Founder well-being: Check your health, before you wreck yourself!

This is a public service announcement for founders and the startup community.

Let’s be real about the treacherous lifestyle you have chosen. It is a roller coaster, one with many big dips, ups and loop the loop moments. Your friends and family think you are insane but you secretly love it. You know the startup grind requires courage, decisiveness and endurance.

Do you think you’re ready for the physicality of the startup grind?

Let me elaborate with a story about my mate Joe, an amazing entrepreneur from Melbourne.

Joe is a larger than life personality by nature, very likable and an extremely confident networker. Over the period of twelve months he successfully launched a health technology platform to the market and as any entrepreneur would do, he drove sales and joint ventures quickly.

Joe set the pace of the business and in year two his team grew very rapidly. Running on enthusiasm, adrenaline and excitement Joe started to find it a little difficult to switch off and get enough sleep. But there was no time for rest, exercise or time zone adjustments as he expanded into Singapore where he spent three months raising funds, networking and leading product expansion.

Joe’s friends and family were so happy for him, he was an overnight success until one night the fast-paced lifestyle had caught up with him. After an intensive Asian banquet for dinner and a few beers, he suddenly felt dizzy, had severe chest pain, headache and serious stomach pain.  Joe was instantly scared and worried.

Was it the dumplings, beers or a heart attack?

Let’s talk about three key components of well-being that Joe has neglected.

Don’t Forget to Fuel the Fire

An internal fire burns inside the heart of an entrepreneur like Joe.

It burns, it burns and then it runs out. What I failed to mention was that Joe was living on a diet of long macchiatos and espressos during business meetings (at least four a day). For dinner, uber eats was too convenient, not to mention pizza deliveries and coke zero for all-nighters with the team!

With so much caffeine and fast food fuelling his lifestyle, Joe was literally running on empty and the stomach pain was the symptom of a greater issue, his diet.

To the startup community I highly recommend consuming at least three glasses of water for every coffee you consume. Coffee in any shape or form is a stimulant, anti-diuretic and acts on the central nervous system to increase alertness.  Combining high stress work with caffeine and foods high in sodium, carbohydrates and fat will result in weight gain, sluggishness and decrease your performance. If you are a go-getter and want to excel like Joe, you want to consume foods rich in protein and low glycaemic index (GI).

Low GI foods can improve your ability to concentrate, sustain energy and make you feel fuller for longer – curbing the carbohydrate cravings such as pizza. Pick the right fuel for your engine.

No rest for the wicked

Founders are not immune to sleepless nights, feeling worried and working long hours. The founder lifestyle typically demands plenty of travel, early morning starts and late-night finishes, sleep becomes a liability.

In the case of Joe, his sleeping patterns became erratic. Over time, his sleeping pattern got so bad that four hours a night was considered the norm! Sleep can affect every part of your life. Your mood, energy and even your weight can all be influenced by the amount of sleep you achieve.

For founders, committing to healthy sleeping habits such as going to bed and waking at a consistent time is essential. Seven to nine hours minimum a night for healthy adults is required to perform well. Stay wicked but make sure you rest!

High intensity lifestyles require physical resilience

With less than ideal amounts of sleep and terrible food habits – Joe did not feel up for exercise. Prior to launching his business, he was an F45 member and attended six times a week. It was cult-like! His preference for fitness was high intensity and variety was important. But with the success of his business and growing travel requirements, even getting out for a short run became difficult.

Founders, please know one thing, the more physically active you are the greater your ability to think and create. If time is your excuse, then do a short burst of high intensity exercise for fifteen minutes daily. Being a brilliant entrepreneur requires creativity and resilience. Physical fitness will aid and improve these two areas dramatically.

Summary

Founders, you have chosen a difficult and challenging lifestyle. Fuelling, resting and staying fit will enhance your performance and help you achieve your dreams. Don’t be like Joe and burn out over dumplings and beers you are better than that!

Live the founder lifestyle with Pinnacle Health Group

Being a founder means committing to your own way of doing things. But you’ve got to be healthy to do it. Be a leader that pushes for better by making sure you’re making wellness and health a part of what you’re building by reaching out to Pinnacle Health Group today.

You can get in touch with the team at hello@pinnaclehealthgroup.com.au or call 1300 2 PINNACLE today.

Are you an active couch potato?

Active couch potato
By Tom Bosna – Managing Director

It is no secret, sitting for prolonged periods is NOT good for us.

With phrases like ‘sitting is the new smoking’ being used in the media, it’s important to really understand the key issues and be able to make informed decisions about how to look after ourselves in the workplace.

In 2015, I wrote a small article: 3 easy ways to create movement opportunities at work. At that point in time, there were new research findings coming from the University of Queensland that had caught my attention. According to their study into the effects of sitting for prolonged periods, even when adults met the recommended physical activity guidelines, the positive effects of that exercise were often negated by the amount of time they spent sitting.

In other words. If you enjoy a High Intensity Training (HIT) session three times a week at the gym but go back to work and sit like a desk jockey for the remaining 40 hours of the week. You are potentially sitting in the active couch potato seat and are not capitalising on incidental movement opportunities in the workplace.

In 2018, the research continues to show sedentary behaviours are strongly linked to negative health outcomes such as obesity, type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular, metabolic risks and premature death. The fact that all of the above are preventable is what is really concerning to me!

Based on my research and key learnings from the WELL Building standards study & Movement concept advisory I recommend three easy solutions to avoiding becoming an active couch potato.

Workplace Design

The future of work is technology enabled, hyper connected and agile in design. Gone are the days where you sit in the same desk every day and sit in meetings all day.

Modern workplaces are designed for movement. To help you figure out how your workplace stacks up, consider these questions:

  1. Are your locker, printer and meeting rooms all a walk from where you spend the majority of the day?
  2. Does the workplace have a wellness or fitness centre with exclusive deals for staff?
  3. Are standing desks or active workstations available in break out areas?

If you said yes to all of the above – you are in a well workplace. The key question is are you making the most of the design?

Plan your work, work your plan

As an astute observer of human behaviour and neuroscience enthusiast, it really bothers me when I see people walking with their phones glued to their hand in the early morning. I can see the phone lighting up like a Christmas tree with rapid push notifications jumping out of the screen. When you observe this happening it really looks like a wave of anxiety and I worry for the person’s brain and performance.

To address getting past this roadblock I believe that planning your work, and working your plan is essential. That means be diligent with your time management and working hard to avoid having your time and attention sapped by unnecessary distractions.

Encourage your people to get moving

Movement is great for your performance, mental health and resilience. If it was a pill everyone would be doing it! At Pinnacle Health Group, our teams utilise the walking meeting, pilates hour or exercise club to keep performance and morale high. This type of team activity is planned and organised to get the teams together once a week.

For anyone interested in learning about the neuroscience at work I’d highly recommend the book titled “Your brain at work” by David Rock. It is for those of you who are interested in surviving and thriving in the modern workplace.

You have to take the stairs

A wise person once said, there is no elevator to success – you have to take the stairs. You will see it every morning, there are people who take the escalator and those that take the stairs.

Choose the latter every time and this will improve your incidental movement output significantly.

In the modern workplace and cities of the future, active exterior design is critical to influencing physical engagement levels of the community. A nice practical resource on this topic is the walk score.

Summary

Movement is medicine for the mind and body with tangible returns on investment!

We spend 90% of our time indoors and one third of our lives at work. The great opportunity here is incidental movement. – make the most of your time.

Learn more with Pinnacle Health Group

Sometimes all it takes is a reminder, but other times I’ve found that making a change takes effort. If you think that the organisation you work for could use some help inspiring your people to get moving more throughout the day, you can get started by filling out a wellness enquiry form today.

Why the CEO Should Be the Most Physically Active in the Company

By Tom Bosna – Managing Director

Over the past year I have had the pleasure of working with some truly inspiring CEOs and senior leaders in progressive and innovative Australian businesses.

I’ve been blown away by the commitment to wellbeing that I’ve seen. Being leaders in their company, the example that each of these individuals are setting for their people has made a very real impression on me.

Firstly, for the fact that they are investing the time in energy in bettering the lives of their workers. But also, that they are each treating wellness as more than just a people strategy. It has been so encouraging to see leaders take a real interest in creating a culture that cares and creates healthier individuals.

One of the biggest trends I have noted in my experience is that when the CEO and senior leaders are physically active – they statistically have a more engaged workplace and healthier company profile.

While the benefits of being physically active are pretty clear as mentioned in my previously articles – reduced risk of stroke, cardiovascular diseases, type 2 diabetes, obesity, depression and some forms of cancer. The benefits of having a physically fit and active CEO and senior leadership team are ground-breaking. In practical terms, the ripple effect on the entire organisation is positively linked with great performance and engagement. So, let’s dive in…

 

3 reasons senior leaders should be the most physically active in the organisation

 

Performance Perks

The organisations that had physically active leaders have been found to be more satisfied with their own performance as a team. With a leader that exercised at least five times a week for over 30 mins at moderate exertion, researchers noticed that employees worked smarter and had reduced rates of absenteeism compared to the less active teams.

In my opinion, if the CEO is physically active and is able to discuss the benefits openly in conversation, the entire organisation can benefit. The physical, social and psychological pillars of the organisation can all be positively influenced by the example that an active CEO can set. From a performance perspective, active CEO’s enjoy greater performance across the wider group with case studies revealing higher workforce resilience scores compared to inactive CEO cohorts.

 

Psychological Safety

One of the greatest tasks of the CEO is to create an environment where employees feel psychologically safe. Whilst, the usual focus here is on mental health, I’d like to divert to talk about creating a culture of individual empowerment.

In my dealings, the more physically active CEOs and senior teams have had a much healthier approach to work. Giving their people the freedom to self-manage their workload and leaving space for more flexible working arrangements. Physically active CEO’s seem to trust their workers more, helping to create a culture of psychological safety. We have seen this phenomenon in our corporate wellness centres where staff can access our wellness services whilst at work. Whether that be a Yoga class, a Physiotherapy appointment or a skin check – all is encouraged in a safe culture of wellbeing.

 

Wellbeing champions – the ripple effect

In my consulting work, I have seen CEO’s with teams ranging in size from 50 all the way through to 5000 who have built physical activity into the culture. In one organisation, the core values were created with wellbeing being a key focus – and the subtext being – ‘be the change you want to see’ – how remarkable is that!

With physical fitness being a key pillar for this organisation, organically the CEO and senior leaders have created a culture of wellbeing champions.

One senior leader reported that in their team a team manager of 300 organically started a running group for the Melbourne half marathon. The leader noticed his team drinking too much coffee and sitting for too long and was fed up! The team manager had lost a significant amount of weight in the companies group fitness challenge two years prior and had wanted the team to feel the benefits they had experienced themselves.

Creating wellbeing champions is the mecca of all wellbeing strategy and engagement. The CEO’s who are physically active create a ripple effect of influence and it is embedded into the company culture.

 

The take home!

Physically active CEOs and leaders are high impact individuals, their teams perform better and they create a legacy of wellbeing champions. Get moving, lead from the front and enjoy the ripple effect.

 

Lead from the front – with the help of the Pinnacle Health Group

Creating a workplace culture that encourages the best in everyone doesn’t have to be a battle – not when you commit to leading from the front. If you are interested in learning more about what we do at Pinnacle Health Group to help companies like yours encourage wellness in their people, get in touch by filling out a wellness enquiry form today.

The Sports Injuries That Are Much More Common In Female Athletes

Low section of sportswoman suffering from knee pain while sitting on track during sunny day

Reports show that female athletes are more susceptible to certain sports injuries compared to their male counterparts. This includes everyone from girls participating in sports at school to professional female athletes. There are specific injuries women appear to be more prone to and a variety of reasons that could explain why. 

 

Common Injuries for Female Athletes

Many of these different sports injuries are common in both men and women, but are slightly higher among the latter:

  • Concussions
  • Ankle sprains
  • Knee injuries, including ACL tears and ligament damage
  • Shoulder injuries, including rotator cuff problems and instability
  • Stress fractures, especially in the foot or lower leg
  • Plantar fasciitis (small tears in the support tissues along the arch and heel of the foot)

 

The Reason These Injuries are More Common

According to experts, there are a variety of possible explanations why these injuries could be more common in female athletes than men. However, these are closer to theories that solid, undisputed reasons. Most relate to the biological differences between men and women. For example, female sports players and athletes typically have:

  • A wider pelvis, altering the angle of the thigh bone and alignment of the knee and ankle, potentially increasing the risk of sustaining injuries in those places.
  • The intercondylar notch, which is a groove in the femur that the ACL passes through tends to be smaller in women than men, making it more prone to injury.
  • Higher levels of estrogen, which is theorised to weaken the ACL ligament. One study found that ACL injuries tended to be more prevalent in women during the menstrual cycle when estrogen levels were higher.
  • A combination of less developed quadricep and hamstring muscles as well as looser ligaments, which allows for greater flexibility but leads to an increased risk of ACL injury.

Female athletes also tend to move differently, which might predispose them to certain injuries. For example, when landing from a jump, female athletes tend to land more upright and with their knees closer together. When women suddenly change direction, they tend to do so on one foot (possibly due to a wider pelvis), while men tend to “cut” from both feet.

 

Female Athletes and Concussion

Research shows that young female athletes have nearly double the risk of concussion compared to male athletes in a range of common sports including soccer and basketball. The reason for this is not clear. Possible explanations include differences in head and neck strength and hormonal differences. 

It’s essential to seek medical treatment as soon as possible as delaying treatment can prolong recovery time. Research does indicate female athletes seek specialty medical treatment later than male athletes for sports-related concussions and this delay may cause them to experience more symptoms and longer recoveries.

 

Reducing Female Sports Injuries

Fortunately, women can take steps to reduce the likelihood of suffering these sports injuries. This includes strengthening muscles, especially the hamstring and vastus medialis (muscles along the inside of the thigh and knee) to prevent ACL injuries. Training to change direction using both feet, training to land from jumps in a safer position and targeted weight-lifting programs can also help. Bracing can help limit ankle sprain while Orthotics (shoe inserts) may provide more support for those prone to plantar fasciitis or other foot injuries. 

 

Visit Our Wellness Clinics in Melbourne or Sydney

Pinnacle Health Group provides a range of services including physiotherapy, massage, clinical pilates, yoga and more. If you’re injured or need health advice, book an appointment from one of our CBD based health clinics or join a wellness class near you.

Quick Tips for Marathon Training

Runners run urban marathon in the the city

1 – Look Down

Test out the shoes and socks that you plan on wearing on race day. If the shoes aren’t your regular training shoes, wear them on at least one 12-15 km run at marathon pace. This test run will determine whether you’re likely to develop blisters or get sore feet–before it’s too late. If the shoes bother you on this run, get yourself another pair.
 

2 – Don’t get greedy 

Try to stick to your training plan in the weeks leading up to the race. You’re not cramming for a test so running more KM’s than you’re used to late in your training can hinder your performance rather than help it. 
 

3 – Taper

During your final week you should feel like you’re storing up energy, physically and mentally. Keep runs short, try to get good sleep and keep stress at bay. Get work projects under control, decline late night invitations and try to avoid long flights if possible. You should arrive on the start line feeling fresh and ready to smash your goals! 
 
The Melbourne Marathon is only a couple of weeks away. If you have any questions, niggles or need some more personalised advice get in touch today!

3 reasons why you should add strength training to your running program

By Chiropractor Luka Fantela

 

Back in the day, if you wanted to become a better runner you would simply run, and then run some more!

While this can be a useful strategy to some extent…

More and more, we now see recreational runners all the way to elite-level runners incorporating strength training into their weekly training routine and the outcomes have been impressive.

So here’s why you should be adding strength training into your training schedule…

Improved Running Economy —

  • Defined as the the oxygen uptake required at a given sub-maximal running velocity (1). In other words, the better your running economy (RE), the less oxygen you need to maintain your running pace.
  • In recent studies, both strength and resistance training have been shown to be effective means at improving RE in all levels of runners (1,2) So yes, even the weekend warrior can supplement their running with some resistance exercise and reap the rewards.
  • The great thing is, these demonstrated benefits don’t require months to years to attain but only several weeks before these changes can be achieved (3,4).

Improved Running Performance —

  • Typically defined by the parameters of VO2 max, maximal anaerobic running velocity & power generation, which habe all been shown to significantly improve in conjuction with a sound strength training program.
  • In a few recent studies, direct improvements have been shown not only in short to intermediate distances but longer distances as well (eg 1,500m to 10,000m) (2,4,5).
  • Once again, these changes in running performance were achieved in as little as two to three strength training sessions per week (6).

Reduction in Running-related Injuries —

  • Although it’s difficult to determine the injury risk in running due to so many potential variables at play. What we can do is take the data we have from common running injuries involving the knee, Achilles, shin and hip and consider the similarities among them, with one of the most prominent being reductions in strength.
  • Also, if we consider the main interventions in the management of running-related injuries, exercises focused on building strength, endurance and power has been highly considered first-line and recommended treatment (7,8,9,10).
  • We know running places considerable loads through our body, with the foot and ankle requiring to withstand loads of 6-8x our body-weight at a jogging pace (11). In order to improve our bodies ability to handle these loads we need to ensure we have sufficient capacity in the muscles attenuating the loads. What better way to do this then with a resistance training routine tailored to your running requirements?

Takeaways

  • Adding in 2-3 resistance training sessions into your running can improve running economy, running performance and make you more injury resilient
  • The benefits associated with resistance training can be seen in just weeks
  • Apply this now by adding in some exercises into your training routine, focusing on key muscles involved in running such as: calf complex, hamstrings, quadriceps and hip stabilisers to improve physical capacity.

Thanks for reading.

Want to find out more about how strength training can optimise your running? Please feel free to reach out to me below:

E: luka@pinnaclehealthgroup.com.au

  1. Balsalobre-Fernandez C et al. (2016) Effects of strength training on running economy in highly trained runners: a systematic review with meta-analysis of controllled trials. J Strength Cond Rest, 30(8):2361-8
  2. Yamamoto LM et al. (2018) The effects of resistance training on endurance distance running performance among highly trained runners: a systematic review. J Strength Cond Res; 22(6):2036-44
  3. Denadai BS et al. (2017) Explosive training and heavy weight training are effective for improving running economy in endurance athletes: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Sports Med, 47(3):545-554
  4. Alcaraz-Ilbanez M & Rodriquez-Perez M (2018) Effects of resistance training on performance in previously trained endurance runners: a systematic review. J Sports Sci, 36(6):613-629
  5. Beattie K et al. (2014) The effects of strength training on performance in endurance athletes. Sports Med, 44(6):845-65
  6. Blagrove RC et al. (2018) Effects of strength training on the physiological determiants of middle- and long-distance running performance: a systematic review. Sports Med, 48(5):1117-1149
  7. Zouita S et al. (2016) Strength training reduces injury rate in elite young soccer players during one season. J Strength Cond Res, 30(5): 1295-307
  8. Santos TR et al. (2015) Effectiveness of hip muscle strengthening in patellofemoral pain syndrome patients: a systematic review. Braz J Phys Ther, 19(3):167-76
  9. Esculier JF et al (2018) Predictors of clinical success in runners with patellofemoral pain: secondary analyses of a randomized clinical trial. J Sci Med Sports, 21(8): 777-782
  10. Van der Vlist AC et al. (2019) Clinical risk factors for achilles tendinopathy: a systematic review. Br J Sports Med
  11. Dorn DW et al. (2012) Muscular strategy shift in human running: dependence of running speed on hip and ankle muscle performance. J. Exp. Biol. 215, 1944-1956

Beat the Weight Loss Plateau

by Edwina McDonald

 

So you’ve managed to drop a few kilograms – well done!

You may be finding now however the weight loss has stabilised. Below are 10 tips to help you beat the weight loss plateau and reach your ideal healthy body weight!

 

10 Tips to Help You Beat the Weight Loss Plateau

  1. Eat regularly; skipping meals can results in a loss of recognising hunger/ satiety cues and usually results in overeating in another meal.
  2. Drink water; we often mistaken thirst for hunger. Drinking water can take the edge off your hunger and can reduce overall food volume consumed.
  3. Consume protein with each meal; protein is what fills us up. Think milk, yoghurt, nuts, eggs, fish, meat.
  4. Eat for hunger; listen to your body, if you eat for hunger you will be much more in tune with your metabolic requirements.
  5. Portion control; overeating anything will put on weight.
  6. Record your intake; keep yourself accountable, focus on your nutrient intake and eating regularity.
  7. Don’t overestimate the calories your burn with exercise; your body adapts to a stimulus, you get fitter and your body gets more efficient at burning fuel.
  8. Mix up your exercise routine; doing the same thing yields the same result. Challenge your body in different ways to avoid adaptation.
  9. Practice mindful eating; be aware of what’s going in your mouth, don’t eat while you are doing something. Savour and enjoy your food while eating.
  10. Liquid calories count; alcohol, iced tea, juices, still contain calories.

 

Dietitian Edwina McDonald is currently available for appointments at the Melbourne and Docklands locations.

A Snapshot of my Journey to Ironman

The Ironman has been touted the most mentally and physically gruelling one-day endurance event. It comprises a 3.86 km open water swim, a 180.25 km bike ride, and a 42.2 km run. For the professional athlete it takes 8 hours; and the general competitors 17. With good reason many call it plain silly and question the motivation of those who not only choose to compete, but pay for the privilege…
I am a weekend warrior who has neither the heart of Phar Lap, nor the lungs of Ian Thorpe, but someone who thrives on a challenge and is enticed by pushing the limits. The first hurdle for my ironman season is the Challenge Melbourne; a race comprising a 1.9 km swim, a 90 km bike ride and a 21 km run. The contest requires my apt preparation to ready the body and focus the mind.

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Six Steps to a Healthier You in 2015 by Edwina McDonald

Living healthier is often just a matter of changing a few simple lifestyle habits: getting more exercise, eating healthier, not stressing the little stuff. This is often easier to say then do when combined with a busy work week and a full social calendar! However we have an article and offer that will ensure your 2015 is a healthy one! Edwina McDonald, Pinnacle Health Group’s Dietitian and Nutrionist, gives you practical and achievable ways of changing your daily habits to keep you healthy and fit.

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