How to stay injury free this winter

Injuries in winter/what to look out for or dos and don’ts


Stay injury free this winterDo: spend longer warming up and preparing those muscles for a work out – Running in the warmest part of the day is recommended, between 10am and 2pm.

Shade and wind will cool down your body fast – causing you to shiver and increase muscular contractions. This can be associated with sudden tendon and muscular strains. A proper warm-up can be done indoors prior to your run.


Don’t: make any sudden changes to your footwear. Changing to a shoe your running style isn’t suited for is an injury waiting to happen. Know your running style, stick with your old faithful joggers and if you really feel like you’re overdue for a change, I recommend a gait analysis and getting a shoe fitted just for you.


Does the temperature have any bearing on whether/how to prepare for workouts or runs? 

In the colder months, I recommend spending a little longer warming up and easing into your run. In winter, it can take a little longer for our muscles and connective tissue around our joints to warm up and become more pliable – as a result, injury risk increases when you go straight into a workout without preparation.

A 10 minute workout will get the blood pumping to those muscles, as your body starts to generate heat the connective tissue around your joints will be able to tolerate the workout a lot better. Once your body is warm, I recommend stretching out any tight spots you may have before you begin your run. 

Even though it is cold, don’t be fooled into thinking you don’t need to drink as much water as you would need to on a scorcher of a day.

Make sure you monitor your water intake the same way you would in those warmer seasons.

Appropriate clothing is a must. We are lucky that our climate in winter is fairly mild. However, a lot of heat can escape from our hands, feet and head. So you might need to have a look at your running wardrobe and update a few items.


Are there other seasonal hazards related to typical workout types in winter?

Your winter workout surface can potentially contribute to injury. Unstable, slippery or hard surfaces can increase the risk of developing injuries such as, plantar fasciitis, shin splints and Achilles tendinopathies.

To avoid such injuries you may want to slightly adjust your expectations for speed and time, aim to run on days where the surfaces aren’t slippery from rain or dew, mix up your surface between the path and grass.


Another surface that tends to get forgotten is the good ol’ treadmill.

This is a popular choice for gym goers who still would like to do their running training when the weather isn’t cooperating.

When you think about it, the treadmill belt helps you run. It makes the running gait a little easier by assisting your hip extension (bringing your leg back). In turn, your glutes don’t get their regular workout they would on your favourite running track.

It is important to keep in the back of your mind if you have had to do a little more treadmill running training that usual, spend more time focusing on some isolated glute strengthening exercises like lunges, clams and sidelying hip abduction exercises. This will help prevent the stain on the knee when it is a sunny day and you hit the running track again after prolonged treadmill training.

Or maybe it’s a good time to spend time indoors fixing technique that may over time lead to injury.


I highly recommend including an indoor strengthening and stability regime to your running schedule that involves focusing on your glutes, quadriceps, hamstrings and your core.

I find that there can be a common reason why athletes get injured. They disobey the rule of the Terrible Toos.





If you push yourself in these three, you will get injured. Simple

The injured athletes that I see in my practice fall into this category.

This can be especially relevant in the winter months as your body is working extra hard anyway to deal with the weather and any changes in the terrain.

Follow the 48 hour rule. Don’t ignore a niggle if it is lingering on for longer than 2 days

In any season, when a cheeky injury decides to stop by, we’re only human to think that if we leave it alone, it will get better, right?

Delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS) is a normal part of increasing our exercise regime and I think it is a nice friendly reminder that we are doing good for our body. However if you have pain or discomfort that doesn’t fall under the category of “good sore” then it is time to get help. See a physiotherapist that has experience working with athletes and getting them back in their runners.


Got it?

Ok, now lace up those runners, warm up and have a fabulous run!


Love, The Office Athlete

Protein … Pros and Cons

There are other ways to meet your daily protein needs.

Sniffer dogs at Customs aren’t trained to detect it, and ASADA doesn’t bat an eyelid if our athletes have kilos of it mailed to their homes. Protein has become the preferred performance enhancer of the masses. But why protein supplements? And do we really need them?

From the chunky to the chiselled, we’re conditioned to believe protein supplements are a requirement. If you want to get huge, it’s a badge of honour to be seen banging down protein shakes and bars, sprinkled with a little bit of creatine.

But before you go out buying that five-kilo tub of protein powder, there are four important questions you should consider:

1. Why does your body need protein?

Protein is required to build new cells. Every cell and organ in your body needs protein. Muscle, skin, hair, bone, and connective tissue contains protein. To live and function properly, your body needs protein.

2. How much protein do you need in a day?

It’s been reported by American and Australian health bodies, along with the World Health Organisation, that men and women require approximately 0.8g of protein per 1kg in body weight. Therefore, an 80kg man requires approximately 64g of protein per day, and a 60kg woman requires 48g per day.

3. Do you know how much protein is in the food you eat?

Recently, I saw a guy in his gym clothes and gym-branded backpack, holding a double burger in one hand and a protein drink in the other hand. I didn’t have the nerve to ask him why he needed to wash down that protein with more protein. If you are going to supplement your diet, you should first understand how much protein is in the food on your plate.

A 250g portion of salmon, steak, chicken or pork loin all contain between 50g to 60g of protein. Three eggs contain 20g of protein, and a cup each of milk and quinoa (a gluten-free plant-based protein) contain 9g and 8g respectively.

Like your food a bit faster? A Bacon & Egg McMuffin contains 16g. A Double Whopper with Cheese (55g), three KFC Original Recipe Thighs (62g), and a Domino’s BBQ Meat Lover’s Pizza (77g) all contain a lot of protein.

Fresh, fast, or a combination of both … if you live in a Western country, you’re most likely hitting your required protein intake every day, week, and year.

4. How much protein do you consume in a day?

I wonder how many people out of 100 could answer this question. And if you can’t, then your need for a protein supplement is an unknown. If your car’s petrol tank is full, would you add even more?

There is a risk in consuming too much protein in a day. The body can only use 50g of protein at once, and it will store the other grams of protein as fat (four calories per gram of protein) … so for the village idiot with the burger and juice box mentioned above, too much protein can lead to weight gain. Too much of anything can be a bad thing, and that includes protein.

If your answer was “I don’t know” to any of the four questions above, then why would you take a supplement? Most would reply: “Because somebody at the gym said I should.” Gym peer pressure is BS, and my sentiments on protein supplements are obvious.

Opinions vary, so I threw a question out there to others in the industry to see what was their take on protein supplements. My request was for a Twitter-esque reply to the question: From the overweight to the average to the ultra fit, what is your stance on protein supplements?

Shannan Ponton – The Biggest Loser star, Nature’s Way brand ambassador

“Protein is essential to maintain lean muscle mass, desirable for both weight loss and optimum sports performance. Whey protein is the easiest and most effective way to supplement.”

Zoe Bingley-Pullin – nutritionist, IsoWhey brand nutritionist, co-host of Good Chef, Bad Chef)

“The market has some poor quality protein. Provided it’s incredibly good quality with vitamins and minerals, in a form that can be absorbed properly by the body, I’m a fan of protein in helping to build muscle, lose weight, or to supplement the lack of protein in one’s diet.”

Kara Landau – Dietician, author, corporate nutritionist

“Natural varieties (without all the hidden nasties) can complement a wholefoods nutrient-dense diet; assisting people to feel full, shed fat mass, or gain lean muscle.”

Brie Warnock – aka bodybuilding blogger TankGirlTuff

“I wouldn’t be without Vital Strength supplements. Essential to my training and diet, trusted by top athletes and me.”

Jennifer Dodge – Physiotherapist, The Office Athlete

“Protein supplements are generally overused. The recommended dietary intake of protein for an average Joe is easily achieved through diet alone. For the ultra-fit I see a place for protein supplements as their needs and total energy requirements are slightly higher.”

Jethro Watts – Founder of

“Whey protein will get results, but you’re sacrificing good health. Go for plant-based proteins and your body will thank you.”

For it? Against? Or walking the Switzerland line? Even professionals have varied opinions on protein supplements.

Unfortunately, most people don’t stop to investigate that protein drinks, such as the strawberry-flavoured one I bought at the gym for the purposes of this column, can contain almost seven teaspoons of sugar … yet somehow, contains no artificial flavours or colours. When the overweight statistics in Australia are reaching 70 per cent, and we are spending millions on protein supplements, I have to wonder: “Why not choose salmon, and eat real strawberries?”

The supplement industry is big, big business … so the next time you reflexively stick your hand into the gym fridge for that $4.95 dutch chocolate protein box, ask yourself: “Does my body really need this?”

What do you think of protein supplements? Do you take them?

Tough Mudder 2013 tips

Tough mudder

Tough Mudder guy


17 and 18th of August – Sunshine Coast

14 and 15th September – Melbourne

12 and 13 of October – Sydney

26 and 27th of August – Perth

So you have done a bayrun, bondi to bronte or even a city2surf, and are ready for the next step… or jump, or commando crawl or swim through an ice bath.

The image of obstacle adventure racing has shifted from those chest-thumping navy seals into a fun, special occasion and even team bonding fitness activity with some added mental toughness thrown into the works.


With the sub-title of “The toughest event on the planet”, a quarter of weekend warriors, myself included decided to add it to the calender.


Obstacle races should be exciting, not a chore. So the best advice I can give you is pick one that is suited to your personality and the group you are doing this with. The 5km Warrior Dash is a great start ( and the Spartan Race 7/14km ( are short and sweet. Perfect for the pump class junkies who enjoy resistance training.

Refuse to get muddy for anything less than 15km? Well, you’re in luck, the aforementioned Tough Mudder at 20km is the one for you. Testing the physical and mental endurance ideal for runners, boot campers and cross fitters.

The ladies only Dirty Jurrasschic ( is the healthiest ever excuse for a day of girl-bonding.


Can you get away without training? Unlikely. Training plans should focus on strength and endurance. I recommend starting 2 months prior to your event, so you can gradually ease into the physical demands that you’re going to put your body through.

Combining strength exercises such as pushups, burpees, jumping lunges and the bear crawl with a 30-60min run twice a week is a great way to target the many areas of fitness that will be challenged during this race.


Obstacle races will get hot, wet and muddy. So this isn’t the race to wear your latest lululemon gear. Think tight, think old and think daggy.

You will be absorbing that much moisture and mud during the race, you don’t want anything baggy as it will start to way you down. I have seen the occasional strip down during the race, so anything you’re emotionally attached to shouldn’t be worn – it will need to be ditched by the end of the race anyway.

Preparation for your wrists and ankles is a must. Taping your hands and wrists, along with a basic supportive ankle strapping will help prevent any sprains, strains and blisters that will come your way during the race.


When it comes to tactics I always keep it simple. When it comes to the start of the race, the macho chest bumping guys race off like cheetahs, and you’re most likely to meet up with them again at the first climbing wall obstacle.

Start of slow and easy. It is a long race and you want to ease your body into it. Let the flat terrain at the beginning be a short warm up for your cardiovascular system.

Take a moment to assess the obstacle and learn from the mistakes of others, after you have had a little giggle.

Ensure you have a protein rich brekkie before the race and a banana in the 30min countdown before the starting gun. This will provide enough slowburning energy to get you through the race.


Have fun,