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Core strengthening, Health, physiotherapy, training

Exercise for Flippies, Floppies and Stiffies

September 23, 2016 • By

You might be thinking I’ve gone mad and your mouse is sliding towards closing the tab… but using the Flippy, Floppy and Stiffy principle is actually a brilliant way of preventing injury!

It has been used for some time among physiotherapists to group patients simply and effectively and has nothing to do with anyone’s nether regions! In fact, it has also been used by top tier rugby and football teams as well , instead of grouping all their players together.(1)

Training your body according to your body type has huge benefits and if you get it wrong, you can be putting yourself at real risk. Take for example someone that is super flexible. If they were to do a lot of yoga and stretching only, they would get more and more mobile and lose more stability, which they didn’t have much of to start with, potentially leading to a joint sprain.

So here are the 3 types and how we can apply exercises to them:


beighton-hypermobility-scoreIf you are a floppy, you can probably bend down and touch the ground easily or bend your thumb down to touch your wrist. You are hyper-mobile, meaning you have a lot of mobility in your joints and laxity in your ligaments. You can get your Beighton score here to see how hyper-mobile you are.

If you are a floppy, you don’t need a lot of stretching.

You need strengthening of your muscles. This will help develop the muscles around your joints to improve stability and limit your joints going too far.


Stiffy stiff jointsStiffy

Stiffies, believe it or not, are typically male but that’s not a strict rule.

I’m a self-confessed stiffy. I can’t touch my toes without bending my knees a little, I’m terrible at sitting cross-legged and am simply not very mobile. For those of like me, of which there are a lot, you need to stretch and mobilise.

You need to stretch regularly, practice yoga and work on joint mobilisations and you will notice a huge difference.



And lastly, flippies have a foot in both camps. They are those lucky ones that aren’t over-flexible or stiff as a board.

You flippies probably have more work to do unfortunately as you will benefit from keeping mobile and strong, having a good mix between stretching and strengthening for the best outcome.(3)


So are you a flippy, floppy or stiffy? Categorise yourself and take a closer look at your regular workout routine – do you need to individualise it a bit better to suit your body type?


Fist aid, Health, Healthy Eating, training

Hydration guide: How much water should you drink?

March 19, 2015 • By

advoid dehydration by keeping hydratedIf adequate fluid isn’t taken in, dehydration can happen and will happen. These are the dehydration symptoms to look out for:


  • Thirst
  • General discomfort and complaints


  • Flushed skin
  • Weariness
  • Cramps
  • Apathy


  • Dizziness
  • Headache
  • Vomiting
  • Nausea
  • Chills
  • Decreased performance
  • Dyspnea

Why stopping dehydration is so important:

Water is the essential solvent for your bodies biochemical reactions, and with less of this, your body simply will not function as well. It makes up a huge 63% of our whole body mass (we are basically a big mess of water balloons!) and more importantly at least 80% of our muscles , kidneys and lungs are made up of water – So water is a big part of us. And we don’t just lose water through sweating either; our body is always losing water through our skin, lungs and kidneys, through sweating, urinating and respiration mainly – so this shows that it isn’t only when we are exercising that we need to optimize hydrationSo not only do we lose water throughout the day but when we are exercising, doing physical work or it is a really hot day, we need to be drinking 2-6 times more water to maintain good hydration and keep our cells happy.(4,5)

It’s not just how much we are drinking – it’s how we are drinking.

Staying hydrated doesn’t mean drinking a couple of liters at the end of the day or after exercise all in one go. The water ideally needs to be consumed in parts – like breaking two liters into four 500ml drinks half and hour apart.

How to monitor dehydration

Even a loss of 2% of body mass can decrease exercise performance, brain function and alertness (1,2), so it is in your best interest to monitor your bodies hydration levels and learn to know how much water intake is right for you.

There are quite a few ways to monitor your hydration but it is important that we can do ones that are easy and inexpensive (unless you are a professional athlete – then you can put some more time and money into it). The two most practical ways to monitor hydration are as follows:

1. Measure your weight loss over an exercise session

Whether this be a sport, running or a busy period of work. Measuring body mass change is a commonly used and safe way to keep an eye on your hydration but is only really useful over a period of 1-4 hours with or without exercise. Weigh yourself before and after your session and calculate the difference – you should aim to keep the change less than 1% loss of body weight.

urine analysis dehydration2. Check your urine color

This is a very easy way to determine how well hydrated you are. All you need to do is check the color of your urine when you go to the bathroom and aim to keep it a very pale yellow (#1 in the chart). If you keep your urine at number 1, then you will generally be within 1% of your baseline body-mass (well hydrated).

This is something that is great to be checked first thing in the morning to know where your hydration is at and start getting it on track.

Combining these two measures is a great one to become more in tune with your bodies hydration needs, which will ultimately mean you perform better and feel better.

So how much should you drink:

Over a normal day, where you aren’t exerting yourself physically (sweating a lot) then this is roughly how much you should aim for:

Women: 2.3 Liters per day

Men: 3 Liters per day

Note: This is not all at once!


If you are exercising then you need to drink quite a lot more:

Before exercise: To make sure you are well hydrated when it comes to exercise, you need to prepare by drinking 500-600ml 2-3 hours before exercise and then 200-300ml 10-20 minutes before exercise.

During exercise: Regularly drinking water or sports drink is key. Ideally, you need to be drinking 200ml every 15-20 minutes (this doesn’t need to be all at once!).

Following exercise: After activity you should aim to re-hydrate within two hours of finishing. Re-hydration should include water for hydration, carbohydrates for your glycogen stores and electrolytes for salt loss when sweating (this also speeds up re-hydration). The amount you need to replenish following exercise varies but you should aim to take in 150% of body weight that you have lost. For example if you have lost 1 kg then you should drink 1.5L of fluid – ideally this should be spaced over two hours.6


Note: Specific individual recommendations are calculated based on sweat rates, sport dynamics, and personal tolerance. It is important to listen to your body as everyone is different and has slightly different needs. Try keeping an eye on the measures talked about here (urine color and body weight loss) and learn what your body needs. It is also very important to not drink too much, too fast.

Lastly, the National Athletics Trainers’ Association has this to say notes that dehydration can compromise athletic performance and increase the risk of exertional heat injury and that in general athletes do not voluntarily drink enough water to prevent dehydration during physical activity.

You need to take it upon yourself to get this right – it makes a big difference to your body.



Health, training

Football Injuries – Halve Your Injury Risk This Season

October 29, 2014 • By

football injuries - preventionStrengthening exercises decrease football injuries to less than 1/3 and over-use injuries can be almost halved! This is how you can do sports specific training to have less injuries and perform better.

Football (soccer) is the most popular sport world-wide with around 265 million players and more than 3 million young people play in the United States alone. Unfortunately injuries, particularly knee and ankle injuries are rife in football and serious injuries like cruciate ligament cause serious problems for players and teams, with long periods away from play and early osteoarthritis.(2)

Fortunately, but unfortunately not well-known… short, easy but effective exercise regimes can seriously reduce football injuries and I’m not talking by 5 or 10 percent – you can decrease your injury risk to less than one-third – that is huge.(1)

Here is some great examples:

Walden et al 2003 followed 230 football clubs for a season and found that the players that did a 15 minute neuromuscular control warm-up, just twice a week throughout the season, decreased ACL injury by 64%. Their program was based around functional, dynamic exercises that targeted core stability, balance and proper knee alignment(2).

Peterson et al 2011 showed that adding eccentric hamstring strengthening into footballers regime (they had 942 players in their study!) decreased hamstring injury by over 70%.(3)

Here’s a third and final example if you aren’t convinced yet:

FIFA 11+ football injuries warm up programA 2014 study on the effectiveness of the FIFA 11+ program. This is a great warm up program specifically designed to prevent football injuries in players 14 years old and above. This study took a huge 414 players (aged 14-19) into the study and showed that the FIFA 11+ warm up program reduced the overall injury rate by 41%.(4)

This really is some great evidence that shows absolutely every football team should be utilizing the great injury preventions that are now readily available to them. They result in, a massive reduction in injuries.

Make a change to your football routine and start a pre-game or training warm up routine. The FIFA 11+ is a great warm up program for anyone to get into – Check out this link to learn more about it and this one, for some great you-tube videos demonstrating all the program.


Have a great, injury free season!



How Much Protein Do I Need?? This Much…

October 6, 2014 • By
Hows much protein do I need?

Protein rich foods

The recommended daily allowance for protein is 0.8 g/kg/day – But is it right for you? In today’s post I am going to give you a simple and easy to read guide to answer the question: How much protein do I need?

The problem is that this RDA is based on sedentary individuals – people who are inactive and sit far too much – and is an amount is just aimed to prevent any loss and prevent deficiency.

So what does this mean? A recommended amount that is just enough to maintain muscle mass in an inactive person, could mean that as an active person – you are not getting enough protein to keep up your muscle mass and could:

  1. Be losing mass
  2. Wasting a lot of time and effort exercising

If you are going to go to all that great time and effort to exercise – you need the right fuel in your body to keep you going, help you recover AND help improve.

If you are an active person, this RDA is definitely NOT enough for you.

Note: 0.8 g/kg/day means grams of protein taken in per kilogram of body weight, per day. So if you are 80 kg – Your RDA is 64 grams per day (0.8 grams x 80 kilos).


So how much should an active person be consuming?

Multiple scientific bodies estimate that the requirement is double your recommended allowance(1). And whats more if you are new to working out – you need more than someone who has been doing it for years.

how much protein do i need?One study showed that novice body builders require an intake of 1.6-1.7 g/kg/day – Now I know you may not be a body builder, but if you are working out regularly and particularly if you are doing resistance training at the gym – this gives a good guide.

In those of you who are well trained and work-out regularly, the amount is actually a bit lower – at 1.4 g/kg/day

So: If you are sedentary and don’t exercise much at all – stick to the RDA, BUT if you workout regularly, you should be taking around 1.4 grams per kg of your body weight and if you are new to resistance training maybe bump it up a gram or two . If you exercise moderately for fitness and health, aim for 1-1.2 g/kg/day – Otherwise you are not fueling your body right, which leads to you not maximizing your effort.



One other interesting finding from new research that debunks some common myths is this:

The window for protein consumption would appear to be greater than one-hour before and after a resistance training session. Positive effects were actually due to increased protein intake, and not the timing of when it is taken. This throws the common belief that you need to consume protein within a hour of exercise into the spotlight – What do you think?


Keep fit and healthy,





Squat Form – Get It Right

September 15, 2014 • By

Having a good squat form means so much more than safely lifting more at the gym…

I could just as easily have called this post, “How to lift safely” or “keep your back and knees injury free”

Having a great squat form is so important and translates into so many everyday activities…

  • Lifting heavy objects
  • Picking something up
  • Standing from a chair
  • Picking up your children

You know I could go on and on but here is what you are looking for:

correct squat form, strong and safe



  • Back straight
  • Feet shoulder width apart
  • Chest and head up
  • Stick your bum out
  • Do not let your knees go past your toes
  • And most importantly, keep you knees out!





Incorporate this simple technique into your everyday and be much, much better off.


Good luck, let me know how you do and don’t forget to share!


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