I’m not just another personal trainer. I specialise in solving complex and often long-standing musculoskeletal injuries (bones, tendons, ligaments, and muscles) and pain. I’m probably the only trainer in the country that exclusively and closely works with a top London orthopaedic surgeon on Harley Street where we care for our patients at our clinic.
I have a reputation for outperforming the results of physios and therapists. My rehab approaches are highly sort-after for guiding injured patients to an optimal quality of life and function. An analogy would be, if your injury and pain set you back to functioning at a -5, I take you to a 0 and then to a +5. I’m fully trusted to care for patients at all stages of their journey from pre- and post-surgical rehab, sports injury rehab, to performance training.
We constantly consult with patients/clients that have been given misinformed, incorrect, and unhelpful treatments. As a layperson, it’s almost impossible to find the right help, information, and guidance when you’re at the hands of an apparent health professional in authority over your body. Just like many other patients, and by no fault of your own, a lot of time, money and energy gets wasted in trying to find solutions to your injuries and pain. This causes emotional grief and frustration. I work tirelessly to put this right for you and others like you. I’m sure you can also benefit with our help. Please see below complex case studies I solve…
Yes! I’ve created a bespoke weight loss package focusing on the psychology, habits, beliefs, behaviours and thinking patterns for permanent weight loss. Forget what you think you know – these domains are essential for long-term weight loss. This means you lose fat for good.
Also, when it comes to my personal training, I have very specific and effective philosophies that work. Most importantly, they get results. Firstly, here’s a taster of my philosophies on how I’ll work with you – enjoy!
My philosophy: what I do
I’m sure you’ve heard of the phrase: ‘opinions are like… everyone’s…’. I get asked my opinions and thoughts on everything health and fitness. I always say, when it comes to getting you results – where possible – I use facts, not my opinions. I have opinions but it’s better for all of us that I base these on facts. Facts don’t care about my feelings or opinions, nor yours. I use facts on myself so that I’m as successful as I can be in different domains of my life, including sport and training. If an opinion isn’t good enough for me, it’s not good enough for you. Everything falls into place when I focus on value for money. Facts deliver value for money. Facts deliver results. Facts are fun because they get you results! Of course, where there are gaps in the evidence, the art of individual coaching fills those gaps. Being open minded is about using the facts and discarding the misinformation.
I believe no one has the right to tell you what to think, but you can also learn a lesson from everyone. When I work, I personally prefer to be guided by what the science tells us on how to live, train, and manage a healthier productive life. Therefore, l have scientific reasons and approaches for my training decision making, which I can pass on to you, should you wish to know.
I tailor gradual, progressive and periodised exercise sessions to meet your levels and needs. Trusting in this process will give you the best opportunity for success by reducing your pain, optimising your strength, physical condition, and fitness reserve. All your training is planned in detail for each of your sessions. This enables us to have a log of your progress, which helps me project a road map of your future sessions. Sessions help you stay accountable and on track.
I believe it’s important for you to discover how to perform technically challenging rehabilitative, fitness, or sports-specific exercise safely and correctly. This develops consistent movement patterns, optimises improvement, and reduces injury by knowing how to do things right.
I believe in open rapport and dialogue. Asking me questions about how to think about, manage, and find solutions to your health and injuries is encouraged. You’ll discover more about your body and the best options for you. This comes with patience, extensive clinical experience and easy-to-understand scientific advice. It’s all about a journey of educated discovery, and finding the truth in what we do, say, and follow.
I’m a big believer in talking things through. You can’t expect to be successful at your training without tearing down barriers. The mind and body must work in unison. I love empowering individuals with the right type of coaching input, life-style changes, and information. All this changes outlooks (i.e., looking at injuries, weight, health, fitness, choices, etc., through a different lens). I love sharing the science of exercise medicine; I see it that you’re in the driving seat while I’m in the passenger seat holding the map and guiding the way.
A different approach:
I take a different approach to physiotherapy and the therapies industry. I actively involve you to use your own body to heal itself. I specialise in using the domain of exercise science in rehabilitation, strengthening, and conditioning, to:
- Optimise effective healing
- Optimise recovery
- Reduce or stop pain
- Reduce future injuries
- Increase performance and function
- Increase physical resilience and strength
- Increase mental resilience
- Improve quality of life
Discussing and planning long-term strengthening helps prevent future injuries or flare-ups. This also enables your body to deal with the stresses and forces you put on it. I think it’s vital to improve your physical and mental resilience beyond your previous standards so that you can do more of what you love doing – confident in the fact that you’re a fitter and stronger version than before.
Remember that your body is extremely good at healing itself. Exercise is the most value-based care you can get for your money, time, and effort. The right type of exercise not only aids your injury healing process through changing the structure of your bodily tissues, but it also reverses the ageing process. A stronger you is a more youthful you. Also, a stronger you is harder to injure, and harder to kill!
The exercise we do helps to aid the healing process physically by stimulating damaged and weakened cells to get stronger through mechanical stress (stressing the organism through hormesis – exposure to increasing amounts of stress – thus signalling biological healing processes). Exercise reduces inflammation, and makes bone, ligament, tendon, muscle, nerves, and immune cells stronger.
The exercise we do also helps to aid the healing process mentally by stimulating the mind to adapt positively to stress. To heal, the mind must also expand its comfort zone, overcome adversity, challenge its beliefs for the better good, apply stoicism, reduce fears, and develop confidence and trust in its body.
Research shows that if you want to outperform all types of therapy and injection outcomes, you need to receive correct exercise training techniques + education + address misinformation + understanding + open communication + reassurance + encouragement + empathy and caring + create new beliefs. Therefore, this is what I give you.
My philosophy: why I don’t offer you therapies
Musculoskeletal physiotherapists, osteopaths, chiropractors, etc., take a passive approach to try to heal you. This passive approach is called passive manual therapy (their touch apparently heals you, and your role is submissive).
Manual therapy is defined as having someone or something apply (manual passive) movement to your body while you are involuntary, sitting or lying still. This means you’re receiving pressure on your body from someone. This feels lovely, but unfortunately research clearly shows that any perceived reduction in musculoskeletal pain from someone else doing something to you is a short-lived placebo effect.
If manual therapy worked, there wouldn’t be a continually growing list of options and opinions. Just like diets, there are dozens of manual therapy treatments/techniques on the market.
Some examples of passive manual therapies include:
- Soft tissue mobilisation
- Massages with hands, elbows, feet, machines, and metal tools
- Joint mobilisations
- Joint manipulations and thrusting
- Dry needling
- Laser therapy
- Myofascial, Rolfing, and a variety of other connective tissue ‘releases’
- Trigger point therapy
- Muscle energy techniques
- Hot stones
- Craniosacral therapy
- Leech therapy
- Bloodletting, etc.
A diet, or in this case a manual therapy treatment, is selected wholly on the biases of your therapist’s or your own interests, and not on it being better than another treatment.
What you need is the most proven, scientifically practiced pathway for your health. It’s in your best interest to apply this principle to your injuries. If you needed brain surgery, would you tell your brain surgeon which surgical procedure you’d prefer them to try? Or would you pick a brain surgeon that operates on your brain differently from their colleagues? Probably not. So why do we pick and choose manual therapy treatments like we’re in a sweet shop? Probably because when we’re confused about the pain we’re in, we want some immediate human touch and attention to comfort us, and take the pain away.
For once it’s your parents’ fault:
Research on hundreds of thousands of people around the globe have shown that manual therapy treatments only change some people’s perception of pain briefly, some of the time (mostly none of the time). The fact is, placebo treatments and pills have proven to work as good or better than all manual therapy treatments.
Treatments tend to work better if we buy into them (we believe them to work). This is called the placebo effect; a bit like when you fell over as a kid and your mum rubbed your knee better. Just like when your mum rubbed your knee, therapies also don’t change your body’s injured tissue structure, nor encourage your body’s tissues to heal themselves. Yet we feel cared for.
Competing athletes aren’t ‘officially’ allowed to inject/swallow supplements, wear things, or have things done to them which speed up their recovery healing time or enhance performance. If manual therapy treatments really did work by stopping your pain, enhancing your healing process and making you perform better beyond what is humanly possible, they would be banned at the Olympic Games. There’s only one thing that can reduce pain, speed healing time, and improve performance faster than humanly possible, and that’s performance enhancing drugs like steroids. That’s why steroids are banned, and rubbing, poking and prodding isn’t. (On a side note, that’s also why all alternative, complementary, and homeopathy isn’t banned.) Athletes need to feel cared for too, you know.
Unfortunately, manual therapy encourages learned helplessness. It disempowers you as it makes you believe you must rely on someone else’s physical touch to get you better, reduce your pain, and improve your situation. It also encourages false hope, and is emotionally reactive, akin to a knee-jerk reaction, or applying an expensive sticky plaster, or a flight response to pain. Your solution needs to encourage a proactive fight response, by taking a calculated longer-term approach to health and pain, and addressing the underlying causes (you need to do something to yourself and take action). Overall, passive treatments are damaging to your health because they prolong illnesses and injuries, delaying mental and physical health.
Drawbacks to therapy education:
Injuries and exercise play a tiny role in physio, osteo, and chiro academic curriculum. For example, university physio degrees briefly include only one musculoskeletal injury module, and exercise teaching goes as far as explaining that if you’ve got a bad knee, you bend it and straighten it, etc. Students are told to get patients to buy into them having magic healing hands. Yet all the evidence for healing from pain, injury, clogged arteries, type 2 diabetes, obesity, depression, etc., points to exercise. Most physio study is based on hospital ward work such as moving and walking patients from their bed. Therapy degrees are gradually letting go of teaching outdated manual therapy because there’s no evidence for them. Yet improvements in education are constantly hampered by political hierarchy, manipulation, and corruption. Therefore, therapy degrees still include a lot of passive treatments, governance and marketing, that has nothing to do with making patients better.
You’ll be familiar with the many marketing strategies that physios, osteopaths, and chiropractors use. They always look for your failures. If you’ve ever been to a therapist, you’ve been told your pelvis/feet/knees/spine is out of alignment and needs to be put back in place by a so called expert. These statements capitalise on your fears. You must rely on going back to ‘correct yourself’. Of course, none of this is true. If a person had a pelvis or spinal joint out of alignment, they’d need morphine, emergency surgery and a blood transfusion from the horrific car crash they just had. Furthermore, there are thousands of people running city marathons every year with different gaits, bodies, and postures, all having the time of their life.
Don’t look for someone who puts you down and picks holes in you. Look for someone who builds you up.
Touching your body doesn’t change your body:
Lastly, remember earlier that I mentioned you need mechanical stress, or progressive stimulation (hormesis) to get a stronger mind and body? Passive manual therapy doesn’t change or heal tissues. The reason being is because applying needles, machines, or someone’s hands to move, massage, rub, poke, or prod your skin, fat, muscle, and joints passively doesn’t offer anywhere near the amount of mental or physical stress you need to make the mind and body adapt, heal, or improve. Only exercise and time can tick these boxes.
I unapologetically think you deserve better.
- Aug 2020: Right Achilles tendon rupture playing in football match
- Aug-Nov 20: Conservative treatment in boot for 12 weeks
- Nov 20: Started physio as came out of the boot. NHS gave resistance band strengthening exercises, but the ankle, Achilles and leg still felt very weak
- Jan 21: Had private physio and got ankle fully dorsiflexing, said Achilles was healed, massaged it, reviewed the strength of it, bouncing on trampoline, leg press machine, stationary bike, running on running machine for up to a minute, bit of football drills in and out of cones
- Felt it was still very weak, a bit sore, stiff, and couldn’t go back to football or running
- Aug 21: Appointment with Mr Sood who reassessed Achilles and recommended a more complete rehab process with Joe
- Sep 21: Started rehab process with Joe. Assessed and there was a lot of atrophy, weakness, and some pain. Worked on correct positioning of the foot with different movement patterns, Achilles dorsiflexion stiffness, and right calf 50-60% weaker than left
- Oct 21: Once weekly video link training from his gym, and he would repeat training plans as prescribed throughout week. Now building up to squatting 55kg and bilateral calf raising 50kg
- Nov-Dec 21: Less right pronation, less tibial torsion, introducing posterior chain strength, introduced basic plyometrics. Squatting 70kg. Unilateral calf rises now with 24kg
- Dec 21-Jan 22: Squatting 80kg and squat jumping 50kg. Introduced skipping and more complex plyometrics, power cleans, calf raising 100kg
- Jan 22-Mar 22: Squatting Olympic style and deadlifting 90kg, squat jumping 70kg, speed skipping, sprints, 5km, back to football.
“I can’t recommend Mr Sood and Joe Smiles training programme highly enough and my only regret was not coming to them sooner. Mr Sood’s assessment re-assured me that my Achilles had fully recovered despite feeling discomfort in the Achilles whenever I carried out exercise. The training programme with Joe was fantastic and the outcome is that I now have stronger legs and playing football without any concerns which is the result I wanted.”
- Feb 20: Started getting more right knee pain following a ski trip, had MRI, torn cartilage
- Various physio sessions during lockdown – did not really help
- June 20: X-rays
- Aug 20: MRI scan with Mr Sood
- Sep 20: Arthroscopy on right knee meniscus
- Oct 20: Started physio, squats, band seated knee extensions, step ups, squats with 5kg dumbbells, forward lunges
- Dec 20: Started running
- Jan-Feb 21: Started running 10 miles per week and started getting pain on inside of left side of the right knee, especially pain at night but no pain when running
- Jan 21: Started playing single’s league tennis and left Achilles was sore and swollen
- May-June 21: Shock wave therapy x 4 treatments with physio but didn’t think it helped much, plus exercises for the L Achilles tendon since May 21, 20 reps per day of eccentric calf raises off floor, plus calf stretches, but still getting lots of pain.
- June 21: Not been able to run or play tennis for the last 4 months – very frustrated
- Jun 21: Started training with Joe. Began an individual progressive and periodised training plan via video links, focusing on specific strength training for the knee and Achilles.
- Sep 21: Started running again, 1 -2 miles a week
- Oct 21: 4-5 miles a week
- Nov 21: 10-12 miles a week
“Joe was a trusted source of information and training at a time when I was really frustrated with injury and not being able to do the things that make me function i.e. sport.
With Joe’s help the training programme was developed and carried out, have also managed another ski trip with no issues.
Would use Joe again if I had to, but hopefully I don’t!! But would recommend, to help recover from sports injuries.
Mr Sood has a vast experience of knee injuries and helped with the diagnosis and treatment of my right knee and left Achilles tendon. With the training programme you feel you are in experienced hands which is really reassuring and has helped me recover to my full potential.”
- Was a professional tennis player but tore ligaments in shoulder in 20s
- Early-mid 30s knee problems began
- Worked with a personal trainer for a while, lots of cross trainer, felt like the training wore down the knees
- Pain walking up stairs
- Previous history of injection into knees
- 2019: Consultant diagnosed osteoarthritis of both knees
- 2019: Physio, but found it hard to get excited about the treatment, felt like the physio was coming up with random exercises
“I was highly recommended to Joe by a friend who had benefited from working with him. I have had long term knee issues with arthritic knees with little cartilage in both knees. I started working with Joe during lockdown 2021, working with him every week for several months. During this time Joe built my strength up seeing regular progress week on week. After this time I have gone from strength to strength. Joe gave me the platform to build on and the confidence that I was doing the right thing and not damaging the situation further. I now have full body fitness, something I never imagined I would have again. I’m ever so grateful to Joe for his expertise and commitment.”
- 2012/2013: History of patellar tendinopathy since 16 years of age after playing a lot of basketball and volleyball
- 2013: Chest muscle pain which became debilitating; physiotherapy over the years for 7 years since 17 years of age
- Oct 2019: More physiotherapy for potential rotator cuff issue, massage therapy
- 15th Dec 2019: MRI by orthopaedic professor who diagnosed tendinopathy in pectoral/grade 1 strain/tear to right pec tendon
- Dec 2019: More physiotherapy with exercise: cable flyes, full body routine, resistance bands, but became pain became aggravated
- Mar-May 2020: Painful wrists and forearms; not being able to work for 2 and a half months
- Apr 2020: Physiotherapy which included wearing wrist supports for 2 weeks, stretching, light resistance bands, etc.
- Jan 2020: Mr Sood did chest MRI scans at the Tendon Pain Clinic for wrists and hip; unable to exercise due to pain. Also confirmed Achilles and knees tendinopathies, and some hip pain. Unable to exercise or play sports due to pain
- Jun 2020: Started with Joe Smiles addressing the variety of complex musculoskeletal problems in forearms, wrists, chest, knees, and Achilles
- Jul/Aug (5-6 weeks later): Returning to work
- Oct 2020 (4 months later): Pain free, back to sport and gym
“I was referred to Joe by Mr Sood at the Tendon Pain Clinic, with tendinopathy in both knees (patella), both heels (Achilles), both wrists/hands, and right hip and shoulder (pec major tendon). I had previously seen multiple physiotherapists unsuccessfully for these injuries over several years. Joe’s evidence-based, personally tailored exercise treatment regime has been the most effective treatment I’ve found. It was delivered completely via video, covered all my tendon injuries and initially just used limited home workout equipment during lockdown.
Within 6 weeks most of my pain subsided and I was able to return to work. After 4 months all of my injuries are pain free, I’m stronger than I’ve ever been, and am now able to play basketball, squash and swim regularly. We progressed to gym training. Joe is personable, professional and I couldn’t recommend him enough for tendon injury rehabilitation or personal training.”
- Jan 2018: Strained left hamstring, daily pain
- Mar 2018: Osteopath (Evolution Osteopathy Roupell St. London)
- May 2018: The Spine Surgery London Physio
- Jun 2018: Acupuncture
- Jul 2018: Physio
- Aug 2018 (Mexico): Orthopaedist
- Oct-Nov 2018: Wandsworth Physiotherapy and Osteopathy
- Nov 2018: Chiropractor
- Nov-Dec 2018: Six Physio
- May 2019: Sports medicine consultant (Bhavesh Kumar) and first hamstring MRI scan. First diagnosis of hamstring tendinopathy
- Jun 2019: Shock wave therapies (3 sessions, 1 each week)
- Jun-Aug 2019: Physio
- 23rd Sep 2019: Orthopaedist and neurologist (Mexico), corticosteroid injection
- 26th Sep 2019: Orthopaedist (another in Mexico), due to inability to move the leg after corticosteroid injection
- Dec 2019: Assessment and MRI scan of pelvis with Mr Sood. Diagnosis of chronic left proximal hamstring tendinopathy. Mild gluteus medius tendinopathy. Daily pain, particularly after exercise or the next day after exercise.
- 11th Jan 2020: Started training with Joe Smiles. Focusing on periodised exercise rehabilitation, following programme prescriptions face to face, on her own, and via video link.
- May 2020: Almost no pain day to day, no pain during exercise. She’s the strongest she’s ever been, currently deep squatting 45kg and deadlifting 60kg for reps. Currently following a whole body strengthening and conditioning programme, including hamstring focus.
“I would like to strongly recommend Joe Smiles as a coach for any physical injury you may be facing. Joe has been nothing short of a gold-plated standard coach in helping me recover from an ongoing hamstring injury and a constant shoulder and back pain that plagued me for several years. Both for which I received countless consultations and rehabilitation sessions with every type of doctor/therapist you can imagine (orthopaedists, neurologists, sports doctors, acupuncturists, chiropractors, masseurs, and the list goes on…).
This never provided me with success and just disappointment and pain. Joe unleashed a potential that I felt was unreachable due to my continuous failures of attempting to rebuild my strength and get back into the gym on a routine basis. He has instilled a high sense of confidence within me to not reactivate my injury and knows how to adjust workouts based on progress and the pain/tension within my troubled injury locations.
Lastly, Joe is very practical and selfless in his approach. He never once encouraged me to take sessions more frequently than necessary and ensured my workout plan positioned me for recovery and success and not necessarily his pocketbook.
I would also like to thank Mr Sood for his support and guidance. I had first seen him for the discomfort I was experiencing. He was very helpful and after receiving a consultation service from the review of my MRI scan, he recommended I pursue physical rehabilitation with Joe. I want to acknowledge Mr Sood for directing me to Joe and his practice.
Many thanks Joe for your services and for your support throughout our sessions together. 2020 has looked so much brighter for me given the help and guidance you provided! Cheers!”
- 2006-2008: Chiropractic treatments
- 2010-2013: Sports massage treatments
- 2015-2017: Physio treatments
- 2017-2018: Sports massages
- May 2018: Steroid injection in hip and knee and due to have a hip operation to reduce impinging hip, fluid and cyst on hip joint. Sought a second opinion who advised me to continue running and cycling. Third opinion was Mr Sood.
- Dec 2018: Consultant appointment with Mr Sood. Diagnosed with cyst lesion in iliopsoas tendon, groin and hip soft tissue pain, knee chondral fissure, plus overuse injuries. No evidence of any femoroacetabular impingement or labral tears. Previous injection not directed where it should have been.
- Jan 2019: Rehabilitation started with Joe focusing on linear periodisation of lower limb-specific injury rehab.
- Feb 2019: Introduction of full squats, plyometrics, light jogging, plus some global upper body strengthening. Use of light weights.
- April 2019: Full depth squats, increasing weights and variety, jumping, jump rope.
- Sep 2019: 5km runs at 22 minutes, squatting high reps easily with 50kg, plus overall strengthening and conditioning programmes.
- June 2020: 10km runs 50 minutes. Currently building on strength and conditioning, 5km running, and cycling 50km rides in 100 minutes, building distances and speeds.
After 12 years of suffering with chronic knee pain I’d given up on any type of enjoyable exercise. I had settled for second best – limited motion which wasn’t really proper exercise in my experience. I was introduced to Joe Smiles after a series of sessions with Mr Sood, an Orthopaedic Consultant. From the first interaction Joe was on delivery mode: get me exercising pain free with immediate effect. I thought the sessions would be easy but I was wrong. Each one was challenging – as a former triathlete this is just what I need. Joe developed a series of incremental strengthening sessions allowing me to achieve records at each session. This was great for my motivation and helped monitor the pain free path I was one. Joe is first class. He makes the sessions challenging but enjoyable and also educational. I have a busy lifestyle and Joe applies pragmatism to the sessions allowing for me to flex around these commitments. He is the first person to get me back running and cycling pain free – bravo. In short, Joe is the first person in 12 years to make exercise pain free, satisfying and fun. I couldn’t recommend him strongly enough, so much so friends and family are now using his service.
After seeing two other consultants I was referred to Mr Sood. From our first meeting he was able to diagnose my problem and tell me exactly what I needed to do. He was the first consultant to steer me away from an operation, where former consultants were directing me towards. He explained the physiological issues to me in simple terms which I was grateful for and suggested I undertook strengthening sessions over an operation. Mr Sood is top class and I’m grateful for his advice.”