The Stuff We Feed Our Kids

I was visiting some friends a while ago and this relatively normal scenario played out in front of me. I say normal, because most of us recognise the situation and probably have been an active participant in it on either side. So, a little boy, aged 5, was given some sweets by his mother. The little boy, being a loving and caring little fellow, proceeded to offer some to the family dog. At this point the mother intercepted and said ‘oh no! Stop! Don’t give those to the dog. He will get very sick and we will have to take him to the vet. They are all for you’. At the time the full impact of her words did not register in my consciousness, as like I said before, the situation is quite normal. But let’s examine it in a bit more detail.

Dogs shouldn’t eat sweets. They will probably make his sick. If not that, at least they are not good for the dogs’ digestion or health in general. That much is pretty obvious. Your average sweets contain all sorts of stuff; not least of all they are full of sugar, artificial sweeteners, E-numbers and various industrial bulking agents. So quite right, the mother didn’t want the dog to have the sweets. Now for the hair rising bit of the story. “They are all for you”. For some obscure reason it is ok for a young child to eat this concoction of poison that is not even fit the dogs’ consumption. And we, as the general society find no fault in this logic. WHAT?!?

Unfortunately the food industry is driven by money. The corporations are out to make a profit. That is very easy to understand and makes perfect sense. However; there is a major flaw in how this all plays out. It is the advertising. Most people take their cues for advertisements and their nutritional ‘knowledge’ comes from the same source, which unfortunately has nothing to do with health or health promoting foods. One of the most glaring examples of this is Nutella. I confess, I used to eat a lot of the stuff – until one day, when I decided to turn the jar around and look at the list of ingredients. Now, in a “Hazelnut spread with chocolate” one might expect a relatively high quantity of hazelnuts. In Nutella this is a grand proportion of 13%. Seriously!?!? The total percentage of ingredients quantified is 32. What is the rest of it? The 68% that is unquantified. Apparently it is sugar, palm oil and additives. And this stuff is supposed to “get your day started right”. That is why a 1Kg jar of the stuff cost the same as a bag of raw Hazelnuts. It barely has any good ingredients in it. The high content of chemical additives and preservatives puts it right on par with McDonalds ‘food’. They never go off. You can leave a ‘happy meal’ or a dollop of Nutella out on a plate and it will be exactly the same a year later – no mould will grow on it, no fly will touch it. The list of these non-foods marketed as the healthy option really is very long, but I will leave it at that.

So I guess the big question here is not why healthy food is difficult to find and maybe even expensive, but rather why is bad food so plentiful and cheap? How is it that giant corporations are able to purvey unmitigated crap to the general public under false promises – and everyone is ok with it? Why is it more desirable and sexy to gobble down the ‘Healthy option Breakfast bars’ by the dozen instead of getting a good hit filling and nutritious food in the form of good old bacon and eggs?

Which brings us back to the real message of this blog post. People, THINK! Please! Stop listening to advertisements and taking claims on food packaging at a face value. It is all carefully worded to sound appealing and to gloss over the less than desirable bits. So please, check the food labels. If there are ingredients that you cannot pronounce the name of, chances are that they shouldn’t go into your body, let alone your kids. If a ‘hazelnut spread with chocolate’ only has 13% hazelnuts in it, I feel some alarm bells should start tolling heavily in your head.

Yours in Health,


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Blog Keywords: #Nutrition #Food #Diet #Children #Kids #FoodLabels #Ingredients #Health #Healthy

Carboholics Anonymous - Nutritional Musings of a Dietary Misfit

Editorial note: This blog post was originally published on my personal blog in 2013 and it was accurate at the time of writing. I have since changed a few things again, and those reviews can be found in the series of other blog posts available on this website.

I am not on a diet. I never have been on a diet and I never will go on a diet. I dislike the connotations carried by the word 'diet' these days. Whenever anyone goes on a diet we naturally assume that it is one of these fad diets, whereby one is only allowed to eat grass or gravel, or 5 out of 7 days one must sustain themselves solely on finely ground baby pandas in an effort to lose 50Kg in 5 days. When ever I hear the word 'diet' I tend to put all of my highly prejudiced, sometimes scientifically founded sceptical defenses up and try not to listen. That is why I am not on a diet. Instead, I have been playing with my nutrition and eating habits for the past few years. I think I may have finally cracked it - or at least I have taken a giant leap in the right direction. I am by nature a curious person. I tend to gather a lot of data, then I spend time mulling over it and finally I will experiment on myself. Useless things get discarded very quickly, useful things are retained for further testing. I developed my own studying method in Uni, I have developed my own training programmes for running and now triathlon and finally I have delved more into the world of nutrition. The common denominator in all of this is, that it has to make sense to me, otherwise I will not give it a try. In order for something to 'make sense' one must be able to understand it at a level deeper than the simple 'I read it in 'Mens' Health' or some other 'quality' publication. For something to 'make sense' one must have clear intention and a good plan of action, as well as sufficient background knowledge on the subject matter. Hence, it has taken me a long time to write about nutrition. I have been gathering data, I have been mulling it over, and finally I have been experimenting - for the last 4 years. So here it goes...

A little background: I have forever struggled with my digestion (IBS is like an easy sunday morning for me). It has been a family joke for years, but it has been tough. Don't worry, I will not plunge into any kind of vivid description of my more outlandish symptoms, but let it suffice to say that I have for a very long time felt 'wrong' in terms of what I eat and that this may have been the cause of my woes. It has been a vague, unspecific nagging feeling that I am doing something wrong. I have done exclusions and inclusions, but none of them have really worked. It all kind of culminated with me requiring a GI operation in the autumn of 2012, which sadly didn't really work in the desired manner in the long term. With the operation I also had full workups on bloods and consultations with dietitians etc. but none to any real avail. That was really the last straw that drove me to try and figure it out for myself once and for all. Like I said earlier, I think I may have finally figured it out.

A quick science recap: There are 3 groups of macro nutrients (protein, fats and carbohydrates) and lots of micronutriens (minerals and vitamins). All of them are important and the body will not function properly without them all. Some the body is able to make from other nutrients, others it cannot and must therefore get from food. The great debate has for a long time been on the appropriate proportion of each nutrient in ones diet. That much is clear. Other angles into the issue have been thrown by making guesses about the effects of genetics, blood type, and even geographical variations on the digestion of various nutrients. I am not going to go into explaining any of the popular diets or eating plans (not my job). I have studied most of them, I have taken inspiration from many and I have developed a bit of a hybrid that seems to work for me.

I have been gluten free for 4 weeks and I have never felt better. I have also dramatically cut back on my sugar intake and virtually cut out all artificial additives. There. I have also replaced most of my red meat with fish (fish every day) and I tend to have chicken or turkey plus lots of eggs. I don't eat rice or pasta at all really. I have cheese but no other source of dairy, apart from butter at times. Lots of veggie and some fruit (try and go for the low GI stuff). I have very little grain products, all gluten free but sometimes I just cannot resist some GF bread or a GF bisquit. I have found some GF beer with is actually rather pleasant, I am not a huge fan of cider and wine just gives me the worst headache. I eat lots of nuts and seeds and also dark (90%) chocolate. I tend to have bulletproof coffee in the morning to give me a boost for the day. Also, in terms of food quantities, breakfast and lunch tend to be big meals, and dinner I try and keep light. I occasionally have snacks, like GF coconut protein bars after hard training sessions and I only really drink water. So, in plain english, I have cut out the processed crap and replaced a lot of carbs with fats and generally eat a lot more fresh produce.

I occasionally throw in a 24 or 36 hour fast as well. Those I simply use to give the body a jolt and to get it back on track. Again, the physiological and biochemical implications of fasting are wide ranging and well beyond the scope of this article. If you are interested, read up on it.

So what is the result I hear you all shout. Well. For the first time in my life my digestion is regular. I am not suffering with any symptoms of IBS nor do I have any discomfort in my abdomen. I don't look fat anymore (no more bloating). I am putting on muscle. My body shape is changing. I feel more positive. I have more even energy through the day. My athletic performance has improved. I heal and recover quicker. I don't suffer from colds or sniffles. I have not lost any weight - but that was never the goal anyway. I am a steady 75 KG, but I am much more lean and defined than before. For me the trick has actually been to try and not lose weight. As my peak training weeks are in the region of 15 hours per week and my work is pretty active I burn a lot of calories. I decided to try and replace a lot of the empty (nutritionally poor) calories, such as rice, pasta and bread, with foods that ooze good stuff, such as fresh veg, avocados and nuts etc. The change from red meat to fish was mainly due to wanting to reduce inflammatory compounds and to increase the good fish oils. I have also not been using any protein shakes or recovery drinks.

The change has been pretty easy. I think once it makes sense to you that the change is required it will happen readily enough. As long as you are still in love with the old habits you cannot give them up. It's true enough with drugs, cigarettes and alcohol as well as with gluten and sugar. The advertising and social pressure to consume fizzy drinks and to gorge on sugary snacks and bakery products is sometimes overwhelming. One of my pet hates is seeing overweight people in the gym with bottles of lucozade. Supermarkets and restaurants are slowly starting to cater for people like me. I used to be a real carboholic. I could easily go through half a loaf of bread in one sitting and to demolish candy and fizzy drinks for snacks. Anything to keep that buzz going. I suppose for me the realisation of the problem came when I found myself trying to smuggle mars bars into the house and justifying them as post-training glucose replacement. That's when the eyes popped open. Seriously, I was trying to hide my candy bars from my wife and somehow that would mean that I didn't eat them... come on. How pathetic. Yet, us humans are capable of self deception on a real grand scale. It was simply time to man up and kick the bad habits to touch.

Now don't get me wrong. I am not advocating any diet or eating plan nor am I really making any recommendations. What works for me may not be the right thing for you. All I can suggest is that you should read up on nutrition and make up your own 'sensible' eating plan.The fact is, that most people are looking for a magic bullet. Some wonder supplement that will make them lean and muscular, but still allows them to maintain their horrible food addictions. In  other words, people are desperately trying to not take responsibility and they are looking for something to blame when things (and their bodies) go pear shaped. So in other words, time to man up! Time to read that 'basics of nutrition' and to have a look at Scott Jureks 'Eat and Run', Paleo diet, 5-2 diet, low carb high fat diet (Tim Noakes), Blood Type diet (Adamo), GI diet, Grain Brain etc. There are lots of good resources out there, but don't fall into the trap of blindly following a single one - create your own approach from your favorite bits out of all of them. Once you have taken the trouble of learning about nutrition, the decision to cut the crap ceases to have anything to do with will power. It will be more of a 'why didn't I do this years ago?' - thing.

Yours in Health,


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Weight and Body Composition Challenges

Lots of people have questions regarding weight and body composition. I know there are a lot of myths and false information out there regarding these two things and I would like to set a few of them straight.

The topic of weight for many is a sensitive one. Some people struggle to lose weight and struggle to keep the weight off. It's almost as if they only have to look a food at it suddenly materialises around the midsection. This seems rather unfair, as some people can eat as much as they like and never put on any weight. There is a lot of talk about genetics, sluggish metabolism, medication, various illnesses, and other factors that may cause weight gain or inability to lose it. Read on and make up your own mind.

Point 1 - You can change it all

The current situation you are in is not permanent. Your body at any given time is a reflection, a sum total, of your life until that point. What ever you have done with and to yourself is reflected in the mirror in the morning. It is also reflected in the genes that are currently expressed, it is reflected in the various measurable body metrics, such as weight and body fat percentage, lean muscle mass, and basal metabolic rate. You can change it all; however it will not happen instantly. Crash diets claim 3 Kg/week weight loss, which probably will take place if you only eat half a carrot and some dust each day. The reason why the weight comes back on is because this is not sustainable. It's too sudden. There is not enough time for the brain to make the necessary alterations in the physiological variables and processes nor the body image (your perception of yourself). Here is the scoop. Transforming the body into a lean high performance racing machine takes years. So get out of the outcome and start enjoying the journey. The result will come. Persist. Persevere. Be diligent. Most importantly - have fun and enjoy exploring your limits and pushing the boundaries.

Point 2 - It's all in the diet.

Wrong! Simply dieting like mad will lead you to lose weight, but there is no revving up of the metabolic engine that comes with variety of exercise. As the daily calorific input decreases the body goes into starvation mode. Literally all you eat gets stored, not much is burned, which leads to low energy levels and health problems. That is why it's not sustainable and it leads to the yo-yo effect with the weight as the starvation mode doesn't end as you start to eart. The storage continues for a while just in case there is another shortage around the corner. Don't get me wrong, eating the right things in correct quantities is very important, but as it turns out pretty much all of the diets out there don't really work. Since we all start from different places, our requirements are different at any given time. That is why everything has to be tailored to you specifically. No one can do it better than you. I encourage you to read up on nutrition and even to read diet books. Take inspiration and influence from some or all, depending on what feels right, and once you have more knowledge build your own eating plan. That is how you make it our own. It becomes sustainable when the choises you make are based on knowledge and educated choise - not when someone tells you to eat 4Kg of cabbage per day.

Point 3 - It's all in the exercise

Wrong! Exercising like mad and eating lots junk may make you fitter but it doesn't allow for the body composition change to take place and will most likely lead to various health issues down the line. Again knowledge is power. Here though, what most people struggle with is motivation. They get all fired up to start going to the gym or running or doing Insanity or Cross-Fit workouts at home. Then they get a bit sore and skip a day. The days turn into two or three. Then a week. When the initial enthusiasm has fizzled out and they are back to square one, but with the burden of yet another failed attempt under their belts. The solution is two fold. 1) Set yourself a fitness/sports/adventure goal. It has to be meaninful to you and it has to be that little bit scary. Something that will make you feel awesome as you reach it. Maybe something that you always wanted to do but never dared. Give it a date. You need to make it specific. Otherwise it will just be another 'would like to do one day' wishy-washy day dream. 2) Do what you enjoy doing. If you cannot stand going on the treadmill in the gym - stay away from the gym and run in the forest. If you really like rowing - join a club. If you enjoy cycling - buy a really nice bike and ride it like it deserves to be ridden.

You are more likely to stick to exercise that is fun and stimulating as opposed to something that is dull, boring and not enjoyable. The combination of fun exercise and a worthy goal is very motivational. 

Point 4 - Not all calories are created equal. 

There are a lot of people out there loudly proclaiming the virtues of this, that and the other. How eating one thing has made a huge difference and how excluding another has brought then bliss undreamed of. I would always take these claims with a pinch of salt. They are probably trying to sell you something. Even if it worked for them, you may be different. Instead tailoring your eating plan to your specific requirements is much more satisfying and will always yield a better result. Here you must be specific again. Your goal becomes very important in dictating your nutritional needs. If your goal is a fast short duration race or even power lifting, then carbs and protein are your best friends. If, on the other hand, you are looking at an endurance challenge then your best course is to steer towards fat and protein as your main sources of calories. Of course, reducing the short chain carbohydrates generally is only going to be a good thing due to the multitude of health benefits. But there it lies again. You must have a goal. "Just trying to lose a bit of flab" is not a goal. It means nothing and therefore it is impossible to achieve.

Point 5 - Variety is the key

As far as event specific or sport specific training goes, yes specialisation is important. If running a marathon is your goal, then you have to run. Same as with water polo, climbing, canoeing, cycling, and just about everything else. BUT! Adding variety into your life and training will only help you. Only doing the same thing over and over soon leads to a plateau and motivational struggle. Doing a variety of exercise not only keeps it fresh and exciting, but keeps you brain and body developing your athletic ability (Which leads to increased fitness, strength, coordination, economy and efficiency, as well as reduced likelihood if injury). Human beings developed to be the ultimate athlete. We possess a range of capabilities other animals cannot match. Yes, we lack the short burst speed of the big cats, we lack the massive strength of the gorilla, and we not as agile as the mountain goats are. What we lack in one, we definitely make up for in versatility. It would be a shame to only swim, or to only do archery, or only run - you can do it all.

Point 6 - Find out where you are starting from

Here is the rub. We all embark on our journeys from a different platform. Like I said before, your current situation is a reflection of your life until this moment. What that means is, that you need to figure out where you are in order to move forward. Most of us are ok. Normal, in other words. There are no medical or physiological hindrances to keep you from advancing. For some of us the first step on the journey is to get tested to find out what is wrong with us. If you are struggling (seriously struggling) with something just not feeling right and not getting the benefit from your hard work then chances are that something needs to be sorted first. Seeing a professional is a good thing, as they can usually guide you in the right direction relatively quickly and save you a lot of time and aggravation trying to work it all our for yourself. Whether your problems lie in the physiological, emotional or chemical fields, they will all exert a major influence on your nervous system, which controls the body. When injured, we feel low and grumpy and tend to comfort eat. When emotionally upset and in turmoil, we get wound up and tense, the sleep patterns suffer and out hormones go all wonky. When we are chemically in trouble we don't absorb the nutrients from our food and the healing and repair processes slowly grind to a halt. It's all important and it's very much worth finding out what the matters is and sorting it out.

Baseline Test:

1) Take a blank A4 and draw a line down the middle. In the left hand column, write in red all the negative things in your life at the moment. In the right hand column, write in black all the positive things in your life. (Finances, relationships, work, house, holidays, diet and nutrition, drink, hobbies, exercise, training, weather, films, music, art, anything else that comes to your mind)

2) Next have a look at all the positives in your life and see if you can make them even better and/or increase the time spent doing it or the effect that it has on your life. 

Then have a look at all the negatives. Circle the ones that you have control over, i.e. you can in some way alter and reduce or remove their negative effect. The ones that are completely beyond your control, that you simply have to endure, just cross them over. If you cannot change it, stop worrying about it. 

3) Take action! Increase the positives, turn as many negatives into positives as you can, erase as many negatives as you can, and allow yourself the freedom to not delve on stuff beyond your control.

Point 7 - Pace Yourself

After finding out where you start from, and taking the actions to correct any underlying problems you need to listen to your body. You need to cultivate the awareness to understand what your body is trying to tell you. If you have massive cravings for certain foods, there is a reason for it. If you are constantly tired and often get the sniffles, again it happens because of what you are doing. So, learning to take ques from the body will allow you to enjoy the journey every day, rather than making it another source of stress and suffering. It is not about following the path of least resistance, since that leads nowhere, rather it is reconising when you are trying to steer in the wrong direction and maybe trying to go too fast.

Example: Bob has is 45. Bob is unfit and carries a heavy work load, some family stress, a bad foot and stiff hips as well as a few extra kilos. Bob was chatting to his buddy Jim in the pub the other night. Bob has decided he wants to do Ironman and be like Jim. Bob bought a training plan book and thinks he can pull it off with 30 weeks preparation. Bob is not clever. Don't be like Bob. 

Let's be sensible here for a minute. Bob needs to first and foremost get his legs sorted to he can train without blowing up. He then needs to assess his fitness levels. Based on the assessment he needs to make a working plan. He needs to make the Ironman a three year goal and break it down to smaller chunks. First start with surviving a sprint Triathlon, some 10Km running races and learn to swim. Next year he should be conditioned enough to train for Olympic distance Triathlon and maybe even a full marathon. The year after he should be able to tolerate the training load required for Ironman Triathlon. That's what Jim did. Jim has suffered no injuries. Jim enjoys what he does and takes care of himself. Be smart - Be like Jim.

Coming back to the weight and body composition theme of the blog post for a minute, if I may. When you are moving in the right direction and at a sustainable speed, the weight simply falls off you. You will develop that lean and muscular body and it will feel relatively easy. Personally I have taken the long road. I have slowly transformed myself into an Ironman athlete. My weight has only dropped a few Kg, but my body fat percentage has reduced from 19% to 6% over the course of about 3 years. I have suffered zero injuries despite pushing myself hard when the time has been right. I have learned a lot and I have enjoyed every minute of it. At the moment I have embarked on another journey and commenced my treatment programme for my persistent gut issues. At the moment I am finding it a bit tough going, but I know that I will prevail and emerge a healthier and stronger person.

Point 8 - You CAN do it

I have been taught a lesson over the last couple of years. I have seen extraordinary things happen. Feats of persistent effort and tenacious dogged determination to not give in or to give up. Getting through what ever the cost or how ever much effort it takes. Willingness to put ones body on the line in order to excel. Because the result was already a foregone conclusion - no other option existed. I have watched my two kids learn to crawl, to stand, walk and run, to talk, to swim and to ride a bike. The beauty of it all is that they decided that they wanted to do it and then proceeded to learn. They dedicated all of their waking (and sometimes sleeping) hours to practising their new skills. And they have prevailed - every time! So can you. You need to have a goal. Then you need a plan. Then you simply need to stick to the plan. Everything will fall in place once your course is set. There is lots of help out there for all the stages and don't be afraid to ask for it. Most of us have been there.

Yours in Health,


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Sports Injuries - Mostly Avoidable

Ok people. This post has been long in the pipeline as many people have been asking about injuries. I have to declare right at the beginning, that I am a sports chiropractor and treat injuries all day everyday. Also, and more importantly, I try and coach people to injuryproof themselves - my mission is to stop injuries from happening again. I have a few potentially unorthodox ideas about this, something not everyone agrees with, I'm sure, but I am personally a walking, talking testimony of my own approach. Zero injuries for 5 years now. Hope I didn't jinx it now...


On a Philosophical Note

An injury is not a permanent set back. It is transient. It is a wake-up call. In a way an injury is a positive thing. Let me explain. Pain and injuries are the brains way of telling you that something is wrong. Something you have been doing for the past xx number of days/weeks/months/years has been incorrect, and it is unviable. Thus an injury, and the resulting 'time out' becomes an opportunity like no other. You can assess what is was that caused an injury and then alter your habits to change the outcome in the future. If this assessment and application of new ways is done properly it will result in a body that by far superior to the old one. This, of course, results in improved athletic performance and reduced likelihood of future injuries. 

Sports Injuries - An overview.

The purpose of this post is not to analyse any specific sports injuries. It is more about learning to understand why injuries occur and what we can learn from them, and most importantly - how to stop them from happening again.

Generally injuries can be divided into two camps. 1) Acute, sudden onset of pain and dysfunction. 2) Chronic, repetitive strain type, gradually worsening pain and dysfunction. Most injuries fall into category two. Yes, shocking, isn't it? I would argue that 99% of injuries are of the chronic variety. Category one is a small fraction of the total, and simply consists of the scenario of "one minute everything is fine - incident - immediate pain and inability to continue". Getting hit by a car when cycling fits this criteria nicely. In a way we can look at it from a different angle as well. Cat 1 have external causes, Cat 2 have internal causes. To clear it up a bit - Cat 1: something happens to you, Cat 2: you have brought it on yourself over many weeks/months/years of faulty technique. Thus the typical triathlon injuries from swimming (swimmers' shoulder), cycling (Low back pain, knee issues, shoulder problems) and running (Runners' knee, Iliotibial band issues, foot/ankle problems) all fall under Cat 2.

Example: Bob is a 40 year old runner. He has Plantar Fasciitis and Iliotibial band pain on the right leg. It started suddenly four weeks ago when he upped his weekly mileage to train for the local marathon. He has made no changes to his routine over the past few years. He has no other health concerns and enjoys running very much. He is very upset and disappointed, because he read on the internet that this will now ruin his chances for a decent time on the marathon and he may have trouble with it forever.


Since Cat 1 injuries are external and occur independently from the athlete we will ignore those for the time being. The causes tend to be varied and trying to stop them from happening completely is futile.

Cat 2 injuries can usually be traced back to old injuries and old traumas and  the resulting asymmetrical functioning and compensations in functioning and technique. Even if the onset of pain may have been rather sudden, with a bit of careful examination it is possible to higlight the causes as to what predisposed the athlete to a particular injury in the first place. Usually it is due to inadequate athletic ability. This does not refer to your times in swim/bike/run. Athletic ability is the way the athlete is able to utilise his whole body to perform any task in as efficient and effective manner possible without bringing on undue stress to any given body part. Thus lacking athletic ability means that the body is able to perform very well on a single plane or in one direction only and is injury prone with any variation from the normal. Such as making a tennis player take of speed skating, or even making a road runner hit the trails instead of tarmac.

Triathletes tend to get injured due to a combination of excessive repetition and poor technique. Especially long course triathletes tend to go for the maximal mileage approach and often times at the same intensity. They also tend to shrug off minor niggles as mere nuisances and continue on their path. They tend to underemphasise recovery, which is essential in terms of healing and absorbing the the training load i.e. improvement.

 Let's check back on Bob now: On questioning and examination it turns out that he has had a niggle in the leg and low back for many years that 'comes and goes'. He also suffered from recurrent ankle sprains when playing football years ago. His hip joints are very stiff from sitting in the office 40 hours per week and commuting two hours per day. 

The quick ones among you have spotted the "upped mileage" and immediately thought that was the problem. It merely highlighted the problem, which was present for many a year previously. His nervous system could not handle the increased mileage due to the various compensations it had to deal with. The compensatory (dys-)function arises from the altered ankle mechanics and resulting muscle firing patters, as well as the stiffnes around hip joints, that alter the normal, fluid movement of the legs. This is all relatively easy to spot on video or even with a naked eye. 


This is where it gets a bit tricky. When an injury occurs you need to find someone to help you. Someone who knows their onions. Generally it means going private. And paying for the privilege. I don't care if you choose to see a chiropractor, osteopath, acupuncturist, physio, masseur, sport doctor or even your GP.  What dictates the outcome of any treatment protocol is the follow through by the patient. Each and every time. You will need to assess carefully and to completely understand the factors that brought on the injury in the first place. You need to then let the professionals do their job (provided they know their onions) - short term relief. Then you need to change the factors that led to the injury while you go through your rehab programme - medium term improvement. Finally you must increase your athletic ability to gain the boost in performance and to become injury proof - long term cure.

Coming back to our friend Bob again. Bob thinks he needs new trainers and a massage. That's what worked for his buddy Jim. Bob does that and continues to run. Nothing improves - the problem persists and he is now getting a bit down about the whole thing and dreads his runs. Then he reads a running magazine and decides to take up stretching and foam rolling. It helps a little, especially as he also took a week off running. As he gets back to it the pain comes on again. Bob has not learned a thing - don't be like Bob.

Since Bobs problem is a chronic problem brought on by his own actions, external interventions will not produce any lasting benefit. That is why simply slipping into motion control shoes does not solve the problem. That is why any treatment alone will not solve the problem. Bob has to first get the injury treated (short term), then he has to address the technique during his rehab (medium term) and he has to improve his overall functioning to gain freedom from the injuries (long term).

Treating Triathletes tends to be a bit easier than our friend Bob. They tend to be more open to suggestions and more willing to try new things out. Maybe it is due to Triathlon being a relatively young sport - the bullheaded adherance to dogma has not yet set in. :)

Injury Proofing - Creating Athletes out of Sportmen.

 What is an "athlete"? An athlete is different from a sportsman in two crucial ways. Sportsmen get injured. Sportsmen are good at one sport, maximum two. Athletes however, possess the ability to be good at virtually any sport and perform to relatively high standard even with minimal specialised training. Athletes don't get injured.

There is one thing that comes up when talking to real athletes. They enjoy a great variety of sport/training/exercise on a weekly basis. The emphasis is on the word 'enjoy'. They have fun. They might be serious about their specific training for the next race or match, but they thrive on the variety of challenges that other activities present them with. This makes them 'anti-fragile'. It allows the brain and the body to continuously learn and to develop, it prevents the frustrating plateaus and the 'time outs' due to minor injuries. Not only do they do different things, they also do them at different intensities. There is the competition intensity which is reserved for when it truly matters, races and a few race simulation training sessions. Some times training can be done at higher, sometimes at lower intensities. Even varying the days of training sessions, times of day, weather, surface, route, and company will make a difference. Allow for a broad spectrum again. You will develop and recover much better.

Let's visit our friend. Bob has been very good at running at five minutes per kilometre, or 8 minutes per mile. He has only one speed. He only ever runs on flat roads. He is the definition of a one-trick pony. He is very fragile. His adaptive range (or tolerance) is very narrow, and his body reflects that. Bob is a "runner". He only runs - he doesn't like other sports, nor have time for them. He cannot run on uneven surfaces because it makes him sore and stiff. His heart rate shoots up if he tries to go faster or up a hill and he suffers greatly. So he avoids anything that deviates from normal. He really is making it worse for himself. I think we will now forget about Bob - he is just too stubborn for his own good.

What ever you do - Avoid the Gym!

The only people who need to go to the gym are power lifters. Their sport specific needs can only be met in there. But the rest of us better get out of the gym. All cardio work should be done outdoors. It is much more stimulating. Most people can do their strength work in the parks or woods very easily - again it allows your body to move in a much more natural way than the weights machines that force you to a certain movement pattern. Cross training can be extremely beneficial in widening your adaptive range or tolerance. The world is full of sports and activities. Martial arts, gymnastics, yoga, ball games, skiing, skating, climbing, mountaineering, racquet sports, you name it. It's all accessible and yes, none of it relies in any way on setting a foot in the gym. Use your imagination and get moving.

Personal note:

I have been able to steer away from injuries for a few years now, and I have seen my performance improve dramatically. I came across 'movement culture' a while ago which really set the cogs turning in my brain. I use principles from Barefoot Running, Animal Flow, Parkour, Gymnastics, Yoga, Calisthenics, and Plyometrics to keep me enjoying my training time. I like doing my 'monkey workouts' in the local nature park (St. Anne's park in Chertsey, Surrey) where I run on muddy trails (either barefoot or in minimalist shoes), crawl under bushes and branches, leap and vault over deadfalls and I climb trees. I jump over and off things, I pick up logs and carry them or simply throw them about. I scramble up steep and slippery hill sides and hot step down without losing my balance. I use my imagination and no workout is ever exactly the same. I come home covered in mud and with a collection of little scrapes, but I always have a big grin on my face. It's unconventional and I love it. It brings out the kid in me and allows me to get away from the clinical swim/bike/run grind. Dedicating a bit of time to this kind of activity will not in anyway reduce your commitment to your chosen sport, if anything it will make you better at it. Having fun is very good for your health!

Links: - Great interviews and videos for your inspiration - inspirational and definitely an alternative take on fitness - super fun! - great resource for body weight strenth exercise

and our favorite: - where you can type any of the key words from above.

I welcome feedback and questions on the above topics. Please get in touch. If you wish to become a patient you can get in touch with me at the clinic by calling 01932 429584 or by email  This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Yours in Health,



mikas blog 

Below is a list of blog posts on various topics, ranging from the more serious to the more humorous. I hope you enjoy reading them as much as I enjoy writing them.


Running Workshop

Health and Lifestyle

Chiropractors' Confession   - 21/1/16

Carboholics Anonymous  -  10/2/16

Weight and Body Composition Challenges  - 24/2/16

How To Get Over Your Gut Issues  -3/3/16

How To Get Over Your Gut Issues - Part 2   - 30/6/16

Sports Injuries - Mostly Avoidable   - 15/4/16

Stories for the Grandkids  - 5/5/16

The Stuff We Feed Our Kids - 17/5/16

A Round Piece In Tetris    -   24/5/16

It's OK to have a Bad Day   -   27/6/16

From Chaos and Confusion   -   29/6/16

Hindsight is a Beautiful Thing   -   12/7/16

Why is Movement so important?  25/10/16


Recipe Corner

Bone Broth  -  2/6/16

The No Grain Bread   -  4/6/16

Chia Pudding   -   4/6/16

Mixed Nut Butter   -   15/6/16


Ironman Lanzarote 2016 Race Report   - 30/5/16

Running Technique Blog

Running for Beginners Blog

Mikas Running Challenge Diary

Golf Blog

Core Stability Blog

Skiing Blog

Stretching Blog

Various Topics

Sitting BlogResilient Three - Dr Mika and Book


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I was in so much pain last week I couldn’t imagine that I would feel this much better in 7 days
Heather Penncock

I first went to Mika About 2 months ago. I could not walk straight line or very far. I was also in pain as I have had two knee replacements. After about 3 weeks I can now walk upright and in a straight line. Also a lot of pain relief. I cannot recommend this practice enough.
Frank Whittington

I have been working with Dr Mika Janhunen of Shepperton Chirorpactic Clinic for four years. During this time he has not only been able to help me overcome various niggling injuries and to enjoy better health, but has been able to improve the performance of a number of my golf coaching clients as well. His detailed knowledge of the human body and the complexity of the golf swing movement pattern is virtually unrivalled in terms of results that I have ever seen. I will continue to refer my players to see Mika, and would encourage anyone to do the same.
Rob Watts, PGA Golf Professional