Managing Joint Pain and Inflammation, August Challenge, Running Club

Hi and welcome to another week,

Many thanks to everyone who braved the cold and wet and joined us in the gym last week.  It was a great week of sessions and was notable for me in that it was the first week in what seems like forever that we had the full team back on deck…not a second too soon either!

There has been a fair bit of staff upheaval over the past 6-months with Lloyd and Sarah leaving, Elie cutting down to part time, Lauren joining, Zara helping out and finally Alex joining us a couple of months back.  I am in the process of rejigging the trainers roster and would like to think that will mean everyone reading this gets to (at least) meet all of the team in the gym in the next few weeks or so.

So with the challenge we have starting this week there have been 1000001 questions about what each of the workouts are, how it works and so on and so forth.  One thing that has caught my eye (ear) though has been a bit persistent lately – “I can’t do the strength challenge because doing squats hurts my knees”.  Now – I don’t want to tell anyone how to suck eggs because only you know your own body, but in most cases you CAN manage your knee pain and squat…after the multiple operations on my own left knee I think I can speak about this with a fair degree of confidence/experience.  But you may find you need to both make sure you are squatting ‘properly’ (seek help from a trainer – and it might be a fix that takes weeks not moments!) AND do a few things to manage the inflammation and pain in your joints.

Please note that nothing I am about to say over-rides the pain you are feeling…start light and build up slow!  But you can put some things in place to manage the pain in your joints…here goes!

First off – find out what the hell is ACTUALLY WRONG.  From my perspective it is really hard to help when I ask what is wrong and the answer is “I don’t know – it just hurts”.  And when I ask ‘When did it start hurting?” the answer is something like “I’m not sure – ages ago!”.  To look after yourself, you need to find out if there is any corrective action that needs to be taken…nothing I am about to tell you is going to work if you have a meniscal tear for example.  Torn is torn and broken is broken…some stuff doesn’t get better by itself and you need to know exactly what it is you are dealing with before doing ANYTHING else.

Once you know what is going on – then it is time to try and take some action.  This action (I would like to hope) starts with a little bit of research.  By research I don’t mean “Dr. Google” (but a quick review never hurt anyone I suppose) rather I mean take the outcomes to a physio who you trust and see what they say the best path forwards is.  I know for me the strategy that works best is of the ‘This is what I am going to be doing – how do you think I can best manage that given the constraints of my injury/condition?’  In that way, I am setting the scene that a seat on the couch is not part of my short, medium or long-term plans – but showing an understanding that I may need to make some modifications.

Once the theoretical research phase is done with, it is time to push ahead with the practical research phase.  Can I modify the movement so that I can do it without pain?  If I stick with the squats example (though of course this is a small subset of potential issues people are struggling with) you can vary your feet position, angle of your ankle joint, knee position, hand position, head position, bar position (higher, lower), whether they are back squats or front squats – or goblet squats, or front rack kettlebell squats, or sumo squats…or more simply, there are a lot of things you can do to work around a problem.  You are going to need to be persistent here in order to get a positive outcome – but the answer will be there somewhere if you really want to find it.  You also have to remember to check your ego – if ‘everyone else’ is squatting with a barbell on their back and you are doing a sumo squat variation, well, good for them and good for you.  It isn’t about doing the ‘same’ as everyone else – it is about doing the best you possibly can given your own physical condition.

OK.  So we have gotten a diagnosis, sought advice and found a practical solution.  Now we are at the point that we need to find ways to reduce inflammation in the joint.  And we can do that in a few ways – or rather, there is more than one way to do this and some methods work more effectively for one person than another.  So don’t get disheartened – just work through it.

Firstly, if after training you have a sore spot/sore joints, well settling down the inflammation with a cold pack, some anti-inflammatory cream – and this could mean something as simple as a magnesium rub  – and some compression is a great plan.  You might need to take it further and use compression garments whilst you train – you will see a heap of people around the gym wearing knee sleeves to support their knees for exactly this reason…but everyone is different.  My sore knee feels no better or worse knee sleeve on or off – so I choose not to wear one.  Could you benefit?  Well, give it a go and find out.

We are kind of in the ‘experimental’ stage of things now and for a lot of people this involves either diet changes or supplements or both!  I know a lot of people who sing about the magical qualities of fish oil, krill oil, glucosamine and the like.  My advice is to introduce the supplements one at a time and note down the results – that way you will know which one is benefitting YOU.  Likewise dietary changes.  If night shades (you will be most familiar with tomatoes, potatoes and egg plant I would guess) are of concern to you with regards inflammation, cut them out for a while and see how you feel.  If you feel better without them in your diet, well – at least you know.  If you don’t, well, again – you might be no closer to a solution but at least you KNOW.

You could say the same thing for other supplements like CBD Oil (of course the legal hemp only version) or Curcumin – if you want to give them a try because you have ‘heard good things’, well, go for it.  But track your use and the outcomes and don’t spend a fortune on something that might not do you a bit of good.  Physical therapy based solutions such as fascial manipulation, acupuncture etc all fall into the same category – they seem to work 100% for some people yet others don’t benefit at all.  Again, give them a try if you like – and hope for the best without signing up for a long-course of costly treatment until you are certain that the procedure will benefit YOU!

What else?  Well, even if you find something that works that doesn’t mean it will work forever.  A squirt of magnesium spray might work miracles for a while – but then, after a while, you don’t seem to be getting the same relief.  Well, that is just the nature of things and it can be frustrating – there is always something else to try (maybe it is time to try some post workout compression or drop nightshades from your diet???) that will help get you some relief.

See you in the gym,

Michael.

Gym Update #1 – August Challenge…Get READY

The August Challenge is HERE and the signup link is HERE:
Signup for the August Challenge

This one will be an exercise only challenge and will offer three ‘tracks’ for participants to enrol in:

-       Track one:  Cardio

-       Track two:  Strength

-       Track three: Core

Both the Cardio and Strength tracks will offer participants multiple options for each day in an effort to make allowances for people managing injuries.  The training rhythm will be based on 3x group sessions each week + 3x ‘EXTRA’ workouts each week.

If you are signing up now you have missed out on the workshops (Core and Strength) that we ran for challenge participants earlier today…but you can always grab a trainer to ask a quick question or schedule in a personal training session if you need some more in-depth assistance.

Gym Update #2 – Running Club Off and Running

Well done to our runners who this morning pushed through the toughest session yet – 20x 250m intervals on the 2 mins.  That distance doesn’t actually include the time taken to get from the finish line back to the start line either (about 90metres) so I have slightly undersold them (by about 1.8kms) on the 5kms distance I quoted them this morning.

Next week we are off to Bold Park to get in a bit of hill training before the CTS event…everyone is welcome to join.  We will be meeting at the gym at 7am with the intention of setting off from the Zamia car-park at 07:30am.

Gym Update #3 – Hoodies

Hoodie orders have closed guys and I am expecting delivery of the new ones ‘soon’.  I will be sending an email to everyone who purchased one via the online system when they arrive so please keep your eyes peeled!

Gym Update #4 – New Gear and other Stuff

Keen eyes would have noticed all of our boxing gloves – bag mitts, sparring gloves, MMA gloves – all come in their own mesh bags for easy storage…and for looking cool on the shelves!

If you need a new set of gloves the new ones are still the same price but now come with the bonus of a carry bag!

Gym Update – Footy Tipping and Fantasy

So – the Footy tipping disaster continued with yet another draw throwing a spanner in the works.  There were quite a few people who picked 8 winners (which the way it works really means SEVEN as the draw counted as a win for everyone) including Frank, last week’s winner Claire (making a VERY late run at victory) and Ben who pulled within one point of the lead.  Ryan has now skipped a point clear overall with Michael, Dazza and ‘Kentucky’ right behind!

Over in the fantasy contest, it was a week of low scores – with the exception of Brett and Craig who both topped 2200 points…for the rest of us, it was a pretty average week and with finals starting next week, not a great tune up!

Congratulations to Brian, Ash, Brett, Liam, Craig, Kim and Justin who have qualified for the finals this year.  The format is the same as the AFL finals system so this week is sudden death for Liam, Craig, Kim and Justin whilst the top 4 sides have qualified for a double chance.

Link of the Week

“But the truth is that everyone gets tired of working hard. It can be exhausting to go 100% intensity every day, every week, every month at the gym, on the track, or at the park…your perception may have a lot more to do with your workout results than you’d expect.”

https://breakingmuscle.com/fitness/love-your-workout-and-it-loves-you-right-back