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Cera: Hi everybody. My name is Cera and the Physiotherapy here at Jurmaine Health Body. I have today with me Seen Lee and Dr Shermain Wong. Today we are going to be interviewing Seen Lee. For those who do not know who she is, she is a multi-time Commonwealth Games athlete representing Australia in
weightlifting. From those showing she have come home with Bronze and Silver. She’s also an accomplished Olympic game athlete.
She represented Australia in 2012 and after quite a few changes actually, came in fourth, which is quite a good result actually and its more impressive. She’s still currently holds the Commonwealth Snatch Record at 58 kilos, so she snatched 96 weighing at 58. That record still stands ten years later being set in 2008, which is very impressive. Just last year 2017, she broke the Australian Clinton record 112 kilos weighing at 63 kilos. You can imagine having such a long span in her career and still being able to put up big numbers. Just that have seen. Introduce yourself, how would you introduce yourself if we met now below?
Seen Lee: It depends where we met, really doesn’t it?
Cera: Say if I met you at your gym and I’m a newbie?
Seen Lee: You’re a newbie, I don’t think I have to even introduce myself because there will be all about you and I’d find out what your goals are, what you want to achieve, what you want to get out of turning up at the gym, I’d help you out and maybe four sessions down the line, someone might go, Ok. It weight lifting and I’m been understated like that, but I don’t think I would describe myself very much beyond the hobby weightlifter and that’s a hobby and it’s a good hobby. I like it and I’m full. I’m an engineer and a hobby weightlifter. That’s how I’d probably describe myself.
Cera: So you currently still hold a full time job?
Seen Lee: I sure do hold a full time Job. I work as a mind planet, long-term mind planning. I’ve been bit [inaudible 02:54] so that my work, really good about allowing me to stay in Melbourne to train. Let me do, I see long-term planning, so as a long-term staff I can do in Melbourne and they let me stay in Melbourne and go away and compete and all that sort of stuff and they’re very good about it.
Cera: How do you find time to train?
Seen Lee: Before and after work.
Cera: Before and after work?
Seen Lee: Yes.
Cera: That’s a lot of hours. That makes for a really long day. How—
Seen Lee: Really
Seen Lee: It’s a day.
Cera: it’s a day.
Seen Lee: It’s a day, It’s not really long. It’s only what you become accustomed to it and you can adjust to most things. We humans are hugely adaptable, so
it’s not really a massive deal. It’s going to be a little bit organized, that’s all.
Cera: Little bit organized. How long have you been weight lifting Seen?
Seen Lee: Around 20 years.
Cera: Around 20 years. Wow, and how old are you?
Seen Lee: 35
Cera: On top of all the accolades we’ve mentioned earlier, Seen currently host all the master records.
Seen Lee: Only in one white category [inaudible 03:57] .
Cera: What yes, currently still at 63. I’m in the 35 to 40 age group.
Seen Lee: Only one white category, only one age category. Few years ago I used to hold the national records from 53s all the way up to the 63000.
Cera: That’s in 2000 and?
Seen Lee:It was up until 2013 I had the 53 records. Most of the 53 records and all the 53, 63 records in Australia and Oceania.
Cera: Let’s jump around a bit. Well, since [inaudible 04:033 ] JH, how did you first come about JH Jermaine House?
Seen Lee: That’s an interesting sort of story actually. So one of the guys that comes into Hawthorne and I was talking to them on the train not together, I just
bumped into him on the train and I’m having a conversation. He asked “how I was training” and I said, “I’m doing very badly, I mean a lot of pain, everything’s going quite poorly, I think I’m going to retire very soon.”And he’s like, “I say, fixed way [inaudible 05:05 ].” Then a month’s time I’ll feel terrible. And he goes, “look, if you’re at that stage in your career and you’re in that much pain, everything’s terrible. Give this person a call and speak to Shermain. She’s a bit outside the box and what have you got to lose that you’ll absolutely have nothing to lose.” Eventually, I did ask him after I’d seen a couple of times, I asked him “how he found her” and he had actually deliberately looked up art practitioners in Melbourne and that was how he came across Shermain.
So mine was a recommendation and he went out of his way to search for her and I got off the train got into work and I’ve looked the phone number up and called in and I was actually able to get an appointment. It was about two days later, which was really good. I was really pleased with that because normally I get put off two to three weeks. Everyone’s super busy and they don’t have time. It’s a little bit frustrating, but that was great. So I came in see Shermain two days afterwards and I’m really, it was all. So I’m really happy with that. And that’s the story of how I came down to meet Shermain and Jurmaine Health.
Cera: No, it was two years ago.
Seen Lee: That was at the end of 2016,
Cera: End of 2016 and a year later you broke the Clean and Jerk record going from almost retiring to coming back with a big bang
Seen Lee: Coming back, well, breaking the Clean and Jerk record in the 63 stories and qualifying for the Commonwealth Games that was huge. The whites fantastic but the level that I’m paying for you right now and that is absolutely amazing. Considering how long I’ve been lifting and the amount of training
I do and the amount of pain I was in prior to seeing Shermain, it’s made a huge difference.
Cera: It’s good to hear that you know, you are improving in all different aspects of your life, not just the number, the weight on the bar. Obviously coming back from a good result. Last year, I see that you’re clearly still working with us here at Jurmaine Health. What made you stay on?
Seen Lee: There’s two questions in there.
Cera: Really are they?
Seen Lee: I would have thought one of the questions, why are you still lifting and the other one is why do you still turn up? So I would probably still turn up even if I wasn’t going to keep lifting because I need to seriously consider transition from athlete to non-athlete. That’s not such a straightforward transition when you’ve been training at least five times a day for Twenty years. So that’s not straightforward. I would need help with that and I’ll request help from that or from Shermain. But your first question, why am I still lifting? I’m still good at it and it’s a little bit of unfinished business. I mean I hit those numbers equal phone numbers in 2017, which is great and that’s after ten years.
The last time I did those sorts of numbers were 2008, 2009 and all sort of had nine year plateau, which is very frustrating. I still think that I can squeeze out a tiny bit more. Well, I’d like to see if I can try and squeeze out a tiny bit more and I think Shermaine, I know Shermain will be able to help me do that and I don’t believe that I’ll be able to do that without her.
Cera: What stage would it be? Where do you see the end?
Seen Lee: It’s a hard question.
Cera: Will there ever be because [inaudible 08:54 ] we do have the master’s games.
Seen Lee: Where’s the end? The end is when I no longer enjoy it when I’m not having fun anymore.
Cera: You’ve been doing this for so long. How do you remain so focused? I guess fun?
Seen Lee: Fun, I definitely enjoy it and I’ve said that before and I’ll say it again. I enjoy it, I enjoy the people, I enjoy the interactions and there’s a feeling when you’re strong that just can’t be beat when you’re strong and you’re able to do things and you’ve got this level of physicality that is, I don’t know, it’s unexpected wins. I’ll be doing it so long, but you do miss it when you drop off and you do really appreciate it and enjoy it when you have it. And at my age I feel that I appreciate it more because younger people don’t appreciate the physicality that had taken for granted, they assume that’ll be there forever. I know it’s not going to be there forever. I’m going enjoy it while I can.
Cera: So having work with Shermain? I’ve only met you the other shoe and a flash you briefly and having sit in some of your sessions I’ve noticed that Sherman has got you like stripping back down essentially post squat again without a barbell and then how do you deal with it mentally? You know, because you haven’t been doing this for so long, doing it a certain way for so long.
Seen Lee: Well, I did mention that there was like a nine-year plateau in there. I think it wasn’t a plateau, it was downhill. So the slow and steady decline,
which is, nine years is a long time to be getting worse at something, a really long time. What’s the saying if you keep repeating something over and over again and expecting a different result. That’s the definition of insanity or something like that. Well, there’s a level of that insanity in there. But also, at 2016 I’ll study for, I’ve done a lot of things and I’m in a lot of pain.
So this is where I’m at 2016, done a lot of things in a lot of pain careers, looking pretty then the water and I’ve seen all these healthcare practitioners, always professionals and with this, these issues. They’re saying, “look, there’s nothing physically wrong with you.” I’m saying that’s be bad as it may, I’m in extreme amount of pain. You’re either telling me that this is all phantom pain and there’s nothing wrong with me or that you guys can’t diagnose it and you’re not going to turn around and say that you can’t diagnose it, I come and see Shermain and she gives me a level of relief within the first session, which is above and beyond what I would expect that what I have expected being traced from other practitioners.
Then she goes, “well, I think there’s something wrong with the way you’re moving.” Who might argue that? How can I argue that when I’ve had nine years of steady decline, two to three years of practitioners not being able to diagnose me up and down pain levels where I could wake up two to three times a night because of the pain running down my legs and I’ll have to do is change my squat a little bit. Why should I complain?
Cera: It’s actually really refreshing to hear someone being so open and willing to collaborate fully into process too, I guess towards the same outcome, same goal.
Seen Lee: For sure, but the thing is I guess this, you have to have a level of trustin your healthcare practitioners Iike most relationships you have to trust who you’re working with. If I can’t fully trust whoever I’m working with, why should I keep working with them? And if I don’t trust them, why am I working with them, if I do trust them, then bloody listened to what they’re saying. It’s that simple.
Cera: So having all that knowledge, experience, training, history behind you, any words of wisdom, or sage advice you would want to pass onto the next
generation up becoming this today and what you see in the – What do you think they might need to focus on instead?
Seen Lee: First one, it was a new athlete. What advice would I give new athletes? Enjoy what you’re doing.
Cera: What do you see in new athletes these days?
Seen Lee: What do I see in new athletes these days? I see a huge amount of impatience and the desire to achieve everything. Yesterday, they want to be the top of everything. They want to be the king of the world, but they don’t want to put in the effort to climb up that mountain so have patients, be diligent, enjoy what you’re doing
Cera: If you don’t do, just recommend. They call it quits off, stick it out.
Seen Lee: Look I could say stick it out, but if that’s the attitude they going to take what makes you think that you’re going to stick it out.
Cera: Anything to add Dr Shermain Wong. What would you like to hear from Seen?
Seen Lee: We can talk about how I met [inaudible 14:08 ].
Cera: That would make for very interesting question. Charmaine’s perspective up here first. Let’s start with you. What apart from in that first session she
got you out of a lot of pain. How was your first impression of Dr Shermain Wong from your first interaction with her?
Seen Lee: That was like a little bit for one, it goes like hey…
Cera: What were you follow on?
Seen Lee: What was I – it’s just that Shermain is a little bit outside the box and she’s a little bit abrupt and a little bit blunt and I’ll let you know. That’s fine. I really, that’s no problem.
Cera: Why do you think I’ve seen when she first walked through those doors, because I know that when you actually already started assessing patient.
Seen Lee: It was almost like she was dragging her body, which was not far from the truth. The thing was that I didn’t know the level of pain that she was in
because you have heard how she has responded to you. She understands a lot of things. Instead of asking them questions, it was just easier to run a test through for her of that would have given me a lot more information than trying to do, to get it out of her and especially in the session that’s what we did. I don’t know her history and she’s a weight lifter and then I was like, please squat. She’s quite a…
Cera: I remember her saying something like, I’m usually better than this.
Seen Lee: I think I said I used to be a lot better than this something of that effect, it was quite funny though, I was like Ok.
Cera: I think the disbelief is on my face.
Seen Lee: Keeping all right.
Cera: what was [inaudible 15:56] again?
I remember because I was done. I filled in the form, I filled in the paperwork and it’s quite clear what injuries you had why you coming to CS, what surgeries have you had? So I filled all that sort of stuff and Shermain start talking to me [inaudible 16:08 ]. I do a bit of weight lifting and I’m in a lot of pain I think I said that, normally I said that because I was in a lot of pain. I’m in a lot of pain and I can’t really squat. I just can’t keep position so Shermain goes “alright,” the look on our faces like Ok.
Cera: cant squat?
Seen Lee: She says “squat up and down.” I tried to squat up and down at this stage in time with I think she said “take your shoes off first.” I couldn’t actually
at this stage in time squat up and down with no shoes on. She said “squat up now” and I’ll sort of only do that, but it was pretty terrible. Then she gives me a stick and goes, all right, do an overhead squat. I’m like in bare feet.
Cera: It was shock horror on her face or [inaudible 16:55 ].
Seen Lee: I don’t like in my mind might, I’m pretty sure I can’t do this. I know what I can and can’t do and this is one of the things I can’t do. So I started up a bar in my head. I get about a third of the way down and that’s as far as I can go and I’ll look up at Shermain and the look on her face is like why did I do weight lifting, then I’ve been there. I’m like, no, I’m much better than this. I used to be much better than this. I can, I’ll try harder. I grit my teeth –
Cera: I [inaudible 16:57] it with the broomstick
Seen Lee: Broomstick gritting my teeth and I’m trying to make it down to like stop and you just stop. You need to just put down do something else, that was a
little bit embarrassing, that wasn’t great.
Shermain: I think I have the tendency to do that to people to full on you under full warning that I’m a bit blunt and just abrupt a lot of times is because the
–I come from Singapore and we are all bloody and abrupt to a very large extent with Australians, I think that they like –
Shermain: They sugarcoat a lot.
Seen Lee: I love the fall.
Shermain: There’s a lot of sugar coating, there’s a lot of circumventing what the issue is, but the thing is that if we are dealing with people in my mind and my value system, and so we are already dealing with people’s pain. If they are whole, if I treat them all like my 70 members, people that I care about then, I don’t want to see them in pain. Why would I prolong that, why would I spend so much time and effort to prolong that? I want to get straight to the point, get them out of pain, give them the tools to progress really fast and massively, you know, the outcomes should be massive. That’s what’s happening in my mind.
As competitor I will look at you and go like yes sure like a little bit of mollycoddling, which is frustrating for me and I don’t get results and don’t get the outcome I want. The person doesn’t get the outcome they want that’s rubbish in my mind. When I saw the squat I was like, my God, this person is squatting with how much weight and I was like [inaudible 19:38] are you sure she’s a weight lifter. No, it’s my second floor and I didn’t know that she had a level of experience,
elatedness, accolades accomplishments, I just remember you cannot squat.
Seen Lee: But can you imagine if I walked in and I can’t squat up and down bare feet. I can’t squat up and down with a broomstick overhead and I won’t say that I went to the Olympic games,
Shermain: Yes, that right, sure which one?
Seen Lee: Which one I didn’t present at the time. I was so injured and not look as we pointed out, I am quite understandable, but he can’t walk around just
announcing that sort of stuff., that’s ridiculous.
Shermain: That’s true too, eventually what I thought, I was like I have. We have a good friend her name is Sydney? She knows a lot of weight lifters that she
has been following. She’s very invested in the spot itself, I thought that Sydney was a fan of gold weight lifting too.
Seen Lee: I’m a fan of weightlifting.
Shermain: I thought you were a fan of going like just traveling around, just taking out in random competitions.
Seen Lee: Because that’s not untrue, I do randomly that’s just ok.
Shermain: That’s true at one point she mentioned in Glasgow, I was like, wow. She went to Glasgow, do a dual column. She is really key, she wasn’t at all [inaudible 21:27] for it, nope that was my thought for a second, I was like, this girl is really [inaudible 21:40] thing.
Seen Lee: And then it was certainly by the second or third session that I knew that after the first or second session she left for a competition that I didn’t
know about. That was when my own flight went out.
Cera: Do you mind me asking what come [inaudible 22:03?]
Seen Lee: I’m trying to remember what content.
Shermain: It was a local content. You had to add a driver or do flyer. At the time I was, I don’t know which one was it and at that time I was quite worried
because, I knew what she was capable of. I knew what she wasn’t capable of and that flight much would have gotten her the oddest sitting into a very difficult situation. But my own personal, we know in healthcare we have flags, red flags, yellow flags. My, red flags in my mind when sliding up really were–
Cera: You’re really concerned that she was going to break herself
Shermain: No she was not going to break herself but what it is that I was more concerned about, is that she is likely for her to miss telling me information. It’s not that she’s keeping deliberately keeping information.
Seen Lee: Its levels of importance change from [inaudible 23:30] so what Shermain considers important. I consider important that’s to very different things until we have a communication channel that we’re speaking, we’re on the same page, so to say, so to speak. I mean we’d only seen each other three times that’s like is that hour long sessions. We’re not, we’re not talking the same language yet.
Cera: She’s still trying to, she’s still learning about you.
Seen Lee: Well that’s right then it was then our working relationship started, it was not off the bat, it was a lot of testing to what is, how it was going to work, how we would approach X situation. There were a lot of going back to the drawing board quite frequently, in fact, almost every after that she had from when we first started. That was critical.
Cera: And so we spoke about the past, the present, but holds what lies in store for you in the future in terms of lifting now that you’ve sort of, we spoke about not trying to catch waves, but you’re sort of like in second or third wave and your weight lifting career, what would you don’t?
Seen Lee: I don’t know if I’m quite there, any waves lifted. There might be a bit of a current that I can paddle along with just a more of a cruise along and enjoy the ride so to be, what’s next for me?
Cera: What can we expect to see, I want to expect because no one should expect anything out of [inaudible 25:05].
Seen Lee: They can expect me to be a little bit persistent how about that? in terms of expectations? I don’t know. I just want to keep doing it for now and keep enjoying myself. It was a bit of a disappointing at the head of the Gold Coast that’s on me and I really want to rectify that. Whether they can or not will have the opportunity or not but I physically can, I don’t know, but Jesus, that’s big words. Can say at Thirty-six years old and three and a half years in the future that’s too long to think about so I am just going to take it one day at a time then, one competence on and just make sure that I still enjoy myself and that I’m not getting injured. If I injured myself, I have a big injury. That’s when I’m done. I’ll just keep doing–
Shermain: You probably never say never though,
Cera: Any calls for the rest of the year or just.
Seen Lee: I’ve been battling in injury since the Gold Coast, which is a bit frustrating. I should be theoretically competing at the Pacific CCO in December.
Cera: Is that a local one?
Seen Lee: No that’s in New Caledonia depends what you consider local. Local where we’re the world’s very small. Everything’s quite–
Seen Lee: Is it in Australia? Because there are so many places you can hit external to Australia that you can reach, you know, shorter time distance. Then
getting into some places where in Australia if I’m not being difficult, New Caledonia is like a two-hour flight out of Brisbane.
Cera: That’s in December of this year?
Seen Lee: Yes December.
Cera: That’ll be like a nice Christmas present [inaudible 26:47] . Anything else to add?
Seen Lee: I think Shermain was about to lie basher around the head for like threatening me with my results.
Shermain: I wasn’t threatening you. I’m on your side.
Seen Lee: Well I’m asking a lot of times it’s in this moment. [inaudible 27:06] levels or performance ten, I think that tend to give them quite a bit of pressure. A lot of times when, for example, when it’s in Sydney or Emily got me lifts, I don’t particularly watch them, I don’t think I’ve watch any of the athletes that we help out with lift or to do with sport or anything like that. I tend to watch the aftermath of it after matter or before entravision game on the game itself.
The game or the competition is not usually on the date because since I’m watching it, sometimes I’m too invested in it and all of the [inaudible 27:51] without checking and you know that we cannot help but be emotionally invested because we are putting in the same level of effort as they are. Just behind a scene to prepare them and for them. If they are not egoistical again, not big on their ego, then they would be thinking about if I’m not going to do well, will I be this
specific down, a whole budget or entire work down. But if you have a very more towards self-kind of ego, then it’s like I’m the bomb, I am the king and Queen of the world and I’m the emperor and all unions bonded out and that sort of empty you.
Then it’s like, it’s alright for them to come and see me lift weight. I see when that happens that can swing both ways. I find that athletes who havekind of a level of confidence or aptitude or attitude tend to have very inconsistent performance, so that they are very good at what they do, but either the mental maturity, emotional maturity is not aligned with your physical pirates ad as a result of that, it’s kind of something drops along the way when there’s a lot of pressure on them. It’s an overwhelm as a flooding of emotions and that’s also part of the reason I don’t mind. I don’t like watching. I don’t want you to watch how they perform I remember when Sydney was doing the selections it was I think
Seen Lee: The trials
Cera: I remember you were cleaning your house.
Shermain: He texted me. He said, are you watching though? I do. I think she will be fine. I was vacuuming something and it was only after that I watched it. I
was like Ok back to the drawing board. We’ve got other things to do. At the end of the year before now it’s a lot of, it is just enjoying the moment. A lot of that is very important because especially when you have been in the industry for such a long time, sometimes it’s so difficult to just have fun, just being in it as competitive with thinking about it and having to do meet expectations. Those things are external to the person but do being it to enjoying it.
That’s what it is on a competition date of anyway. It’s the same kind of feeling, but if that feeling is not replicated across and across the competition there or to game day that we started having all sorts of unnecessary tension within the department or the system. I don’t want to project my unnecessary tension to my athlete. I don’t want them to feel it as well, so that’s why I’m just generally, why I kind of tried to put it. I kind of know, well what they’re capable of and I hope to see that they can express what they are capable of and I desire to see that because I reached out for them at the same time. If they don’t, there is no skin off my nose. If they enjoyed their presence during the competition itself, but if they don’t and they beat themselves up and all those kinds of things, then the feelings change because it means that where can we go from here? What does the athlete one to do?
So that’s a different ballgame altogether because it’s also for us as clinicians, it’s also very important for us to respect the space. It’s not about going in, [inaudible 32:23] have different prep times and different ways on prepping and you would have heard that in previous podcasts, but for weightlifting you can’t be. You can’t interfere too much leading up to because they are already in a mindset of not so much mindset, emotional preparation they are already preparing for it to happen and that is critical equally that we don’t just go in and go out, I can remember though rub him down? to be fair no one’s ever been, [inaudible 32:55]
Shermain: But you seen it
Seen Lee: [inaudible 33:01] slide in and just get a run again and run again.
Shermain: Literally different ballgame.
Seen Lee: A literally different ball game. You don’t see soccer clubs doing that?
Shermain: Not as much.
Seen Lee: You don’t see volleyball doing that. You don’t see my basketball doing that. You don’t see handball doing that. You don’t see sepak takraw doing that. Look it up people, that’s a really good sport.
Shermain: Amazing sport.
Seen Lee: You don’t see a hurling I think is the, if I’m not wrong, or something similar. It’s the, it’s across a mixture between We’re lacrosse and collision Sport. It’s an Irish for, I can’t remember what it’s called.
Cera: It sounds brutal.
Seen Lee: She’s fun to watch as a spectator. It’s fantastic [inaudible 34:12] but I mean the place. The practice is quite different in an instance if the practice is different, we need to respect that. [Inaudible 34:12] the predictability of a game is not. It cannot be predicted about three months out, four months out
or five months out so it happens just before.
Cera: Within a day?
Shermain: Well No, within a week. Sometimes what I do for MMA and said I washed away and I wouldn’t want to fight. I’ll wash away and then and stuff and I’m making bets.
Cera: Well I know who to ring up next time.
Shermain: It sounds like, this is what. Ok, go.
Seen Lee: That’s my hobby
Cera: When we actually do watch people lift live, we like to play a game where Shermain just go. No, she’s not going to make it.
Seen Lee: That’s a pretty normal [inaudible 35:24]
Cera: First and foremost, I would like to acknowledge all that you’ve done and accomplished. I’m seeing you had an amazing career
Seen Lee: Thank you
Cera: That’s still going to wish you nothing but the best in the future.
Seen Lee: Thank you. I think I can do little bit better with Shermain [inaudible 35:46], Maybe Well all we can do is try.
Shermain: We’ll keep trying.
Cera: Thank you so much for listening. This is Jermain health body podcast. We just had a conversation with weight lifting athlete. Seen Lee myself, I am Cera and Shermain Wong all Jermaine Health Body. Please give us a like or give us a review or whatever platform you are listening to us from. This is it from us today.
Shermain: Thank You
Cera: Thank you for listening.
Cera: Bye everyone
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