My first strongman Competition – a chat with Jess Riddell

You competed at your first strongman competition in February this year, how was the experience for you?

It was my first strength event – so I was quite nervous leading up to it and unsure of what to expect – it’s a big change moving from Ironman triathlons where you’re on your own for hours versus having a coach right beside you all day.

It was really fun! Much tougher on my body than I had anticipated – I was very thankful to have a great coaching team there on the day to keep me focused when I needed to be and laughing between events – the support crew were epic too!


How did you get into strongman to start with?

Atlas Stones!!! I’d been eyeing them off since I stated my training in Powerlifting at Panthers.  I’ve been bugging my coach, Col to let me try them pretty much since my first week of training and with the Strongman comp being held at Panthers I finally got my chance! It was pretty epic to finally pick up the 72kg stone on comp day.



For all our readers, who aren’t proficient in the differences, could you briefly explain the differences between strongman and powerlifting? And the differences between strongman and crossfit?

Cruel to ask a beginner in both Powerlifting and Strongman to answer that!! Powerlifting is Bench Press, Squat and Deadlift.  Strongman has about 20 different events – with 6 being combined for the event I competed in.  Powerlifting (at least for me so far) is far more technical. Crossfit is a whole different world!


So what’s the next competition for you?

In May – I’m competing in my first Powerlifting competition.

What does your training schedule look like at the moment leading into competition?

Col is great at making sure my training is still fun despite any competitions looming – I use one day a week for Strongman training and have 2 focused Powerlifting sessions a week. On top of this I run 2 days a week and train with an exercise physiologist once – so I train 6 days a week most weeks.

In terms of what my specific training blocks looks like – I leave that to Col, in an effort to step back from over-training and always train to a plan, I don’t get my programs in advance, so I have a great life – I just turn up at training and lift, I literally never know what’s coming.  For a control freak who’s trying to reform, it’s taken some getting used to!!


I know you have a heart condition, Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome (POTS), can you give us a better understanding of what that is, and what it means for your day-to-day life?

It comes under the Dysautonomia umbrella and it means my autonomic system no longer works the way it should – really simply the autonomic system controls all the automatic responses in your body, so the things your body does without you having to think about them – like heart rate, blood pressure, digestion, swallowing, temperature control etc.  It means for me things such as my heart rate is really high (especially when I exercise), and I have to closely manage fatigue.  Thankfully I’m not much of a fainter, but it’s a typical side effect of the condition.

Day-to-day I have my POTS really well managed – but it’s taken 2.5 years to get back to a level of fitness where I can compete again.  It’s not that fun to tap out of training (or work) when my POTS flares up and it usually means a few weeks of rest and limited training, if any. I’m very thankful that I have the level of support I do around me, it makes it possible for me to train and compete again and they are pretty quick to notice the signs if my POTS is starting to flare up. I’m fairly structured in terms of diet, exercise, medication and work and this helps me keep my POTS symptoms managed. Finding this right balance took a long time – which was frustrating! I still have to remind myself frequently that I have a limited pool of energy, so I need to choose well what I spend it on – I don’t recover as quickly as a “normal” person, so if I push too hard one day, it will likely mean I miss training tomorrow.


How does POTS affect your training schedule?

The reality of POTS is tough – I went from racing Ironman Triathlon to nothing in a matter of weeks – I was that fatigued, so when I was diagnosed and started what became my “new normal” of living with POTS I started from a pretty low exercise tolerance, it took a long time to rebuild back to where I am today – there was about 12 months of riding a stationary bike in the early days, for a maximum of 20 minutes, 3 times a week.  It took me 97 weeks from diagnosis to get back to running 10kms (you bet I counted and hounded my team to reach that milestone – I might also be a little determined!).  That 10km race and the medal from it mean more to me than I can explain, it might seem a little strange to cherish a fluro pink medal more than an ironman one – but I always took my health for granted before and while the training for my ironman races was hard, it was nothing compared to what it took to get back to running 10kms.

These days, the impact of POTS for me? For one – it means I have an epic team around me, without whom I couldn’t do what I do in terms of training or competing – they make all of this possible (which isn’t just a shameless plug!) I’ve worked with my EP Dan since the week I was diagnosed, so he’s literally put me back together as a functioning human and works to keep me there along with a team of other allied health people (I swear the list is growing, but to give you some perspective: Physio, dietician, sports psych, massage, my heart team and coach make up the regulars who all communicate freely to keep me healthy.)

From a training perspective, POTS means there’s always a level of flexibility built in to my sessions to allow for how I’m feeling on the day.  I also had to learn to speak up and admit when I’m struggling with fatigue. I’m fairly stubborn so that’s been a tough lesson to learn – I’ve almost dropped multiple bars on my head before admitting I was cooked!  Luckily both Col and Dan are great at saving me from both dropping bars on my head and myself when I don’t admit I’m struggling.

A passion for soccer – a quick chat with Charlotte

It won’t surprise you that Barefooters love getting out and about, moving everyday in a way they enjoy. Women’s soccer has really taken off in the past decade, with teams sprouting up all over Brisbane with quite a competitive Brisbane Premier League as a result. If you’ve ever watched a game, you’ll see how competitive and skilful these ladies are.  Our Physio Kirsten recently sat down with Charlotte to find out why she has such a passion for soccer.


How did your passion for soccer develop?

I’ve always had a keen interest for all things sport, and kind of just fell into playing soccer when I was young. I guess over time I’ve developed a real passion for soccer, mainly because I love the skill, athleticism and having a great time with other girls on the field.




Sports can have some pretty crazy traditions or pre game routines, do you have anything you do to get ready for a big game?

Definitely nothing too crazy. If I have the time, on the day of a game I like to go out and have a kick of the ball to get some touch. And I always put on my left sock and left boot on first, but I think that’s more just out of a habit. [ha, ha, we definitely think that’s a good-luck superstition! ed.]


What is your favourite pre game meal?

Something with bread usually haha, avocado on Turkish bread is probably my real favourite. 


You recently went on a trip to New Zealand, where is your next trip going to be and why?

The next big trip on the bucket list is Canada because it looks so beautiful. Closer to home, I’d also really like to go to Tasmania and do some of the hikes down there. 


Rapid fire, 5 Fun facts about you 

– I’m a massive Newcastle Knights fan

– I love travelling but I absolutely hate flying 

– My sporting idols are Andrew Johns and Roger Federer 

– I love dogs and have a black Labrador named Ari who hunts bush turkeys 

– I love the beach and in an alternate life would have loved to be a professional surfer


We love hearing about Barefooters and what they get up to in their spare time.  Whether you have a passion for soccer or some other sport, we’d love to hear from you.  If you’d like to let us know about what you get up to, please don’t hesitate to contact us so that we can arrange a quick chat and some photos – email us.  Also, after seeing Charlotte’s pictures and reading her story, if you’d like to get into soccer, you can click this link to Football Brisbane.

…and of course, if you’re injured or just feeling a bit sore and tired from your Barefoot adventures, you can always come and see us: I need an appointment


Easy exercises to keep you healthy and active as you age

For many people, aches and pains have become a normal part of their life, especially as they age. However, it doesn’t matter if you’re 7 or 77, pain is not a normal part of life, and should be something that you take seriously. This includes general aches and stiffness from your daily life!

Here are some exercise and body management tips to keep you happy, healthy and moving beautifully through life!

  • Keep moving!
    • Studies have shown people who stop moving are more likely to experience stiffness and pain. Now this movement is a little more than just pottering to the kitchen and back. This means you should be getting out of the house and moving around. Some good activities you could try are; heavy gardening, a half-hour brisk walk, riding a bike for 30 mins or more, team sports, or even dancing!
    • Moving gets the blood flowing and joints lubricated. So not only should this movement help with any pain that you are already experiencing, but it will also help to prevent the onset of stiffness and pain!
  • Deep breathing and muscle relaxation
    • If your muscles are tense, then they are not going to be happy and they will send pain signals to your brain. So how do we relax muscles without going to the physiotherapist or for a massage?
    • Deep Breathing Exercises;
      • Make yourself comfortable (lying down or sitting in a chair)
      • Loosen any tight clothing
      • Start to listen to your breathing in its natural pattern, without changing anything
      • Place your hand on your stomach, and start breathing in through your nose and out through your mouth.
      • Imagine that you are breathing down into your hands, letting your belly move in and out with your breaths
      • As you breathe out, imagine all your tight muscles are relaxing away all their tension
      • Continue for 3-5mins
    • Regular exercise can also help the back pocket. A few studies have shown in the older population, those who exercise spend less time and money on things such as doctors, and hospital visits…because overall they are generally healthier people.

Lastly, if you are experiencing pain on a daily basis and can’t seem to find relief, make sure you seek help. You can always give your physiotherapist a call, if you don’t have one you can make an appointment with one close by, or book in to see your GP.

Preparing for your Physiotherapy Appointment

If you’ve never been to a physiotherapist, or if you haven’t been in a while, it can be good to know what to expect and how best to prepare.

Appointment Preparation

Once you have decided on which Physiotherapist you’re going to go to, you can give the clinic a call or jump online and book an appointment through their website. When you’re on the phone some clinics will have a couple of questions for you about what the issue is, don’t be concerned about this your privacy is safe! It’s just to give the physiotherapist that will be seeing you an indication of what to expect when you walk in the door, and who might be best to help you.


The Barefoot Physiotherapy way

Now, at Barefoot Physiotherapy, we do things a little differently. After you have made your appointment at the clinic, the Physiotherapist who will be seeing you, will give you a call to check in with you and see what is going on in your body, and how best we can help you, along with answering any questions you may have, and making sure you know what to expect when you come into the clinic.

Session Preparation

A couple of days before your appointment, it would be a good idea to get some things together that you might need at your appointment. Things such as; private health insurance card, Medicare card, relevant scans of the injury, and any other relevant information about your injury or concerning area.

The Appointment

On the day it’s preferable to arrive at the clinic around 10-15mins prior to your appointment. This is to ensure you have enough time to find the clinic, find a parking spot, get into the clinic, and to fill out any required paperwork. Then, once in the session with the physiotherapist, tell them everything about your injury even if it may seem trivial to you, it may be the secret to unlocking your body! Overall, physiotherapy should be an enjoyable experience, where you walk out of the clinic feeling better and more knowledgeable about your body.

How to survive the silly season!

With the silly season well and truly in full-swing, it can sometimes be challenging to stay on track with your health goals. While we recognise the importance of balance and enjoying the holidays and time spent with friends and family, we want to help everyone stay as healthy as possible.

Here are our top tricks and tips:

  • Be kind to others and yourself. Bringing joy to others is proven to improve our mood. However most important of all is to be kind to yourself! Don’t feel guilty for enjoying quality time with friends and good food. Often the worst symptom of the holidays is the guilt we feel for what we ate or drank etc. Obviously, we want to make healthy choices for our bodies, but remember that taking care of your mental health and not punishing yourself is also key.
  • Stay hydrated. It is very easy to forget to drink water when life gets busy. Keep a water bottle on hand and drink from it regularly. If you are at a party, try to have a glass of water every hour
  • Be realistic. Set small health goals for yourself that will help you stay positive and feel a sense of accomplishment. During such a busy time, it is easy to feel like our regular exercise routine is overwhelming and hence do nothing. Instead, scale it back and set out something that is achievable. For example, aiming to go to the gym once a week (rather than your usual 3 times) or getting out for a short walk every second day
  • Give yourself appropriate rest and recovery. Often it feels like there is something on every day and you never have a moment to yourself. Try to have some quieter days where you can give your mind and body time to rest and recover (and maybe even nap!). Remember you don’t have to go to everything you are invited to – its ok to put your health first
  • Take care of your musculoskeletal health – there is nothing worse than being too uncomfortable to enjoy time with family and friends. Avoid uncomfortable positions, or any one position for too long and warm-up if you’re moving an esky or playing backyard cricket for the first time in 12 months. It is also important to make sure you keep up regular self-releases and physio check-ups to keep your body moving and feeling good.

    Did you know that Barefoot will be open over the Christmas and New Year period, closing only for the public holidays. Don’t leave your New Years Resolutions to next year – why not start the new year with happy nerves, muscles & joints!

    To book an appointment click here.

A letter from Sal – Barefoot Wellness Summit

You may have heard that we have our first ever Barefoot Wellness Summit tomorrow ( Saturday the 2nd of December!) We can’t wait to see you all there! If you haven’t had a chance to get your tickets yet, don’t worry they are still on sale!

You may be thinking why would the Barefoot Wellness Summit be relevant or beneficial for me? Our fearless leader Sal sat down to let you know why she think it will totally change your life!

Ok superstars…

Why would you want to go to a Barefoot Wellness Summit?

Do you even have time for that?

Is it worth giving up half your Saturday for? And paying for a ticket?!

Well if you’ve ever felt confused by where you need to start with your health.

Or you’re overwhelmed by all the information out there on what to eat, what not to eat, how to move, how not to move, how to meditate (it’s hard to stick to right!) and just have that sense of ‘it’s all too much’ well we’re simplifying it for you.

We’re going to cover 3 main areas
– The mind
– The gut
– The body

And the people talking about these amazing things are experts in their respective fields:
– a performance psychologist talking about the mind
– a nutritionist (and women’s health physio) covering the gut and a
– musculoskeletal physio talking all things body.

To simplify something is a skill and only a person that truly understands a topic can simplify and teach it with vigour…. we’re having a crack! Get ready to get vigorous 🙂

We’ll be talking inspiring big concepts as well as tangible takeaways. Things you can do immediately for your mind, your gut and your body. You’re also going to feel clear about where you can turn for help if you need it.

Pretty flat strap at the moment?!

Of course you are, you’ve got a freaking rockin life!
Don’t think you have the time?
Maybe you’re right… but let’s make it happen!
We’ve thought of everything!

The day kicks off at a leisurely 9am and finishes at 2.30pm.
Morning tea and are lunch provided! And you get a goody bag!!!

So you can fill up your Friday and Saturday nights with fun and we’ll be there to give you the stories in between. Who doesn’t want to head out on a date Saturday night and be able to say “you wouldn’t believe what I did today, I went to a super cool event at the QLD Tennis Centre overlooking Pat Rafter arena!” – see you later Tinder that person will want you forever . This line will also impress your partner of 20 years!

In saying that, we have found that most people we meet are looking for some like minded souls to make friends with, and what better way than through an express learning session! Followed by drinks on the lawn at Barefoot of course! You are all welcome to kick on with us in the afternoon.

Yes we have a beer, yes it’s healthy… it’s our Summit of Wellness being on the lawn having a drink with friends
We love meeting new people and we love bringing amazing people together.

If it feels a bit out of your comfort zone I implore you to take the leap, lean in to the discomfort and if in doubt: bring a friend!

I look forward to giving you a big as hug!

Geovana Regular

To buy your tickets, or to find out more . . click here.

To all our Baristas, we thank you!

A few of us here at Barefoot Physiotherapy are big coffee connoisseurs. Whether it is a strong flat white, soy latte, piccolo or a long black with a ‘dash of cold milk’, we know exactly what we want and how we want it. We love our local barista’s who know just how to make our morning coffee, so while they are looking after our coffee cravings, it’s important to also look after your well being while standing at the coffee machine.

I saw a funny sign the other day at our local coffee shop saying; “Relationship Status: Emotionally Dependant on my Barista”. So we thought we do a little shout out to all the amazing Barista’s out there that put a bounce, a smile and a little cup of happiness in to the lives of so many of us. We thought we would send out a little love to our Baristas as we know working day-in-day-out at those coffee machines can actually be quite taxing on your body.

At a lot of the really busy coffee shops, some Baristas could be smashing out over 100 coffees per hour. This seems like a huge number, but it is most definitely a reality for the buzzing cafes around Brisbane. Being on your feet all day is tiring and can be quite a strain on your body.

Be sure you are doing your best to maintain a good posture, keeping your shoulders down and your back as relaxed as possible. Try and alternate hands where possible, especially when there is jarring movements involved such as using the grinding chamber handle, or tapping the milk jug on the table to remove excess bubbles.

Be sure to avoid looking down for long periods of time. If at all possible, try and ensure the coffee grinder is at a level where you do not have to look down too far to avoid continual strain on your neck, and when pouring your milk, try not to crouch over the coffee cup, keen a straight back and keep your shoulders down.

The more relaxed you feel while you work hard to get coffees out to your customers, the better you will feel at the end of the shift. Be sure to do some shoulder, glute and calf releases, and maybe a roll on a foam roller to stretch your back out so you can be ready for another day of serving up delicious cups of coffee.

To all the Baristas out there, our days would not have quite the same hop, skip and a jump in them, so thank you!

If you would like to read more, or book an appointment with one of our physios, click here!

What makes Barefoot unique?

What makes Barefoot different?

Ever wondered what makes Barefoot Physiotherapy is different? When your body isn’t operating as you want it to, every part of your life suffers. We get it, we’ve been there. Every Australian deserves to live life to the fullest and not have injury and pain hold them back – so let the practitioners at one of Queensland’s trusted physiotherapy clinics help you out.

Our clients travel from far and wide across Australia. People come to Barefoot Physiotherapy from Melbourne, the Gold Coast, and the Northern Territory Outback to be treated right alongside our local clients in Graceville, Indooroopilly and Yeronga. Our experienced Sports Physiotherapist learn about their health goals and help them to get their bodies back working the way they want them.

Every day we are inspired by the amazing and beautiful people that come to our clinic. We are lucky enough to make a noticeable difference in people’s lives and coming to work is a delight.

Physio Services in Indooroopilly

What does treatment look like at Barefoot Physiotherapy?

Physiotherapy treatment at Barefoot follows the Barefoot Physiotherapy Plan. Our goal is to help you be able to do what you want with your body. We use a thorough whole body assessment to work out the underlying cause of the condition. We can then treat it, teach you to treat it and together take care of your body, long term.

You will experience a systematic, thorough testing process that identifies the underlying cause of your condition.

This assessment includes testing your:

  • nerves
  • muscles (including tendons)
  • joints (ligaments, discs, bones, cartilage) and
  • movements.

What’s next?

In the vast majority of sports and musculoskeletal conditions, this process leads to a rapid and full recovery. During this initial phase, you can trust that you are either going to get rapidly fixed, or a ‘Plan B’ is required.

In a small percentage of conditions, this process quickly identifies that a referral for a different management of the condition is most appropriate, i.e. ‘Plan B’ where we help you find the right path (whether that be imaging, acupuncture, medical etc.) – this is because we don’t continue treating without results.


For the majority of cases (not a Plan B case) treatment then focusses on the underlying cause to reduce its impact on the rest of your body.

We chart your progress including how long and how many sessions will be required to achieve pain free, full function. Below is an example recovery graph.

Importantly – this involves teaching you how to look after your condition to minimise recurrence. Click here for muscle retraining.

Once you are back doing what you want with your body, looking after your condition is the mainstay of treatment. We call this the ‘maintenance phase’ where your Barefoot Physiotherapist checks in on you at increasing intervals (up to 3 months).

There are three main reasons for these sessions:

1. To test and confirm your good self-management
2. Progressing your skills for achieving better performance
3. To treat any re-accumulation of strain that occurred in between sessions as a result of life’s challenges

Barefoot Physiotherapy also runs sessions in the gym, workplace or home (where appropriate) for clients to:

  • Optimise motor control and postures
  • Improve progression from injured to non-injured state
  • Minimise avoidable strain placed on the body (and therefore decrease the frequency of maintenance sessions in the clinic).

Our clients find these sessions very valuable and highly specific to them. Want to find our more, click here to view our Barefoot Lifestyle guide. 

Five steps to living your Barefoot Lifestyle

Ever get that feeling like life is just passing by? Like you want to be out on the field playing but you’re hanging on the sideline ? Are you wondering what it would look like if you were living your “Barefoot Lifestyle”?

You know you enjoy being fully part of it, in fact maybe you used to be a key player but it now feels like you’ve forgotten the moves?

blog post pic

We get it, your life can get busy and it’s very easy to let the things that are important to you slip down the list of priorities in the midst of your day to day.

Our Barefoot Lifestyle Guide is a reflection tool to help you think… think through the things in your life that are important to you… remind yourself of the things that you enjoy…  so you can include more of these in your days and get your life back on track.

Sometimes it’s easy to get caught up in the mundane and forget about the bigger picture. You know, that bigger picture where you know how you make this world a better place, where you have passions and drive and talk about them. Why is it important to focus on that bigger picture and live it rather than dream it? I think we would all agree this leads to a more fulfilled life for yourself and the people around you.

In no way is the Barefoot Lifestyle Guide telling you how to live your life… it’s a way to get you thinking about how you want to live on your terms and helping you to go out and do it!

We all have the resources within us that we need to make our lives even more enjoyable. It’s amazing how much you can discover about yourself when you just ask the right questions.

The Barefoot Lifestyle looks at areas that we believe are important to living a fulfilled happy life

  1. Staying active
  2. Taking care of your body and mind
  3. Friends and family
  4. Your vocation
  5. Doing your bit to change the world

What you will create by completing the Guide are immediately actionable steps as part of our ‘Barefoot Choose-to’ list. Here you can come up with a list of things you choose to do (or do more of) that really satisfies the inner you.

It’s a great feeling completing the guide knowing you’ve delved a little deeper. And reminded yourself of those enjoyable crazy things you love to do!

So, if you can spare 30min today, download the lifestyle guide and complete the action steps on your ‘Choose-to’ list. Even just one step a day, is enough to transform your life, and get your SOUL (as well as you body) feeling like it is on holiday everyday!

To download the lifestyle guide, click here.