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How Soon After a Muscle Strain Should You Begin Exercising Again?

 

If you have ever suffered a sports injury you will understand the pain and frustration that comes with it, daily activities are hard enough let alone getting back into your usual workout routine. Pulled, strained and injured muscles all deserve a time out, but how long is enough or how long is too long?

soon muscle strain begin exercising

How bad is the injury?

Firstly you need to be honest with yourself and assess just how bad your injury is. Minor injuries cause immediate pain, swelling and soreness in the immediate area; these injuries are usually from a pulled muscle or ligament and usually only last a couple of days. A second degree injury can cause muscle damage and decreased strength, expect symptoms to last from a few days to a couple of weeks. The worst muscle injury causing very significant pain and usually needs medical treatment such as physio or even surgery, these injuries can las months before your feel better again. Once you have figured out how bad your injury is you can move onto the treatment stage.

soon muscle strain begin exercising

Treatment

Treatment differs depending on the severity of the injury. All injuries should have ice applied as soon as possible, by applying ice a few times a day you will greatly reduce the swelling and it will also help with the pain.

For mild injuries it’s pretty straight forward, ice, rest and elevation should heal you up quickly and get you back into your workout within a few days, start slowly and let pain be your guide, if something you are doing hurts then stop and wait a bit longer for your injury to heal.

soon muscle strain begin exercising

Moderate injuries will also need ice, rest and elevation to allow healing. If pain begins to worsen or isn’t improving after a week then get it assessed by your DR. you will not be able to use your strained muscle in your workouts until its healed, again let pain be your guide.

For more severe injuries a visit to the DR is warranted. Follow the DRs Instructions and ensure you follow up with any medical advice given. Rehabilitation will usually be recommended to help heal your muscle and prevent further injury. You can go back to exercising when the DR gives you the all clear.

Remember that no matter the injury, doing too much too soon can further aggravate your injury causing more rest time or possible complications.

soon muscle strain begin exercising

Prevention

Most muscle injuries are caused by lack of experience, weak or tight muscles or overuse. Firstly always ensure you are properly warmed up prior to a workout, no matter what it is, tight, cold muscles are prone to injury and it only takes 5-10mins to warm them up and have them ready to go. First timers or newbies to exercise may perform certain exercises wrong which can lead to injury, ask for help if you are unsure. Newbies also will have weaker muscles, so start slow and work at your own level. Another cause of muscle injury is over use of the muscle. If we exercise too hard or too much the muscle has no time to recover and it will tear. 30-60mins daily is enough and don’t work the same muscle group if you are still sore from the day before. Also get in the habit of stretching and cooling down after your workout, this will release tension in muscles and prevent injury.

soon muscle strain begin exercising

Prevention is key but injuries may still occur. Assess the injury, give it time to rest and treat it appropriately, by following this advice you will be back into your workout and back to reaching your goals!

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A First Timers Look at The Highland Games

Last Sunday I went along to my first ever Highland Games event at Ray Crump Oval in Primbee.

I had no idea what to expect, but turned up with an open mind.  It was a glorious day – sunny with beautiful blue skies, but not too hot.

When the athletes began arriving the atmosphere was amazing – kilts and tartan everywhere.  It looked great.

Everyone was so friendly and the more experienced people were very welcoming and encouraging to the newbies, which is great to see.  I tended to stay with the girls’ group – most of them were first-timers and that made it really fun.

Highland Games
Geoff Shephard – GS Images

The first event I watched was Weight for Height.  The setup looked like some kind of high jump event – with a horizontal bar set up on 2 vertical posts.  The competitors stand in the centre beneath the bar and have to throw a weight over their head and backward, up and over the bar. There is quite a knack to this, but the guys from Highland Muscle were there to demonstrate the technique and to keep an eye on the safety of competitors and onlookers.

Finally, there were two competitors left, and the eventual winner was a newbie (TJ Viney) who went on to set a new Australian record for height.  It just goes to show you don’t have to have huge muscles, or be experienced to do well.

highland games
Geoff Shephard – GS Images

Next, I watched the Scottish Hammer, which is a weight on the end of a flexible rod which competitors twirl around over their heads, then throw as far as they can. Markers are placed in the ground where the weight first lands and competitors get three throw attempts, to try to beat their own (and everyone else’s) distance.

highland games
Geoff Shephard – GS Images

From there came the Weight for Distance – a weighted ball on a chain, which competitors throw by spinning around and letting go at just the right time, in order to get the furthest distance they can. And then the Stone Put – similar to what we otherwise know as shotput but with large round smooth stones (rocks, I’d call them) of a certain weight.

highland games
Geoff Shephard – GS Images

Finally came the event we were all waiting for – the Caber. Everyone was excited and nervous to have a go at this event. The competitors have to pick up what looks like half a telegraph pole and walk/run with it then toss it so that if flips and (hopefully) lands straight and preferably in the 12.00 position.

highland games
Geoff Shephard – GS Images

The day was highlighted by the arrival of the Illawarra Pipe Band who really added to the feel of the day. The performed for half an hour and were amazing.

All in all, it was a fantastic way to spend a sunny Sunday. The athletes had so much fun competing and encouraging each other. The sportsmanship was phenomenal. For anyone who is thinking they might like to try this, I’d say do it! There is always someone on hand to advise and help, and you never know – you might go home with a shiny trophy and a prize.  Grab a kilt and give it a go!

highland games
Geoff Shephard – GS Images
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Australia’s Most Promising Amateur?

kirsty mitchell

Every now and then you come across an athlete that catches your eye. Someone who has something different. Someone you know is destined for greatness. I had the chance to sit down with Kirsty Mitchell this week and she is one such athlete. Kirsty is a 24 year QLD local who has only been competing a few years and is currently at amateur level. Although, by the way she holds herself and the confidence she exudes you would think she is a seasoned pro. Upon meeting Kirsty one could be intimidated by her height and imposing physique. In fact as a former amateur bodybuilder myself and someone who lives the lifestyle, I was a little self conscious at first as I wasn’t sure if her arms were actually larger than mine. But it doesn’t take long to realise that although confident and self assured, Kirsty has a gentle heart and a kind personality, in no time you feel very comfortable in her presence.

kirsty at world

Kirsty had originally seen herself as a Figure competitor but after entering some shows, monstering the other girls on stage and not placing where she had hoped, it became clear the transition to Physique was her only option.

Taking one look at Kirsty’s stage photos and comparing them to current top pros, its not surprising that many are calling her Australia’s most promising amateur. She is sure to earn her pro card soon and I was ecstatic to be able to sit down with Kirsty for an interview. Here’s some insight into Kirsty Mitchell:

kirsty mitchell

What inspired you to get involved in bodybuilding?

After competing in my first local Sports Model show, I saw a lot of incredible physiques. Physiques that almost seemed impossible to create and build. At this time I was only 20, and these Competitors were over 30. I didn’t understand the amount of time and dedication this took. So I was determined to look like that at a young age. Ever since, I have always been inspired to be better.

What has been your greatest achievement?

My Greatest achievement would be continuing through a prep with giving my 110% effort even when everything was against me. Other serious competitors will understand the mental games when it comes to Bodybuilding. For some it is easy to just give up when the going gets tough. It’s easier to just give up when you are tired, hungry, and mentally and physically exhausted. But, to keep going no matter what was against you. Knowing how hard a prep can actually be, plus everything else on top is just as more rewarding than Winning. Don’t get me wrong, serious Athletes are in it to win it, and although I have won a few shows, the decision of placing could change either depending on the judges, and who steps on stage. That is out of our hands.

kirsty mitchell

What do you do in your training that is key to your success?

I give my training 100% even on a bad day. Although that effort on a bad day may not be comparable to a good day, it was still the effort given at the time is what I believe also counts. Also focusing on improving areas of my physique that are lacking. This creates an overall balanced physique

What was the best advice you were ever given?

Life will throw curve balls and challenge you in every corner, in all aspects of life. Just tackle it head on with all you have!

kirsty mitchell

What is the biggest challenge you have faced?

If we are talking about competing here, it would defiantly be find a happy balance between my business, study and competing. Obviously this sport requires 110% dedication and focus, but so does my business that involves a lot of other competitors. So the demand of both of these are high, as well as Uni!

Who are your heroes and Why?

I actually don’t have a particular hero/motivator. I did when I was a lot younger. Although, as I get older and progress in life, and this sport I find if you do things right you can draw inspiration and motivation from almost everyone. It just really depends on how you look at each situation, I do my best to turn it all into positives. This really helps.

kirsty mitchell

What makes you different from other athletes ?

I’m still a baby in this sport, I started relatively early and although I do well, I still have a lot of room for growth and improvement that I’m willing to make. Both in this sport and life in general, along with my business.

What advice would you give girls looking to get into bodybuilding?

I say this from experience, make sure that you are already living a healthy life style. Bodybuilding isn’t for everyone. Do your research so you understand the basics, if not more. Before getting a coach, this makes it a lot easier for your coach to bring you in with the best package possible. Also, don’t listen to anyone except your coach!

kirsty mitchell

What do you do outside of bodybuilding?

I run a Bikini business called Hidden Physiques (Posing and Bikinis) which is obviously still related to Bodybuilding, because let’s face it, I can’t get enough of this sport. Haha. I am also a Uni student, ready to graduate a ‘Nutritional Medicine’ degree. I am also a PT. as you can imagine, between all of this, this keeps me very busy.

What is next for Kirsty Mitchell?

Continue building my business and taking it a little more Internationally, and would love to compete again soon.

kirsty mitchell

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Should Children Lift Weights?

Children Lift Weights

Children Lift Weights

Most parents would agree that children should engage in all kinds of aerobic activities like footy, soccer, dancing, martial arts and athletics and they also agree that these sports can be started at from young age. It’s when we ask parents if they think their children should engage in weight and strength training that we tend to receive a more negative response. I’m here to break through the controversy and find out if our children should be weight training and what would this involve.

Many paediatrician’s and fitness experts agree that strength training is actually good for children and is something that can be incorporated easily into a child’s exercise plan. It’s important to note that strength training works differently on a child compared to an adult, a child will increase strength and endurance but will not become big and bulky like an adult male would.

Children Lift Weights

Healthier kids

Government guidelines actually recommended strength training for children aged 5years and up for at least three days a week alongside aerobic sports. This doesn’t mean you should head out and buy a home gym for your child, strength training activities depend on age and ability and can include body weighty exercises, and weights should only be added once the child can perform the exercise correctly and safely. These recommendations come from the large amount of evidence that shows that stronger kids have a healthier heart, lower body fat, stronger bones and higher self-esteem. Starting strength training younger also allows for easier muscle development at a later age and a healthier outlook on life that will stick to children when entering adulthood.

Children Lift Weights

Where to start?

It’s a good idea to start with body weight exercises such as:

  • Pushups
  • Planks
  • Squats
  • Lunges
  • Mountain climbers
  • Bear crawls
  • Supermans
  • Crunches
  • Chin ups
  • Tug-A-War

children lift weights

When a child is old enough, and they have mastered the body weight exercises you can look at adding weights to the squats and lunges and then moving on to free weight exercises such as:

  • bicep curls
  • shoulder press
  • Tricep kickbacks

Please note that maximal weights carried to failure should NOT be performed by children until at least 16 years of age and only then with proper instruction from a professional trainer. Warmups and cooldowns are always recommended to prevent injury. Keep it fun!

children lift weights

Myths busted

#1 High injury risk

The risk of injury is high when a child engages in weight and strength training that is unsupervised. Just like adults children need to know the correct way to perform strength training exercises, and they should only be performing age appropriate training. When performed correctly the incidence of injury from strength training is actually lower than the risk of injury when playing football and other contact sports.

children lift weights

#2 lifting stunts growth

This myth is based on the belief that weight training damages growth plates. Growth plates ar4e the cartilage growing areas at the end of long bones in children, when children get older these harden into bone. While injuries to these growth plates are actually quite common it is not weight training that is to blame, the fact that they are soft just leaves them more susceptible to injury, which can happen from any activity. The baseline is that as long as the exercise is performed correctly and is age appropriate there is not risk of stunted growth.

Conclusion

Despite popular belief strength training is actually a healthy and important part of your child’s development and can create a fun bonding experience between you and you kids.

So work out a training plan and help your child to live a happier, healthier and stronger life!

children lift weights

 

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An Interview with Alexander the Great

How did it feel to have the entire crowd chanting your name at your UFC debut?

To be honest I don’t take much notice of the chants till after my fight, when the job in front of me is done. Before the fight I purely focus on what’s in front of me. When all is said and done and I’m getting my hand raised, that’s when I can take it all in and the support is overwhelming.

Who or what influenced you to start in MMA?

As a career choice, I’ve always wanted to be a professional athlete. I was a rugby league player but knew I was not going to make the big time there. I love All aspects of martial arts, especially MMA (UFC), I was a huge fan for years and dreamed of being a part of it for a long time. I knew MMA was something I could not only be successful in, but I believe I’ve definitely got a shot at being champion one day.

alexander the great

For how long have you been involved in MMA?

Believe it or not but I only a tarted Mma training about six years ago, which is pretty impressive considering how far I’ve come so quickly. I have a wrestling background from my early teens, then moved onto rugby league for years, and finally found my home with MMA.

What has been your greatest challenge so far?

Struggling financially while trying to get that UFC contract, the family and I literally put everything on hold while I chased that dream. It’s still early days and while it’s not yet financially rewarding, I’m here and I’m here to stay so it will all be worth it in a few more years.

alexander the great

And your greatest achievement?

So far that would definitely have to be securing the UFC contract with a TKO 2nd round victory, in front of a home crowd at my debut fight in November 2016.

What is the one indulgence you just can’t live without?

Cheat meals! The only thing that gets me through the strict dieting every week of the year. My wife and I get alot of enjoyment planning out what we’re going to indulge in on a Saturday night!

alexander the great

What has been your worst injury on the ring?

In my first professional fight in 2012 I broke my hand. It needed surgery with pins and screws, which had me out of full contact for a while, So I got married instead!

What is next for Alexander the Great?

Fight, fight, fight!! I love this sport but I love my family more and I’m doing this for a living so I need to fight as often as possible to make the dollars!

alexander the great