WORKING TITLE: Project “If You Cant Fix His Brain At Least Fix Bretts Body”


Working Title: Project “If You Cant Fix His Brain At Least Fix Bretts Body”

... is in full swing. Its been two months since I started working with Nicholas Grobbelaar at the Once Active Gym in Parkmore. 

I was trying to work out how I could write clearly about something that is so technical and so personal to each person. What I have come to realize is this, I need to talk about how I feel, not about how I specifically came to feel like this.

After seeing Nicholas 3 times a week for the last two months, what I can say is I am joyful. For those of you who read the first installment you would have noticed my rather defeated feelings regarding my body’s decision to be an asshole and try to deflate on me.

 The process has been from my side really interesting, the thing about Biokineticists is that they seem to see the body a little differently and they have specific reasons for doing specific and seemingly innocuous exercises. Sometimes you think “this is silly” what could it possibly do for my body? But then two sessions later you’re able to do something you’ve never been able to do, and Nic is all “yeah that’s what we were aiming for with exercise X” and from that moment I was hooked! 

The procedures went as follows:

1: Nic did a full body alignment test, we spent a full hour and a half weighing this, measuring that (no … not what you think, you dirty sods) checking my BMI, amongst other things. My Fat As Fuck Index indicates a 18% body fat, which was 6% when I was swimming. I’d very much like to get that down, but this summers braai’s are not helping.

2: We started with small exercises which were not that tricky, in order to realign my body’s movements. For instance: The way my knee moves forward, it tends to “fall in” a bit and we worked on moving it in the correct direction IE: towards where my toes are pointing.

One of my early exercises below: Raising all four limbs in the manner show. I had to do this on my back and my stomach. The interesting thing to note here, is that in the beginning I could barely raise my arm above shoulder height, now its pretty much vertical. I am cheating I can see by activating the "resting" arm, but for the most part this is excellent posture

We spent about 2 weeks (6 sessions) working on this, along with strengthening exercises. Many of these seemed devastatingly hard for things that should be easy.

My issues were primarily with:
Knees collapsing inwards when bending
Achilles inflexibility
Shoulder capsule weakness. Essentially the tiny muscles that control the head of the shoulder joint were weak or not firing at all when needed, putting extra strain on other muscles.

3: After realigning, we started putting those weak body parts under stress. Quietly increasing weightloads whilst maintaining correct movement and postures.

What I learnt from this was that the slightest (unintentional) cheat in the body’s movements made the exercises easier, however … I would not improve. Rather I hurt myself and had to start again.

4: I am now in a state where we are starting to load me with weight in positions where I was just doing the movements. In the images below you can see some of the things I've been working on:

IMG 1: My knees are actively wide. Eventually they will need to stay there without me activating
IMG 2 (in rather undignified position): Drop into squat with wide knees and back straight. Maintain strong shoulder position. Maintain strength of wrists to keep kettle bell upright. 
IMG 3: Stand up squat, keeping all above elements in control.

My trajectory was quite slow, I would be repeating exercises without improving, till slowly I would get a little win, then another and another. Till now, when I’m increasing the weight I’m able to carry, with ease, as well as the flexibility that I’m able to do it with. The rapid improvements have given me immense hope for my abilities.

I even forgot my body the other day and I played a light game of basketball. This should ordinarily have had me down in the dumps for about two weeks with pain. Instead, I played the game, went to work, and awoke the next day having forgotten that I had done it. I cannot tell you how unthinkable that was just 2 months ago. I would have had headaches, shoulder pain, swollen knees and creaky ankles.

I’m not without pain, right now my quadriceps are in a lot of pain after doing some mad squatting exercises (also unthinkable a few weeks ago) but none of the pain is “bad” pain, its exercise pain. If I get one of my old pains, they tend to go by the next day. One day of concern, next day no problem.

I think I’m close to moving onto the next steps in my recovery, which is “proper” training, and MUSCLES … Maybe. 

To get in touch with the practitioners in this article:

  • Kevin Aaron at 084 880 8030 - Chiropractor - Cape Town (Seapoint) and Johannesburg (Parkmore)

  • Nicholas Grobbelaar  at 083 673 7972 - Biokinetics - Johannesburg (Parkmore)