Today on the show, I chat with fitness and nutrition coach and researcher Emma Storey Gordon. Emma is fantastic at not only helping her clients achieve their fitness goals, but more importantly, her education around fitness, nutrition and mindset is what seeing her clients create long term sustainable changes. She has an incredible following on Instagram for very obvious reasons as she’s constantly answering questions. So everyone has the ability and opportunity to start making well informed positive changes immediately. She is down to earth generous with her time and teachings and I’m a huge stalker, I mean fan. I’m a big fan of hers. This episode is for everyone, as Emma has excellent advice around mindset and throws in some pretty hilarious analogies as well. So enjoy this episode with Emma Storey Gordon.
Emma, thank you so much for chatting with me today. I’m very excited to have you here. I think you’re pretty awesome. And you have this great ability to make nutrition digestible. Sorry, that is the only pun I got. So I had to put that in there. You’re always answering questions over on your Instagram. I just love the way that you know, we can learn from you and make really well informed decisions because of that. And you know, where we get answers to questions we didn’t even know we had because of that. So it’s really awesome so thank you for taking the time to chat with me today.
Oh, it’s an absolute pleasure. Thank you very much for having me,
Pleasure is mine. And let’s get straight in. For those who don’t know too much about you. How did you get into your fitness and nutrition journey?
Okay, so I think probably similar to quite a lot of people, I have always been interested in sport. And then I went to university and I studied Sport Science. And it was only really in the last year that I realised I was less interested in most sport scientists’ work of elite level sport. But I was much more interested in how actually quite small changes could have huge impacts on people who are pretty sedentary or had things like type two diabetes, cardiovascular disease. So after university, I went and worked in cardiovascular disease and diabetes research for a couple of years, while being a personal trainer as well. And then I kind of fell out of love with the research world and a lot of lab work and decided to start my own business. And essentially what’s really cool that I’ve been able to do is bring together all the things that I really liked doing and pay myself to them, which is a really sweet gig that I’ve managed to do. So I run a nutrition course with my business partner, Amelia, which is called EIQnutrition. That allows me to still geek out on a lot of things, keep up to date with the research and still have that science background. And I run a coaching programme. I own numerous coaching programmes that actually help people lose weight on the surface, but also teach them a hell of a lot about nutrition, change their mindset around nutrition a bit and Enjoy the process as they’re doing it. And I also run a mentorship for personal trainers. So I kind of get to do a lot of different things which keeps me engaged and interested. And yeah, that’s really busy. Yeah, pretty busy.
Well, I love the mindset part of nutrition and fitness. So we’ll get into that in a moment. But I know you had a back injury not long ago. Can you tell us about that?
So I really wish there was a cool story. “Yes, I was squatting 150 kilogrammes. And suddenly, my back”, or “I was doing all the cool CrossFit workout”. Literally, nothing happened. So I’ve always had a bit of a bad back. And I used to row at uni. Crew rowing. And I think it just got worse and worse doing that. And then I mean, this is years and years after uni now. But I think this is actually kind of ironic, but I kind of decided right once and for all, I’m going to rehab my back and I went to a physio and I went to do it properly. And I started doing all these exercises. And it just got worse and worse and worse. And I thought this normally when it gets a little bit worse, right, this is when I normally stop. So this time, I’ll push through that. And maybe that’s part of the process, it’s meant to hurt a little bit. No, no. Bad idea. In hindsight, maybe you should not have done that. But basically, it just got worse and worse. I think what happened is, I don’t know, my back was very painful, but protected, what was going on down there, which, and I don’t know, it kind of loosened all that up. And essentially, a disc was impinging on my sciatic nerve. So for a while I couldn’t even sit down, I could barely walk. It’s really awkward at times, because I could walk a bit. And then I’d have to bend down so I’ll just be walking along the street and then squatting at the side of the road being weird.
Oh, my shoe.
It was so strange. I remember being in Tesco once, the supermarket. And this girl, I don’t really know that well. Oh, hi, how are you? I had to bend down? I was like, “yeah, just looking at this. The crisps on the bottom shelf here, very interesting down here.”, so there were loads of things like that. But then I had surgery, which works extremely well, touch wood. And that was the whole rehab process around that. But it did teach me a hell of a lot. And you know, looking back as a bit of a silver lining it both, it’s definitely made me a better coach in terms of being more empathetic in terms of understanding what being in chronic pain is like, because it’s if you haven’t been in chronic pain, it’s very hard to understand that, and how fatiguing that is and how exhausting that is. And yeah, it made me do quite a lot of things. So I don’t know if you’re the same. But my coping mechanism, everyone has different coping mechanisms, whether that’s food for some people, alcohol for some people, and these coping mechanisms can be positive or negative. And actually, you know, having some is good, but the best thing to do is actually face what you’re dealing with instead of just trying to numb it with something else. So mine was definitely exercise. And most people see that as a good thing. Okay, well, yeah, that’s great, go and get your emotions out at the gym. And I think to an extent, that’s great, but if you’re just using it all the time, and kind of literally running away from your feelings, it can be a negative. So this injury really forced me to stop doing that. And to sort of take a bit of time, actually the long well, definitely the longest time that I’ve not been able to exercise. And I went to therapy. And yeah, it’s definitely made me in numerous ways a better person. And I learned a lot about myself. So yeah, it wasn’t all negative.
Yeah. In terms of the recovery, what was that like? And were there differences between the recovery after surgery, and that physical therapy prior to the surgery, were there similarities in those at all?
So what was actually quite strange is there wasn’t really a rehab programme. I haven’t done much rehab for my back. So the surgery I got and the surgeon that I went to was very much like, “This is the problem. You know, part of your back is hitting the nerve, we essentially this is a very basic way to explain it, but we chop off that bit of your back, it doesn’t hit the nerve, the problem is gone”. So most of my recovery has just been obviously the initial recovery after surgery and being very careful. And then just slowly getting back into things and a lot of it was psychological. So pain doesn’t necessarily mean there’s a tissue problem all the time. And once you’ve had an injury for a long period of time, the pain can persist, even if the tissue injury is healed. And I had a lot of that and sort of anxiety around moving or re-injuring myself, or the expectation of pain, every time I used to bend down, I’d have pain. And I still had that pain, because of the expectation of that pain. And that was part of what I worked on, rewiring that. Then part of that was going to therapy and working through those kinds of things. And the fear of that, and I noticed still, I mean, noticing things is probably the first step to changing things. But as soon as I even get a twinge in my back, my mood is hell.
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