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A week at Bisham Abbey NSC

posted on Sunday, 18th April 2010 | find under Nutrition

So as I said in my last blog I was going to train at Bisham Abbey, which is now home of the British Olympic Medical Institute. The idea is to progress the injured area in a controlled and safe environment. I wasn't sure what to expect and didn't really know much about what the week would entail until I got there. After spending the week there I can say that it was a fantastic experience in every area. 

The first day there was more of a baseline to outline areas of weekness, how my knee responded to different exercises and meeting the staff. I wore a sensewear arm band for the duration which monitored energy expenditure and sleep patterns and each morning I gave a urine sample to test hydration, and I filled a questionnaire out which gave insight to how my body was responding to the training and my weight. My heart rate was monitored too during training sessions and first thing in the morning I did the orthostatic heart rate test where I lay on the floor for 4 mins and then stood up for 3 mins and this test was to give an indication of my physiological response to my stay at Bisham.

I spent the week there with two Olympians who were also injured, Aaron Cook (taekwondo) and Natasha Howard (rowing). Natasha lived locally so she didn't stay there so it was just myself and Aaron in the evenings. It was so interesting to hear about his sport, his experiences and his feelings particularly towards injury. He was there because he had torn his hamstring and was looking to be fit for his Europeans in 4 weeks. I learnt a lot about taekwondo saw lots of his video's and I found a lot of similarities in the way we think! It was so easy to talk about competitions and training despite our sports being totally different! I guess we both have lots in common- the biggest being our desire to be the best, to win and to achieve our potential. Just with that comes the rest.... our motivation, determination and commitment to training and lifestyle. Aaron is an incredible talent, and he qualified for the Beijing Olympics at the age of 16!! In his preparations he left school and trained full time and his famiy moved from Dorchester to Manchester to support him in his training. Aaron unfortunately just missed out on medalling after a 'controversial' defeat in the bronze medal match. Talking to him bout his experience I could still see the utter disappointed of that result, and to deal with that disappointment at such an young age must have been tough. I can relate a lot to those feelings and admire the way he dealt with it and has progressed recently winning the US open. Natasha on the other hand fractured her back and has been out of her full training for nearly a year and a half! I can't imagine how that must feel! She was part of the 8 person team that finished 5th in Beijing. It was great to meet them both and as a bit of a break we all went to the cinema on Wednesday night which was good, and I will definitely be supporting them both! Here's Aaron in action at the Olympics in the blue!  

We had 5-6 sessions a day one to one. An example of a day there: 10am Strength and conditioning, 11am physio, 12pm massage, lunch, 3pm physio, 4pm strength and conditioning/pool. We had a massage session twice in the week, vision training and a nutrition session. The week was tiring and my muscles were aching but it was so good to have moved up a level in my rehab and really positive how my knee responded to training with load. I the physio sessions we usually did a lot of balancing, single and double leg squats and resistance work. Most of the exercises during physio were painful but the pain did lessen by the end of the week. Apparently this is normal and I will probably train with a degree of pain for the next few months. In the strength and conditioning sessions I was given a beasting!! Lots of new and unusual exercises and I really enjoyed the boxing interval training- though I did feel sick after!! There was equipment to measure weight distribution when balancing on one leg and this improved by 80% on the injured leg by the end of the week!! And we filmed some exercises at the start of the week and then again on the last day. Once again there was a dramatic improvement in control. Overall it was a brilliant experience and all the staff I met were fantastic! They helped with my understanding about the injury and the exercises I am doing and I have lot's to be getting on with over the next few weeks. I have just included a couple pictures of me during the sessions. Apologies for the quality!!

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