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Rhys Chong – Bio Rhys was never going to be a person who followed the crowd because from an early age he felt called to ‘care for people’ and knew he wanted to be a physiotherapist by the age of 12 years. During his adolescent years he took all the s... Read More

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Recovery in Sport: From hydration to compression clothing

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Recovery is the 4th discipline in Triathlon, and it is the secret to building muscle mass. Knowledge about Recovery is growing in amateur sport. There is readily available information in Endurance Sport magazines and websites.

I am changing my Sport participation from Ironman training to playing Football, Tennis and Cycling all in a weekend. These sports are explosive, and power based, rather than pure endurance training.

I know my body will go through a period of readjustment to these sports. Avoiding injury will be important. My goal is to use my knowledge and experience of recovery to enable me to compete in three sports over one weekend, on a regular basis. I want to have enough energy to play each sport, but also get stronger and prevent injury.

Recovery is a key to this plan. I want to recover faster, be stronger and perform at my best. I want to avoid cramp and muscle injuries.

I have divided Recovery in areas; 1. Compression clothing 2. Rehydration 3. Recovery nutrition 4. Ice baths 5. Cool Down

  1. Compression Clothing

My interest in Recovery has started with Compression clothing. I used these in Ironman training and found them very beneficial. I wore them overnight and when I woke up in the morning my legs felt “fresher” and less painful.

I did an online search of compression clothing. There is a large range of brands to consider. I decided to look at the original compression garment Skins and, a brand I used in Ironman, 2XU. Website reviews of compression garments showed these two brands rated highly.

 

Best Compression Gear Review – Triathlon Plus | TriRadar.com

http://www.triradar.com/gear/best-compression-gear-review/
Best Compression Gear Review – Triathlon Plus | TriRadar…

We test some of the best compression gear on the market in our best compression gear review – 25/10/2012

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Product Review: 2XU Compression Gear

http://breakingmuscle.com/clothing-shoes/product-review-2xu-compression-gear
Product Review: 2XU Compression Gear

The world of compression gear has become filled with numerous brands, but 2XU stands out as a quality brand that actually makes a difference in performance and re…

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2XU Compression Tights review | road.cc

2XU Compression Tights review | road.cc

road.cc – the website for pedal powered people. Road cycling news, Bike reviews, Commuting, Leisure riding, Sportives and more

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2XU Elite compression tights review – BikeRadar

http://www.bikeradar.com/gear/category/clothing/tights-longs-and-leggings/product/review-elite-elite-compression-tights-10-35682/
2XU Elite compression tights review – BikeRadar

There’s a common edict in cycling: don’t stand when you can sit, don’t sit when you can lie down, and if you lie down put your legs up

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The 2XU brand of compression leggings had been researched by the Australian Institute of Sport.

http://www.2xu.co.uk/compression/

I decided to test 2XU. 2XU had several models to choose from; performance (MCS), recovery and hybrid models. Each model differed by the compression quality of the material each used. The performance leggings were designed to reduce muscle vibration and damage.

I decided to test the performance and recovery leggings.

  1. Rehydration

The body requires electrolytes for normal body function. Read below for facts on recovery by Australian Institute of Sport on Nutrition

http://www.ausport.gov.au/ais/nutrition/factsheets/competition_and_training/recovery_nutrition

The key electrolyte is Sodium

http://www.ausport.gov.au/__data/assets/pdf_file/0011/594173/CORP_33413_SSF_Electrolyte_FS.PDF

Other important electrolytes are Potassium, Calcium and Magnesium. When we sweat we lose these electrolytes in our body. Sweat cools our body down. When we lose Sodium we retain less water and lose our feeling of thirst. Hence, dehydration is a serious problem. Drinking water is not enough.

When we sweat we lose these electrolytes in our body. Sweat cools our body down. When we lose Sodium we retain less water and lose our feeling of thirst. Hence, dehydration is a serious problem. Drinking water is not enough.

It appears that some electrolyte products do not contain enough Sodium. Coconut water is currently trending as a natural electrolyte replacement. However, It appears commercially sold coconut water is too low in Sodium to be used as an electrolyte replacement drink.

http://healthandwellness.kaplan.edu/articles/nutrition/Coconut%20water%20-%20Is%20it%20really%20natures%20sport%20drink.html

I searched online for the best electrolyte replacement drink for my needs. I came across Nuun (pronounced Noon). Nuun has excellent concentrations of Sodium, K, Mg, and Ca. It also contained Sodium Bicarbonate. Sodium Bicarbonate can, apparently, neutralise some of the effects of Lactic acid. It is low calorie and contains only electrolytes (allowing me to choose my own source of carbohydrate). There are no artificial additives and has natural flavouring.

https://nuun.com/blog/electrolytes-hydration

Another electrolyte product I discovered in my local bike shop (Wild Bikes) was OTE (original owners of SIS nutritional products). OTE also has no artificial flavours and is low in calories, but does not have the Sodium Bicarbonate content, when compared to Nuun.

  1. Recovery Nutrition

Interms of recovery drink I have used SIS recovery drink in the past. Current versions have 50% more protein, carbohydrates and electrolytes. I compared this product to Sun Warrior protein powder (Vegan). Sun Warrior has significant amounts of protein and very small amounts of carbohydrates. I can see this as a great source of protein I could use after gym training, but not a recovery drink.

My nutritional needs in recovery are 75-105g carbohydrate 15-25g protein

I can see SIS repid recovery drink does not have enough protein. I will therefore look to supplement this drink with a carbohydrate bar/ shot and eat wholefoods at a later date.

www.scienceinsport.com/sis-rego-range/sis-rego-rapid-recovery/sis-rego-recovery-protein-1-6kg/#prod-tab-2

4. Ice Baths

There seems to be a debate about the benefits of ice baths. I have seen ice baths used at Wimbledon, professional football and in the Tour De France

There was an interesting article in cyclenews – “cold baths key to Etixx-QuickStep’s Tour de France success”

The bath temperature used by cyclists was 10-12 degrees. They could sit comfortably in them and even fell asleep. Other benefits listed included pain relief, improved lymphatic drainage and cooling of the body.

Andy Murray (professional tennis player) described his routine after his Wimbledon matches. He rehydrated, ate whole foods, got a massage and then had an ice bath.

  1. Cool down

The other elements of recovery would be active recovery (cooling down with exercise), and stretching. I do light general stretches post match and do more serious stretching 2-3 days after performance. Ballistic stretches before a match is best. I cool down with gradual reduction in activity in


The secret of a winning team

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Winning a Gold Medal at the Olympics, winning the Tour de France or winning an Ironman are spared for the elite athletes of the world. Every sport has its unique demands but there is one goal all athletes strive for … to be the “best he/she can be”.

Whether you are a professional or an amateur there are aspects of training which can help you be the “best you can be”. The key is to have a team of specialists who work specifically for you. Bradley Wiggins, Chrissie Wellington, and Sir Chris Hoy all have a team of professionals guiding them to success.

 I completed my Ironman and had a team of professionals working with me. I knew if I wanted to be the “best I could be” I would need coaches for different parts of my training. In my team was a training coach, swim coach, bike mechanic, nutritionist, mental conditioning coach, massage therapist, physiotherapist, and pilates instructor.

 Each member of my coaching team had their role to play at various stages in my year of preparation for the Ironman. My training coach directed the overall training plan and as my strength and technique improved, with the help of other specialists, I focussed on work with my mental conditioning coach. I did have injuries during the year but they were minor. It helped to condition my body with gym work and pilates. The expert physiotherapy treatment and massage therapy I received allowed me to train 6 days a week.

 Elite athletes will train in cycles of 4 years in preparation for the Olympics. The focus of their team is to have them at peak performance for that one race on that one day that really counts. This could be your “A” race for the year when you want to set a PB (Personal Best time).

 My advice is to plan your training with your coaches. Your entire physical and mental preparation will be for your “A” race. The synergy created by pinpoint focus on your “A” race will create incredible results.

The benefits of having a team of coaches are far greater, when compared with a computer or book prescribed program. Your coaches are with you from the beginning of your journey through to crossing the finish line. They know how you “tick”, and can provide you with emotional guidance and motivation, in the good times and the bad. Your training can be adapted to fit with what is happening in your life. When it really matters we all want to talk to people and training is no different.

If you want to race an Ironman for the first time and want the right team of coaches to work with, see  www.physical-edge.com

Rhys Chong

Author, Physiotherapist and Ironman


Interview: Rhys Chong about First Time Ironman Book

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First things first – completing an Ironman Challenge is no New Years Resolution. When did you suddenly realise that you wanted to become an Iron Man, after no prior training?

The Ironman had been a dream of mine for 10 years. The distances in an Ironman seem impossible but this made it more exciting. I saw athletes in there 70’s and 80’s complete the race, athletes with half a functioning kidney fight to the end, and amputee athletes limp over the finish line.  I keep videos of these hero’s on my website www.physical-edge.com They all inspired me and I decided it was time for me to step up and stop thinking about it. I had a friend who became my coach and he promised to help me. Knowing I had his support, I made the decision to do the Ironman and entered.

What do you think planted the seed of the challenge in your mind?
I worked in a gym as a Physiotherapist and there were two personal trainers who did Ironman. I already wanted to do an Ironman, but with their coaxing and hearing their stories the idea grew more and more. The more questions I asked them the more I got excited about the idea.
Why did the Ironman challenge draw you in?
It was a challenge beyond my comprehension. It seemed totally irrational and inhuman to do, and yet by watching the youtube videos (www.physical-edge.com) I was captured by the enormity of the task. Watching  Ironman athletes cross the finish line in total euphoria was incredible. I wanted to do that and I wanted to be an Ironman.
You’ve had – and have – an amazing career in physiotherapy – you recently started your own physiotherapy business in 2007 Why that line of work?
I believe people are gifted with certain natural talents which do or do not fit with his/her chosen career. If you can find out what you do best and choose a career which matches your talent, then everyday you wake up and are excited about going to work. I had wanted to be a Physiotherapist since I was 12 years old. I naturally enjoy being around people and hearing how well they are doing in life. I have good sense of touch which is important in Physiotherapy and I love sport. These Olympics are dangerous as I find myself glued to the television all day.  I enjoy helping others and having my own business allows me to be creative in how I work as a Physiotherapist. I was going to be an Artist or a Physiotherapist, so having a creative outlet is even more fulfilling. You can see a video on www.physical-edge.com which gives more insight into my passion for Physiotherapy.
How did your line of work influence your decision (and success) in completing the Switzerland Ironman?
I have treated professional athletes in sport and work with amateur athletes. I have a passion for endurance events like the Ironman and Tour de France. In these events there are many injuries. I like the “buzz” of having an injury to heal in a tight time schedule, as happens when an event is coming up. Endurance athletes often get injured when they are doing their longest training sessions. This can be 3-4 weeks away from a big race. This is when the pressure is on to perform as a Physiotherapist. My contact with endurance athletes excited me and increased my desire to race an Ironman.
 
How did you stay focused and commit to the challenge once it had been finalised? 
The best way to commit to anything is “burn the bridge behind you”. Once I had made the decision to enter the Ironman I entered online immediately. I made the commitment by paying £450 and registering for my first Ironman. The bridge was burned and I could not go back. Once I was committed, all I could do was look forward and find a way to make it all happen. I think the greatest driver to keeping me focussed was the fear of not finishing the Ironman.  Everytime I thought about the race it frightened me and spurred me on to train and stay focussed.
 
What drove you to complete the challenge?
Every Ironman believes he/she will do anything to finish the race. I was committed 100% to get to the finish line no matter what happened. The pain was bad in the last 20km of the race but I was not going to stop running. I think this belief is developed in long hours of solo training in the cold and wet months of winter. I forced myself to train hard in these conditions and if I had made this sacrifice then I was going to get to the finish line of the Ironman.
What were you thinking from one stage to the next?! Did your mind wonder to what you were going to have dinner, or did it focus on the pain?!
My mind was focussed on my race plan. I had worked with a mental conditioning coach prior to the race. I had created a visualisation of my entire race, including breakfast and celebrating at the end. It is a type of hypnosis and I knew exactly what I had to do for each stage of the race. I only focussed on what I had to do next, so very short term. If I did have a moment to relax e.g. on the bike leg, I took the opportunity to enjoy the moment and really appreciate the fact I was actually racing the Ironman. I wanted to enjoy the race and capturing the scenery in Switzerland was breath taking.
Your words when you crossed the finish line?
YES!!!!!!! I was euphoric. I sounded like I was about to charge the enemy in war. The crowds were cheering and I was ecstatic. I screamed a war cry all the way down the finishers shoot to the finish line.
Was there ever a moment during the challenge when you worried about the lengths you were stretching your body?
At one stage on the bike my left knee kept subluxing, as the muscles on the outside of my leg had got so tight it was pulling my knee cap laterally with each stroke of the pedal. It was sharp pain and I had to keep my leg moving in a straight line to control the knee cap. I was worried about running the marathon next.
Your book ‘First Time Ironman’ launched this month – a tick in the box, life long ambition, or did you write it ‘just because…?’ 
I wrote the book because I now help business men and woman, entrepreneurs and celebrities train and complete an Ironman in 1 year. The book was designed to give first time Ironman athletes an appreciation of training for the race and the race itself. I wanted to know what it was like to train and race an Ironman and I know others would to.
What would you like your readers to gain from it? 
I want readers to see that racing an Ironman is achievable even with running your own business and having relationships. If you commit to racing the Ironman the rest will fall into place. It is key to have a great team of coaches and medical staff to help you. The book gives you an insight into how I used my team not only to have a great race but also a fantastic experience.
How did you find running your business whilst simultaneously writing your book?
It was tough at times but being super planned made all the difference. I worked with my coach on a weekly basis to get the timing right and when my work got too much we altered it.
It’s a pretty intense life you seem to lead! Hows the social life?!
Social life did take a back seat but when I did go out everyone wanted to hear about my training and were inspired by my plan. They wanted to donate to the charity I supported and in some ways I met people I never would have met without doing the Ironman. My coaching team are now great friends and they all came to my wedding.
What do you do to unwind in the evenings, or is unwinding unnecessary?
I will watch television or a movie and eat good food.  I enjoy life so I actually like doing things to relax to. I find working on my business and being creative or cycling 3-4 hours relaxing.
Your Ironman team helped Diccon Driver finish his Ironman challenge despite awaiting a kidney transplant.
How did it feel to a part of that monumental achievement?
Diccon is an inspiration to us all. His story is immense. I am proud to say I trained with Diccon and I think he will be the first Ironman who has had a kidney transplant. I am honoured to help Diccon and I am excited about his future race plans.
What are your plans for the future? Any more challenges?!
I have just had a baby so my new Ironman is taking care of her. This is an Ironman for life. I still go for bike rides and race team triathlons but my days of racing long distances have to take a back seat. I would love to do another Ironman with my children one day. Maybe when I am really old I will inspire them to race an Ironman.

What must clients do to get a result from Physiotherapy

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Motivation of clients in Physiotherapy is a key component to successful recovery. I have noticed there is a pattern for those who succeed with treatment.

Some clients come for treatment and suddenly want to run a marathon when they have not run for 2 years. There is an urgency to get better in 1 week or there is no time to exercise at home.  The ability to heal and get a positive response to treatment is often hindered by these types of expectations. Read more…