We discuss in this interview:

  • Rianna’s diagnosis with Juvenile Idiopathic Arthritis at age 19 – but symptoms started much earlier
  • Strengthening exercises
  • Unsuccessful tries with different drugs
  • Hot Yoga
  • How Rianna started the Paddison Program and the immediate benefits she got
  • The incidence of food and exercise for different persons
  • The Insanity Program
  • The importance of consistency

Clint – Here we go again with another interview with someone who has dramatically improved their lives with rheumatoid arthritis, in this case, Juvenile Idiopathic Arthritis. Rianna joins me from Los Angeles, California. She’s going to tell us today how her dreams of becoming an elite gymnast were very, very under threat because of the joint inflammation that she was experiencing at a very young age. And the point that she has now got to her future plans, it’s going to be very, very inspiring and uplifting because her story is going to be great. So, Rianna, thanks for joining me.

Rianna – Thank you so much for having me, I’m so glad to be here. I have suffered from rheumatoid arthritis officially for four years and I have completely turned my life upside down to start training gymnastics again. In the past year and a half, I’ve been able to do all the things that I used to be able to do with limited pain and much better mobility.

Clint – You’re a very interesting person. We’ve chatted at length prior to hitting record here, and I want to capture some of those interesting points throughout our conversation so that they don’t just exist between you and me. But you’ve moved from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, with dreams of all that Los Angeles can bring that we see in the movies and so on. In fact, it’s kind of like the Miley Cyrus song where she says Party in the U.S.A. If you listen to the lyrics of that song in the verses, she talks about the plane landing, she sees the Hollywood sign, she gets the vibe, but then she gets so excited when she goes to a club and realizes that they’re playing her song and everything’s going to be okay. How have you landed here in L.A. in the last couple of months? Do you feel like you’re ready to take on the new challenge? And we will talk about your arthritis, of course, for the bulk of this conversation.

Rianna – Yeah, of course. So when I got here, I had no idea what I was going to do. I just saw a bunch of people doing flips and stuff and I was like, I want to learn how to do all of it. And being that I used to be a gymnast, I came out here with hopes and dreams of possibly making it to Cirque du Soleil one day, that’s always been a goal of mine since I was like 10. That’s kind of like on the back burner for now until I learn all the skills and stuff. But there’s been so many people here who have just been amazing and helpful and beneficial to getting me involved in the community and being very understanding of like my limitations with my joints and such. So coming out here has just been such an experience thus far. It’s only been three months and I’ve already seen so much stuff, but I’m like, I just can’t wait to see what this summer brings as far as training and everything. So I’m really excited about that.

Clint – You’re 23 years old and you’ve had juvenile idiopathic arthritis for much earlier than just the diagnosis at age 19. Can you tell us what sorts of ambitions you had as a youngster in terms of your gymnastics future? The pressure potentially or none coming from your parents, the pressure you felt to perform, and how your joints started to impact those dreams?

Rianna – I started gymnastics when I was seven and I always had the hopes and dreams of going to the Olympics one day. And I realized that that’s a very, very small percentage of people that actually make it there. But I always had it in the back of my mind, and I wanted to do NCAA, which is college collegiate gymnastics, which I trained from the age of seven until 17 to do. Unfortunately, my symptoms, I just thought it was like the normal gymnast pain aches and pains swelling here and there. But as I got older, it got a little bit worse, and I started having symptoms like tennis elbow and golfer’s elbow I’m like, I didn’t really injure myself, why is this hurting? I couldn’t really straighten my arms and trying to do bars and stuff when your elbow doesn’t straighten pass here, it’s kind of not doable. So, I had stress fractures in my tibia and fibula at age 17 and that ultimately ended my career. I thought I would never be able to pick the sport up again. I thought that my career as an athlete, I didn’t even think I could lift w8s again. Whenever I got to the point, I was around age 19 when I was diagnosed, that was like that was definitely eye-opening. I was flaring in different joint every two weeks, I was unable to walk. It just got so progressive as time went on that I finally just had to figure out what is going on with my body? This is not normal.

Clint – Wow. Okay, well, we’ll go into those years in just a moment. If people are listening to this and they are not driving, I want you to just give us your Instagram handle right now, because people can listen and look at Instagram at the same time. I want people to see what you can now do. What is your Instagram?

Rianna – It is RiannaSkiles.

Clint – So go to Instagram if you’re not driving or you’re not running, RiannaSkiles, just check out what Rianna can do it is phenomenal. You’re doing backflips, handstands, upside-down splits, and jumping off walls into foam pits. I mean, things that are really extraordinary for anyone at any age, let alone someone who’s had years and years of inflammatory arthritis. So we’ll get to how you got back to that ability shortly. But let’s talk about you said you could barely walk. Was it in your knees, or ankles? Where was it?

Rianna – It was on my feet, my ankles, I don’t know why I didn’t get it on my knees or my hips, those were like the only places I didn’t. It was in my spine, my elbows, my shoulders, my wrists, my hands. I still have a few nodes that get a little bit swollen every once in a while if I do something that like extreme, but like if I like stub my finger or doing something like. But other than that. I pretty much am trying to get my mobility back to a point where. Because I think that that was part of the reason why I started flaring so much was a combination of stress, and poor nutrition. I think I was just overworked and it started it would switch every two weeks, it would go from my wrist, to my elbow, to my ankle. And it was like I had a brace for every part of my body, I still do because I’m like, I just I can’t get rid of them yet. I’m like, these are a part of my journey. So luckily I have been able to stay away from the braces, but I would get flare-ups all throughout here like my I guess this what is this joint here.

Clint – The base of the thumb knuckle? Well, that’s a landing point, isn’t it? If you’re doing backflips, cartwheels, boom, cartwheel onto that same spot every time. So there’s going to be a contribution there from the impact.

Rianna – For sure. I definitely do a lot of strengthening exercises, just like more than most people would have to do to keep myself and my joints safe, especially my knees, wrists, and ankles. Those are like my weak points, I think. I mean, my knees never flared, but I don’t know if I have Ehlers-Danlos or not, but I have like hypermobility in my knees. So I have to be very mindful that I’m not hyperextending them when I do stuff because that can cause a flare up, but that would never just flare by itself if that makes sense.

Clint – Okay. Let’s talk about the drugs, I want to cover the drugs that you tried. What happened when you took them? Which ones worked? Which ones didn’t? You did try several currently not on any medication. Then I want you to go into, let’s just talk about nutrition, we’ll talk about exercises, obviously, that’s your real strong point. And we’ll talk about what really works best for you so people can get some knowledge out of your brain and into theirs as to ways to manipulate their lifestyle. First of all, just run through which drugs you used and what your experience was like.

Rianna – Okay. Yeah. I must have been 14 I think was whenever I was first put on a medication for my RA and it was naproxen, I believe an anti-inflammatory, and it did nothing, I was so having inflammation all the time. And then I switched from that, later on in life I got on several like prednisone. They were just like, Oh, this is just something we’re going to prescribe you. I wasn’t technically diagnosed, they were just doing it for severe inflammation. And then whenever I did get my diagnosis, they put me immediately on methotrexate, which I was doing the oral medication for that one, and I would get horribly sick. I mean, just my personal experience with it, and it’s different for everybody. But I got horribly sick and it made me so tired for like five days, and then by the time I started to feel like I could do anything, it was time to take the medication again. I was going to school at the time and it was just a lot for me to try and manage. So I was like, this is not working I called my rheumatologist and I was like, can we set something else up? And she said to take Humira in addition to the methotrexate. So I started that and I was like, my body just was not doing well with the methotrexate, so I was like, I don’t think I could take this. I got off the methotrexate and stayed on the Humira for a year. The Humira was successful in managing my flares to a certain degree. Without changing the nutrition I still had morning stiffness, I still had every morning I’d wake up and my fingers would be like stuck closed. It wasn’t until I did both and then eventually cut out the Humira that I was able to see the true change in my body. So I’ve been off of Humira for about a year now and pretty successful with no flares. The only time I had flares was whenever I had a pizza at the same time that I had COVID. So that was just my immune system was not happy with that decision, and that was in December, I’ve been back to doing well again. So it’s been a roller coaster for sure.

Clint – It’s funny you mentioned pizza. The day that I proposed to Melissa, we went out that night in the very limited restaurant strip of Katoomba, which is a little town in the Blue Mountains here near Sydney. The options were very limited, and we had a pizza. The day after the joyous, most amazing, wonderful experience of becoming engaged, I could barely walk after having a pizza that night to celebrate. I tried not to let that dampen our spirits the next morning as we were calling friends around the world to tell them. But yeah, boy, did that pizza destroy me, and I’ll never go to that pizza shop again. Not the pizzas, well, nothing about that unique pizza shop is just obviously the ingredients of pizza is just the opposite of what we need for our body. So you’re off the Humira, you’ve recovered from the pizza incident. What does it feel like to be you now when you wake up in the morning and then you go through your day, what hurts? To what extent is it going in the right direction?

Rianna – So the only thing that I noticed is for me, I carry a lot of tension in my shoulder so I have issues with my scapula. And this is why I do mobility work every morning because I know that that just gets my shoulders properly aligned. And I also have calcified tendinitis in my shoulders that I’m trying to break up the calcification by doing mobility and like banded work. But I guess like the only thing that is stiff in the morning is my back and shoulders a little bit, I do foam rolling and mobility work and that takes care of it. A lot of days I also do hot yoga because I feel like that also gives me moving in the morning as well.

Clint – Did you say cardio?

Rianna – Hot yoga.

Clint – Oh, hot yoga. There we go. Yeah, fantastic.

Rianna – Cardio also does it if it’s warm, but if it’s cold out I don’t like to run in the cold.

Clint – Yeah. Oh yeah. For sure.

Rianna – I don’t know if that’s like if that’s the same for everybody with RA, if they hate the cold. But I do not like the cold, it hurts my body.

Clint – I did a podcast about this a couple of months ago, and in terms of being a risk factor for developing rheumatoid arthritis, cold exposure both outside and inside for long periods is a risk factor for developing rheumatoid arthritis. However, it was not as dose-dependent outside, so it seems that the activity levels that are likely to take you to go outside in the cold so you wouldn’t go outside in the cold just to be there, you would go out to be doing something tends to offset the statistics as much if you as outside. So there’s something about the cold and outside that doesn’t lead well to future health, but just common sense comes into play as well that warmth just brings more blood flow. It brings more mobility to the joints, I guess it increases the flexibility of the muscles. It’s normally associated with sunshine, which has tremendous health benefits, not just vitamin D, but as I’ll be talking about in upcoming podcasts, near-infrared radiation stimulates mitochondrial production of melatonin, which is one of the body’s most powerful antioxidants. And so if we can get safe sunshine, then we are going to literally reduce oxidative stress just by being outside. So yeah, anyway, I took a little bit of a science route there to say, yes, none of us really love being out in the cold. So you just waking up, you’ve got a little bit of problems in your shoulders, which, by the way, you know that I’m the biggest fan of hanging from an overhead bar for salt shoulder issues. Right?

Rianna – Right.

Clint – Oh, my gosh. If you haven’t done this yet, I almost give you my word that if you do this for a couple of weeks, just for, like, one little attempt each day, you’re in Venice Beach. There are going to be workout bars everywhere, there are outside gyms and all of that.

Rianna – Yeah.

Clint – Go over to where the big guys with their shirts off and their abs are all training and there’ll be overhead bars, reach up, palms forward. Not a chin-up style, but a pull-up style, slightly further apart than your shoulders. And just hang, just hang there, okay? Do this once a day and you will really notice the benefits.

Rianna – I like the ropes. You know what I’m talking about where you go?

Clint – Battle ropes?

Rianna – Yeah, the battle ropes, right. Those are really good.

Clint – Now again, that’s good, because what we’re trying to do is we’re trying to strengthen the back and open up, stretch the chest, strengthen the back, stretch the chest. So hanging is the first part of the realignment of the shoulder positions, which is scientifically supported by a shoulder surgeon who did studies on this and published a book called The Shoulder Solution, which you can find on Amazon. And he just goes like it’s a whole book on like Anatomy of the Shoulders and the whole thing just basically is all this anatomy for like 50 pages and then hang from a bar is the answer, right?

Rianna – Did he talk about a Chromeo shape too?

Clint – I’m sure he did, but he lost me on a lot of the signs. But certainly, if you’ve got scapular issues and rotator cuff issues, this is your solution.

Rianna – Posture for sure. I noticed that for me, like I did so much stuff here, like with my shoulders, like I guess this is like forward rotation that I have to like always think about keeping my posture like a dancer.

Clint – Well, if you train those muscles more than you train your chest muscles, you’ll naturally improve your posture because those muscles, as they develop, bring you into a better alignment. So, look, that’s the theory behind it, I just do pull-ups as my main source of upper body exercise. And I swear by it, got rid of tendonitis in my elbow, fixed all my rotator cuff issues. I never wake up through discomfort throughout the night anymore, through my shoulders or back or neck. Start by just hanging, and then when you can take your w8, try and pull up.

Rianna – Yeah.

Clint – Let’s get some guidance from you. You obviously did the Paddison Program. What was your experience on that in terms of pain reduction?

Rianna – It saved my life like I and I genuinely mean that because I was so miserable that I could not. There was not a lot of information on the Internet a couple of years ago. Like there is a lot now, there’s more research. But you were one of the first people that like got up there and talked about, that you’re curing your autoimmune disease with no medication. That’s always what I wanted, it’s like it was my dream. I’m like, I need to figure this out, and when I started the Paddison Program, I was like, this is going to be life-changing. Because I noticed after 24 hours, after doing the juice cleanse with I think it was the celery and the cucumber. I also would add a little bit of kale every once in a while, and that seemed to do the trick. After 24 hours, my body was back at like this baseline of not feeling like I’m ready to get up and move. But like, the inflammation was like settled. Like, my joints would be hot and red every single morning and I would just be like, I didn’t know. I didn’t know that what I was eating was causing this, I had no clue. So and just you putting your story out there it changed my life, and I’m sure so many other people’s lives like it. It’s just amazing.

Clint – Well, isn’t that just amazing to think about that’s what you just said was you didn’t realize that what you were eating was causing it? And some people can get really upset by this who don’t like to change their diet, who really only trust the medical profession because they’ll say that their doctor says that diet doesn’t matter. Well, the diet’s not the entire solution, but diet matters more than just about anything else. So it’s the number one thing.

Rianna – You are what you eat.

Clint – That’s right, exactly. And that’s why that juice cleanse is in the program. It’s not because by doing 2 days of juicing that that’s going to have the greatest impact on our future outcome of doing the program or of feeling better. It’s mainly the realization is what’s my objective? I want people to say, Holy crap, look at this I have power over this inflammation. And this is one of my most famous my favorite, most favorite statements. If you can influence it, you can improve it. So when you notice that you can influence your pain by not eating, you realize you can improve it then because you can influence it. So and that’s like the goosebumps on the legs kind of exciting moment when you’re like, Wow, okay, here we go. I’m on to something.

Rianna – Yeah. Didn’t you say that you had a stomach virus and it was a cherry or something that you had that made you realize it, that it was the food? So that’s it.

Clint – Is a pure accident, it was like it was completely surreptitious or whatever the word is, serendipity or whatever, like a fortunate situation. At the time it was not because I just had vomiting and diarrhea for 24 hours and I just lay there in bed just dreading the fact in my mind, the fact that I was going to not be able to get up and walk because movement was everything for me. But then I got up and went to the toilet and I’m like, I’m walking better than it was 4 hours ago, and I haven’t moved. Then 4 hours later I got up and go to the bathroom, I’m walking even better than I have in the last six months. And then it continued like that as I kept making bathroom trips to go to the toilet and vomit and stuff, all my pain went away. And that’s the realization.

Rianna – I definitely had that same realization. But just I suffered for so long and I was like, why did I put myself through that? I just had no idea. And if I can help one person, like, realize that this is like this is what it is like it’s the food, it is the food it is. That is a huge, huge component. I mean, also there’s the movement aspect of it, too, but that’s just that’s 90% of it, I’d say. Yeah.

Clint – Now from your perspective, it might feel like 90%, but what I find for people who are older, who are double your age and up, is that exercise isn’t something that is taken for granted as it is for you. You’re an elite gymnast where the physical movement has been part of your upbringing and part of your DNA as people like to say. And so I think that you’ve always had that box ticked, you’ve always had that box ticked at a high level. Your oxidative stress would have been much lower than the average person. Your joint mobility, as you say, in some cases even hypermobile. Okay. You’ve got youth on your side, which means your enzymatic activity is much greater than at an older age. All these advantages come with exercise and youth. So for you, the big missing piece of the puzzle was the diet. But for the older demographic, of which myself and those above my age, we must move. It’s not sort of something that we’ve necessarily been elite at like yourself. Give us some tips with regards to how you continue now to do like phenomenal 4 hours a day of training and flipping and all this stuff and maintain your w8 and also maintain your low levels of joint inflammation with all that impact that’s going on.

Rianna – Yeah. So I would say I have to give credit where credit’s due. I did the I don’t know if you’re familiar with the Shaun T’s insanity program.

Clint – I do know the insanity program. My friend, my good buddy Joel did that and he actually made my wife and I do a session with him one time and we were like, this is insanity.

Rianna – It is insanity. That’s what I started with, though. I was like, I started at home. I was afraid to go to the gym. I had a handicap placard. I did, I couldn’t walk across campus I had to park in the handicapped. Like that was how bad my feet were, I just thought it was like plantar fasciitis and bunions and I thought that I had swollen feet and I didn’t move at all for years, actually. So I was 17 when I quit and I just started exercising again in December of 2020. So I was doing everything at home because of COVID. I was like, you know, I’m going to commit to this 8 weeks of this exercise regimen, and I cried every single day that I worked out because I was in that much pain. But I just stuck with it, and then got myself back onto the right kind of nutrition. That was something that I struggled with too, was going back and forth. I was like using food as a way to cope with. I struggle with a lot of depression because of the chronic illness. They go hand in hand for me and then the food is something that I use for coping with that. And so it was definitely a struggle for a little while to stay on that track just because I use that as an outlet. It was something I would eat so muddy, so many sweets and stuff like that. But I was like, I’m still working out, so it’s fine. But once I committed to that like 8 weeks, that was really the start of me getting back on track with like nutrition and movement. Then after I did that 8 weeks, I joined Raw Training, which is a CrossFit gym in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. That was absolutely life-changing for me, too, as just the community as a whole I needed that. Personally because at the end I don’t know if I should say the end of the pandemic, but during the pandemic. Like before, everybody was going places I was afraid to go to gyms and stuff because I was like, I’m immunocompromised, I’m afraid to go to places. And so whenever I started CrossFit, that was like the first real thing that I did to like get myself back into the real world other than just like online school and such.

Rianna – Eventually I realized that CrossFit, for me, just with my stress levels, was not something that I should do every day. So I do it twice a week now and I do hot yoga three times a week. Which if anybody’s listening right now and you have not tried hot yoga, just go do a week like they do like $20 for a week, just go try it. Even if you get a migraine on the first day, go back the next day and drink more water. Just trust me, trust me. I was so resistant to hot yoga for the longest time and after 3 weeks of doing it, my mobility so much better. Also, I do a lot of resistance bands, like you said, with the shoulder stuff. Fixing my scapula winging is a huge thing, I work on that probably like 4 days a week. On average, I probably train between 2 and 6 hours a day depending, sometimes I work out twice a day and I do the gymnastics gym. So I’m kind of like all over the place with my fitness right now. But starting off, it was not just I did not just start off with coming back to all of that. So I don’t want to have anybody be discouraged because it was tough. It was really tough to get back into, but it has been life-changing.

Clint – You’ve posted a video reel on your Instagram that showed you crying on a treadmill, or it might have been like some kind of train or elliptical or something. Let me put that in a context that was when you started to get back into fitness again, trying to get rebuild your body’s ability to handle exercise. What would you say to people who are struggling with that at the moment, who find it hard to be motivated or just as they’re in a lot of pain, they don’t know where to start?

Rianna – I would say that don’t look for motivation, look for discipline and consistency. Even if it’s going to be painful at first for anybody. Even if you don’t have rheumatoid arthritis or any kind of mobility issue, it’s going to be tough for anybody to join a gym. It’s hard to walk in there, it takes a lot it takes a lot of courage and discipline, and all of that stuff. So just motivation, I would say, is the spark that like gets you there, and then discipline and consistency are what keep you going. If you keep going, even if you have, like whenever I was sick with COVID, I was down and out for a month. I was sick for a month and that was after my little pizza incident, too, so that was just the combination I flared for a month in my fingers. I didn’t work out for probably three weeks and my body was just completely stiff. I was like completely discouraged, I was like, this whole year I’ve put so much into working out and I feel like I’m losing my strength. But just even adding, like doing weight lifting has given me the sense of like, okay, all my muscles aren’t going to just go away in 3 weeks, it’s okay. As long as I get myself up and at least walk. Like, I remember you had even said walking to the stop sign at first was like a huge deal, and for anybody out there, just take that first step. Take that first step and just realize that that single step is just one step on the staircase, I guess.

Clint – Yeah, I love it. It’s made tears well up a little bit in my eyes as I remembered that stop sign. That stop sign you mentioned for me is just outside my mother-in-law’s house in Orlando. And I used to at the same time every day because I love routine consistency, trackability, and things where we control as many things as we can so that we isolate the one thing that we’re testing. And I used to get everything the same every day at the same time, and I used to walk. What I would be trying to do is get to that stop sign. I want to tell you, Rianna, that stop sign, it was about 150 yards from the door, it wasn’t a mile away. That’s the challenge that I had to try and walk. And then when I walked past it, it was just so thrilling and wonderful. And then I would take, like, four steps past it, turn around and walk back to the house, and then I would get to the corner. By the time we’d finish the four-week stay with my mother-in-law, I was walking around there like out the back of the house, which would have been then more like a total of a mile. That got my knee back on track and that knee lasted another 11 years. If I had, as you say, hit the get to the stop sign or get to the next tree. As Dr. Klapper put it when I was speaking to him about such things, he said, just try and get to the next tree and then turn around. You’ve climbed out of a very deep hole. I mean, what really shocked me is when you said that you had like a disability parking and disability disabled areas to be able to, you could you couldn’t walk across campus and so on. How do you sort of feel now reflecting on that and what’s next for you? I mean, what’s your current position emotionally and what do you want to do next?

Rianna – I mean, just thinking back to that. It’s because I went to the University of Pittsburgh so it was always cold and I had to walk. That’s in downtown Oakland so you have to walk pretty far if you don’t have a handicap placard. So that was definitely something that I had to get on board with because I was like, I’ve never like I’ve never had to use a handicapped placard and somebody my age, people look at me and they’re like, Oh, you’re not disabled. I look fit, so like they’re like, Oh, you don’t look disabled. I was honestly a little bit afraid to use it at first, and I would just hobble across campus because it was hard for me to accept. But eventually, I started trying to utilize that because it was a statement for me that this is where I was at in my journey. And I had to change something if I wanted something to change, do you know what I mean? So I just remember being so cold and in so much pain. It’s the cold weather and walking across in the snow with a boot on my foot and I’m like, oh, it’s like it’s it was always something. I just felt so frustrated and sad and, like, I was missing out. I finally had gotten into college, and there were things that I wanted to do and go and hang out and do stuff. But, like, I just wasn’t like everybody else. There’s also a group of people out here that not even just with rheumatoid arthritis, but there are other people with chronic illnesses out here that are also doing stuff, and they’re amazing people as well. I know two contortionists that are out here doing stuff with chronic illnesses and they’re absolutely amazing, just the stuff that they can do despite. I kind of want to do what they’re doing, I want to inspire people to live their healthiest lives and to get themselves out of feeling that frustration. I just remember feeling so angry, and if I can help one person to not feel that, that’s what I want to do.

Clint – Yeah. My dad has always said to me, when you feel fear, act. And I think the same thing applies to different negative emotions, not just fear. When you feel anger, act, when you feel frustration, act. And under the category of act, what would act look like to improve our life? Well, act when I would feel anger the act would be letting that out, screaming in my car with my windows up. If I could have punched walls without the agony of it, I would have. But I just couldn’t because that would have just doubled my pain levels. But yeah, it got to get that out of the body.

Rianna – Relatable, it’s so relatable.

Clint – I think now if people are in a state of frustration and fear and lack of hope and have listened this far through our conversation, act would be, go and have a green juice. Act would be go for a walk, act would be late afternoon or early morning, go for a nature walk and get some sun exposure before the UV index kicks up. Act would be, go and do some resistance bands work out right now or can you right now do 10 squats to a chair back up even if you need to use your hands a little bit? What is it right now that is going to be an act for you? Because when you felt that frustration, trying to walk across the campus and you’ve got your boot on, it’s freezing and you’re angry, you’re like, this is not my life. You didn’t sit back and just say, well, what else can I talk about at the rheumatology clinic? Because Humira has caused you infections and things. We didn’t actually catch all that thinking, but. But you had two problems with that. And methotrexate didn’t make you feel too good. I mean, there are options there, but what can you do as well? And you’ve done what would be considered medically impossible, which is reduce your symptoms now, just to a little bit of what I consider not even autoimmune problems in your shoulders. I mean, it’s phenomenal, you got to feel so proud of yourself. These things are the things we really want to feel proud of in life, not making lots of money or stuff. But you’ve taken the laws of nature and you’ve actually employed them into your own body in a way that’s beautiful.

Rianna – Thank you. That means so much. It’s. I don’t even realize how far I’ve come sometimes. So I’m just so focused on, like, beating my past self, I guess, in a sense, like just being better than being like 1% better every single day is I guess that’s my mindset now. Because if I can do that, then I’m constantly working towards something greater. Even if there’s a day that I feel like I can just go and bike at the gym. Like if and I don’t feel like moving weights, at least I’m doing something and that’s just one small fraction of my journey. And it’s learning to be like it’s okay to take rest days. That’s also difficult for me is to take a rest and recover because I can’t sit still. So I have to do a lot of stuff with mental stimulation as well because it just I find that like that’s really helpful, even just doing like little number puzzles whenever I’m like fidgeting, it’s really helpful.

Clint – So my view on rest days is that if someone has a joint that’s really inflamed and hot and swollen, that inflammation doesn’t have a rest. I would recommend that the joint needs to be moved every single day. And taking a day off is not my recommendation. I went to Bikram yoga nearly every single day for a year because if I didn’t, I wouldn’t have been able to walk. So really inflamed joint means a real lot of attention now. It’s just working out what that attention looks like so that we’re not stirring it up, that’s obviously a whole nother conversation, different topic, and so on. But yes, if we’re just talking about muscle recovery, normal people in inverted commas recovering from workouts are rest stays a good idea from time to time.

Rianna – For sure. I mean, even if it’s just like an active recovery type of thing, just getting out. I have a 110lbs dog, so I don’t really ever get to rest. He something that I was able to do after getting my inflammation under control. I wanted a dog for so long and he gets me out every day because I walk him. So that’s like it’s been a huge help, huge, huge help. And that’s something I could not do before getting my RA under control. I couldn’t walk him. I wouldn’t have been able to have a dog.

Clint – No. Yeah. Absolutely.

Rianna – Even stuff like that active recovery, just doing like foam rolling to loosen up the fashion, your body is so important, so helpful. Even just going and getting massages to that’s also like a good active recovery type thing I think. If anybody that needs to go and get a message that has already should go and do it. If you’re thinking about doing it, just go and do it. It’s worth it. Yeah.

Clint – The government should give out free passes to anyone with rheumatoid arthritis to get free massages, a free gym pass, a free Paddison Program, well they get these episodes for free. So Okay. Well, Rianna, thank you so much for sharing all of this information. I want everyone who’s interested in seeing what Rianna can do and also to maybe reach out to Rianna for some advice, and some information. She’s open to the idea of having a future career in helping people with inflammatory arthritis, particularly those who are really physically active and have impacted their professional careers with sports because of arthritis. She has such expertise in managing elite physical activity with autoimmunity. So go head over to RiannaSkiles on Instagram. Is there anything else that you’d like to share before we go?

Rianna – I don’t think so. I just anybody that wants to reach out, like sending me a message on social media, I’ll get back to you with an answer, any questions. And I’m so grateful to have been able to be here. And thank you so much for having me.

Clint Paddison

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