Wednesday, 8 January 2014
Friday, 5 July 2013
Thursday, 6 June 2013
If you have joint hypermobility syndrome, you may be at increased risk of injuring your joints – for example, by partially or completely dislocating them (when the joint comes out of its correct position). Joints, particularly the shoulder or knee-cap, can dislocate if overstretched.
A dislocated joint will need to be moved back into place, usually in hospital, in a procedure called a reduction. Some people with joint hypermobility syndrome may be able to put their joints back into place themselves. However, you should still seek medical attention if you have dislocated a joint.
You may also be at increased risk of soft tissue injuries such as:
- tenosynovitis – inflammation (swelling) of the protective sheath around a tendon (the tough, rubbery cords that link muscles to bones)
- bursitis – inflammation of a bursa (a small, fluid-filled sac found over the joints and between tendons and bones)
- epicondylitis (tennis elbow) – a condition that affects the outside of the elbow, causing swelling and pain
Monday, 13 May 2013
Monday, 22 October 2012
I don't like to make excuses for any shortcomings or shit sessions, but I truly do think being ill has affected my performance in the gym. It doesn't matter massively as I'm not training to compete or anything. But it's frustrating feeling like you're going backwards rather than forwards. Shit happens I suppose. Happens to everyone at some point, I just have to get my head round it and not let it piss me off too much.
I still haven't managed to get my support belt back from the place I left it; this is also a bit of a hindrance as I felt a bit wonky when I was deadlifting. I went up to 45kg (for reps) which is down 7.5kg from my best, for reps. Not the end of the world really; the weight felt fine on the first couple, I just fatigued really quickly and was struggling to breathe due to being full to the brim with mucus. Urggggh I fucking hate winter! I've struggled to sleep because I've been coughing every night, so I really can believe now that being well rested makes a huge difference to your performance.
Another thing I've been trying to do is cut down on my caffeine & sugar intake; this would probably have an impact (albeit small) on how I feel throughout a gym session. Amazing how things that are bad for you, really do make you feel good! Always the way...
After deadlifting, I went on to lat pull downs & nearly ripped my thumb off adjusting the height on the machine. Luckily I moved quickly enough and just ripped the skin off - I say luckily, it hurt like a bitch; but at least I still have my thumb attached to my hand. Always a winner! After having my bleeding thumb tended to by the lovely Clayton, I walked back over to Terry & said "well that's totally fucked everything. I can't do anything now", to which he replied "yes you can. Just don't use your thumb". Sympathetic as always. It's amazing how much you use your thumb without realising - I've been practically disabled (more than normal) since doing it. Even taking the handbrake off in my car requires a little extra thought now.
My leg day didn't go much better than the back session; as before, I felt flat and fatigued. I'm not as snotty/phlegmy as I was, so I'm assuming I'm on the mend. My squatting did not substantiate that fact. I have previously squatted 50kg for 5 reps with ease. There was definitely more to give on that occasion. Based on this, I expected to be around the same level this week, rather than declining. I worked up to 40kg and just felt flat. I even borrowed Emmy's super strong lifting belt, wore my knee supports and still felt like a sack of shit. My legs were burning, I felt wobbly and I was out of breath within 2 reps...?! Wtf! My fitness has severely decreased; I really need to work on this to be able to get through a gym session without feeling like I'm going to keel over. I know I've been really unwell literally the whole of October, but that's just taking the piss.
Moaning done (for now), I then went on to do some more leg work on machines and still felt pretty lame. Same weights as usual, same number of reps - I just struggled to get through it far more than normal. Terry also made me do some step ups onto a box while holding dumbbells. I did not fucking enjoy this one bit. The box was higher than my knees, too fucking high if you ask me! I was muttering and swearing the whole time, for all the good that did - he just told me to 'shut the fuck up and get on with it', which I ignored and carried on swearing anyway. I did some extra squats using the monolift as I felt my earlier ones were crap - I did 10 reps just to feel like I'd done something; the bar in the monolift weighs 5kg more than a regular bar, so I just did extra reps rather than adding extra weight. I followed this with complaining about having to do planks; they're so painful and boring. I did them anyway - regular and both sides. Unfortunately, a necessary evil.
Since commencing my training, things have definitely improved within my physical being. I can get myself out of bed EVERY day with no help, my pain has decreased massively and I no longer have to take as many painkillers to get through the day. In fact, I will be coming off of them entirely within the next couple of weeks. This is primarily because of my work situation, but it's best to not have to rely on narcotics in an attempt to have a normal life; ideally I'd like to make that happen by myself through training, stretching and supplements/vitamins/diet.
Considering I've done absolutely fuck all exercise most of my life, I'm surprised by how little my body has changed since starting out. My arms, shoulders & back are much more defined than they were - great; they were never problem areas to begin with. My 'ab' (note the lack of 's' on the end - I only have 1 ab) looks the same as always, as do my thighs & arse. The older I get, the more pear shaped I become. This is something that I think can only be rectified by doing fat burning exercise and changing my diet. Boo :( I can honestly say, my body is (currently) built by:
Greasy fry ups
It's my own fault for following a strongman diet on top of my already horrific eating habits. I do blame myself, no one forces me to eat like a pig. Time to change...
You can do loads of sit-ups & have amazing abs, but what's the point if they're covered in a layer of fat? You can't even see what's built up underneath. This is something that has stuck with me since first reading Bruce Lee's book about the art of the human body. Time to listen!
Anyhoo, time for bed soon as I'm ill and knackered. I'll update again soon... Promise...
Thursday, 4 October 2012
I had a couple of really positive training sessions at the gym, gaining PB's on pretty much everything I did. Terry was really pleased with my progress even more so than usual. No complaining, good form, good consistency, bigger weights & generally better/quicker recovery on my rest days. I did a 52.5kg deadlift for 2 sets of 3 reps in my last session which was impressive (for my standard) compared to my previous best of 50kg for 1 rep or 45kg for sets of 5 reps. So all was looking great in my stupid crippled world of hypermobility.
As anyone who follows my blog will remember, my car broke so I had a bit of an enforced break from the gym due to no transport. I was given a car to use by a friend; another extremely reliable German car in fact. So once again we had transport... Until the ignition barrel of reliable German car no.2 fucking broke & we couldn't turn the bastard car off; even taking the key out of the ignition did nothing, the engine just continued to run... So once again I was trapped at home with no way of getting anywhere. Luckily my best friend leant me his Toyota for a week so that I could get to work at 4am every day. That car is the ultimate in reliability; it's old as fuck, has no air con, but always gets you from A to B with no issues. Unfortunately I can't keep it forever so had to hand it back before me & Terry headed off to Los Angeles for this year's Worlds Strongest Man. Talk about shitty timing huh?? As if life wasn't already stressful enough without having to worry about that situation!
Luckily the hotel we were staying in had a gym, so I was hoping to get back on track with my training to stop myself seizing up the whole trip. I wasn't expecting a fully kitted out amazing gym, but what equipment they actually had was fantastic... For losing weight. Cross trainers & treadmills. Awesome. Both of absolutely no use to me other than for a bit of fat burning or cardio. There was also a vintage piece of equipment with some weights on it - so vintage, that we had to look at the instructions on how to use it. So basically I did some lat pull downs, some rows, chest press & some leg extensions. It was shit & I didn't bother entering the 'fitness studio' again on my trip. I contracted tonsillitis & a stomach bug too, so it was best I just let the heat do its job on my body. I've put some pictures on so you can see the crapness of the 'gym'. All I needed was a medicine ball or a couple of dumbbells. Even a bar with a few weights. It's hard to improvise around total uselessness!
I went back to Bulks yesterday for the first time in a while - car is running (touch wood) & although I'm really unwell with kidney & chest infections, I really couldn't wait to get a workout done. Seeing as I left my support belt in the pub (haha, yes! This is true) I had to do upper body until I can go & collect it. Terry trained with me which was a bit of an annoyance for him. Seeing as we take our lifts in turns, it's quite inconvenient for him to keep removing lots of 20kg plates for my go! We got through it anyway, and although I felt like a useless sack of crap, apparently I hadn't lost any strength and was still doing the same weights I was pre-broken car(s) & LA. All was not lost.
One thing I'd like to mention about post workout protein... Jay convinced me to have a protein shot as they're a lot quicker to drink, have 0g fat & sugars & have good amounts of what my body needs. I think I'll fuck that idea off in future & do some extra fat burning to be able to have a protein shake instead. It tasted foul. Like rancid, fruity, sour, coffee poop. I need to learn. Why do I keep drinking these disgusting things?? Never again.
I've learnt some very interesting things from a sports masseuse I saw prior to my trip to America. He tested my joints & said as expected, they are extremely lax because of my hypermobility. An unexpected finding, was my muscles being the exact opposite of my joints; extremely stiff & hard. A well looked after muscle should feel soft when it's not being tensed. Mine constantly feel hard & this is why I struggle to move sometimes. Another interesting point he brought up was about my working day. I sit in a train for the majority of the day. What does a train do? It shudders & vibrates when it's moving. What also does this? The power plate! Obviously a power plate is a lot more intense, but you only use them for short periods of time. 9+ hours is a very long time. For those of you who aren't sure about what a power plate is, here's a brief description: you do regular exercises while standing on or leaning on the power plate - it causes your muscles to work extra hard, thus shortening the length of your workout, but with the same results of a much longer one. By sitting in a vibrating machine all day, and quite often in a position of stress on certain joints or muscles, I'm actually exacerbating the problems that I have. I need to really take note of this and in future, sit with a more appropriate posture. Easier said than done right? But now that I'm aware of it, I can do my best to try and minimise the stress on my body.
I recently started randomly chatting with someone on a game I play on my phone, only to find he's a professor of musculoskeletal problems. Of all the people in the world, I make friends with someone who knows everything there is to know about my condition. On describing my various symptoms to him, he's said that I should be tested by a genetic specialist as he is sure that I have the vascular type of Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome. That type is the least common and the most dangerous as it involves the internal organs. Very frightening stuff. Armed with this information, I will be seeing my doctor this week & demanding to be sent to a specialist (again), and this time not taking no for an answer. When there's a possibility of serious health complications that could lead to my death, I think it's definitely worth pursuing further! Let's hope my doctor agrees & I don't have to force the matter by crying/complaining/having a mega tantrum.
Watch this space...
As always, I've added some pictures of me looking a total spaz in the gym. If there's anything in particular anyone would like me to add to my blogs, please do get in touch.
Adios for now :)
PS - my super cool grey t-shirt in the crappy LA gym is by 'Strong Stuff' - Phil Pfister's own brand of clothing. You can get them with keg toss, truck pull, atlas stones, dumbbell & other strongman designs on the back :)
Wednesday, 22 August 2012
I'm going to do this blog in a different way to normal. I forget how many people who read this are unfamiliar with my situation, my life & the way I speak. So I'm going to do some explaining & add some facts/info as well as talking about what I've done in training.
Hypermobility can affect lots of people, but it only becomes a syndrome if you suffer side affects/consequences because of it. So when you say to someone who has HMS "oh I've got that! I don't see why you're taking painkillers/seeing a Physio/in a wheelchair as I find it really cool to show people my tricks at parties", you clearly don't have the syndrome form. My mum has hypermobility in her elbows & her mum had it in her thumbs. My mum suffers no ill effect from it, therefore it's not a syndrome. It's just a cool/gross party trick.
I am from South East London and speak as such. I forget that people don't understand some of the things I say sometimes so please ask if it makes no sense to you! I recently had someone ask me to translate bits of my last blog into American for them - I was happy to oblige ;)
I sometimes moan about my personal trainers trying to kill me. It's all said in jest & that's just how I generally am with people. They aren't random trainers that are charging me the earth to try & injure me. They are not crappy fitness instructors that have done a 2 day online course for a qualification that isn't worth shit. They are important people in my life that are taking time out of their own schedules to help me get better. I'll list them below:
Terry Hollands - my husband & full time strongman. He was a judo champion when he was younger, has played professional rugby for teams in both New Zealand & England and is now a professional strongman. The most successful British competitor since the 90's, he mainly does international competitions rather than local lower level ones. He's competed at worlds strongest man 7 times (placed 3rd last time, made the final 6 times) & will be there for an 8th time next month. He's studied all aspects of strength training, nutrition & much more to aid his sport. He's also about to gain a qualification in personal training. He's been helping me out of bed and looking after me throughout this whole saga with my HMS so knows the pain I'm going through. He's the sole reason I'm training & if it wasn't for him I'd still be bedridden most of the time.
Jay Hughes - my good friend, former bodybuilder (placing 3rd at Junior Mr Universe) and one of the top British strongmen having competed at Britain's strongest man, amateur Arnold (Schwarzenegger) Classic & most recently at Europe's strongest man plus many more. He has an excellent knowledge of all aspects of training having come from such an eclectic sporting background. His knowledge of nutrition is extremely useful, particularly for someone such as myself who doesn't want to gain any weight.
Emmy Louise - my good friend and owner of Bulks Power & Strength Gym. She's done something not many have achieved; opened a strength & fitness gym that is clean, friendly & has tonnes of equipment whatever your goal may be. She has competed in strongwoman briefly and has now turned her hand to powerlifting. She has great knowledge of all aspects of gym training & even has her own supplement range. When Terry's busy, she takes the time to train with me even though she's often already done a heavy session a few hours before!
Clayton Nicholson - my good friend, former Muay Thai fighter who is now competing in strongman; he also does full time personal training at Bulks. He knows a lot of about stretching & flexibility which is extremely useful in my case.
So that's all my little (and not so little) helpers :) they all know their stuff and aren't trying to kill/injure me. They have my best interests at heart and when I moan about them, it's just messing about. Everything I've done has been trial and error; everyone is different and it's a case of finding what's right for you and your body.
By writing this blog I've met a lot of nice people; fellow sufferers, people who genuinely want to help and of course it wouldn't be complete without the people who have no clue about anything but think they're experts regardless. I am content that lifting weights is helping my condition. It's low impact, is helping to stabilise my bendy joints due to the strengthening of my muscles and is also giving my whole body a good stretch. I can now touch my toes 8 times out of 10 instead of 0 times in 15 years! I welcome advice & ideas from fellow sufferers/qualified therapists. I don't welcome criticism & ignorance. My husband knows what he's doing, he knows my limits and knows my situation. So the next person to tell me that lifting weights is the wrong thing to do (because they know better of course) shall be told to fuck right off :)
Another thing to point out is that HMS/EDS also comes with some other nasty issues. For years I've had kidney infections & UTI's as well as digestive problems. From doing research online, I've discovered that these can be linked to my condition. I'm hoping to get referred to a specialist once I change to a better doctor who isn't a complete fucking moron. All the investigations I've previously had have led to more confusion, so hopefully I'll have some answers to share soon.
Since my last blog, I've been to the gym 3 times and am considering adding some Pilates type exercises to my days away from the gym. Again it's low impact & will help strengthen my joints & aid with my recovery from lifting. My chest, shoulders and triceps day went well; I improved on all exercises, the weights went up or stayed the same but did extra reps. So I won't bore you with details. It was the usual bench press, shoulder pressing type thing that I normally do, but mixed up a bit to keep it interesting.
Leg day was a bit of a weird one. I arrived at the gym late as I'd had a really late night/early morning at work & was knackered. Emmy trained with me (bless her, she'd already done loads already) and we did loads of squats with medicine balls, leg extensions, calf stretches and straight leg deadlifts with 20kg & 30kg. A short session, but it was enough; we were going to watch a strongman competition afterwards which is knackering just to stand there watching! Legs felt fucked, so I feel it was plenty.
Back & biceps was yesterday with Terry. Deadlifting went really well; he was monitoring my form very closely to make sure I wasn't hurting myself. He was very pleased with the progress I've made as I did a PB of 50kg for 3, then 2 after doing all my warm up lifts (30kg for 5, 35kg for 5, 45kg for 5) followed by a set of 10 at 30kg. I trialled a support belt for the first time. It doesn't add anything to the lift, it just helps to keep my back in the right position and protects me from further injury. I'd definitely recommend getting one if you ever do deadlifting. This was my most successful session to date; I tried hard and got the job done and all while keeping a good form.
I did all my usual exercises (lat pull downs, bent over rows, face pulls etc) and with good form, Terry was very pleased with my progress. At the end he wanted me to do planks which I fucking hate, but they're important for my core work. I did regular planks on the exercise ball - how hard is that shit?!!! I think Terry & Jay just wanted to have a good old laugh at me looking like a spaz. It was criminal, trying to stop myself falling off was really bloody hard; particularly because I was laughing so much. I also did some side planks on the bench, they also sucked.
I realise how lucky I am to have such a great supportive group of friends who happen to be experts in strength training; I know how difficult it must be for someone to go into the gym for the first time when they've got a condition like this that makes you feel useless and weak. So in that respect, I am super lucky that I've got company to bring along and guide me through a routine. The worst thing you can do is be trained by a dickhead who hasn't got a fucking clue what they're doing though; it's probably more damaging than just sitting on your arse. I've seen able bodied people doing ridiculous things in the gym, some of whom work as 'fitness instructors' too. So be wary of who you enlist to help you! There are cunts masquerading as saints! Check credentials!
I've added some pictures as is customary for me; the first ever pictures of me deadlifting and me with the wonderful team behind my success. Without them, I'd be crippled in bed and miserable still.
Later dudes/dudettes, feel free to ask anything if you don't understand my weirdness ;)