By Joe Mellor, Deputy Editor
I always thought I was in good (ish) shape. Without trying to show off, I run or do weights pretty much every day (I’m still overweight; I drink too much).
However, last year I tore my meniscus (cartilage in my knee I found out later) which was a bit of a wake-up call. I realised I was 33 and perhaps not the ironman I thought I was (more iron age).
But after I finally recovered from my operation, I got back into the same old routine and remained that way until I was invited down to FIX, a “community for rehabilitation under one roof, with a network of therapists offering physiotherapy, osteopathy, massage, 1-on-1 Pilates and yoga”. The centre is based right next to London Fields, so I even felt a bit trendy going there. Unfortunately there wasn’t time to grow a beard, but I wasn’t judged for that.
I booked in for an hours sports massage with Sanja and was warned on the phone it wouldn’t be like the massages I’ve come to rather enjoy on my spa days. There would be no Orca moods playing in the background, which on reflection is probably a positive thing.
Sanja was extremely friendly and we began with a consultation. She asked me to explain my ailments, exercise regime and posture etc. I expected her to be pretty pleased with me, “hey wow, Joe you really are in good shape”, were the words I expected to tumble out of her mouth, but sadly not.
My posture was wrong (I sit on my spine), my leg muscles are totally one sided (“one side is non-existent the other is like a guitar string”) and my bum is weak (for some reason I found this quite embarrassing). It reminded me of the line from Pulp Fiction, “If my Answers frighten you then you should cease asking scary questions”.
For someone who talks/bores people to death all day long for a living I was speechless. All I could muster was a stuttered, “So I need to do those groin exercises I see women doing in the gym?” “Yes you do.” was the response.
It was tough love, but I needed it. Sanja told me that my exercise regime and general movement was causing great strain on my back and leg muscles. I was once told I had a classic pear shape, she kind of agreed. I felt like crying. It’s ok when your mates say it as a joke, it’s another when a medical professional confirms it.
Still just about keeping my bruised sporting god ego intact, she proceeded to give me the actual sports massage. She clearly knew her stuff and pointed out various areas of weakness and tension. My upper back tension was causing problems lower down, for example.
As I left I thanked her for her evaluation, I need to change the way I look after myself, I have buried my head in the sand for too long.
When I got home I decided to withdraw my entry into the 2015 UK strongman completion, sat up straight and clenched my groin muscles for dear life.
The next day Sanja very kindly sent me a list of exercises to help me repair my wounded body (and ego).
I can’t believe I left it so long before visiting a sports physio. I learnt more about my body in one hour than I had in the rest of my life. Whether you are a sporty type or not, I suggest you do the same. It might be hard to hear, but you will be thankful in the long run.
Fix can be found Arthaus, 199 Richmond Road, London, E8 3NJ or contact [email protected], 020 8986 5551, @FixLondon