6 months into the year of 2016, a lot has happened and there is a fair bit going on at Stoke and the surrounds!
The early months were pretty hectic with yours truly, Physiotherapist and hip mobilising/strengthening specialist, getting back from a 3 week trip to Europe and having to quickly regain his tan in order to not look like Casper the friendly ghost. Countless days of fixing bodily ailments and functional deficiencies and then ducking off to soak up some Vitamin D at one of Perth’s mighty fine beaches. I took up some part time free diving along the coast just checking out reef caves and tunnels from Mettam’s pool to the MAAC club but in reality spent most of the time pondering what my response would be if I came face to face with a shark…. To which I came to the conclusion that there was no likely effective response to said occurrence and that my support of the “no culling of sharks” movement would come back to bite me, quite literally. I also finally gave the moon boot “the boot” and have been cracking along at footy since, scoring goals on the field as well as in the clinic.
Cara-Lee or ‘CLG’ as known around the traps, co-founder of the Stoke movement, Senior Physiotherapist and general life enthusiast, has been keeping things real. Constantly searching for a new challenge and/or goal, CLG decided to enter the Rottnest swim and thought that alone was too simple so challenged herself to complete the nautical crossing with no prior training… a decision that she would later regret, however after 8-9 hours of swimming CLG and her team arrived on the shores of Rottnest greeted only by quokkas, because the rest of the crowd had already made their way to the pub. Known to be a very handy kite-boarder and wake-park enthusiast, I have been waiting to see evidence of her prowess but unfortunately recurring fractured ribs have impeded up until this point. Keeping up with the theme of ‘left-of-centre’ goals, CLG has set her sights on the Oxfam Trail Walk, a gruelling 48-hour trek for later on this year! Unlike the previous swimming endeavour, training has been going well for CLG, walking to and from Tropico with Merly (the clinic pet and noble watchdog) to grab a delicious soy cappuccino and every so often gets a vegan muffin, which is apparently like a blue moon – a rare sighting but beautiful when it happens.
Another Stoke co-founder, Pilates instructor and handstand specialist-in-the-making, Kate has been flat out busy, spending two or three months’ worth of weekends becoming a STOTT Pilates Instructor. This has led to multiple ‘death sessions’ inflicted to fellow Stoke employees challenging their strength, mobility and courage on the reformer. One distinct moment from the year so far was a so-called “safe as houses” exercise on the reformer which I had my doubts about. In true Kate style she threw out a few ‘Fitspo’ and ‘motivational’ quotes such as “if it doesn’t challenge you, it doesn’t change you” and had me believe I could do this. What ensued was a series of events leading to an unplanned backflip off the reformer onto the floor tangled up in the straps and carrying a few bruises for the next week or so. True to her word and as per her motivational quote, the debacle both challenged and changed me. Kate has also been spending much of her spare time at a specialised training facility called ‘Movement Co’ where functional training for gymnastics, calisthenics, rock climbing and parkour take place. I am glad that her handstands have improved significantly because after a recent staff dinner/drinks I feel like standing on her hands would have held her in better stead than standing on her legs by the night’s end. Cooking is another specialty of Kate’s. Very adept at putting together raw, healthy style treats that keep the Stoke crew’s energy levels on point, there has been some absolutely delicious things to write home about. One success was definitely the Banana bread which, when made with 8-10 of the 75 frozen banana’s Kate stores in her freezer, got us all through some of those sluggish days. It was probably highlighted as a success on that occasion due to the previous attempt at the same dish resulting in it becoming more of a Banana Loaf that whilst tasting fantastic, had the texture of a car tyre.
Tully is the resident movement guru. New to the team during the months of Autumn he’s been fixing more injuries than leaves falling off trees. Tully tends to see everything as an opportunity and/or a challenge, and he does love a challenge! So much so in fact, he decided to challenge himself to run the 12km HBF Run for a Reason having not been for one run of any distance in 18 months…what was even more impressive was he did the run in a costume! If you have had the privilege to meet Tully, you will know that he is ever positive and always on the look-out for the next “game changer!” whether it be BlackRoll’s new trigger point ball dubbed ‘Avocado’ or a new exercise that is proving to have great results. In his short time at Stoke we have had significantly less treats lying around in the fridge or cupboard due to some ‘snacky’ tendencies. One afternoon he ludicrously commented on Perth’s general muffin sizing, suggesting they were too large for one sitting, only to be found polishing off a full Tropico banana and Nutella muffin before the end of the day. Tully was MIA recently whilst away on the Gold Coast where he found out a new skill – dressing up as Beyonce, dancing around in high heels with more confidence than Jennifer Hawkins and singing “Put a ring on it” word for word. There is never a dull moment with Tully around and it doesn’t look like he will be slowing down anytime soon, now taking up some classes at a MMA gym looking to work on his ground impound and self-defence skills. So if you’re a client of his I recommend doing your Home Exercise Programs or you could be copping a flying back kick at your next session.
Merly is the most noble and popular of the Stoke crew, getting more kisses than that famous stone in Ireland. Prancing around Flora Terrace like the world is her oyster, Merly is making a big impression on the locals. Apart from just looking really really really ridiculously good looking and having a set of hips like Shakira, Merls is a smart canine. Able to perform high fives on command, sit down when told and the occasional ‘press to plank’ on the reformer when she feels like she needs a tone up of the abs.
You will notice a few more changes in personnel around the clinic these days. Expect some very warm greetings as you walk in the front door with our new admin staff member, Alison taking over the front desk from time to time. When not at Stoke keeping things in order, Ali is studying occupational therapy or playing some guitar, apparently pretty darn good at it too! So when Stoke branches out into a music academy down the track we will have Ali teaching, but for now she will be used as a sounding board for me to learn bar chords - bloody tougher than it looks and yet the experts make it look so effortless and easy!
I digress… Also joining the team is physiotherapist Claire. Another go-getter who seems to be pretty passionate about living, with lots of interesting and quirky hobbies so she will fit in nicely with the Stoke crew.
And that’s it! That is half a year squeezed into two A4 word documents with size 12 font (there has been a lot more happening than can be fitted into this blog but I think you get the point I am trying to make). It has been an awesome year so far, and with our first birthday to celebrate in the next half, amongst other things, 2016 is going to be a belter! Stay classy San Diego.