Welcome to my world...move well, live well!
Hi! I'm Sophia - a British born, London trained, Californian living Pilates Instructor, Personal Trainer and lover of all things fitness & wellness. I'm wife to John and Mama to baby Theodore. I workout to keep my body strong and healthy and my (over-worrying anxious) mind calm and focused. My approach to fitness is to listen to my body and move it in a way that makes it feel good - some days this means slow, controlled mindful Pilates and other days this means a higher intensity, sweaty workout! But the main thing underpinning every workout I ever do is good form - moving well means maximising the benefit of every exercise (and workout) reducing the risk of injury and, ultimately, feeling much better in mind and body....'move well, live well' as I like to say!
Anyone who knows me well knows that I LOVE food! I have a semi-serious chocolate addiction and am currently working my way through every Californian Pinot noir and Chardonnay available. To me, living a healthy life doesn't have to mean excluding the things you love; to build a positive, life-long relationship with fitness and food, nothing should ever be considered 'bad' and you shouldn't ever be made to feel guilty about what you ate or the workout you didn't do (rest days are super important!)! Yes, of course, we must consider the nutritional value of our food and make sure that we include as much nutrient-dense food in our daily diet as possible (for optimum energy and health benefits) and, of course, if we become overweight for our height/build then we might need to consider whether we're consuming more calories than we're expending and look at reducing daily calories consumed from certain foods (as well as increasing activity levels to create the calorie deficit required for weight-loss). BUT....if we exclude the less nutrient-dense (but super yummy and soul-nurturing) foods from our diet completely, we will only ever end up wanting them more and (more often than not) will end up developing a very negative, unhealthy (and potentially disordered) mindset towards food. And, let's be honest, food is one of THE most wonderful things about life so let's enjoy it!
My approach to wellness is just as much about my downtime on the sofa with Netflix and a glass of wine as it is about my workout program....I get anxious and overwhelmed pretty easily (even more so since having a baby!) and so downtime is SO important to me for my mental health and overall wellbeing. We moved to the beautiful San Francisco Bay Area last year for my husband's work and I had my gorgeous baby Teddy last summer. So life is currently pretty much all about new Mama life and figuring out how I maintain my fitness and wellness as best as possible now I have my mini-man to look after (without being able to call my Mum to come and save me when I can't cope...argh!). I hope you enjoy my little blog - I don't find the time to update it half as often as I'd like to (I only wash my hair once a week these days so sitting down to write a blog post is nothing short of a miracle!!) but take a peek below for my thoughts and top tips on all things fitness and wellness, including advice based on my recent pregnancy and postpartum journey.
Oh, and I'd love to hear from you - get in touch if you have any questions, requests for content or want to connect or collaborate!
Big virtual hugs, Sophia x
Suffer with back pain? You’re not alone; with 540 million people affected globally, back pain is the main cause of disability worldwide. Whether you’ve slipped a disc or are just struggling with a little lower back niggle, you’re likely to be reaching for the pain killers and looking for those quick fixes. And yes, those fixes might work for a little while but, eventually you’re going to have to put down the pain killers and take a look at the root cause if you want to turn your back on that pain for good!
When it comes to back pain, the fundamental thing to consider is postural alignment. Our sedentary, in-active lifestyles mean that most of us end up deactivating our postural muscles and sitting/standing with poor posture over the course of our day. When we don’t hold ourselves in correct posture, our joints move out of their natural alignment, meaning that the joints themselves and the surrounding ligaments and muscles are put under excessive strain. This, over time, can cause joint deterioration, muscular imbalance and aches and pains (hello back pain!)
This is why we need to consider the shape of our own spine! Did you know that a healthy spine is an 'S' shape with three natural curvatures; an inward/forward curve at the neck (cervical curve) an outward/backward curve at the upper back (thoracic curve) and an inward curve at the lower back (lumbar curve)? These natural curvatures work a bit like a coil, absorbing shock, maintaining balance, and allowing range of motion throughout the spinal column. When we lose these natural curves, through sitting, standing and moving with poor posture, we put excessive strain on the vertebrae and the muscles and ligaments surrounding our spine are forced under continuously excessive strain, resulting in muscular back pain. Additionally, the continual pressure on the inter-vertebral Facet joints (yes our spine has joints!) can break down the joint cartilage and cause degenerative issues such as osteoarthritis and the continual pressure on the inter-vertebral discs can cause disc compression, pain and eventual protrusions (slipped disc...ouch!).
To understand how to correctly align your spine, you need to first understand the unique shape of your own spine! You see the natural curves of the spine vary slightly on each and every person! If, for example, you have an extreme lumbar spine (lower back) curve (often referred to as a condition called Lordosis), the likelihood is that you have excessive compression on the vertebrae at the bottom of your spine and that the surrounding ligaments and muscles are overly tight and sore (causing lower back pain). Similarly, extreme curvatures at the top of the spine (in extreme cases referred to as a condition called Kyphosis) often lead to excessive rounding of the upper back and shoulders and excessive strain on the upper back, chest and neck muscles, causing upper back pain. An excessive sideways curve of the spine (known as Scoliosis) can cause misalignments and resulting joint and muscular issues throughout the body and can put serious strain on the spine itself, causing disc issues.
Of course, there are varying degrees of these excessive curvatures and physiotherapists, Osteopaths and chiropractors can be consulted to help you asses your own spine and help provide corrective programmes. Once you understand your own spine it’s so much easier to understand the exercises you should be doing to help you correct and maintain good posture. With a combination of core strengthening exercises to help you correctly activate your postural muscles and mobility and stretching exercises to stretch out the muscles of your back, neck, shoulders, chest, buttocks, hips and legs, you'll help improve your posture and turn your back on pain!