Dr Sue Knowles is a Consultant Clinical Psychologist, who works for Changing Minds UK (www.changingmindsuk.com), and an author of self-help books for young people.
Top Tips for coping in Stressful Times:
1) Getting a good night’s sleep – Sleep is so, so important for your health and wellbeing. Maybe use this opportunity of being in lockdown to think about and improve your sleep routine, and you’ll see a big impact upon how you generally feel. Start by asking yourself, am I getting enough sleep every night? Do I have a proper bedtime routine? Do I generally go to bed and get up at about the same time? Is my bedroom an appealing place to sleep? (cool, dark, quiet). Then start to make little tweaks to your sleep routine and notice yourself start to feel a little more refreshed each day.
2) Closeness and connection – We need closeness and feelings of connection with others – it’s what makes us human. Although it can be hard to be physically close to others right now, think carefully about how you can continue to connect. It might be sending a text, photo or video, checking-in with friends or family, sending an email, or having a videocall, or finding ways to play games together online. You may even want to go old-school and send a letter.
3) Keep up with our exercise – For lots of people, exercise is one of the best coping strategies. It can relieve stress and tension, help us to ‘let go’ of the day, make us feel physically better, and improve our mood. It can also be an important part of our daily routine. Although you might not be able to exercise in the ways that you usually would (such as going to the gym) seek out other ways to exercise and be creative.
4) Self-soothing – One of the best ways to make ourselves feel better, is to find things that help us to feel soothed. Is it snuggling with a blanket on the sofa, having a bath, having a bowl of warm comforting soup, sitting in front of an open fire, or kneading dough? Everyone is a bit different, so you can have fun exploring what works best for you. For example, some people prefer warmth (a hot water bottle, hot bath etc.) and others prefer the cold (a cold compress or icy cold drink).
5) Opposite emotion – One way to alter our emotional state, is to do things that play into the opposite emotion. For example, if we’re feeling sad or low, it can be useful to watch a funny film/comedy show, read an uplifting book or listen to a high-energy playlist. Or if we’re feeling angry, we can listen to calming music and try to relax our bodies.
6) Release any tension – When we get stressed, angry or anxious, we tend to hold this emotion within our bodies. Sometimes we don’t realise that we are feeling this way until we do a body scan. Try checking in with your body right now – how am I feeling in my body? Am I tense? Are my shoulders relaxed? If you feel any tension, gently let it go on each outbreath. Slowly notice your body start to relax. Other useful ways to let go of any tension are doing progressive muscle relaxation exercises or having a massage.
7) Tune into the here and now – When going through a stressful period, we might notice that our minds race, and our thoughts feel overwhelming. But when we can calm our minds, this can help us to feel much better, more in control, and reduce feelings of stress. Mindfulness is a technique that helps us to pause, quiet our minds, and ‘be aware’ in the present moment. There are lots of great apps out there with guided meditations that you can use, or you might want to try out the ‘breathing mindfulness exercise’ below.
8) Remember what works for YOU – We have often been through tough times in our lives and have somehow learned ways to get through them. Try to think back of what has helped you to cope in the past: what did you learn from that experience? What strengths can you draw upon now to help you to cope with what you are currently going through? What coping strategies can you use again?
9) Be kind to yourself – In this stressful time, the headlines suggest that society is generally being more empathic and compassionate. It’s absolutely true that lots of people are going out of their way to care for, and support, other people. But sometimes, we forget to do this for ourselves. We can continue to hold unrealistic and high standards for ourselves, when we would never expect this of others. It’s important to remind ourselves that we are going through this too, and that “It’s okay to not be okay”.
Find a comfortable position, whether you are lying down or sitting on a chair. If you’re sitting, make sure that your back remains straight, but allow your shoulders to gently drop. Notice your eyelids starting to feel heavy and gently close your eyes. Feel your body becoming heavy and allow it to sink down into the chair or bed. Acknowledge a sense of your body and mind slowing down. When you’re ready, bring your attention to your breathing, breathing in slowly…and out slowly.
Bring your attention to your chest, feeling it rise gently on your in-breath, and fall on the out-breath. Continue to focus upon your breathing, staying with each in-breath and each out-breath.
Every time you notice that your mind starts to wander, as it naturally will, gently bring your attention back to the feeling of the breath. If your mind wanders from the breath a thousand times, then your job is simply to gently bring your attention back to the breath each time, gently and compassionately.
Now, when you feel ready, gently bring your attention to your nose. Feel the cold air rushing through your nostrils on the in-breath, and the warm air rushing out through your mouth on the out-breath. If you find it hard to focus, perhaps swap this around, and breath in through your mouth and out through your nose.
Finally, when you feel ready, bring your attention to the whole breath. Notice how the cold air rushes in through your nostrils, how your chest rises and falls, and the warm air rushes out of your mouth. Be with each breath for its whole journey.
To end the mindfulness exercise, slowly bring your attention back to the room, gently open your eyes, and wiggle your toes.
Compex extends partnership with Team Bahrain McLaren
Compex is pleased to announce that we will be Team Bahrain McLaren’s official muscle stimulators partner in 2020.
Compex is a Swiss brand that over a period of 30 years has become the world leader in portable muscle stimulators for improved performance & recovery in sports.
Our partnership will allow Bahrain McLaren’s athletes to take advantage of Compex technology through the Compex SP 8.0. Sonny Colbrelli is happy about the partnership in helping his performance “I’m really happy to have Compex onboard. It’s a reliable and excellent support both to perform and to recover better. In one tool we can work on activation, recovery and strength. I use it, especially after a long day of training. It’s the best choice for muscle recovery, to recover faster and better. Moreover, it is easy to use and carry with us during our travels. In this period in which there are no competitions, I do two sessions a day: one in the afternoon and the other in the evening. This serves me to keep the muscles active and recover better after training efforts. I use Compex even in the case of small contractures because I saw that it helps me a lot.”
Arno Bosman, Global Compex Expert, said: “Compex aim is to help improve the performance of the team and relieve muscle pain, so we work together with the Team Bahrain McLaren staff to integrate Compex in the daily life of the cyclists.”
Pascal Bily, Compex General Manager, said: “We’re delighted to extend our successful partnership with the Team Bahrain McLaren with the renewal of our commercial partnership, we look forward to helping the team train stronger and recover faster.”
Compex sat down with French Personal Trainer, Mevenig Rio, to discuss his experiences with Compex and how it can aid your training routine.
I work in a gym, but also at home. My clientele is varied and interested in everything from health, returning to sports, aesthetics, self confidence, and weight loss, to more specific objectives related to weight training, running, cycling, and preparing for police or fireman contests.
I began using Compex® in my own workouts to improve recovery. Once I had discovered its other features I used it for pain management, massage, and physical preparation. Then I used it with my clients in their personal training sessions, which gave them added value and improved my coaching.
I use Compex® a lot in combined sessions; I combine voluntary exercises with Compex contraction to boost and energize my sessions and get results more quickly, and with both beginners and experienced athletes. It is the choice of the exercise associated with Compex® that will enable maximum muscle fibres, optimized training and help achieve better results.
In terms of results for my clients, I have noticed a real gain in recovery, which is faster and allows for better quality sessions. In the treatment of muscle and tendinitis, Compex® relieves pain and promotes healing. On the physical preparation of runners or cyclists I have also seen real progress in terms of gaining strength while keeping the muscle mass gain. Gain in muscle tone is also much faster for users looking to lose weight or tone up.
Compex® boosts and optimizes its sessions by targeting a specific work goal. Thanks to the good recovery it enables, it makes it easier to chain drives and prevent injuries. Best of all, Compex® allows you to complete your training and planning at home, meaning you can reach your goals much faster.
Compex sits down with Spanish Personal Trainer, David Navarro.
It seems that muscle stim has suddenly become fashionable, but the reality is that high level athletes and physiotherapists have been using Compex® for long enough to be able to attest to its success.
Compex® is not a fad, it is a reality taken to the highest level. It enables users to recover and improve their muscle condition, muscle gain, movement, and quality of life, be it in sport or during their daily life challenges.
As a personal trainer, I believe Compex® is best used to train for specific goals. My clients must trust that I am fully committed to helping them reach their goals, and I must be able to trust my tools.
When explaining the training process to my clients, I make sure they understand that without the high-end technology of Compex®, certain goals will take a lot longer to achieve, and in some cases may be impossible.
While I’ve used the Compex® Fit 5.0 to achieve a lot of different results, I find it most effective in helping my clients compensate their weaker muscle groups, and to strengthen and recover muscle structures compromised during sport or daily activities.
One such client is Sara Lobla, a wedding photographer who suffers from back, shoulder and knee pain due to the physical demands of her job. When Sara is preparing for a wedding, I can take these demands into account when planning her training routine with Compex®. This helps me to know exactly what programmes to use during her training sessions.
And just as athletes have down time, so Sara has periods with less work. This gives me a window to really focus on muscle training to give her more strength and resistance, allowing her to focus on her job.
Working with 2 channels simplifies any type of workout and lets me focus on individual muscle groups without the need to deactivate additional channels that would be present on other devices.
Sara has now successfully relieved her back, shoulder, and knee pain. Besides using the Compex® Fit 5.0 to improve her muscle condition, helping her to keep taking impressive photos, we also use this device to help her get in shape and tone her buttocks and abs.
Ultimately, nothing escapes from the Compex® Fit 5.0!
Patricia Soave, our expert trainer in Compex, will help you to get visible results the same way she does for her customers.
In order to get the best out of her programmes, you have to follow 3 basic rules:
1. Regularity => A muscle that is not stimulated regularly will not adapt. You have to train minimum 3 times a week by muscle group for 4 to 6 weeks in order to get visible results.
2. Intensity => To the maximum bearable intensity in order to stimulate as many muscle fibres as possible. At the beginning, the contractions might surprise you and you may ache in the days following. This is normal, because EMS will enable you to develop an important quantity of muscle fibres, more than during a normal bodybuilding training session.
3. Combination of proposed exercises during contraction phase => Will enable you to shorten your training sessions with maximum efficiency, without putting any strain on your joints, but with heavier loads. The strength of EMS combined with voluntary contractions will multiply the benefits of your session. You will get a real muscular benefit!
Director of Vertigo Diffusion and of Wellness Attitude based in Lausanne (Switzerland). Trainer at the Sports Department of Lausanne University since 1993 where she has trained more than 1500 fitness coaches. Personal trainer since 1995.
As International Gymstick Master, Presenter, Lecturer and Judge, she has been invited to more than 20 countries and collaborates with prestigious companies.
Compex sat down with Alexis Gsell, Patrice Paquier & Anael Huard, who are members of the French Ski Federation, to discuss their experience integrating Compex with their ski training.
Most athletes havetheir own Compex that they use regularly sincethe launch of the brand (over 30 years ago). There arefour preferred uses: warming up the muscles, injury prevention, improved recovery and strength development.
- For recovery, athletes use Compex in the late afternoon after a running or cycling session,
using the programs Capillarisation and Active Recovery. These programs work well together for a superior
- For injury treatment such as tendonitis or contractures, athletes use recovery programs to improve
recovery time and reduce pain.
- Regarding treatments post-injury such as ACL, Compex can be used under the supervision of a doctor with specific rehab programs. It is then used in combination with strength exercises to stimulate more muscle fibres. When an athlete is injured and cannot train, the use of Compex is also important to maintain a level of muscle activity in other areas of the body (not necessarily the injured ones).
The ways in which you use Compex depends on your objectives.
- For recovery, athletes use Compex in the late afternoon after a running or cycling session,
Compex sit down with Osteopath, Bernand Bonthoux and discuss how he uses Compex to help treat skiers.
An evolution in skiing techniques and materials has caused athletes to change their training methods and use electrostimulation.
Previously, the post-injury period was often the only instance these devices were used. However, after being in the ski industry for 30 years, I have seen an increase in the use of Compex.
A few years ago, every Nordic skier used electrical stimulation solely for recovery and Alpine skiers used it to increase strength; we can now say that the situation has completely changed.
Use of Compex in Skiing:
Compex can be an the ideal partner to help you warm up muscles, prevent injuries, recover better and faster, and even develop strength.
This guide shows you 4 training plans:
- Alpine Skiing: 4 weeks
- Alpine Skiing: 8 weeks
- Nordic Skiing: 5 weeks
- Nordic Skiing: 10 weeks
The 4 week program offers assistance for seasonal skiers and/or snowboarders. The primary goal of this preparation is to reduce the risk of injury and avoid the manifestation of aches and pains.
Major muscle groups to be targeted:
- Alpine and freestyle skiing: Quadriceps (knee ligaments injury prevention) and core
- Nordic skiing: the recovery of the lower body muscle groups on Quadriceps and Triceps surae. The emergence of new competition standards, with
more explosive speed requirements, engenders more intense muscle stim techniques such as strength building. The importance of the
upper body is increasing as well and can be integrated into this program.
- Snowboard: Quadriceps and abs
Several rules to help you achieve your objectives:
- The prerequisite for this training is to be in overall good shape and to train on a regular basis; obviously, the ski season is not just 4, 8 or even 10 weeks
- For people who are not used to muscle stimulation (especially the strengthening program), a 2-3 week initiation is highly recommended before starting
with a training plan.
- When you feel comfortable using the Compex device, you can add the Potentiation program to prepare the muscles before competitions.
- Practicing a sport where you have to ‘seek’ snow can be challenging when travel is frequent and you don’t have a chance for a proper recovery session.
Therefore it is essential to use the recovery programs.
- Finally, for casual skiers, this tool can be considered a supplement to other sports activities throughout the year.
Become a champion skier or just ski for fun; Compex will help either way!
Physiotherapist and L1 CrossFit Trainer, TJ García walks us through integrating Compex with your functional training routine.
Compex: Hi TJ, hope you're well! What benefits does Compex give you for your functional training?
TJ García: Sometimes functional training focuses on all-over exercises such as squats, dead lifting, and others. But we mustn’t forget the need for exercises that target specific areas, in order to avoid potential imbalances that can stop us from seeing improvements from these workouts. In these cases, electrical stimulation can help us to work on a specific muscle, such as the gluteus medius through squats, to make sure that the knee doesn’t go inwards.
It also helps us to gain strength since electrical stimulation helps us increase the number of muscular fibres that respond to contraction, making it more powerful and efficient. We can also work on muscle resistance to make the muscles more resistant to fatigue. It is a great help in recovery, because it helps our muscles to relax, and it vascularises the area, cleaning waste products away from the muscle, which are generated when we train.
Other benefits are the convenience of being able to stick on some electrodes anywhere, at a competition, in the car, before and after training, and with wireless technology you can easily include it in your training.
Compex: How would you define Compex in 3 words?
TJ García: Effective, convenient and versatile.
Compex: Do you have any tips for anyone starting functional training?
TJ García: Always start off with a good trainer who corrects your technique, and have the patience to learn to do the movements properly.
Compex: What is it that makes functional training attractive and essential to you?
TJ García: The fact that it helps us become more agile and stronger for our daily life, for lifting suitcases or children, having a strong and healthy back, being able to run after your child or your niece or nephew without getting out of breath, at the end of the day it helps us enjoy life more.
Compex Meets... Dr Thierry Laporte, Sports Cardiologist in Bordeaux. Head of Pôle Activité Santé Hôpital Bagatelle.
Dr Thierry Laporte assisted us with putting together our Marathon Training Plan.
It has been almost 20 years since I started using VO2 max assessment tests and training thresholds on runners and cyclists. As a Sports Cardiologist, it is exciting that from an individual’s data it is possible to offer a customized training program.
As well as a heart-rate monitor, I often recommend using electrical muscle stimulation; EMS provides a useful compliment to conventional training sessions, particularly in the following examples:
- After intense ‘qualitative’ sessions, usually involving a 30/30 split (30 seconds on, 30 seconds off resting) or after a session at threshold, using the ‘Active Recovery’ programme can speed up the recovery process, building muscles, and thus empowering athletes to train again the next day without qualitative or quantitative accumulative fatigue. This reduces the risk of over-training.
- The ‘Endurance’ program is not a substitution for conventional quantitative long run session, but it helps to prepare the muscles stimulated during the active session. Compex stimulation can shorten the duration of a session by 30 minutes, limiting the musculoskeletal fatigue while maintaining the same muscle charge. Even in exceptional circumstances, such as poor weather or geographical impossibility, the complete ‘Endurance’ program can mitigate the adverse consequences of missing a session
- In the days leading up to the competition, it is recommended to reduce the training workload. In this case, I advise using the ‘Capillarisation’ Program every 2 days, 10 days before the race. This Program increases the blood flow, thereby improving the muscular efficiency during an endurance effort. It also has an advantage in not creating additional muscle fatigue. The ‘Capillarisation’ session can be integrated on a weekly training schedule in alternation with a muscle-strengthening session. There is an drastic improvement in stride-efficiency the days following Capillarisation. This is easy to track with a heart rate monitor; the runner will see an increase in speed whilst keeping the same heart-rate level.
The other area in which muscle stimulation is beneficial is for a prolonged immobilization as a result of a disease, muscle or tendon injury or after an accident or trauma. In all of the above cases, immobilization will result in atrophy and physical degeneration. Electrical muscle stimulation programs like ‘Reinforcement’ or ‘Muscle Atrophy’ (if atrophy is present), used on a daily basis, will limit the adverse consequences of ceasing to train. Keep in mind that it takes twice the length of time incapacitated to recover the former muscle strength and condition.
Compex Meets... Guy Hemmerlin, Head Coach - Endurance Training Concept
Guy helped to put together our Triathlon training guide, 3 bespoke plans for Half-Triathon, Triathon 70.3 and Triathlon 140.6.
I used Compex for ten years as a tri-athlete. It allowed me to complete my daily workout with muscle stimulation sessions specific to my needs. The workouts I did with my Compex device complimented the work I was doing in all three of my sport’s disciplines.
When my career evolved into sports coaching, I naturally integrated Compex with the regime for my professional and amateur athletes. I am convinced of the value of this technology and appreciate the development and research constantly undergone by this brand.
Whether to encourage a more complete recovery or enhance a specific muscle-building workout, Compex equipment is a valuable training tool for
any tri-athlete. This sport consists of three extremely demanding disciplines which require a significant volume of muscular training and development. Compex saves time while retaining the highest workout quality.
After a decade-long triathlon career, Guy Hemmerlin put on the coaching hat in 1996, taking the reins of the D1 Tricastin Team.
In 1998, he took advantage of the evolving internet to become the first coach in Europe to launch a remote coaching website. Year after year, Guy deepened his knowledge and experience from continual contact with professional and amateur athletes in the field.
In 2014, Guy published his first long-distance triathlon training book entitled ‘0-226 km’. In 2015 he wrote the important swimming manual ‘From Pool To Open Water’, decrypting the front-crawl. In the same year, he became a certified Ironman coach, an honour very few achieve.
A true professional, his expertise is virtually unsurpassed. The Guy Hemmerlin training method is constantly evolving, but remains accessible to all athletes, a benchmark in the Triathlon world.