Hey there, and welcome to my blog!
I'm truly excited we found each other... I'm Sofia and I started this blog simply because a blog like this did not exist 7 years ago when I was desperate to find answers or even find someone else who had experience with that I was going through.
I'm a certified strength coach and rehab trainer. I'm also a NASM Corrective Exercise Specialist. I love studying and learning as much as I can about the human body.
I've been helping women and men break free from chronic lower back pain and piriformis syndrome.
I've shown my clients how to build their strength and health back without having to rely on short-lived treatments or quick fixes...ever again!
My passion for health and fitness started way back when I was 11 years old. I was an overweight kid but I always loved watching people workout and exercise. I was fascinated by it!
I remember buying my first book ever on Pilates (I saved my bus change to buy it - and I still have the book!)
Then my uncle got me a step cardio DVD (it contained 2 workouts), and I played that DVD every single day. Over and over again...I felt GREAT, and...
I got hooked!
When I finished my high school, I packed my bags (exactly two black suitcases) and moved to Canada to start University.
My Chronic Pain Journey
Well, shortly after starting school, I woke up one day with a really painful sensation on my right hip. I could hardly walk. And had to use the wall to carry myself to class.
The pain was getting worse, but I had no idea what was happening.
I tried to ignore it...I took some anti-inflammatory pills...I did some stretches I found online...
It really wasn't improving.
That's how I scheduled my first Doctor appointment and was diagnosed with piriformis syndrome shortly after that.
For the next few years, the pain was getting worse and at that point, I've exhausted all the help I could get...
Here are some of the things I've tried (I'm just including the highlights):
- A cocktail of drugs every day (anti-inflammatories, pain-killers, muscle relaxants)
- Physiotherapy (3 different therapists over the period of 2 years)
- Athletic therapy (2 therapists and each treatments lasted a few months)
- Acupuncture (along with therapy)
- Massage therapy
- Home therapies (stretching, foam rolling, yoga, pilates, electrical muscle stimulation)
- Chiropractic adjustments (3 clinics and went for 6 months treatments for each)
- Pain management specialists (2 specialists)
- 1 Rheumatologist (this was when I was diagnosed with ankylosing spondylitis - which I'll talk about in a bit)
- ER visits for bad flare-ups
- Cushions, kneeling chairs, lumbar supports...any gadget I can find that promises relief
- Psychotherapy (I wanted to see if I had post traumatic stress disorder that was triggering the pain or some old childhood trauma - I was desperate)
I spent all my savings on treatments and I was still getting nowhere!
When things started to change
Truth be told...my parents always told me I had a stubborn personality. And I'm so thankful for that! It was the only thing that kept me going.
I just couldn't give up!
2012- 2013 I finally had two MRI scans prescribed and they showed an L5/S1 disc herniation and abnormal pelvic inflammation, and I was later diagnosed with ankylosing spondylitis (a rare spinal arthritis).
I remember the Doctor's assistant calling me asking if I can come to the office asap because my lap tests are in.
They usually don't call you to come unless your results are showing something. I couldn't get anything done that day. I was extremely anxious...what could it be??
When he told me I had AS, he also said that so far there is no cure for it (because it's an autoimmune condition) and that he'll refer me to a rheumatologist who will prescribe meditation to "slow it down". He said if I don't do anything, my pelvis and spine will fuse up and I'll end up in a wheelchair.
That medication turned out to be strong immune suppressing meds. Um, no thanks!
I left the rheumatologist's office feeling completely defeated! I took the prescription but I didn't buy the drugs. I just refused to accept the diagnosis.
I had to find a way to reset my body to how it was before I moved to Canada! I mean, I was completley pain-free just a few years back.
What the hell happened?!?!
I signed up for the Strength Coach certification
Again my stubborn personality came to the frontline... I just couldn't see myself being disabled.
I decided to pursue my dream anyways. And this is when everything changed.
I started learning more about anatomy, physiology, functional training, the nervous system...
...I also took courses and read a ton of books on the mind-body connection (by Dr. Sarno). I discovered neuroplasticity and the possibility to heal my body and reverse disease.
I started implementing...day in, and day out.
I could feel things changing. Little things like sitting in the car without pain, working out my glutes without triggering a 2-month flare-up, and being able to walk at a normal pace without feeling a shooting pain down my leg.
I can't say there was ONE thing that did it. That's why isolation never works to heal from chronic pain. You need to take a holistic approach to healing.
I worked on my mindset just as much as I worked on my body through exercise and a healthy nutrition.
AND THEN...THIS BLOG WAS BORN!
I decided to start my blog coachsofiafitness.com around this time...but I wanted to mainly share fitness and health topics (workouts and recipes).
But I couldn't relate to the state of the fitness industry. I was more passionate about holistic health, strength training, corrective exercises, meditation, mind-body healing, and nutrition. I didn't care about meal planning and dieting...I cared about building a strong healthy and balanced body free from pain and disease.
So I deleted all those diet-related posts and started from scratch. My first blog was about my story with piriformis syndrome...
I remember researching success stories all over the internet and I couldn't find any. The only ones I found were people talking about their surgery and how it didn't fix anything. Not that I was looking to get surgery, but the forums were full of those posts and I was getting desperate.
I couldn't find anyone who's had success healing it.
The majority of articles were from medical sites and all regurgitated the same info (cold, heat, stretch, do these exercises, go see a physio...) but not one single article written by a human being I can relate to.
I knew I had to share my success story (and also what I went through) on my blog.
WHAT TO EXPECT:
I've dedicated more than 10 years of my life studying, researching, and taking courses to help myself and to help my clients.
I'm still immersed in this field and It's starting to feel more like a life mission.
This blog is where I share everything that has helped me heal from piriformis syndrome, a disc herniation, all the symptoms I was experiencing (sciatica, bursitis, pelvic pain), and reverse ankylosing sponsylitis (it's been on remission for a year now).
I'm not just a certified coach - I'm a coach who lived through the pain and can relate exactly to what you're going through.
I understand the misery of living with pain...
...the feeling of hopelessness...that your life is slipping away...
...feeling frustrating that nobody truly understands the pain you're in. I mean raise your hand if you've had people tell you to just get over it (because deep down they think you're just making it seem worse than it really is).
Only the person who truly lived through the pain can understand what it's like...and I am so grateful for my experience because it made me a better coach.
HOW TO GET STARTED...
I've organized this blog so you can easily find all the information you're looking for. Below the "Blog" MENU item, you'll find all the topics I write about. If you're here to learn about how to heal from piriformis syndrome, please read ALL the blog posts. They all complement each other and you'll get a lot of clarity if you read them all. I also create a video for each post, so if you don't like reading, you can watch or listen too!
My weekly emails:
Each week, I personally write an email to my community where I share practical tools and techniques to help you correct muscle weakness, strengthen your body, and build your health back...
To receive my weekly emails, you can subscribe below...
There is a lot of information on my website that can help you get started, but if you want to get step-by-step guidance and help from me, I have some amazing and affordable programs that I created to help you transform your health...
If you've been wondering why you keep getting hip pain and triggering piriformis or glute spasms, then this program will help you get to the root cause of the pain. You'll find out exactly which muscles or postural imbalances are keeping you stuck.
You'll also get a step-by-step corrective exercise plan to help you fix the imbalance you've identified. Click here to learn more about Piriformis Control
THE BACK PAIN BOOTCAMP
If you want a complete solution to fixing muscle and joint pain, you need to join the Bootcamp.
You'll learn exactly how to find the root cause of the pain, how to fix it, and how to rebuild your health back and even...how to get back in shape safely and injury free.
THE MIND-BODY HEALING SYSTEM
Throughout my healing journey, I've learned powerful mind-body healing tools that made a huge difference in my healing.
I worked with a registered hypnotherapist to create this program (including 3 custom meditations you won't find anywhere online).
SOME INTERESTING THINGS ABOUT ME...
It's really weird to just sit here and talk about myself...but since this is my "About me" page, I'm guessing you're here because you wanna know more about who this Coach Sofia is 🙂 So here are some interesting things about me:
- Obsessed about kombucha (I drink it almost everyday!).
- Born and raised in Casablanca, Morocco. At the age of 19, I packed my bags and moved to Canada to study, and travel. I moved from a warm country to one of the coldest cities in the world where it can get to -40 degrees C in the winter.
- 3 years ago I skydived in Varedero, Cuba (the best and scariest experience of my life)
- I Love lifting heavy weights.
- I Love exploring islands and remote beaches around the world.
- Outgoing introvert.
- Blogger and Youtuber (hey, click here to subscribe to my Youtubec channel).
- Graphic designer (self-taught). I actually designed this whole website! Never hired any help.
- Wrote and self published an ebook on Amazon about Fat-loss (took it down but it still exists on Goodreads)
- Kindle - self-development - books obsessed - if I'm not cooking or working out, I'm reading. Sometimes I do both (I love reading on the treadmill).
- Extremely stubborn - I won't give up on my goals. Ever.
- Blue and light pink are my favorite color (hence the blog colors!)
- I'm married (no kids).
- I live in one of the coldest cities in the world (it gets as cold as -40 degrees C in the winter) - but I see myself retiring on a beach, somewhere.
- Contact and Interstellar are my favorite movies.
- I love stargazing and astronomy.
Here's a photo I took of the moon (with my phone!)
I guess that's it for now 🙂
What about you? where are you from and what brought you here ? Comment below and let me know...