DDP Yoga: Fitness Diary Review

For as long as I can remember I have always had some kind of injury or ailment to hold back my fitness. Eventually this turned into a vicious cycle of persistent exercise only to be chopped down by shin splints, a bad back or even worse, my bad knees. As much as gyms are good for exercise I still believe they are designed in a way to minimalize progress. Nothing beats real exercise as opposed to ‘simulated’ gym stuff.

Getting outside for a long brisk walk or a park sprint session really makes you feel a million dollars. But around that corner for me was and still is an injury that has kept me from doing anything physically demanding for over two months.

I am talking about sciatica, a debilitating injury which begins in the lower back and soon takes over your leg muscles and nerves causing a hell of a lot of pain. It hurts to sit, walk, stand and pretty much exist. Like a pulled muscle but on steroids which doesn’t go away after a decent night’s sleep, sciatica is here for the long term and it is the worst injury I have ever had.

What caused it? A combination of things, but this blog post isn’t about causes, it’s about healing and prevention.

Having taken over a month to walk without much more than a dull aching pain, whatever I set out to do was going to take time. In fact, I had never been so consistent with exercise by doing all this walking, something which early on, eased the excruciating pain.

With sciatica, movement is king, where ever possible just move, stand up and walk around. And so with that in mind my healing journey began. Every so often the pain would come back and sometimes stronger. I am now at a point where it is getting no worse or better. Something more than what I was doing had to be done, and so here begins my journey of a pain free, sciatica free life.

My vessel on this journey, hard work and DDP yoga! Here is my first week’s progress…

yogy

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

08/08/2016

Weigh in – 11St 8 / 74.9 KG

Started the program on the beginner schedule. The first session; Diamond Dozen is a semi workout tutorial that quickly gets the blood pumping. It’s a series of different movements targeting lower body and upper body muscles. Dynamic resistance is the key word here and Dally insists that you must get a heart rate monitor to track exactly how much the moves are making you use your heart. Many of the moves are easily modified to suit all abilities and levels of mobility. He shows us with the use of other demonstrators how to pull off many of these simple but really effective workout moves. An easy to follow session for all levels. My sciatic pain only bothered me a few times but overall I was fine.

After work out meal – Two scrambled Eggs, spaghetti shapes and two rashers of unsmoked bacon (grilled)

Verdict: So far so good. Must get a heart rate monitor.

 09/08/2016 – Rest day

Began the morning with fruit and small glass of milk (phase 3 of the yoga fitness regime does say to remove all dairy). Took some time to read the DDP yoga guide. Its a great motivational and factual tool complete with schedule, success stories and even some awesome recipes.

‘There is no try, there is only DO!’ I read from the guide.

Already feeling better today with my sciatic pain easing throughout the day. Some muscles are a little tight from the initial workout yesterday but all good today.

Enchiladas and rice for dinner! Fitness is life!

10/08/2016 – Diamond Dozen and Energy

OK two workouts today. Well the diamond dozen is a much slower paced tutorial but moving on to the roughly 25-minute energy workout, for a newbie to yoga it was a challenge. Constant movement and holding poses, many of them can be modified as to which I did a few times. Throughout my sciatic pain reminded me it was there especially with the floor based stuff. Good energetic workout, any one unfit will struggle unless you modify, I did it just about with only a few mods. We shall have to await how the leg and back feels throughout the day and tomorrow.

Must get a heart monitor.

11/08/2016 – Rest day but went to the gym

The leg pain came in and out today but was mostly lesser than previous days. No particular aches or pains from the yoga so I decided to hit the gym. I did 12 minutes of cardio via the cross trainer and some dumbbell stuff. The cross trainer is a wonderful piece of kit and the movement alleviated any sciatic pain I had today. Good times.

Fruit for breakfast, pasta for lunch and steak for dinner.

12/08/2016

Energy work out today and only just about did it because my stupid dam laptop decided to run updates. The workout was awesome, I got my heart beat jacked up and broke a sweat. Struggling a little with the lower body based moves as my legs aren’t that strong. Felt great after the workout, sciatic pain came and went with no real improvement today. Guess it’s going to take a while.

Ate out for dinner and treated myself to Calzone. Watched Suicide Squad, review here.

Weekend 1 – Rested, well I was at work so I did some walking. Tried my best not to sit all the time as that flairs up my sciatica. Ate moderately clean.

Meals included Leek and pea risotto with garlic bread. Chicken breast with salad. Roast dinner on Sunday with a can of stout.

15/08/2016 – End of week 1

Monday morning, early start for work. Feeling some sciatic pain but nothing more serious than the past few days. Did a lot of upper leg and hamstring stretches in the morning. Applied heat to back and leg a couple of times. Lunch meal included a cheese and roast vegetable panini and a large salad.

Energy yoga workout today, managed to grasp many of Dally’s moves better and held them for longer, especially the runner’s lunge parts. I could really feel my heartbeat during the workout today, and that’s even from staying still. I guess that’s the dynamic resistance working. Back and leg felt so much better afterwards and there was no pain afterwards for my 25 minute walk! It feels like the sciatic pain is retreating finally!

Conclusion

As you can see within only a week progress towards curing my sciatica was made. There are still several steps to follow and it is only the first week, but already I feel stronger, I feel more energetic and even happier. Nothing beats breaking a sweat and getting the most important muscle in the body pumping.

I included a rough account of my diet as exercise alone isn’t a fair indication of how much progress I am making. Diet is everything when it comes to fitness.

My next objective is to get as many people to join me on my journey, then we can have DDP yoga workout parties!

Stay tuned for my next update soon!

the gram

 

The Nutrition post: Are you what you eat?

Famously ‘you are what you eat’ was said by somebody sometime and diets are a big thing these days. With the emergence of more diabetics, heart disease patients and obesity; eating right has never been more in the spotlight. Social media, the modern tool of society heightens it further.

If we are so aware of what eating ‘wrong’ can do then why are so many people’s health situations steadily declining?

I ask this from experience because nearly ten years ago I checked myself into hospital with rather severe chest pains. They gave me a gown and hooked me up to several measuring devices. During that time inside I was immensely worried. Anyone else would be. Many questions were asked and the conclusion they came to was digestive related. Acid to be precise. They prescribed me pills and I went away.

Over the last ten years I have suffered from acid reflux related problems and the start of this year particularly has been quite bad. I would like to state that I am not over weight and neither do I eat that ‘badly’. Being on acid stopping pills can only do so much and that is where society comes in because the nature of eating is going wrong.

You can only throw so many treatments and pills at somebody but after all that it still won’t work.

After some extensive research I can say that I am not eating ‘badly’ but neither I am eating the right things that counter acts the over production of acid within the stomach.

Everyone is different so we all have to find our own healthy mediums. But here I am at 25 having to drastically change my diet. Why? Because I was never aware or told what certain foods can do once inside the body.

Many times I have visited the doctor and not once have been really informed what is causing my reflux. Without shaming or blaming my doctor they can only do so much in a few minutes they get to diagnose and send me on my way.

But that is the problem as a whole, people are just not informed by what food really does to you. Top athletes will all say that nutrition is just as important as training and yes they can put percentages on the packaging but that still doesn’t clarify what’s happening on the inside.

I’m using myself as a case study here and it isn’t to give out diet advice and how to loose weight but simply to the lift the lid on this subject of what different foods really do to you.

The internets is a world of resource and to me is the greatest tool of the modern man, for information. Here’s what I already knew: I have an acid problem, it’s painful and uncomfortable. The acid can spread to other areas of the body and can cause weird pains.

From many google searches and from remembering school science I came across something called the PH scale. A measure of how acidic or alkaline something is. This includes food.

food ph

Now we are getting somewhere. But my findings concluded that what I eat on a regular basis doesn’t do enough to balance the stomach’s PH scale. Below is my now defunct usual weekday diet.

Wake UP – No breakfast, Cup of tea

10am Yoghurt, Cup of tea

12 – Lunch – sandwich, tomato soup and (or) tomato pasta and fruit, cup of tea or canned carbonated drink

1400 – Yogurt

1500 – Black coffee

1800- After gym snack – Usually glass of milk

1830 – Cup of tea

1930 – Dinner (large meal)

From the list above there isn’t much that actually acts as an alkaline in the stomach. Some of you will recognise the dairy part of my diet and research suggests that most dairy products remain neutral to the scale. So there I have been eating mostly acidic foods and trying to neutralise my stomach with yoghurt, which at best will only tip the scale back to neutral. That is until I have bread or pasta and then my pre gym coffee the scale goes back to acidic. Another conclusion is too many hot drinks and the larger meal at the end of the day. Right now I am suffering from tea withdrawal but that’s part of the struggle.

It would seem I was on a constant loop but then it gets a little more complicated. My understanding of food and what it does has been completely changed. Because foods can be defined as alkaline or acid forming. An example and this blew my mind:

Lemons although incredibly sour and contain citric acid are actually alkali forming inside the stomach.

Mind blown, I’ve been doing this all wrong.

Mind blown

 

Then my research concluded:

Most dairy is acid forming in the stomach!

These two examples show even a layman like me honestly has no idea about nutrition and what foods do once within.

A healthy stomach is one within the center of the ph scale. Having a one sided acidic diet over time can cause problems. But the outlook is good because most alkali foods are well known vegetables and fruits. They are largely available and normally quite cheap. On my studies I found a rather nifty website with some decent info.

Of course before changing a diet drastically talk to a doctor and remember balance is key.  Your thoughts? Do you have a strict diet or do you eat whatever you like?