Meet our Team

Meet the Team – Chris Chen

Hi everyone, my name is Chris Chen and I am a Senior Accredited Exercise Physiologist at Absolute Balance.

Exercise has always been something I am passionate about since I was in high-school. I spent a lot of time reading up and watching videos about how to get stronger, how to get leaner, what food burns fat and anything else you can think of that relates to something to do with health and fitness.

Additionally, soccer is a sport that runs rich through my family as my Dad has been playing since his own primary school days and my brother and myself grew to love it as well.

However, during a high-school match I suffered a devastating injury to my left knee and completely ruptured my ACL. I wasn’t sure what was going on at the time and I continued to exercise at the gym as I believed that if I kept my muscles strong, I’d be able to recover. Unfortunately, I was a naïve teenager and didn’t realise that ligaments aren’t able to repair on their own.

I realised soon after that the exercises I was doing in the gym appeared to be working and I didn’t feel like my leg would give-way anymore and that’s when I began my journey into Exercise Rehabilitation.

I ended up doing a degree in Exercise Physiology at Murdoch University after deciding I wanted to learn more about how exercise can be prescribed as medicine and how I’ll be able to help others who have had to go through similar circumstances.

Exercise has allowed me to continue doing all the things I want to do, and I still get to put on my soccer boots from time to time.

Chris Chen (BSc – Exercise Physiology)

Senior Accredited Exercise Physiologist

Want to Improve Your Posture?

Most of us will admit our posture could do with a few improvements, but what exactly is posture and how can we improve it? Posture refers to the alignment of the body in positions such as standing, sitting and lying. Imagine a Jenga tower, with all the pieces balanced perfectly!

‘Good’ posture is the ideal alignment which reflects good muscular and skeletal balance against gravity; it requires minimal thought or muscular effort to maintain. Having good posture will allow your muscles to function optimally and decrease your risk of injury. Optimal muscle function will assist to reduce the likelihood of abnormal joint surface wearing which can lead to arthritis and joint pain.

In contrast, ‘poor’ posture is any positioning which deviates from the ideal. It can result in poor balance of the supporting muscles, affecting their function and leading to unnecessary strain, which may cause pain or discomfort. You may already be familiar with some adverse health effects that can be linked to poor posture such as headaches, back pain, spine dysfunction, rounded shoulders, joint degeneration and reduced lung function.

It’s easy to have poor posture become the norm, but ensure to break those bad habits by considering the following tips:

  • Participate in a postural and/or ergonomic assessment – a great way to learn about your posture and your ideal workstation arrangement.
  • Engage in an exercise program – improving your posture can be as easy as making sure you have good muscular strength and flexibility.
  • Practice mindfulness daily – be aware of your body positioning and learn to catch yourself out if you feel yourself reverting back to bad postural habits.
  • Be sure to take short breaks from prolonged positioning to reset your ideal body position.

If you are interested in learning more or considering undertaking an ergonomic assessment, visit our website or email us at

Bianca Dobrich
(B.Sc. Sport & Exercise Science, Grad Dip Exercise Rehabilitation, Grad Dip Sports Centre Management)
Accredited Exercise Physiologist (AES, AEP)(ESSAM)

Exercise to Treat Cancer

Recently, a TV program on the ABC reported a story about the significantly positive impact that exercise has on improving the health outcomes for patients currently undergoing cancer treatments. Numerous medical studies have found that exercise cannot only reduce the chances of developing cancer but it is also safe during and after cancer treatment. It has been found to help improve quality of life, increase energy levels, decrease the feeling of nausea and decrease the fatigue that many patients report. As 1 in 2 Australians will develop cancer by the age of 85 these findings will have a great impact on how we approach treatment plans for cancer patients.


In the study in question patients had an exercise program prescribed by an Exercise Physiologist and they performed this on the same days they underwent chemo or radiation treatment. Cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy can see a 10-15% decline in muscle mass. But in the 38 patients in the study, there was no muscle wastage recorded and in some cases muscle mass was actually gained.  The likely explanation for these findings is the increased blood flow patients have during exercise. As tumors have poor blood supply, exercising can help increase the flow of chemotherapy chemicals so that they may get inside the tumour where it’s needed. Soon we may see Exercise Physiology gyms or clinics right next to where patients receive chemo treatment.  If you would like more information on programs Absolute Balance run to aid in the treatment of cancer, visit our website or email us at

tahnia final

Tahnia Young – B.Sc. Sport, Exercise & Health, Grad Dip. Ex Rehab

Accredited Exercise Physiologist (AEP) (ESSAM)

Top Tips for Healthy Bones Action Week

The role of the skeletal system is often underappreciated, with our bones serving 5 important functions; support, storage of minerals & lipids, blood cell formation, movement/leverage, and protection. Yet, as we age our bones become weaker, with osteoporosis a common form of skeletal disease characterised by low bone mass and deterioration of bone tissue, thereby increasing bone fragility and susceptibility to fracture. Generally speaking, our bone mass peaks during our mid-20’s and begins to gradually decline over the age of 30 years. Unfortunately for the ladies this decline becomes even more rapid during menopause, causing females to have a heightened risk of poor bone health and osteoporosis.


So, what about the good news? Well, lucky for us, bones respond very positively to exercise! In terms of what specific types of exercise/activity to perform, the key is loading. Specifically, weight-bearing activities such as brisk walking, hiking & jogging, resistance exercise using machines, bodyweight & free weights, and high impact activities including skipping, jogging, jumping, netball and basketball, are all great ways to strengthen the skeleton.
Finally, strive to be proactive and take steps to strengthen your bones NOW, thereby minimising the risk of poor bone health across the lifespan. Although we don’t get the same visual satisfaction like we do reducing body fat and building muscle, make it a priority to include some of the recommended exercise on a weekly basis and your lifelong strong skeleton will thank you later!



Healthy Bones Action Week (HBAW): 1st-7th August 2016
For more information visit:

Exercise and Sleep – The Happy Couple!

It has been known for years that exercise and sleep have a very important relationship, with one helping the other. Exercise makes you more alert, speeds up your metabolism and increases energy levels during the day, and reduces the time taken to get to sleep at night, while also aiding in sleep maintenance. An adequate amount of sleep then leads to improvements in mental health, hormonal balance, and muscular recovery. Maintaining at least 7-10 hours of sleep a night is especially important for athletes or people completing higher intensity exercise, as during sleep the body rebuilds damaged muscles and replenishes nutrients. Sleep deprivation can lead to increased stress hormone levels, increased fatigue levels and decreased ability for the body to convert stored energy to usable energy, which for athletes can lead to a poor focus and performance.


So how do I use exercise to help me sleep better?

Research seems to suggest that a moderate intensity exercise program, consisting of four to five 30-45 minute exercise sessions a week, performed in the afternoons, has a positive effect on sleep onset and sleep maintenance. In one particular nation-wide study, there was on average a 65% improvement in sleep quality in over 2,600 participants who participated in regular physical activity! Afternoon or early evening exercise sessions are optimal as they raise the body temperature slightly, causing it to drop and trigger sleepiness a few hours later.


If you would like more information on exercise and sleep, head to our Website Absolute Balance also offers Health and Wellness Seminars providing education and resources to communities and businesses across Western Australia, if you would like more information on how to book a seminar on this topic, please email


Alixe Luckins (B.Sc. Exercise Physiology)

Accredited Exercise Physiologist (AES, AEP)(ESSAM)

Corporate facilities Manager

Aerobic Exercise and the Impact on Strength Training

It’s true that muscle adaptations differ greatly in response to aerobic training versus resistance exercise. The more you train for one, the harder it will be to reach the same level in the other. But that doesn’t mean aerobic and resistance training are completely incompatible. When programmed correctly, cardio or aerobic exercise can help improve your results, your body composition, and your overall health. Studies have shown that resistance training coupled with 2-3 days of cardio can lead to greater gains than strength training alone. However, too much cardio can interfere with muscle growth, but so can too little. Performing cardio 2-3 days a week seems to be the sweet spot for complementing your resistance training gains without putting your muscles at a disadvantage to grow. Studies have shown that strength training plus cycling improved muscle size more than strength training plus treadmill walking, or even strength training alone.

Cardiovascular exercise offers some major health benefits, including improved aerobic capacity, but the benefits extend to your resistance exercise as well. Cardio can give you a higher work capacity during your gym session, allow for quicker recovery between both sets and sessions and improves your body composition. For optimal strength benefits perform exercise that increases cardio but minimizes overall volume (e.g., HIIT 2-3 times a week), cycling seems to be more beneficial than running for strength gains, and performing cardio after strength training gives better quality results.

For more of these blogs, visit or you can email us at


Luke Bell (B.Sc.- Exercise and Sport Science, B.Sc.- Exercise Rehabilitation)
Accredited Exercise Physiologist (AEP)(ESSAM)

How Exercise Can Improve Mental Health

Physical activity is associated with numerous health benefits such as decreasing the risk of coronary heart disease, some cancers, hypertension and diabetes and there is also mounting evidence that is it vital for psychological health and wellbeing. Clinical and epidemiological studies have shown that physical inactivity has been associated with symptoms of depression and anxiety and that exercise can be an effective treatment of mental health conditions and diseases.
Some of the key psychological benefits of regular physical activity include:
• Increased alertness, attention and concentration
• Reduces the symptoms of anxiety and depression
• Improves self-esteem and confidence
• Improves memory and cognitive functioning
• Improve sleep quality and sleep regulation
• Reduction in the risk and/or a therapeutic tool in the treatment of neurogenerative diseases such as Alzheimers and Parkinsons Disease

So how exactly does exercise improve psychological health? There are a few different theories to explain this…
The first is that exercise can promote neurogenesis and brain plasticity which means there is production in neurons in the brain which support cognitive function. Stress, depression and ageing can inhibit this process so exercise-induced neurogenesis is an important factor for good mental health. Physical activity has also been shown to release neurotransmitters and endorphins in the brain which can stimulate anti-anxiety effects. Endorphins can be described as a “natural painkiller” as it induces the euphoric effect which we usually feel following a bout of exercise. As exercise also has a positive effect on maintaining a healthy body weight, body composition and an increase in physical fitness, this can have a positive on an individual’s mental health as it can increase self-confidence and self-esteem. This is also positively related to forming and maintaining bonds with significant others in your life whether it be your spouse, children, friends or work colleagues.
As little as five minutes of aerobic exercise can begin to stimulate these anti-anxiety effects and the higher the intensity of the exercise, the greater the positive effects. This means you can start nice and easy by going for a walk or a bike ride and as you progress in fitness and confidence you can mix up the routine by trying to add some HIIT training to your work out. This will stress the physiological systems of the body for an extra boost of exercise induced benefits! Being involved in a team sport or exercising with your friends can encourage good mental health as it can help to develop friendships and the social engagement may decrease feelings of loneliness which may be typical of mental health conditions such as depression or anxiety.
Exercising at a moderate to high intensity is also the case for resistance exercise as studies have shown that a progressive resistance weight training program is more beneficial compared to that of a lower intensity. A program inclusive of aerobic and resistance exercises completed three to four times per week at moderate to high intensity for at least 30 minutes in duration is an ideal start for an individual seeking psychological health improvement. If you have lack experience with resistance training it is best to seek advice from a qualified exercise professional to ensure good technique and appropriateness of each exercise as it can be hard to know where to start!
Exercise is quickly becoming an important feature in the treatment of mental health conditions. A qualified exercise professional can assist in developing an effective, individualised exercise program as a part of a structured intervention depending on the client’s specific requirements.

Brittany Farmer
B.Sc (Exercise & Sport Science)


Ergonomic Assessments, do you need one?

Do you work long hours sitting at a desk? Are you sore and stiff after work each day? Maybe you’re in need of an Ergonomic Assessment for your workspace! What’s an Ergonomic Assessment you ask?

Ergonomics is the science of designing a workplace, keeping in mind the capabilities and limitations of the worker. Things like chair height and angles, computer screen placement and keyboard and mouse placement are tailored to place you in the most biomechanically correct position. Poor worksite design leads to you being fatigued, frustrated and sore, which decreases your productivity and can cause painful and costly injuries. 2 out of 3 office workers have reported experiencing discomfort and/or pain after working in an office. The aim of an Office Ergonomic Assessment is to not just assess but also educate individuals on optimal workplace set-up through both practical and theoretical knowledge. Assessments are conducted onsite so that long term management of health and wellbeing at the workplace can be maintained.

At Absolute Balance we base ergonomic assessments on a prevention model designed to improve work performance and reduce the likelihood of Occupational Overuse Syndrome (OOS). Our consultants provide you with knowledge of how to ergonomically set up and maintain your workspace and they ensure you can recognise the symptoms associated with the onset of soft tissue injuries. The assessments generally take 10-15 minutes per workspace and could save you thousands in medical bills in the long run! Why not book yourself one today?

Call us on 9244 5580 or Email

If you would like to see a list of our other services, head


Zoe Horton (B.Sc. Sports Science, Grad Dip- Ex. Rehab)

Accredited Exercise Physiologist (AEP)(ESSAM)

Do you even mobilise or for that matter need too?


Mobility can be described as the meeting of motor control (the ability to express ideal biomechanics – essentially the technique involved with the movement) and range of motion (the distance a joint can move in a given direction). It is dependent on the ability to actively control your body through a full range of motion. If you are unable to control the body through a full range of motion, it is likely that the body will compensate to allow you to achieve the desired position, however, these compensations are usually unfavourable compared to the optimal position. This is different to flexibility in the sense that flexibility is the ability of a muscle to lengthen and mobility is the active range of motion possible at a joint.

Mobility can be improved by developing motor control and by increasing range of motion, it is important to combine the two as they each have some effect on the other. A joint will be unable to reach its optimal range if there is a restriction within the joint or in the issue surrounding the joint, despite sufficient motor control and with a lack of motor control comes a higher risk of injury and the inability to achieve full active range of motion. Various methods of improving mobility are available but unfortunately there is no ‘one size fits all’ prescription to fix mobility issues. Self-myofascial release using a foam roller or a trigger point ball and assisted stretching using a power band to distract the joint are widely advocated amongst experts. If you would like to be assessed for mobility and undergo a functional movement screen, please contact Absolute Balance at or head to our website for more information

Josh Yates


A Message from the Directors

Hello and welcome to this issue of “All Very Well and Good” newsletter. Some exciting changes since we last touched base:

  • Ryan O’Connor coming on board as my new business partner and developing our new arm in Injury Prevention
  • Rebranding our new website that offers blogs, newsletter articles and a Wellness Hub for members as well as the latest timetables for each of our Corporate Facilities.
  • A new Statewide contract that allows the flexibility to promote our services with greater reach across Western Australia.
  • Securing all of our current contracts in our corporate health facilities.

With that being said it doesn’t happen without a great team and the support of clients like you. Ryan, our team and I, thank you for your patronage and support within all our business units. We are excited by the times ahead and want to ensure we continue to deliver and don’t loose focus on you, our clients.

At ground level Absolute Balance strives to provide you with the best opportunity to realise your health & fitness goals, whether that be improve function at work, reduce the niggles and aches, increasing alertness at work through more effective energy input/outputs to simply increasing daily activity so you can keep up with the children’s/ grandchildren’s activities.

As we say at Absolute Balance, “It’s your life, so live it!” Commence your exercise programme today!

Absolute Balance is very excited about our future. We are more closely defining our niche areas each year further developing our business in the following areas:

  1. Injury Rehabilitation
  2. Corporate Health Services
  3. Injury Prevention Training

Further information on these services can be seen on our website:

On behalf of Ryan, our team and I, thank you for choosing Absolute Balance. Together we are excited about your health and fitness goals and ambitions, so come and share them with us. Our main aim is to help you achieve your goals.

Kind regards,
Derek Knox (B.Sc. Sports, MBA)
Ryan O’Connor (B.Sc. Sports, Grad
Dip. OH&S)
Directors – Accredited Exercise



Absolute Balance Newsletter September 2014