Motivational Tips to get back into that exercise routine

Struggling to get back into your exercise routine? We know finding the time and motivation to get moving can be difficult.

Oxford Dictionary defines MOTIVATION as the feeling of wanting to do something, especially something that involves hard work and effort.

Here are some tips which I hope offer you a healthy boost of inspiration and encouragement to get active again.

  • Set a time that works for you

We as humans are creatures of habit. We evolve our daily lives through routine so a great idea is to figure out the best time of day that suits you to get active and make it a standing appointment. It’ll be tough at first but a routine becomes habit very quickly. The body then switches to autopilot and it becomes second nature.

  • Adopt the right mindset

Look at what the exercise gives you and how it makes you feel once you smash those goals you’ve been aiming for. Focus on the benefits of exercise, and what is going on within your own body. You have circulation flowing, building new tissue, clearing the mind and to function at a higher metabolic rate during the day. This right mindset can be incorporated into your daily routine just like brushing your teeth or going to work.

  • Create a fun leisure activity for the weekend

Figure out what works for you, it could be going to the park and walking the dog, heading to the beach with the family or going out for a walk and having breakfast with some close friends. These are fun, engaging and eventful activities which have no time constraints and it gets you moving.

  • Unlock your passion

Find an exercise that you will thoroughly enjoy and the bonus is, you will be improving your physique along the way. Whether that is going to a group fitness class because you love the team environment and energy or pulling weights because you want a challenge or you’re a lover of running and enjoy the wind in your hair choose something that you are passionate about and embrace it. Remember, exercise doesn’t have to be boring, and you’re more likely to stick with a fitness program if you’re having fun.

So, get back out there understand the reasoning you are exercising. Whether it be physiological, psychological or social you are the one that knows best for yourself. Now that you’ve regained your enthusiasm, get moving! Set your goals, make it fun and pat yourself on the back from time to time.


Jessica Peters

Exercise Scientist 


Oxford Learner’s Dictionaries. Motivation.

Finding Your Motivation for Exercise. American College of Sports Medicine.

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

Men’s Mental Health

On average 1 in 8 men will experience depression and 1 in 5 will experience anxiety at some point in their lives. Additionally, 6 out of 8 suicides every day in Australia are men.

Typically speaking men’s health gets pushed to the back burner. Due to a variety of reasons including social norms, upbringing, and surrounding role models. Often, resulting in signs and symptoms going unrecognised.

The generic ‘chin up’ that we have been taught over many years just does not cut it anymore. The culture of dismissal is no longer acceptable, this is a serious matter that should not be pushed to the side.

Having supportive friends and family who you know you can reach out to when the going gets tough, is essential. Everyone goes through tough times the key is to reach out as early as possible. You are still a ‘man’ if you reach out, it is time to change the conversation.

Exercise & Men’s Health

Men who on average climb 50 stairs or walk 5 blocks a day may lower their risk of heart attack by 25%. There are many known benefits exercise can have on men’s health. Surprisingly, there are 3 benefits of exercise on men’s health that are not talked about as often as some others.

Firstly, with so many events throughout the year, the typical male struggles to remember their own birthday let alone anyone else. The annual biff with a sibling or a spouse is something most men can say they have encountered when they have forgotten a significant event. Studies have shown adrenaline and energy delivered to the brain during the exercise has the ability to improve memory and eventually results in the generation of new brain cells. Potentially leading to greater recall skills which can help maintain good relationships.

Additionally, research shows those who participate in regular physical activity portrayed a positive outlook on life and maintained a healthy self-esteem. It was also noted these men seemed to be more successful in business and in turn landed higher-paying jobs. The decreased stress levels associated with exercise allows for more clarity in your day, making most men more productive when exercising regularly.

Lastly, it is true exercise will not turn you into Leonardo Dicaprio, it will however help to cut back aging. The increase in blood flow promoted with exercise helps to keep the skin looking healthy and may help prevent those unwanted wrinkles. The significant impact exercise has on stress management will also help aid in maintaining healthy-looking skin.

The benefits of exercise on men’s health are endless are play a huge role in their everyday life. There is no doubt at one point or another all men will experience a difficult situation which impacts their mental health. Importantly, it is about identifying these risk factors earlier and reaching out for the appropriate help. Remember it is not weak to speak.

Cameron Galati

Accredited Exercise Physiologist (AEP, AES) (ESSAM)


Ways to get back into Exercising

Have you been in isolation for too long? Are you losing your motivation to stay active?

Doing some form of exercise is an easy way to boost your mental and physical health and now is the ideal time to try new activities.

If you are working from home, you will not be getting the incidental exercise you normally do by commuting to and from the office. Depending on your workload, you can still however keep active whilst doing your house chores, gardening etc.  If you are the kind of person who likes to get active in a group, it is now the time to get back into your usual pursuits, joining in gym classes and or team sports.

Here are some ways to get you back on track with your exercise:

  1. Go freestyle – if a structured routine is not your style, get creative, build your own workouts, and improvise your weights with household items such as can of beans, water bottles etc.
  2. Take your exercise outside – it is always a bonus if you can take your workouts outdoors in the fresh air. Whether you are out walking, cycling, or running. Trial and error with the time of the day and try choosing times with less foot traffic taking into consideration the 1.5m social distancing.
  3. Online Group Fitness Classes – One of the growing trends with Gyms or Fitness Centres now days is reaching out to gym members using an online platform such as Zoom or Teams to keep the interactions alive. Live group fitness classes using these platforms are great as it does not only give you the feel of being in a class environment, it also allows you to interact with your facilities whilst keeping the distance. So, if your facilities have made this available to you, make sure to tune in. Gyms are now slowly merging back into group fitness classes on site with restrictions applied – keep in mind that majority of them are still running the online coaching for those people who are still cautious about going back into the gym straight away.

On the other hand, Absolute Balance are currently offering great weekly online contents such as workouts, Blogs/Vlogs to our Corporate Facilities gym members and tenants. So if you are based in one of our Corporate Facilities and would like to receive these contents, please email so we can get you signed up. If you are not based in our Facilities and would like these to apply for your business, please send us an email also so we can try and help.

The Absolute Balance team members are more than happy to assist with your enquiries further. Please email us on the above email address.

Norlina Yakin
Corporate Manager


Gyms – How to get back in the swing.

Gyms are back!! Slowly around the country gyms will be dusting off the benches, turning on the machines, and opening back up with several Government restrictions easing for these facilities.

As an Exercise Physiologist, gyms are our ‘office’ – The team at Absolute Balance are all looking forward to getting back into these centres for both our rehabilitation clients and our own fitness and health.

We understand though that often it is so much harder to get back into the gym if you have had a lengthy break. Like some of our rehabilitation clients that have had their memberships put on hold – you may be in the process of recovering from an injury, outgrown the home gym you acquired in the last few months, or have decided that a gym membership is the best way to make health your priority. Whatever it may be, here are a few tips on how to get back to the gym and what to expect.

1. Expect a decrease

Regardless of whether you are a runner or a weightlifter – time off from exercise means that you will lose some of your capabilities.  This means that you may need to start at a lower weight or shorter duration.

The good news is that you can also achieve your goals quicker than it took for you to reach them in the first place thanks to muscle memory.

  1. Don’t rush it!

It can be frustrating knowing that you are not lifting the weights you once were or running as fast as you know you can, but you need to be patient. Work with the strength you have now and know that with consistency you will get back to where you want to be. By pushing this from your first session back, you run the risk of injury and will unfortunately need more time out of the gym! This applies to rehabilitation following an injury.

  1. Ease in and expect discomfort

Don’t try and do all of the exercises you know at once. By easing in this will allow your body time to adjust to the new stimulus and then you can gradually go back to your normal workout over time.

If you are getting back to the gym after a long break, you will most likely be feeling some soreness the next day. Once you start to get back into a routine, over the course of a few weeks this recovery will start to become faster. Remember to always warm-up and cool down. This is now even more important after a lengthy time off.

  1. Take those rest days!

Recovery is also a large part of being active. When you take a ‘day off’, your body is working to repair and refuel itself after the work you have done. This also helps you to be realistic about your frequency at the gym, allows you to have balance and to avoid the dreaded burnout.

Another useful tip is set some SMART goals and identify what motivates you to exercise. This can be analysed and applied using my previous blog on Self-determination theory –

If you would like more information on managing your return to the gym, Contact Absolute Balance by mail


Michael Buswell
Senior Accredited Exercise Physiologist (AEP) (ESSAM)



Bruusgaard JC, Johansen IB, Egner IM, Rana ZA & Gundersen K. (2010). Myonuclei acquired by overload exercise precede hypertrophy and are not lost on detraining. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A 107, 15111– 15116.

Vaile, J., Halson, S. & Graham, S. (2010). Recovery review: Science vs. practice. Journal of Australian Strength and Conditioning, Suppl. 2, 5–21.

What is an Exercise Physiologist?

Throughout my years of studying to be an Accredited Exercise Physiologist (AEP) I was always presented with the question “What is an AEP?” and “What clientele would you work with?” so I believe this article has the potential to clarify many unanswered questions.

Accredited Exercise Physiologists (AEP) are allied health professionals completing a degree in Clinical Exercise Physiology. AEP’s treat illness with physical activity and have the potential to prevent injuries by limiting sedentary behavior. Our aim is to restore physical function, improve health and wellbeing and prevent chronic health conditions. Not limited to physical activity, AEP’s can provide education on conditions and explain how exercise can benefit them.

Prior to completing an exercise program an initial assessment is completed. This includes a screening of the client to have a full understanding of client difficulties, coping mechanisms, functional limitations and identifying goals of rehabilitation.

Our Clientele

Accredited Exercise Physiologists work with a large population with a variety of different conditions these include metabolic, cardiovascular, musculoskeletal, neurological, kidney, respiratory, mental health, cancer conditions.

Cardiovascular conditions including but not limited to hypertension, post-heart attack, chronic heart failure, peripheral artery disease. Physical activity assists with effective blood flow and avoiding deconditioning post-cardiac event however most importantly reduces the risk of further cardiac events.

Metabolic conditions including but not limited to diabetes, obesity, dyslipidemia, sleep apnoea and metabolic syndrome. Physical activity assists in weight loss, improvement in blood lipid profile and preventing the likelihood of further progressive conditions.

Musculoskeletal conditions including but not limited to knee reconstructions, hip replacements, shoulder tears, dislocations. Conservative or post-operative rehabilitation is essential to prevent the reoccurrence of injuries. Physical activity encourages a range of motion and strength improvements post-injury and permits the ability to perform activities completed pre-injury.

Kidney & respiratory conditions including but not limited to kidney disease, chronic obstructive pulmonary disorder, asthma, emphysema. Physical activity assists in reducing signs and symptoms such as sputum production and coughing while reducing deconditioning of the lower extremities, common with this clientele.

Mental health & Cancer including but not limited to depression, anxiety, breast cancer, prostate cancer. Exercise assists in improving physical fitness and the ability to complete everyday tasks however most importantly, reduce the risk of falls, muscle wasting and the development of osteoporosis.

Neurological conditions including but not limited to strokes, Parkinson’s and multiple sclerosis. Physical activity assists in slowing degenerative conditions and reducing the severity of symptoms.

Upon completion of my degree, I will have the ability to assist those with the above conditions and sympathize with them. The overall purpose for my desire to become an AEP is to impact the lives of those who require it most. Exercise has the potential to reduce symptoms and decrease the risk of developing further conditions therefore if you are experiencing these conditions and require extra assistance in improving your condition, please contact Absolute Balance on 9244 5580 or via email on


Danica Falcone 

Exercise Physiologist (Student)



Leach, H., Danyluk, J., Nishimura, K., & Culos-Reed, S. (2015). Evaluation of a Community-Based Exercise Program for Breast Cancer Patients Undergoing Treatment. Cancer Nursing38(6), 417-425. doi: 10.1097/ncc.0000000000000217

Hansen, D., Dendale, P., van Loon, L. and Meeusen, R. (2010). The Impact of Training Modalities on the Clinical Benefits of Exercise Intervention in Patients with Cardiovascular Disease Risk or Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus. Sports Medicine, 40(11), pp.921-940.

Playford, D. (2011). Exercise and Parkinson’s Disease. Journal of Neurology, Neurosurgery & Psychiatry, 82(11), p.1185.



Case Study: Truck Offsider, Return to Work

I have recently completed a work hardening programme with a client who sustained a right ankle injury at work when stepping out of a truck. When the client was referred to Absolute Balance, he had a 10kg lifting restriction and was completing a vocational work placement at a supermarket as a picker/packer as his employer had no suitable light duties for him to complete. It was of the utmost importance to get the client back to meaning, gainful employment as being injured and out of his regular routine was taking a toll on his mental and physical health.

General Information:

Client: 20-year old male.

Injury Details: Avulsion fracture, lateral malleolus right ankle.

Pre-Injury Job Role: Truck Offsider.

Medical Restriction: 10kg lifting restriction.

Rehabilitation Goals: Pre-injury job role.


We assessed the client, gathered an injury history and completed physical testing. The key findings were; reduced right ankle proprioception, slight end range restriction with right-sided ankle dorsiflexion, reduced right sided calf endurance and general deconditioning due to a period of inactivity following the injury. It was reported that the client had gained over 20 kilograms since sustaining the injury. Other relevant biopsychosocial information that was gathered during the assessment included no drivers license, low social support and a history of depression.

We identified the key critical physical demands of the job role to include;

  • Repetitive lifting from floor to waist up to 20kg.
  • Repetitive pushing and pulling of loads up to 20kg.
  • Repetitive lifting from waist to overhead up to 20kg.
  • Repeated carrying of loads weighing up to 20kg (single person lift, or two-man lift) over a 50m distance on uneven ground, over obstacles and ascending and descending stairs.
  • Frequently getting in and out of the truck cab and stepping onto uneven ground.

Exercise Programme:

The exercise programme was prescribed based on the physical deficits identified in the initial assessment and the critical physical demands of the pre-injury job role. We took into account the biopsychosocial flags identified to improve adherence to the exercise programme and reduce barriers to participation by setting up a membership at a gym within walking distance from the client’s home and on a public transport route to and from his work placement. We also provided education on using exercise for the management of mood and mental health and set him up with a general cardiovascular exercise programme to complete on alternate days to his work hardening programme.

Below are some examples of the work specific exercise prescribed in the end stages of the exercise programme.

Bosu Ball Step Down

Replicating the critical physical demands of stepping out of a truck cab onto an uneven surface.

Bosu Ball Squat and Press

Full body lifting task on an uneven surface, challenging proprioception while building full body strength for work-related lifting task.

Lateral Step Up

Challenging propriopcetion while mimicking the demands of completing a two man lift where required to walk sideways with loads and negotiate obstalces like curbs and stairs.


After completing a six-week exercise programme with Absolute Balance the client was certified fit for pre-injury duties and returned to full time work with his original employer. The client also lost 7.5kg as a result of engaging in regular physical activity and after six weeks had the knowledge and confidence to self-manage his exercise programme going forward.

For more information on return to work exercise rehabilitation programmes contact Absolute Balance.

Lisa Wallbutton (BSR, MClinicalExPhysiol(Rehab))

Accredited Exercise Physiologist (AEP) (ESSAM)


How much exercise is too much?

Whether it’s your new-year’s resolution to hit the gym, you’re starting a 6-week challenge, or you’ve just started your return to work program with an Exercise Physiologist, good on you! Committing to be more active is half the effort, but now what? When motivation is at an all-time high, going from zero exercise to running a marathon may sound enticing. Although if you’re going from doing nothing to exercising for an hour 7 days a week, odds are you’re setting yourself up for failure and/ or injury!

Doing more exercise than prescribed.

There is a very good reason as to why sometimes ‘less is more.’ I have spoken with a couple of my clients on return to work programs who are under the impression that the more they do the quicker they will get better. This is certainly not the case and can sometimes do more harm than good. Firstly, I’m so glad they are motivated and want to get better although, at the same time, it’s so important to take a graded approach to exercise, especially if they have not done much physical activity before.

While under the workers compensation umbrella, getting you back to work is our number one priority, our programs are specific to each individual and this is why patient A, a 60-year-old truck driver may have lighter weights prescribed in his program than patient B, a 27-year-old brick labourer. Often people try to challenge this prescription and do much more than required because they feel the more they do the quicker the results will come. Instead, this can result in an increase in symptoms, overload and slower progressions.

Find your exercise capacity by taking small steps

For any individual, doing some physical activity is better than none. The best advice I ever received was to find something you enjoy, as soon as you find something you look forward to completing you will be so much more inclined to do so.

In addition to finding an activity you enjoy, don’t start exercising at 100mph. Find an exercise and intensity that you can maintain, and it will stick with you forever – a frequency and intensity that’s going to make you look forward to your workouts, not make you dread them. If you dread workouts, reality is you will never stick with them and when starting a new regime, adherence to your program is priority number one.

Your body needs to rest.

Sometimes finding the motivation to work out is the biggest challenge, but other times, like when we are really determined to reach a goal or feel like we need to make up for lost time, the opposite is true. Rest days are important for overall health and performance and can help you reach your goals earlier.

The truth is when we exercise we intentionally add physical stress to the body to adjust. Our body’s acute response to stress is to increase heart rate, respiratory rate, and cardiac output which initially can be quite a shock. Starting slowly means your body has time to adjust to this increase in physical activity.

For strength training, ACSM recommendations suggest strength training 2-3 days per week and leaving at least 48 hours for recovery in between each training session. You should always allow enough time to recover fully, although not so much time that you regress and lose the improvements you’ve achieved. Resting is just as important as working out as it’s an equal part of the total process required to build strength, endurance and muscle.

So how much exercise do you need to do?

Firstly, please understand that everyone is different, and exercise is not a ‘one size fits all’ approach. Although, ACSM recommends that adults accumulate 150-300 minutes of moderate or 75-150 minutes of vigorous physical activity each week. In addition to this, it is also recommended that each individual incorporates muscle strengthening exercises 2-3 days per week. In saying that, if you’re currently not doing any exercise please don’t feel you need to be able to do this straight up – instead aim for 30 minutes of exercise 5 days per week and work up from there.

If you have any questions on any of the above or feel you need some additional guidance with your exercise program please feel free to contact us on 9244 5580 or alternatively you can visit our website at

Channai Graham (B.Sc-Ex.Sp.Sci,Post.Grad.Dip.(Clin.Ex.Phys))

Accredited Exercise Physiologist (AEP) (AES) (ESSAM)


Clinical Framework. (2019). Retrieved from

Powell, K., Paluch, A., & Blair, S. (2011). Physical Activity for Health: What Kind? How Much? How Intense? On Top of What?. Annual Review Of Public Health32(1), 349-365. doi: 10.1146/annurev-publhealth-031210-101151

Riebe, D., Ehrman, J., Liguori, G., & Magal, M. ACSM’s guidelines for exercise testing and prescript

Motivational Determinants for Long-Term Exercise Adherence

So you’ve carefully curated your new workout playlist, all of your nutritious meals are prepped and in place for the week ahead and those new trainers are ready to clock some serious kilometres on your morning runs before work. Surely, this time you have all your ducks in a row to succeed in your gloriously structured exercise routine. Then… after a month or so, the initial surge of motivation has started to wane and snoozing through those Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson-inspired 4am alarms seem more appealing than getting up and hitting the pavement with those new trainers. Oh…and you only got 7.5 hours of sleep instead of the usual 8 hours. Plus, it’s too cold outside.

Indeed, the novelty of new and exciting health pursuits can also possess a polarising dark side when our motivation is derailed, negatively affecting our relationship with physical activity. So despite being abundantly aware of all the positive benefits that accompany exercise, why do so many of us still experience these motivational low points and eventually lose interest with their routine altogether? Interestingly, the problem may not necessarily be attributed to levels of motivation, but rather an absence of effective motivation, which can make a significant difference in achieving long-term success in any health pursuit.

A prominent model used to explain the motivations that drive our behaviours toward exercise is the Self-Determination Theory (Deci & Ryan, 2000). The theory presents three main types of motivations in humans:



Amotivated individuals possess a complete lack of intention to engage in a behaviour and results from not valuing the activity, feeling incompetent to engage in it, and/or not feeling that it will produce any desired outcomes. Personally, I’ve interacted with people of this mindset and some may believe that exercising might actually be more harmful to their health. They may conveniently use anomalies in the fitness scene, citing incidences of runners “dropping dead” from a heart attack as their justified reasoning to not exercise.


Extrinsic Motivation
Moving along the continuum, extrinsic motivation is when a person’s behaviour is primarily controlled by the desire to gain external rewards or to avoid punishment, separate from the activity itself. There are 4 different subtypes of extrinsic motivation, including behaviours which are based on:

  1. Rewards and punishments administered by others.
    • wanting to reduce body fat in order to avoid being told off by their doctor to prevent chronic disease.
  2. Control by consequences administered by the individual themselves.
    • wanting to build muscle to improve appearance and improve confidence.
  3. Engaging in an activity because the person knows it is important.
    • wanting to reduce high blood pressure because of the health incentive of attaining a healthy measurement.
  4. Placing a value of importance as part of their identity.
    • wanting to lose body fat because they value health as part of their core belief system.

Intrinsic Motivation

Lastly, intrinsic motivation occurs when performing an activity because the act itself is inherently satisfying. An intrinsically motivated person would play a sport for the pure enjoyment it creates within, or because they want to challenge themselves to become more competent at it. Furthermore, once people gain increased competency in an activity, they may enter an optimal state of consciousness and awareness termed as “flow” (Nakamura & Csikszentmihalyi, 2014). This is achieved when the challenge of the task is perfectly matched to the skill level of the participant. Experiencing “flow’ has been closely linked to enjoyment because individuals are fully immersed in the present moment and in the task at hand to the point where they often lose perception of time. Sometimes described by being “in the zone,” reaching this state of flow allows an athlete to experience a loss of self-consciousness and a sense of complete mastery of the performance.

Extrinsic vs Intrinsic: Which is Better?

Although both extrinsic and intrinsic motivation can be beneficial for achieving your goals, using purely extrinsic rewards as a source of motivation is often fleeting and is typically unsustainable in the end.  Whilst extrinsic motives are more effective when initially adopting an exercise program, evidence strongly suggests that placing a higher value on intrinsic motivation is critical for exercise adherence in the long-term.


Shifting Toward Intrinsic Motivation

According to Self-Determination Theory, a shift from extrinsic motivation to intrinsic motivation is promoted by the fulfillment of three following basic psychological needs:

  • Autonomyperson feeling in control of their choices and actions.
  • Competencyfeeling capable and proficient in an activity.
  • Relatednesshaving satisfying and supportive social relationships.

The more a person becomes aligned with the needs above, the higher the likelihood they are to be intrinsically motivated. To shift your motives toward more intrinsic-based types, evaluate the following strategies and see how many you can implement to stay on track:

Discover Activities That You Enjoy
I’ve noticed that the individuals who frequently show up to group classes and train consistently at our corporate gyms exhibit one common trait – they seem to be genuinely enjoying the activity they’re engaged in. Many have found joy by training with gym partners (great for accountability) or by finding an appealing mode of exercise they can gain competency in. Within our facilities, there are many opportunities to be active in a group setting with programs ranging from boxing, resistance/cardio circuits, yoga and high-intensity interval training classes. By exploring different types of exercise, you may find something that you enjoy and can maintain over time, whilst also gaining an element of social support to your training.

Start Slowly and Learn The Fundamentals
A common pitfall of many exercisers (especially beginners) is trying to do too much, too soon. When they find the exercise or program too difficult and are unable to perform as well as they expected, they get frustrated, possibly injured, demotivated and eventually give up. By reframing exercise as a skill which takes time and practice to develop, you’ll be able to safely and effectively progress. Making the commitment and effort to learn how to perform basic exercises proficiently can go a long way towards increasing feelings of competency. Whenever introducing beginners to resistance exercise, I always ensure that they begin with the fundamental movements and perform them with quality before adding load or advancing the movement. Once they achieve mastery of a movement, the aforementioned ”flow” state may be within their grasp as they progress, further reinforcing intrinsic motivation.

Track Your Progress and Be Mindful
Recording your exercise sessions is a great way to recognise the improvements you’ve made. Keeping a log of your workouts by taking physical notes outlining key details such as the date and details of your session including exercises, sets, reps, distance and time. Additionally, keeping track of how you felt during each exercise will help you cultivate mindfulness around your sessions and identify aspects of your workout that you enjoyed (e.g. sense of accomplishment when you add more weight to your lifts). All of which contribute to the notion of competency.

As an Exercise Consultant at Absolute Balance, it has been very interesting to observe underlying client motivations and how they function as indicators of exercise adherence. People are unique and will undertake exercise routines for a multitude of reasons, however determining whether you are intrinsically or extrinsically inclined toward your goals may help uncover whether your plan is truly sustainable. You don’t need to completely abandon your extrinsic motivations but if you want to achieve long-term success, you do need to develop some intrinsic motivation and derive a genuine sense of enjoyment and competence in whatever form of exercise you choose to commit to.

For more information on how to successfully set your exercise goals or to learn more about the range of group exercise classes we offer, please email us at


Nic Gallardo

Exercise Physiologist


Deci, E., & Ryan, R. (2000). The “What” and “Why” of Goal Pursuits: Human Needs and the Self-Determination of Behavior. Psychological Inquiry, 11(4), 227-268.

Nakamura, J., & Csikszentmihalyi, M. (2014). The concept of flow. In Flow and the foundations of positive psychology (pp. 239-263). Springer, Dordrecht.





Core strength or core stability, what’s the deal?

“50 ab exercises to score a stronger core”

“20 core exercises top trainers swear by”

Type ‘core training’ into google and these are just a couple of titles that come up, it’s these titles that work in capturing the attention of people searching for the key to that beach worthy midsection. Having said that, I’m here to talk about what core training really is and how you don’t have to spend hours in the gym doing endless crunches and russian twists to see results in core strength.

When most people hear the word core, their mind is automatically diverted to the pronounced 6 pack you see all over social media, although core training should start with the basics. There is a massive buzz behind core training in the fitness world and 99% of the time it’s related to abdominal training, which explains the results for the titles mentioned before. The truth is, the core is so much more than the summer ready six pack we all obsess over, and it should be treated as such.

The core is composed of the lumbar spine, muscles of the abdominal wall and back extensors as well as multipoint muscles such as latissimus dorsi that pass through the core, linking it to the pelvis, legs and shoulders. This muscle group functions differently to that of the limb musculature as core muscles often co-contract, meaning it stiffens the torso to avoid excessive movement. Thus, core training needs to be looked at much differently to that of limb training.

In short, your core acts to move and stabilise the spine, fairly simple, right? In theory yes, but as there are so many muscles (as many as 35) contributing to core stability, a much more complex approach is required. When the core is weak your moves from up and down and side to side are unstable, and this is when injuries can occur. Think about back pain in this way, if you core is unbalanced areas of your spine are then compromised and delicate structures such as ligaments and discs may eventually pay the price of faulty biomechanics. Current evidence suggests that decreased core stability may predispose to injury, although the correct training may reduce this risk. What we need to understand is that the primary function of the core is to resist rotation, flexion and extension, not to initiate these movements.

In saying this, to get a more effective core routine, essentially there are 3 ‘categories’ that should be included;

  1. Anti-flexion – resist a weight that attempts to pull your spine into flexion (i.e deadlifts)
  2. Anti-extension- resist a weight that attempts to arch your spine backwards (i.e tall kneeling overhead press)
  3. Anti-rotation – resist a force rotating your body (i.e pall of press)


When it comes to rehabilitation for back pain or just building core stability in general, functional exercises are the way to go in that they mimic real-life activity better than a fit ball crunch ever could. By training all areas and teaching your body to work as it should it will allow you to develop a more functional core and help you down the track when it comes to lifting, correct technique, overall body strength and avoiding injury.

For more information about taking a holistic approach to your training or rehabilitation, contact us at Absolute Balance on 9244 5580 or alternatively you can go to our website at

Channai Graham (B.Sc-Ex.Sp.Sci,Post.Grad.Dip.(Clin.Ex.Phys))

Accredited Exercise Physiologist (AEP) (AES) (ESSAM)



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McGill, S. (2010). Core Training: Evidence Translating to Better Performance and Injury Prevention. Strength and Conditioning Journal, 32(2).

Willson, J., Dougherty, C., Ireland, M., & Davis, I. (2005). Core Stability and Its Relationship to Lower Extremity Function and Injury. Journal of The American Academy Of Orthopaedic Surgeons13(5), 316-325. doi: 10.5435/00124635-200509000-00005