luxury to spend four years on this one area!

Practitioners may use X-Rays as well as tests to observe the feet – looking at leg-length discrepancies. Others may be able to observe that simply by doing a postural assessment. A C.H.E.K Practitioner learns two key tests that can indicate if an Atlas is misaligned – one is a marching test, and the second is using two weight scales and identifying a weight shift. If you are interested in learning more, I recommend you seek out a C.H.E.K Practitioner or look into the CHEK program for further study.

How to fix it:

Atlas correction is a passive avenue to gain huge sporting advantages. However it is a very specialized field, so you will always need to go to – or refer your client to – a specialist in this area. Important note: Always be very aware of the specialist you use or refer to, because a simple “neck crack” does not always suffice! Often neck adjustments performed in this manner do not target the specific area of the joint that needs adjusting. There is a reason I spent four years studying this one area, and that is because it is incredibly complex. Rather than a generic approach, my method is to make small and specific adjustments in the area required, to ensure that my patient’s specific needs are addressed. I recommend you seek out someone who does the same if you suspect an atlas problem in the spine.

Next month’s FIT JOINT Series article will focus on the Knee.

Dr. Theresa Dobson

Doctor of Chiropractric, Neck Specialist, Neuromuscular Therapist, Biokinetics Practitioner, CHEK Holistic Lifestyle Coach Level II, Sports-Specific Practitioner and Seminar Presenter, Dr. Theresa Dobson has a long-standing rep utation as a highly experienced and knowledgeable practitioner. With two clinics located in Auckland and on the North Shore, Theresa works with a wide spectrum of patients such as professional rugby players, boxers, surfers, yachtsmen, cyclists, motor racers, soccer players, as well as recreational sportsmen and women of all age groups. Theresa is currently setting up a new business, guiding people through the “Dos and Don’ts” of surgery, offering programs and seminars to advise patients how to manage their pain effectively.
www.activecare.co.nz         www.stitchedup.co.nz
Theresa Dobson welcomes your emails at info@activecare.co.nz

Make What Is Yours

By Josh Smith

“The only time success comes before work is in the dictionary”…

The freedom to choose; to decide; and to determine our own outcomes is the most powerful ability human beings have over our animal counterparts.

We have the ability to see a situation unfolding, process it, and then decide which path of future action we wish to take. More often than not, we take the paths that are familiar to us, that have meaning to us, and which allow us to continue living comfortably and happily. And more often than not there is nothing wrong with this!

But I believe it is the continual striving for the comfortable, the need for the familiar, and the lack of motivation to break free of the ‘norm’, that all too often limits our chances to transcend our capabilities.

How often have you heard it said of famous authors, inventors, and entrepreneurs that their success comes not from following the paths of those in front of them, but from beating down new paths behind them? They forge their own way; creating new beliefs, developing new philosophies and changing the consciousness of hundreds, thousands or even MILLIONS of people in the process!

These people live life knowing that the decisions they make and how they choose to spend their time has a direct impact upon the way their life pans out, and ultimately, the successes to which themselves, their families and their businesses reach.

So this month I ask the following:

Is your time being best used to maximise your potential life success?

Do you spend time working on developing yourself, becoming better in your chosen field of work or establishing and maintaining healthy relationships with your friends and family?

If not…is now the time to do so?

It is constantly said that it is small things we do, day to day, that make the biggest differences in our lives.

So today…

  • Instead of spending your lunch break talking about last night’s X-Factor or Biggest Loser results, why not spending it engaging a co-worker in a meaningful conversation?
  • Instead of sneaking minutes looking over friends’ photos and news feeds on Facebook, why not spend those minutes trawling the net for informative articles and stories?

You will be amazed at how your life can change from just swapping the minutes you spend on intellect-depleting distractions to energy-creating pro-actions!

It is within you.

Josh Smith
Josh is the Director of Mitise Health & Fitness, offering Personal Training, Nutritional Guidance, Lifestyle Coaching, Personal Development, Corporate Seminars, BootCamps and Boxing Groups. Josh is a qualified CHEK Exercise Coach, CHEK Holistic Lifestyle Coach Level 1 and GRAVITYPersonalTrainer, along with various other qualifications and trainings, and is a very inspirational individual. Mitise (pronounced my-ties) is a word invented by Josh and actually stands for “It is within/in Me“. Check out the spelling of Mitise and you’ll see the connection. Clever huh!

www.mitisehealth.com
twitter.com/MitiseHealth

Posture and Pain

By Michelle Owen.

The Impact of Forward Head Posture.

Other than acute injury or trauma, most of the mild discomfort or chronic pain felt in the neck, shoulders and back are contributed by adopting poor posture. This adoption of poor posture can start in our early childhood years and progressively develop over time into pain, discomfort and for some, debilitating illness.

In Fig 1 (right) we see on the left good posture – where the line running through the ear, middle of the shoulder (as well as the hip and ankle if they were in view).

On the right however, we see that the head has migrated forward and the ear lobe does not line up.

Every inch your head is forward in posture, you are adding the additional weight of your head.

If your head posture is 3 inches forward from the correct position you will have added 3 times the normal weight, which is an additional 10 to 15 kg of load on the spinal column where the head and neck joins the back (Fig 1 No 1 & 2).

The effects are never felt immediately as neck and back problems develop over time and can start from a very early age, for example from poor sitting posture at school or carrying heavy back packs.

As a result of having a forward head posture and rounded shoulders, (Fig 1 No 3) the angle of the first rib gets depressed. The result of this is that major organs in your body will become compressed and not be able to sit in their proper location and position. This restricts them from proper healthy function and adds additional and unnecessary stress to your body. It will also affect your overall wellness, vitality and quality of life.

Quite often people will develop a fatty tissue deposit called a Dowager’s Hump located where the neck meets the upper spine, as the body attempts to stabilise the additional head weight. There is also a huge pressure exerted on the spinal cord (Fig 1 No 2). Its ability to carry messages and feelings is restricted and impaired to the point where we suffer severe problems.

Other examples of areas affected by poor posture are poor lymphatic drainage and poor circulation throughout your body – the pump system including the heart, diaphragm etc.

The spine also houses the spinal cord, which is an intricate sensory network that runs through the vertebrae to transmit feeling and movement commands from the brain throughout the entire body.

When posture is poor we are putting pressure on the whole nervous system and this is extremely draining to our daily energy and vitality.

Correcting Poor Posture

If you have forward head posture you will most likely have other related issues that also need to be addressed. The only way to correct poor posture is to treat the body as a whole.

As a C.H.E.K. Practitioner Level 3, I will begin with a comprehensive in-depth Postural and Orthopedic Analysis. From this assessment I can determine which muscles are tight, weak or long.

Once a program has been designed to correct the imbalances in the body that are causing the discomfort or pain, the client begins to learn a specific stretching plan to stretch “the tight muscles only”. Upon mastering this we would move along to stabilise the spine and the weak muscles throughout the body that we found during the assessment.

From there we move into functional movement patterns that we do on a daily basis, to strengthen the body as a whole. This becomes the base of the strength and conditioning program to move the client into other goals that they may want to achieve. These may include things such as body fat loss, muscle shape/tone, and strength for home, work or sports.

Our body is just like a car. We can be a vintage in great condition or a new model all beaten up and not running well. Age does not have to determine our condition.

If you have mild discomfort now, it will not correct itself, it will only amplify as time goes on.

Remember, prevention is always better than cure!

Footnote

If you have imbalance in your body and you do a balanced fitness programme you will have no chance to correct the imbalance. Fixing muscle imbalance is very individualised. Your body needs to be coached out of imbalance through specific exercise as well as a re-education process that addresses every other area of your life, e.g. sitting, walking, lifting, working positions etc. This is done at a neural, (brain) level. We have to re-educate the way that we think about our posture.

Also, you could have the best exercise program in the world but if you did not apply the six foundation principles you may not have the ability to recover and repair. Using the 6 Life Principles we can support the postural correction with improvements in our overall wellness. For more on the 6 Life Principles visit www.michelleowen.co.nz

A Note from Michelle.

In this article you have read about the impact of poor head posture and the effect this has on our whole body. It is
imperative to point out that any poor posture in any part of our bodies impacts on the rest of our body. I am using Forward Head Posture as an example and it is only one common postural dysfunction that isrequired to be treated in many people.

Information resourced from “C.H.E.K Practitioner Level 3 manual” from Paul Chek and the C.H.E.K Institute.

Michelle Owen
Michelle is a C.H.E.K Practitioner Level 3 and CHEK Holistic Lifestyle Coach Level 3. With a successful studio in Auckland, New Zealand, Michelle works as a Postural and Wellness Specialist, Lifestyle Coach and Practitioner. She also offers onsite Corporate Wellness Seminars and has spoken for a number of corporate companies including Hyatt Regency, Kensington Swan and ANZ Bank. As a Key Note Speaker, Michelle is passionate about bringing the CHEK principles to people everywhere.

www.michelleowen.co.nz

Expand, Grow, Live!

Insight from Josh Smith

Looking out of Mitise Health and Fitness’ office window, I am able to see vast distances in all directions.

I can view the steadily rising Adelaide Hills in the south, with houses scattered sparsely across their slopes. Blending down into the densely populated inner city suburbs, the hills gradually make way for the towering concrete buildings of the CBD, stacked floor upon floor of workers, day in, day out.

As I scan further to the north, I am able to see the new projects our government is undertaking, from the new hospital to new housing estates and local community developments. Continuing my scan west, I eventually come to the see the deep blue sea of the Gulf, with its shipping port acting as a gateway to the world’s oceans.

During this relatively quick viewing of my small home town, I came to the realisation that there is a substantial amount of opportunity in the world for us as individuals:

  • For business growth
  • For personal development
  • For social connections
  • For education
  • For financial gain
  • For physical capabilities

…just to name a few.

These opportunities are presented to us every day, in our work, our home lives, and during our spare time. But what do we do with them? What CAN we do with them?

Well…

YOU can develop, build, and change any of these in any which way you see fit, given the right amount of time and effort.

YOU can start a business, today, and build it to be bigger than Nike or McDonalds.

YOU are able to read, which gives you access to hundreds of thousands of personal development coaches, gurus and experts the world over, in books and magazines.

YOU can learn, from any and all of these coaches, strategies to look at the world differently, to relate to people better, and to increase the quality of your life.

YOU can join new sporting teams, social groups or professional bodies.

YOU can pick up a new textbook, download a new podcast, or watch a new DVD, and immediately learn something new about the world.

YOU have the ability to save more money, whether its one dollar or one hundred dollars, and re-invest it to make you MORE money.

YOU can spend more time at the gym or the local park, or you can take the stairs instead of the elevator.

YOU can lift more weights, go for a longer run or join a Pilates class, taking your body ever closer to that body you always dreamed of.

YOU could repeat this process over and over again, gaining new friends, new networks, bigger business, more financial freedom, unlimited knowledge, a greater level of self awareness, of social responsibility, of physical capacity.

Yet you don’t.

Why not?

Is it time that you did something different? Time you explored new avenues, or finally stepped out of your comfort zone?

It is only by getting out of our current comfort zones that we can seek to grow and develop as human beings, taking ourselves to that next level, the one we are always striving for yet never seem to reach.

So this month I challenge you to take the first step, climb that first rung, and do something different to that which you have always done. You will never know where it may lead you…

Josh Smith
Josh is the Director of Mitise Health & Fitness, offering Personal Training, Nutritional Guidance, Lifestyle Coaching, Personal Development, Corporate Seminars, BootCamps and Boxing Groups. Josh is a qualified CHEK Exercise Coach, CHEK Holistic Lifestyle Coach Level 1 and GRAVITYPersonalTrainer, along with various other qualifications and trainings, and is a very inspirational individual. Mitise (pronounced my-ties) is a word invented by Josh and actually stands for “It is within/in Me“. Check out the spelling of Mitise and you’ll see the connection. Clever huh!

www.mitisehealth.com
twitter.com/MitiseHealth

Sleep-Wake Cycle

By Michelle Owen

Sleep and Maintaining A Good Body Clock

Each of us has an internal body clock called the Suprachaismatic Nucleus that regulates our daily sleep-wake patterns. This is often referred to as the “Body Clock” and it governs the release and timing of most mood, energy and sleep related hormones.

The body clock is dependant on light signals to function properly each day, dawn and dusk allows us to know when wake up or go to sleep.

For many people their lifestyles, living conditions, work, health and other conditions don’t allow them to get the correct sleep-wake signals anymore.

When we don’t get these correct signals, our sleep – wake patterns suffer and this can develop into a sleep disorder. When we have disrupted sleep patterns our body becomes stressed from the release of hormones at incorrect times in the day.

Good quality sleep gives the body a chance to repair, recover and heal.

  • We get our physiological recovery between 10pm and 12am
  • We get our psychological and nervous system recovery between 2am and 6am.

If you are getting into bed at 12pm on a regular basis it means that you are missing two hours a night of your physical recovery. This can result in all sorts of aches pains and niggles that will simply not get better.

When our bodies are healthy we can get away with the odd late night here or there without affecting us too much. However, when we abuse our sleep times on a regular basis, this becomes a major stress to the body, upsetting hormonal balance and causing adrenal fatigue. When the body is under stress of any sort, the immune system suffers…THERE ARE NO EXCEPTIONS TO THIS!

But what if my sleeping patterns are due to my job?

Sometimes we cannot change our sleeping situation, for example, shift workers or parents with new babies. In these situations it is important to look after yourself in all other areas of your life to reduce overall load, that’s where the Six Foundation Life Principles come in.

Our daily sleep-wake patterns are called circadian rhythms. ‘Circadian‘ is Latin for ‘about a day‘. If you struggle with sleep, a circadian rhythm disorder is probably a factor. The body clock uses signals like sunlight and darkness to know when to produce the active hormones and when to shut them down and release the night time withdrawal and sleep hormones.

Our bodies crave and need regularity in all areas of our lives and this is not just related to sleep. Our bodies thrive when we have regular eating, sleeping, hydration, exercise and other important life principles. If we have the required regularity then our system will be in time with our body clock. When we lose the regularity that our system needs them we suffer in many areas.

Things that inhibit sleep

Many things can disrupt our sleep-wake cycles:

  • Working late in bright lights (especially fluorescent)
  • Electromagnetic stress from computers
  • TVs flickering
  • Training at high intensities late in the evening
  • Coffee
  • Energy drinks
  • Sweet desserts
  • And more!

In addition, alcohol and sugar can both make you crash to sleep but then wake later in the night through a drop in blood sugar level, to find yourself tossing and turning in the early hours and feeling hungry.

Toxicity in the body is also a common thing today as people eat more and more processed foods, bad fats, food colourings and preservatives.

Entrainment is another factor. People can retrain a sleep pattern with in 7 to 21 days. For example if you stay up till midnight for three weeks in a row your internal body clock will be trained to wait till midnight to start Cortisol reduction. This means melatonin, the sleep recovery and repair hormone kick in very late and you will be robbed of recovery time. Over time this can lead to chronic fatigue, adrenal stress, suppressed immune function and poor or impaired physiological repair resulting in aches pains and niggles.

Did you know…

When you get up in the night and switch on a light your sleep-wake centre will think the light is dawn and it will release Cortisol, serotonin and other alertness hormones. This diminishes the melatonin (sleep hormone) and makes it difficult to resume your sleep.You get back into bed and you try to get back to sleep. Your body has gone into wake-up mode and this is why many people have trouble getting back to sleep.

Sleeping In The Day

If you have to sleep during the day I recommend that you always wear an eye mask and make the room as dark as possible. This will reduce the amount of light filtering through eye lids and assist in a better quality of nap or sleep.

By doing this you will get a far better quality of sleep and you will wake up feeling a lot more refreshed than if you try to sleep without one.

Tips to assist you in getting good quality sleep:

As the evening goes you can assist with the reduction of Cortisol (stress hormone) from your body and increase melatonin (sleep hormone). There are many ways to do this and everyone will have something different that appeals to them. Some of these are:

  • A hot relaxing bath
  • Dim the lights
  • Candles
  • Massage
  • Deep diaphragmatic breathing
  • Meditation
  • Soft music
  • Positive reading

As well as these, the following tips are helpful:

  • It is healthy for your sleep cycle if you do not go to bed with either a full or on an empty stomach.
  • Eating a correct snack for your Metabolic Type will help greatly with the quality of your sleep.
  • If you have a busy mind try writing your thoughts in a journal to get them out instead of them racing around in your head while trying to sleep.

Sleep well.

Information resourced from “How to Eat, Move and Be Healthy!” by Paul Chek, available from www.hqh.com

Michelle Owen
Michelle is a C.H.E.K Practitioner Level 3 and CHEK Holistic Lifestyle Coach Level 3. With a successful studio in Auckland, New Zealand, Michelle works as a Postural and Wellness Specialist, Lifestyle Coach and Practitioner. She also offers onsite Corporate Wellness Seminars and has spoken for a number of corporate companies including Hyatt Regency, Kensington Swan and ANZ Bank. As a Key Note Speaker, Michelle is passionate about bringing the CHEK principles to people everywhere.

www.michelleowen.co.nz

Priorities

By Josh Smith

Coming in to a high amount of business growth over the past month and a half has meant that for me, I have had to re-evaluate and re-prioritise my current lifestyle and the direction my current choices are taking me.

Having this discussion with a few friends and clients of mine, it seems that for many people – what they actually want from life, and the current direction that they are going in, are two very different things!

How often do you hear “I wish that my life was better” or “Nothing ever goes my way”, or another, generally as equally miserable, saying along the same lines?

If you had to ask me, I would say that I hear these types of sayings uttered at least 3 to 5 times per week, and I’m sure you would be the same. With the advent of social media and the ease of ‘status updates’, you might even see these sayings 3 to 5 times PER DAY!

Being the type of person I am, I like to challenge these types of people on what they actually mean by their sayings. More often than not I get answers that, when broken down further, relate to discrepancies between how they currently prioritise their life and what is needed to achieve the outcomes they wish for.

So you wish to get paid more? Then while you are at work why spend time playing on social media, reading the newspaper or taking long lunch breaks? In my mind that is not something the boss will pay you extra to do!

In the health and fitness industry, it is imperative we teach our clients to prioritise correctly. In my role as a lifestyle coach and business mentor to personal trainers, I spend hours each week delving into the deeper recesses of my clients minds, uncovering exactly HOW they are currently prioritising and WHERE they need to make changes.

So this week I ask you: are your priorities leading you in the right direction?

  • Are there things you want to achieve; business growth, physical development, or financial gains, that are being hindered by your current subconscious attitudes?
  • Are you spending too much time socialising, procrastinating or focusing on the less important things?
  • Do you find yourself spending major time on minor things?

If so then I urge you to take a deeper look at yourself.

Take some to reflect upon your goals, and start to uncover the behaviours and habits that are impeding your progress towards them. Write them down, remember them, and learn what it is that is taking away from your ideal lifestyle.

Only by knowing what is not good for you, can you develop the behaviours that will be GREAT for you!

Josh Smith
Josh is the Director of Mitise Health & Fitness which offers Personal Training, Nutritional Guidance, Lifestyle Coaching, Personal Development, Corporate Seminars, BootCamps and Boxing Groups. Josh is a qualified CHEK Exercise Coach, CHEK Holistic Lifestyle Coach Level 1 and GRAVITYPersonalTrainer, along with various other qualifications and trainings, and is a very inspirational individual. Mitise (pronounced my-ties) is a word invented by Josh and actually stands for “It is within/in Me“. Check out the spelling of Mitise and you’ll see the connection. Clever huh!

www.mitisehealth.com
twitter.com/MitiseHealth

Visualisation & Meditation – Can It Help Your Fitness Performance?

By Mikhael East

People often ask me about the importance of meditation and visualisation, often getting the two mixed up and often with a preconceived notion that it is not something “for them”.

Many think that visualisation requires the capacity to “see” films running in your head, like watching a movie (this is true for some but not for most), whilst meditation is something done only by Yogis or chilled out Byron Bay peeps!

But when you look at the definitions…it’s not so black and white.

Visualisation: -noun
1. the act or an instance of visualizing
2. a technique involving focusing on positive mental images in order to achieve a particular goal

Meditation: -noun
1. the act of meditating
2. continued or extended thought; reflection; contemplation.

Visualisation and meditation are two sides of the same coin, both with a different face. And like any technique, there are elements to learn to get the most out of them. The good news is that it is easy to learn, and just like your fitness routine, the main thing you will need in order to make it work is making time for it!

  • Visualisation is using your imagination to focus in your head (usually with eyes closed) on a desirable result that you seek. For example, you might want to see yourself as you will appear in the future looking fabulous and emanating fitness and exuberance.
  • Meditation is the act of concentrating on this image and engaging as many of the other senses as you can to make it feel real. For the snapshot of time that you are lying on your mat doing the meditation, your visualisation is real.

The trick is in making time to “spend” your coin. Practice makes perfect, and just like training a muscle, the repetition will improve your chances of success.

Can it help with my training and fitness goals?

Yes! Sports teams, institutes, and athletes alike swear by this technique as a means to not only help them achieve their goals, but also help with overall mental clarity and focus. Visualisation can also take the form of mentally rehearsing your training program or sport as a means of pre-planning or setting what you are about to manifest in the physical world.

The act of taking time out to slow down and focus – to centre and be with yourself – does wonders for your stress levels and sense of well being. Slowing down to focus and concentrate is not equivalent to being “soft” or taking a soft approach. Like many of the martial arts disciplines teach, it is the slowing down and the focus that brings great power to what it is you are trying to achieve. Besides, being on “full throttle” 100% will lead to burning out very quickly.

As with any discipline, visualisation and meditation requires time and patience to master. In the process, you will be giving yourself permission to relax! Once you get into it, you can really start to notice the results and benefits. Try the simple technique outlined below and see for yourself!

A simple technique…example of someone who has a goal body they want to achieve…

  1. Find a space to get comfortable in with no distractions.
  2. Count yourself down from 10 to 1 where you find yourself in a deep relaxed state.
  3. Find yourself in a room where a pedestal is placed, well lit in the centre. On this pedestal, see yourself standing there in your goal body, or future self body.
  4. Take time to notice every muscle, every curve; how strong you look; how lean you are, and how much energy you seem to be exuding; make sure you notice every detail from toe to crown.
  5. Now begin to feel that goal body. How does it feel to have this amount of optimal health?
  6. Step off the pedestal and walk around and notice how well you carry yourself.
  7. Notice the quality of your breath.
  8. Hear your footsteps as you walk.
  9. Does your new body have a scent attached to it? What is it like?
  10. Move your tongue about in your mouth and notice if you have a new taste?
  11. Take a few moments to continue experiencing your new form.
  12. Take a deep breath, and count down from 7 to 1. On the count of one you find yourself back in the room feeling awake, relaxed, and grounded.

Things you can do to enhance your meditation and visualisation experiences:

  • Light – use mood lighting and/or light candles
  • Smell – use a diffuser to “burn” essential oils. Some great ones are for meditation are frankincense and myrrh
  • Feel – try meditating in the bath – Dead Sea salt can enhance the experience
  • Isolation – make sure you will not be interrupted or disturbed
  • Physical – try having an object on a table near you; a physical representation of your goal can help your focus

Mikhael East

Mikhael is a Mr. Fitness Australia Champion, a GRAVITY Master Trainer, Personal Trainer and Group Exercise Instructor. He has taught over 4500 and lives and breathes fitness. He loves bodybuilding, exploring new ways to get fit and stronger, and helping others to find their fullest fitness potential.

www.mikhaeleast.com
www.wingedphysiquefitness.com.au