Shin Splints: all you need to know.


Shin Splints: all you need to know.

What are Shin Splints? 

Media Tibial Stress Syndrome if you want to impress your doctor with your self diagnosis. Or simply pain in the lower leg, typically front or toward the inside of the shin. This pain is often caused by tiny micro tears in the muscles surrounding the shin bone, or Tibia. 


What causes Shin Splints? 

Often associated with running, Shin Splints are more often than not caused by increasing the mileage too fast, and not giving the legs time to adapt to this new pounding exercise. 

Another common cause is over pronating (rolling) the foot. This can be due to your own biomechanics or by the terrain you choose to run on.  If you have no choice but to run on roads, then try to avoid the edges that slope downward from the centerline of the road. This also applies to beaches with steep drop offs toward the water. The flatter the surface from side to side, the better. 


  If your feet are landing on a surface that slopes sideways it will cause you to roll your foot more than it is used to.  Continue this for some distance and you are inviting trouble. On quieter roads, if possible, run along the flatter centerline until you are forced to move over for traffic. (not advisable if you can't run without your headphones!). If the roads are too busy for this then switch sides often to balance out the sloping edges before any one side becomes too stressed. 

Running is one of the cheapest entry level sports out there.  You do not need much equipment to do it and most people already have everything they need before they decide to try it. Even so, it is worth investing in a good pair of footwear.  Old, dead soles are the next biggest cause of Shin Splints so it's worth it if you replace them regularly. Most studies show that the most expensive pairs do not equate to better performance or reduced injury rates. Find a pair that works for you, and replace them often. The more you use them the more often you should replace them. The harsher the surface you train on, the more often you should replace them.


What are the Symptoms?  

  •  Tightness in shin, can fade or become an aching pain as exercise continues.   
  • Shins can be painful to touch.  
  • Pain is often in lower 2 thirds of shin or Tibia, and can often extend right down toward inner ankle.   
  • In mild cases, pain and discomfort fade as inflammation subsides, after training. If early symptoms are ignored and training persists, severity of the pain can occur and in this case may not fade after training is finished.  
  • Some redness, swelling and puffiness may occur along the shin bone.  
  • If continually ignored and not given adequate recovery or treatment, shin splints may become Stress Fractures.   

How do you treat them?  

Avoiding them in the first place is always the best option. Failing that, pay attention to the early warning signs, reduce the amount of stresses you place on the legs and increase recovery times between training. Unlike most other overuse or repetitive strain injuries, the muscles of the shins are very difficult to rest adequately once injured. Ignoring the early signs and pushing through the pain is not recommended.   

For new and enthusiastic runners, refrain from increasing your weekly mileage by more than 10%. Take extra recovery days at first signs of pain.


 Also be mindful of the type of surface you are training on: avoid running on concrete at all costs. Asphalt is far better an option over concrete and even asphalt is harsh on both your shins and your sneakers lifespan. Sandy wood trails are one of the best surfaces for running and it is this that they try to replicate with AstroTurf and running tracks so choose these if you don't have stretches of sandy woods to run through  

Short term treatment would include rest, ice, compression, elevation and massage.  A more long term solution is to strengthen the muscles of the  legs, including the calf muscles, quads and glutes. Include regular stretching to the training plan, and if you have a long stride with your foot striking the ground out in front of your knee, consider speeding up your foot turnover rate by shortening your stride. ( added bonus of saving energy which translates directly to improved endurance, and in most cases will result in a faster pace for similar exertion!) 

If prone to recurring episodes of Shin pain, even after adding strength and conditioning to your training, then the cause may be more complicated, possibly down to biomechanics of foot and lower leg, causing over probation of the foot while running/training.  If this is the case it is always a good idea to get a specialist to check it out and advise corrective treatments such as orthotics or particular training sneakers. 

Comment below with any questions or useful tips you may have. 

Or drop in to #DamienRocheFitness for more tips and strength and conditioning advice. 



Body Weight Killer Leg Workout.

This one is an ideal complement to any running program and will help improve speed, endurance and reduce risk of injury. Modify to your own level. Reach out if you have any questions.  


As with any suggested home workout, pay close attention to your own individual needs and modify accordingly. It is always a good idea to have doctors clearance before beginning any physical activity, especially so if it involves high intensity efforts like this one.  

Hydrate and do adequate mobility and stretching for your bodies needs.  



Stroke Pyramid


Stroke Pyramid

This no impact workout is ideal for anyone looking to improve their 5k times, both running or rowing. It also works as a tough workout for anyone who wants to take a recovery day from pounding of running.


I Want To Run...


I Want To Run...

If you have thought many times that you would like to sign up for a 5k, or longer distance, or one of those fun looking obstacle races, but never do because you are just not sure how to go about prepping yourself, trust me you are not the only one. 



Over the next few months we will be writing a series of blogs focusing on helping you enjoy your running experience even more, with tips on:

  • where to begin,
  • what to do,
  • how to do it well,
  • what to wear,
  • which exercises to focus on between runs, 
  • flexibility and mobility 
  • recovery,
  • and basically how to increase your mileage, speed and enjoyment, without increasing your risk of injury. 


If this sounds like something that interests you stay tuned as we build a library of useful content for you.  Check back often to see if we can provide you with that gem of info that makes your next run even more rewarding. Drop us some comments with your feedback and questions so we can help you resolve some of your running issues. 

Also, we will be sharing a free Couch-2-5k training plan with you   


For now though, let's sign off with some basics:  

Have Fun. 

You should enjoy your training, and your event day experiences. If you do not, try to identify why not so you can plan to make it more enjoyable. That runner's high can be elusive if your looking for it and suddenly show up while your focusing on other things. Don't force it.  


Don't let your Ego ruin your session.  

Give yourself permission to walk during your training and your events. Taking walking breaks before you need to take a break reduces how much time it takes to recovery by a big margin versus waiting until you absolutely need to slow down. If you push it to your maximum, the time it takes to get you out of that uncomfortable zone is far greater than had you reined yourself back just as you were noticing breathlessness.  The beginner runner that walks at a brisk pace more often can perform better than the beginner that heads out at a fast pace and pushes too fast for too long.  Once the latter runner hits that wall it's difficult to recover. 

And finally: 

no matter how much fun you are having...  

Do not escalate too quickly. 

Pending on your fitness levels and past experience, you should not increase your weekly mileage (training and events) by more than 5-10%.  We will discuss this more in depth later but just know that repetitive strain injuries are the single biggest cause of goals not being achieved and training plans grinding to a halt.  Sadly, (or happily depending on which side of your over use injury you are on) most of theses are avoidable. Gradually increasing mileage and training intensities, spending time investing on recovery, mobility and adequate sleep between runs, and adding some cross training strength and conditioning to reduce any imbalances are all great tools used to avoid strains that can range from annoying to all out day ruiners! 



A Simone Special Superset.

If you are missing your fav class tonight, why not try this workout. You can do this almost anywhere, with minimal equipment. 

Grab a friend and share the experience.  



Superset Format 

40sec : 40sec : 15sec rest.

3 times.

60-90sec rest/dynamic stretch

Then move on to next superset pair. 

As with any workout, take the time to warm up properly and stretch according to your body's needs.  

Hydrate before during and after.  

Adjust rest times if needed, but note these changes do you can see your improvements next time  

1) High knees / Body saws

Suggestion: use Paper plates or a towel on a wood or tiled floor instead of Gliders  

2) Low jacks / Band bicep curls 

3) Push ups / Speed squats

4) Alternating Lunges / Mountain climbers 

5) Burpees /  3 point plank




For extra accountability and to compare this workout with the same 4 weeks from now, draw out a record sheet and note your reps.  Share your proudest achievements in the comments below.  Next time you try this you will have numbers to crush. 



Am I At Risk of a Stroke?


Am I At Risk of a Stroke?

Some useful info for you, if avoiding a stroke is high on your priority list....

Studies across 32 countries all over the world,  Africa, America, Asia, Australia, Europe and the in Middle East, show that consistently there are 10 risk factors associated with Stroke.  These 10 factors have been found to be the cause in 90.7% of all strokes in the studies.  Some of the  factors vary in ranking from region to region but there was no change in the number one and two factors regardless of location: 

1) Hypertension or High Blood Pressure

Followed by

2) Physical Inactivity.  


Other big factors included

- poor diet

- obesity

- smoking

With factors such as

- alcohol consumption

- stress and

- Diabetes playing a much lower but significant role. 


These are all conditions which result from our behaviors,(including how well you manage your  Diabetes). Meaning you have the power to make daily decisions to make a change for the better. Your current risk of a Stoke is not set in stone. You can play a significant role in the prevention of a stroke yourself and for your loved ones.



Simply by being more active in your day can significantly and positively affect you blood pressure.

Adding 3 x 10 minutes of light activity performed often during the week, can reduce blood pressure in sedentary people.  Adding these small challenges can be both fun and add to quality of life. You do not not need to from zero to high intensity exercise  to reap rewards. In fact, that isnt recommended.  Simply by going from inactivity to light or moderate activity  is enough of a stimulus on your body for it to respond on a positive way. 



So where do I go from here?  

The best start is to step back and take a good look at your lifestyle and see how you would rate your self for each factor.  The ones mentioned up top carry far more weight than those lower down so if you find that you have room for improvement, start making some changes there first.  This will bring about the biggest benefit for your efforts and sacrifices.   

Chat with your physician about ways to tackle your high blood pressure.  In  most cases exercise will help but sometimes medicine may be required initially to regulate it while you make some healthy lifestyle changes.  

It is important that you enjoy the journey and that the changes are sustainable.  This is not a short stop solution.  It is a way of life. Make it your own. 

Chat with a fitness professional and get some tips and advice that will fit with your own reality and be appropriate for where you are starting. 

Check out the link below for a more detailed glimpse of the study.



Concept 2 Core Workout: Brief but Brutal.


Concept 2 Core Workout: Brief but Brutal.

For Time:


- 500m Row

- 50 Plank Rows

  (25 pair, no tilting!)

- 50 Over Head Press Sit Ups

This one is inspired from one of our Concept 2 Workouts of the Week. (Week #6) Shortened to a single round instead of 5 rounds, and choosing far heavier weights, that animal becomes a very different animal.  The key here is to choose the heaviest weights that you can maintain good form and just about make the full reps.

Going against the clock is what takes this one to the next level.  


Record your time . From start of first row until the full completion of the 50th Sit Up. Do not stop the clock for any rest time you may take.


Revisit this one on a regular basis and aim to get a Personal Best each time.  

In the comments below, record your time and the weights you used for both the Plank Rows and Sit Ups.

Have Fun.



Senior Fitness: Are these exercises right for you ?


Senior Fitness: Are these exercises right for you ?

This is a good read if you are interested in looking for info on seniors beginning to exercise.



As with all ages and fitness levels, it is worth noting that it's often more a case of individuals having restrictions than any one exercise being 'bad' for everyone.


We get to work often with seniors of all fitness levels, from post op and physical therapy graduates to more than a few that inspire and motivate everyone in the classes, including our instructors,  to keep active and keep young in heart body and soul. 


Everyone has their own entry level. If you have any concerns, about where that entry point may be or if there's a valid reason for avoiding certain exercises the best place to start is with a conversation with an experienced trainer who can offer advice, modifications and peace of mind as you commit to being as young as possible for as long as possible.

Click here to read article.



Change: Decide today.


Change: Decide today.

It doesn't need to be complicated.


It doesn't even need to be physical. 

But ask yourself what it is that you want.

Then figure out WHY you really want it. 

Your WHY, will keep you on track long after the initial momentum fades.  


Then choose to do one action today, or even to eliminate one action today, to help your tomorrow be a step closer to Your Goal. 

It can be overwhelming, but it doesn't need to be.  The good decisions each day are the wins.  The progress reports along the way are the wins. Don't place all the success on accomplishing your goal. Celebrate each win along the way.

Ask for help. 

Everybody needs and benefits from help. Your mentors and icons have all asked and received help. They still need help. Don't Not ask.   

Our team at #DamienRocheFitness can certainly help you clarify what you want and how to make steps toward getting the results you want.  Or reach out to anyone who has inspired you. They may love to know that you are motivated to improve because of them. 

Decide to take charge today, as it hasn't happened by accident yet and probably won't at this stage.  


#DamienRocheFitness #MyGymMyGoal #change #fitness 





Introducing E.M.O.M.

(Every Minute, On the Minute)


Choose 6, 8 or 10 minutes

  • 7 Burpees
  • 10 Shoulder tap Planks
  • 15 Alternate Lunges

2 min break.


Choose 6, 8 or 10 minutes

  • 5 Pushups
  • 10 Squats
  • 15 Crunches

2 min break

Finisher: Tall Plank for Max Time.

What Do I Do?

Today's workout involves repeating a series of exercises every minute. The faster you do them, the longer you rest. However if you do them too fast you may require more rest than you have available.

Perform the exercises as listed and wait until a minute is up before repeating the list.

If you run out of time and a new minute starts, do not finish the list. Instead begin again and try to finish all or at least more than previous time.

If you are really crushing these exercises and are having too much rest time, scale the workout up and make it more difficult by switching your remaining seconds of the minute for jogging on the spot or a plank instead of rest. This will make it tougher.

Or you could add 2 reps to each exercise.
If too difficult initially, scale the numbers of each exercise back by 2 or more so you can still get a fun workout.




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The Workout

Another Circuit Training workout today.  

5 exercises x 4 rounds.  

  1. Jumping Jacks
  2. Plank Shoulder Taps  
  3. Prisoner Squats 
  4. Ladder Climbers
  5. Push Ups
Mantra - colour.jpg

What do I do? 

Every minute move in to the next exercise.  

Do as many reps as possible in 45 seconds, maintaining good form.  

After Round 2, take a one minute break before continuing. 

Challenge yourself.  

After the forth round take another 1 minute break and then hold a Plank for the longest time you can maintain good form.



You know your body better than anyone. Warm up well and specific to the movements involved in this workout. Cool down and stretch appropiately too.

Enjoy. Share with us how you felt and how great you did. What was your least favorite?

Send this workout to someone you think would love it, and bookmark it for future use in case you cant get to the gym on a certain day.






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The seventh day of The Damien Roche Christmas Workouts looks like this, a three part workout.

Part 1

1) 30 Jump Jacks

2) 25 Squat Hold, Punches (pairs) 

3) 20 Plank Jacks

4) 15 Alternating Lunges (pairs) 

5) 10 Push Ups

6) 5 Burpees

7) 10 Squat Jumps

8) 15 Bicycle crunch (pairs)

9) 20 High Knee running ( pairs ) 

10) 25 Squats

11) 30 Mountain Climber (Pairs)


Merry Christmas, Everyone

Merry Christmas, Everyone

Part 2


5 Squats

5 Push Ups

5 Crunches

for 5 minutes.

 Part 3

Repeat Part 2, only beat your time.   


After your warm up and stretching, start a timer and race through these exercises.
As soon as you finish your last rep of the 2nd round stop the timer and record your result.

Rest as needed but do not stop the clock until you are finished. Your result will include any rest time taken.

Take 2 min active recovery/rest before starting part 2.

Part 2 : Set your timer for 5 minutes. You aim is to repeat 5 of each exercise in sequence and repeat as often as possible in the 5 mins.

Note your round and the exercise rep you finished on when the time runs out, as you can use this as a mark of your current fitness. Repeat in 4 - 6 weeks and crush this today's result.

Take 2 min active recovery.


Part 3:

Repeat Part 1 again, with the goal of matching or beating the 1st time.

Record your time.


Post your times in comments below, add some of your own photos or screen shots if you like.






Squat Hold, punches  

Hold a seated position, as low as you can, while keeping feet planted flat. Aim to get thighs at least level with floor.   Once in position, quickly reach in front as far as possible with one hand. Do not lock your elbow. Always stop just short of a full elbow lock. Quickly pull your elbow back while you send out your other hand. Repeat  , as fast as possible until your reps are done. A pair is one rep. If you have trouble holding a controlled squat, do a wall squat. ( sit against a wall, bank flat against it, hips a little higher then knees, knees directly over heels, feet planted flat and about shoulder width apart)


Bicycle crunch (pairs)

Lie on your back, finger tips touch temples, pull left knee in towards chest while sending right  foot out long and about 6" from the floor, roll right shoulder off the floor towards your left knee, then slowly switch sides, rolling both shoulders flat to the floor before raising the left shoulder to meet the right knee. That's one pair.  







The 6th day of The Damien Roche Christmas Workouts has a very festive and fun finisher.

Before the finisher however, you have to get through another Superset workout, pairing up exercises and hitting them 3 times in fast succession with very little rest. This ramps up the metabolism and if you push yourself, there is a lot of potential for a post workout calorie burn for a long time after you stop exercising.



Exercise A: Russian Twist V   Exercise B: Jump Jack


Exercise A Mountain Climbers   V Exercise B: Zero Squat Jumps


Exercise A: Bird dog, Left Leg ( single leg deadlift)   V   Exercise B: Ladder Climbers


Exercise A: Bird dog, Right Leg V   Exercise B: Fore Arm Plank



Perform each pair of exercises 3 times before moving on to the next pair.

Do not break between each exercise but do take a 15sec break between each pair, before repeating them.


Exercise A for 40 sec

Exercise B for 40 Sec

Rest for 15 sec

Repeat this pair 3 times

Rest 1 full minute, to 90 sec

Move on to next pair of exercises and repeat.



Level 1

Play the song below and jog on the spot. When you hear the words listed below perform the corresponding exercise, and quickly resume jogging on the spot.

It can get tough but there is a long period in the middle to recover so stay in the game and don't get frustrated. Its for fun after all =)

Level 2

Replace Jogging with Plank.

Level 3

Do both, but please be aware that this may cause you to like this song a little less next time you hear it on the radio.

Santa = Pushup

Rudolph = Burpee

Reindeer = Squat, jump

Christmas = 3 x Jump Jacks.

Remember to get back to jogging or plank as fast as possible.




You know your body better than anyone. Warm up well and specific to the movements involved in this workout. Cool down and stretch appropiately too.

Enjoy. Share with us how you felt and how great you did. What was your least favorite?

What pair of exercises would you choose to put together? Let us know in the comments below.

Send this workout to someone you think would love it, and bookmark it for future use in case you cant get to the gym on a certain day.

Listen to your own body and challenge yourself.


Description of new exercises:

Russian Twist

Sit down on floor, elevate feet a couple inches off the floor and hold this position. This is the work part. The next part is the add on. Do not do the add on if the first part is not solid,  The add on to the V-Sit is to reach left hand across and try to tip floor beside the right hip and then repeat on the other side. Holding goot form and a solid core, to protect your lower back, try to get as many pairs in as you can.

Zero Squat Jump

Possibly the toughest exercise here today if done fast and with power. Squat down as if you are going to leap in to the air as high as possible. Launch up explosively and reach high in to the air but keep the tips of your sneaker toes remaining on the floor. Add speed and power as you dial in the movement.  It should be difficult to have your remain on the floor, as you are going so fast and with such power. A zero impact way of really shooting up your heart rate.

Bird Dog

Stand tall with feet close together. Slowly bend over keeping a straight line from your head through your back, knee and foot. So as you stand on one foot the other foot swings slowly back and up as your shoulder drops forward and down. Both shoulder and knee move at the same time, keeping that staright line. This is a core and stabilizer exercise, used for improving balance and fall prevention. Quality and control is the key. Begin with a small range of movement and increase the ROM that you can hold well each time. Speed here will only reduce the training effect so keep it slow. Returning to the starting point should be as controlled and slow too. Do noyt allow foot to just drop, and do keep the knee, hip and shoulder in line throughout the exercise.







12 Days of Damien Roche Christmas: The 5th Day


12 Days of Damien Roche Christmas: The 5th Day

On the 5th Day of Fitness...

12 Days.  

12 Workouts.  

Commit to these short but effective workouts and begin to feel and see results by Christmas Day. 

The Workout

The 5th day of The Damien Roche Christmas Workouts introduces you to A.M.R.A.P.s. (As Many Rounds As Possible) 

A.M.R.A.P. 1 : All Core,

Time: Choose 8, 10 or 12 min Timer.

10 Reps Each.


  • Plank Jacks
  • Mountain Climbers
  • Crunches
  • Leg Lifts (Straight legs)
  • Plank + Shoulder Taps (pairs)
  • Jumping Jacks

A.M.R.A.P. 2: Light Weights

Place some books or large bottles of water in to reusable shopping bags if you have no other suitable weights


12 reps each


  • Bicep Curls
  • Prisoner Squats (Hold weights over head)
  • Weighted Crunch
  • Skull Crusher
  • Goblet Lunge, pairs (Hold weight high up onchest)
  • Lateral Raise.

What do I do ? 

Basically you work your way through the set list of exercises and do the prescribed amount for each before moving on to the next exercise.  Once you complete the last exercise start again at the top of the list. Take minimal breaks, if any, and try to complete as many rounds as possible and as many exercises in the last round as possible. So work hard and push yourself right until the timer goes off.

Take a 2 - 4 min break between AMRAPS.

As always warm up and stretch well.

Listen to your own




Today's workout is all about pushing yourself to your max in a set amount of time. Record how many rounds you get through and which exercise you stopped on when the time ran out.  Make notes about any modifications you made to exercises, if any. Use your results as a target to crush in a few weeks when you try this again.




12 Days of Damien Roche Christmas: The 4th Day


12 Days of Damien Roche Christmas: The 4th Day

On the 4th Day of Fitness...

12 Days.  

12 Workouts.  

Commit to these short but effective workouts and begin to feel and see results by Christmas Day. 

The Workout

The 4th day of The Damien Roche Christmas Workouts looks like this:  


This is a form of High Intensity Interval Training, or H.I.I.T.


  • High Knees
  • Crunches
  • Squat Jacks
  • Push Ups
  • Prisoner Lunges
  • Fast Feet

What do I do ? 

20:10 x 8

Exercise for 20 sec at your highest intensity.

Take a 10 sec break.

Repeat same exercise again for a total of 8 rounds.

Take a 90 - 120 sec rest.

Move on to next exercise and repeat.


Have a note book and record reps each round. Counting and competing with yourself is where the magic happens.

Download a free timer app such as Gymboss to help you keep track of the times. There are a lot of Timers out there with Tabata format built into them.

Or use your stopwatch and workout hard for the first 20 sec of every half minute. So resting from 20 - 29 and 50 -59 every minute for 4 minutes.

For best results do not pace yourself to last all 8 rounds.

Go all out in round 1, and put whatever you have left into round 2.



Tabata Home Workout.JPG



You know your body better than anyone. Warm up well and specific to the movements involved in this workout. Cool down and stretch appropiately too.

Enjoy. Share with us how you felt and how great you did. What was your least favorite?

Send this workout to someone you think would love it, and bookmark it for future use in case you cant get to the gym on a certain day.


12 Days of Damien Roche Christmas Workouts: 3rd Day

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12 Days of Damien Roche Christmas Workouts: 3rd Day

The countdown continues.  

12 Days.  

12 Workouts.

3rd Day

Commit to these short but effective workouts and begin to feel and see results in just 12 Days.

The Workout

The third day of The Damien Roche Christmas Workouts looks like this:  

1) 40 Jump Jacks

2) 35 Squats

3) 30 Crunches

4) 25 pair Ladder Climbs

5) 20 alternating Lunges

6) 15 Push ups

7) 14 Mountain Climbers (pair)

8) 13 Russian Twists (pair)

9) 12 Plank Jacks / or 12 pair of foot lifts

10) 11 High Knees (Pair)

11) 10 burpees /or inchworms

What do I do ? 

After your warm up and stretching, start a timer and race through these exercises....


As soon as you finish your last rep of the 2nd round stop the timer and record your result.

Rest as needed but do not stop the clock until you are finished. Your result will include any rest time taken. 

Post your times in comments below, add some of your own photos or screen shots if you like.




As always.... you know your own body. Stretch, hydrate and challenge yourself accordingly. 


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World Heart Day


World Heart Day

Heart disease is the biggest killer in the world today. Most of these deaths are preventable by simply monitoring your heart health and keeping active during your day and making some good decisions with your meal plan 

World heart day is  September 22nd.

What will you do between now and then to promote you and your own heart health...

Some simple suggestions....

Learn one new exercise this week.  

Learn one new exercise this week.  

- Take the stairs instead of lift.

- Park further away than you need to. 

- Introduce one more piece of fruit to your day. 

- Take a new exercise class.

- Learn one new exercise this week.

Take a hike

Take a hike

- Hike a new trail or park.

- Create a themed social gathering (picnic, party)  and have everyone bring their favorite healthy snack.

- Join a great local gym and soak up some tips and advice from experienced trainers and staff and other members with similar likes and goals.  

Try a new class.  

Try a new class.  

Small changes to your day and week can make a significant difference to your overall heart health, and to that of your families.  

To find out more about World Heart Day click on this link 

What ideas do you have? Share below in the comments.