LifeHappy Chats: We Talk Biomechanics & Sports Massage With Will Goodbourn

What is biomechanics? How will it help improve your game and overall wellbeing? To answer our questions, we interviewed Will Goodbourn, a Sports Massage Therapist & Biomechanist operating within the East Midlands.

What is Biomechanics?

Will: ” Biomechanics is the practice of human engineering.  It involves the study of human bodily alignment and motion, for example walking and standing posture. 

A key component of the field is the analysis of sporting techniques to improve performance efficiency and reduce the incidence of injuries.  For instance, each sport has an optimum way of how its key skills should performed (e.g. high jump technique), just like there is an optimum way of walking and running.  Therefore, there is a wide range of different walks of life where the field is useful. 

An analogy I often use to explain Biomechanics is comparing the human body to a car.  A car is made up of lots of moving parts, such as the chassis, wheels, engine, and gearbox.  The human body is the same – we have our own chassis (i.e. the skeleton), and all the things that come off this frame, e.g. muscles, tendons and ligaments, with the brain acting as the overseer.  All these things work in tandem to bring about a coordinated movement. 

However, if a car had a wonky wheel, it would not drive very well – excessive pressure would be put onto the wheel itself, as well as other areas of the car due to this misalignment.  Unfortunately, due to modern-day lifestyle habits; such as prolonged sitting and excessive mobile phone use, the quality of human posture is in decline.  This creates many muscle imbalances in the body, pulling the skeletal structure out of alignment and giving us this ‘wonky wheel’.  Chronic skeletal misalignment puts the body under increased stress, creating many challenges for our long-term postural health which may see people developing conditions such as osteoarthritis in the joints. “

Unfortunately, due to modern-day lifestyle habits; such as prolonged sitting and excessive mobile phone use, the quality of human posture is in decline.

How is Biomechanics practiced?

Will: “Many different methods can be used in order to practice Biomechanics.  Personally, I often use a combination of postural assessments, and gait analysis; which is the observation of an individual’s walking or running technique.  These highlight any imbalances that might exist between one side of the body and the other, and areas where the individual may be lacking in terms of skill development (e.g. sporting techniques).  Based on these observational findings, it is then possible to create an aftercare plan to rectify these problems.  Effective aftercare plans can involve strength and conditioning, increasing flexibility, and improving specific areas of skill development.”

How does Biomechanics tie-in to Sports Massage?

Will: “Sports Massage is a very widely practiced discipline.  It can be used to treat or prevent injuries, increase flexibility, and reduce stress, amongst other things.  Biomechanics knowledge is not a pre-requisite in order to practice in this field. 

However, I feel that only by combining the releases from the Sports Massage with Biomechanics, can a proper, thorough benefit to an individual’s long-term joint health be achieved.  For example, let’s say you suffer with lower back pain; which is a very common ailment.  You could always have a massage in order to release off the area, and it may be very effective in reducing the pain. 

However, what if there isn’t anything wrong with the back itself, and the problem is coming from elsewhere?  For instance, you may have weak abdominal muscles, which causes a misalignment around the pelvis, resulting in an overworking of, and increased pressure around, the lower back.  Therefore, by only massaging the back, you are not addressing the underlying cause of your pain, as you are simply treating the symptoms. 

In fact, I think this is a very unhealthy way to live, as the dysfunction is still there, and the longer your specific issue is present, the more chance it has of compromising your long-term joint health.  After all, there wouldn’t be too much difference between this, and taking painkillers in order to mask the discomfort!”

How did you get into Biomechanics?

Will: “I have been involved in sport for most of my life.  I started running when I was eight years old, and still do it today, along with multi-event athletics.  When I became a bit older (into my teenage years), I started wanting to take the sport a lot more seriously and become more competitive.  However, whenever I tried to increase my training load, I would always break down part-way through each season with injury and have to miss a lot of training and competitions as a result.  This also became worse over time.  This of course was very frustrating and upsetting for me, especially as I visited countless experts who couldn’t really offer a proper explanation of why it was happening, or a proper solution. 

It did spark an interest though, as this inspired me to learn more about injuries, why they kept on happening to me, and to help others to avoid the torment of not being able to do the thing they love doing.  Therefore, I studied a degree in Sport and Exercise Science at Loughborough University, and this was where I started to become interested in the Biomechanics, due to my fascination of how the body works, and the potential of the field to treat and prevent injuries.  

Upon graduating, I then completed a Biomechanics-related masters degree, and at the same time, studied for my Sports Massage Diploma.  While at the time of writing, I am not completely injury-free, I feel I have made significant improvements, and since starting my own business in 2017, I am happy that I am starting to make a positive change to other people’s lives.”

What sort of clients do you see?

Will: “Since starting my business, I have seen clients from many different backgrounds across a wide age range.  As you can imagine, most of my clientele have a sporting background.  So far, I have treated athletes from sports such as: running, cycling, triathlon, multi-event athletics, football, horse riding, martial arts and bodybuilding.  While it is not possible to be an expert in every sport, I do feel that my background in running offers me a distinct advantage.  After all, even if you are not a runner, then the chances are that if you are involved in a sport, then you participate in running in some capacity.  For example, a footballer will spend a lot of time running around a pitch.  Many athletes from other sports also likely run in order to work on general fitness also.  Therefore, these athletes will need to run efficiently to reduce the likelihood of getting an injury.  Hence, I always consider running to be the foundation of nearly any sport. 

The standard of participation has also varied from absolute beginner, to international standard.  However, this does not mean that you need to be an athlete in order to benefit from Biomechanics or Sports Massage, as I also see many people who do not do any sport at all.  After all, you don’t need to be an athlete to suffer from aches and pains!  This may include people who have a physically demanding job, or suffer pain when carrying out everyday tasks.  Therefore, whatever goal you have, Biomechanics can help!”

Will Goodbourn
Sports Massage Therapist & Biomechanist

To find out more about Will Goodbourn BSc MA Dip, Sports Massage Therapist & Biomechanist, visit his website or Facebook page or get in touch with Will via email at willgoodbourn95@gmail.com or by phone at 07715 418013.

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LifeHappy Chats: An Interview With a Personal Trainer

To explore the world of personal training and help you to understand if personal training is right for you, we interviewed Chloe Winterbourne from Chloe Winterbourne PT, an Oxfordshire-based personal trainer. Chloe answers our questions on personal training and the benefits it can provide to each and every one of us.

Can you tell us a little bit about yourself?

Chloe: “Hi LifeHappy! My name is Chloe Winterbourne, I’m 23 years old and I’ve worked in the fitness industry for just over 4 years and I’ve truly loved every moment. Sport has been such a massive part of my life for as long as I can remember and I couldn’t imagine myself doing anything else with my time.”

What is personal training?

Chloe: “Personal training is working with individuals or small groups to deliver them personal yet challenging exercise programmes tailored to their wants, need and ability.”

How does this method get the best out of your clients?

Chloe: “By creating a programme that the clients enjoy, that they find pushes their limit in the right way. Clients should find it helps work towards their goals, whether their goal is something more aesthetically-based, or more fitness/strength-orientated.”

Who should think about getting a personal trainer?

Chloe: “I wouldn’t pinpoint any one type of person. I’ve trained a variety of people with a range of goals. But if you’re plateauing, or not sure where to start, often enlisting the help of a personal trainer can help you along your journey.”

How did you get into personal training?

Chloe: “Like many people who work in the fitness industry I’ve always been ‘sporty’. I think my parents got me into gymnastics aged 3 and it progressed into doing lots of sports during school and eventually qualified as a PT. Although I didn’t use the gym regularly until around the time I qualified!”

What sort of clients do you see?

Chloe: “I’ve seen such a range of clients over the 4 years I’ve been qualified. Clients just starting their fitness journey, those working towards a special event like a wedding, those who want to improve their fitness or physique or those who are super fit and are looking to be challenged in a different way.”

What do your clients expect after coming to see you?

Chloe: “I always try to get clients to leave with a smile. I also hope that they’re sweaty too! It’s not always about them crawling or barely walking their way out of the gym after every session. I hope my clients feel like they’ve achieved something, whether that’s a personal best or they’ve come away with knowledge on how to move their body better, or feel like they’re closing to achieving their goal.”

Bonus question! What’s your favourite song to work out to?

Chloe: “I always struggling answering my favourite song, but a song that always plays if I’m on a run or working out and is on every playlist I have is ‘La La La’ by Naughty Boy & Sam Smith.”

To find out more about Chloe Winterbourne from Chloe Winterbourne PT, visit her Facebook page or get in touch with Chloe on 07512 054062 or chloe@thefitnessexperts.co.uk.

Top 10 Running Tracks: Hip Hop and R&B Edition

When it comes to running, we all know that a banging playlist can make or break a work out – whether you are a genuine running addict or would much rather be sitting on the sofa. We’ve compiled a Top Ten list of our favourite hip hop running songs to keep you going mile after mile both on the treadmill and on the pavement. Here are your new favourite running mixes!

1 – 99 Problems by Jay Z

I got ninety nine problems but running ain’t one! This amazing 2003 track from Jay Z’s eighth studio album The Black Album carries rough and urban riffs guaranteed to get your trainers pounding the floor faster, and with more sass. Running is always a great time for thinking through life’s problems, so run with Jay Z for the answers.

2 – Lose Yourself by Eminem

Reaching your limit on your run? Program this song into your playlist for the ideal fuel to propel you beyond the dreaded “wall”. Eminem’s Oscar-winning Lose Yourself is considered to be one of his best songs, and we simply couldn’t agree more. The King of self-motivation, this mid-tempo song delivers punchy beats and an angsty narrative for the perfect push-yourself kick in the middle of a run. You better lose yourself in the music, the moment, you own it!

3 – Stronger by Kanye West

Incorporating elements from house, electro, techno and electronica, this futuristic tune with catchy synths is perfect for picking yourself up when you feel like you can’t run anymore. We all know that feeling, so thanks Kanye for putting it down into words (albeit in a robot voice). After all, what doesn’t kill you, makes you stronger!

4 – 212 by Azealia Banks ft. Lazy Jay

The perfect positive song for the start of your run – we know it’s a little bit potty-mouthed, but welcome to the world of Hip Hop and R&B! This infectious dance floor filler is the perfect running companion with a little bit of edge. If you don’t end up singing along, we’ll be surprised. Sayin’ your runnin’, but you ain’t goin’ no where!

5 – Pump It by The Black Eyed Peas

Can you see your front door in the horizon like a distant mirage? We’ve got your back. This all-time favourite banger from Black Eyed Peas is an ideal selection when you’re dripping with sweat and only five minutes away from the nirvana of a hot shower and a cup of tea. Put on this song and pump it, louder!

6 – Black and Yellow by Wiz Khalifa

We know Black and Yellow is a little bit repetitive, but we couldn’t care less. It’s so catchy it hurts, and the repetitiveness helps with the repetitiveness of running and zoning out into that trance that aids us in even the most mind-numbing “I-want-to-be-at-home” workouts. Yes, we’ve said repetitive three times. Hit the pedal with Wiz and make the floor shake!

7 – Feel Good Inc by Gorillaz

For the ultimate “feel good” factor (see what we did there), this wonderful Gorillaz track places seventh in our Top Ten. With an incredibly catchy melody and awesome bassline, this dark but beautiful song needs to make it onto your playlist. A good pick for the first section of your run. Take it all there on your stride with Gorillaz!

8 – Push it by Salt-N-Pepa

We simply couldn’t select our Top Ten favourites without this ultimate throwback from Salt-N-Pepa. A dependable parter starter, Push It is also a great running track packed with electro-grooves. This is another tune for the end of your run when you need a last motivational hit – Push it real good!

9 – The Way You Move by Outkast

Mixing bass, Atlanta-style Southern hip hop and 70s soul music, this tune from the beloved Outkast is bound to get your feet moving to the beat. It’s impossible not to love, and the quick tempo assists with pace and motivation. I like the way you move!

10 – Sorry by Beyonce

This is a great song for nicking lyrics posting indirect tweets about your ex, but also an absolute banger for your run. A mid-tempo R&B track with a thumping beat, Sorry gives us an evolution of early 2000s R&B with a truckload of 2019 sass. Find personal empowerment during your running thinking session, and speed your running up every time you think about your haters. I ain’t sorry!

Find all these great tracks on Amazon Music Unlimited to create awesome running playlists packed full of your favourite motivating tunes – with unlimited access to over 50 million songs and ad-free listening.

The 5 Best Protein Bars After a Hefty Workout

For many years now, supplements such as protein bars have been available to streamline your progress, and for the most part this is true. Companies have created a plethora of tasty, healthy and convenient snacks allowing you to improve whilst leaving you with more of the most precious commodity – time.

Exercise and a healthy diet go in hand-in-hand, whether you’re looking for that summer bod or making small changes to improve quality of life.

For many years now, supplements such as protein bars have been available to streamline your progress, and for the most part this is true. Companies have created a plethora of tasty, healthy and convenient snacks allowing you to improve whilst leaving you with more of the most precious commodity – time.

But who should you trust with your hard earned cash? Which protein bars will push you to greatness, and which are simply expensive sugar canes? We’ve broken down the 5 best protein bars to chomp down on after those hefty workouts.

1 – Grenade Carb Killa Go Nuts

Vegan friendly, gluten free and containing no artificial additives, the Go Nuts bar from Grenade covers all bases. 10g of protein is smaller than we normally see from Grenade, however with only 2g sugar and 178 calories in total, we’re sure your body will thank you for this choice.

2 – PhD Protein Flapjacks Peanut Butter

The PhD Flapjack range is quite simply delicious – especially the peanut butter bar. 19g protein in a 75g flapjack make this offering more specific to those serious about building muscle and cutting down on carb and fat intake. Whilst arguably being a little too moreish and higher in calories than other bars, this vegetarian-friendly bar will fit in well with your nutritional plan.

3 – Maximuscle Promax Lean Cookies and Cream

For those of you with a sweet tooth to satisfy, this bar is for you. Maximuscle Promax Lean bars feel more of a treat than many of its competitors, however this comes at a price for its relatively high e-number count. At 55g per bar with 20g protein, it suits well as a mid-way house for regular trainers looking to minimise sugar intake.

4 – Amfit Nutrition Chocolate Caramel

Amazon’s value offering might surprise you as a sought-after option. The Amfit product range competes well in protein amount (19g), bar size (60g) and sugar content (2g). However many reviewers mention its high fibre content and how it affects them post-workout, so these must be taken with some small caution.

5 – Trek Protein Flapjacks Cocoa Oat

For the most organic and healthy choice, Trek have a truly “free from” protein bar to settle your cravings. A much higher sugar content of 28g per 100g bar may swerve your attention, however for long distance runners and the like this little treat may come in handy.

Before buying any nutritional supplement, you must first choose your goals: Am I looking to bulk? Am I trying to improve endurance? Lose weight? Whatever you decide, your diet and protein bar choice must align with your target. For more help on your fitness plan, take a look at The Fitness Mindset by Brian Keane.