Client of the Month: Cate Hawley

Cate has been working with Ashlee throughout her breast cancer treatment since January 2017. Ashlee does a home visit with Cate once a week and has been focusing on strength exercises and a home program during her chemotherapy treatment as well as improving her strength before surgery. Our focus has been on finding ways to keep Cate active that were realistic and she would enjoy doing. Although she did have some setbacks with days when getting out of bed seemed like a mountain to climb, Cate always showed determination to make the most out of her exercise sessions.

We are pleased to say she has now finished her treatment and is moving onto the next challenge!

Returning to Exercise Post Pregnancy

One of the most common questions is how soon until I can start running after giving birth or how soon until I can start doing exercise to get my pre-baby body back? Whilst having this motivation to exercise is great it is also important to remember the other benefits of exercise post-pregnancy and that your return to exercise is done safely to prevent complications in the future.

Exercise Benefits Post Pregnancy:

  • weight loss/management
  • improve aerobic fitness
  • strengthen deep core muscles helping to prevent injuries, back pain and incontinence
  • increase energy levels
  • improve whole body strength to keep up with the demands of motherhood
  • improve posture
  • promote better sleep

Throughout your pregnancy your body has undergone an enormous amount of changes. One of the most notable is called Diastasis Recti. This is when there is an natural separation of the abdominal muscles due to stretching of the connective tissue (also known as the linea alba).
This is a normal occurrence during pregnancy, however it is essential to reduce this separation after birth.

Another important aspect to be considered is strengthening of the Transverse Abdominis and pelvic floor muscles. These muscles work together to assist in preventing injury to the lower back, pelvis and hips, as well as urinary incontinence.

Transverse Abdominis Function: Stabilise the lower back and pelvis prior to movement occurring. In other words, it activates in anticipation of movement occurring.

Pelvic Floor Function: Support the bladder and reproductive organs. For them to function correctly the tension between the front and back must be balanced. 


After pregnancy, there is often excessive lengthening of the Transverse Abdominis which can cause an absence or delay in its anticipatory function.  This can often lead to dysfunction, pain and injury. The pelvic floor muscle recruitment patterns can also become altered post-pregnancy. If this is not corrected it can lead to lower back, pelvis and/or hip pain, or urinary incontinence. 

We have just started offering a range of Post Natal Exercise Programs including a 6 week Core Foundations Class, Strong Mums Outdoor Fitness Class and 1-1 programs. All programs mums are more than welcome to bring bub with them. Our Strong Mums class has proved to be a hit, we run this class on Tuesdays at 11am-12pm at Brightmore Reserve or in the studio in the weather is bad. All new participants will need to book in for an Initial Assessment with one of our Exercise Physiologists.

In order for you to get back to your pre-baby exercise routine safely, it is essential that these dysfunctions are corrected with appropriate exercises prescribed by an Accredited Exercise Physiologist. For more information on how we can help, please contact us on 0419 287 631 or


Have you met our new neighbours, Physio on Miller?

Physio On Miller is a modern physio, Pilates and massage clinic that is passionate about health, fitness and complete wellbeing. They have enjoyed operating in Cammeray for the past 6 years and during this time have fixed many sore bodies, helped clients return to sport and maintain their active lifestyles.

Practice Directors Melissa Lever and Robyn Ivett and their team of highly qualified and experienced Physiotherapists and Pilates Instructors are dedicated to health and wellbeing, which perfectly compliments their caring and hands-on philosophy.

Physio On Miller offers Remedial Massage and a range of Pilates classes alongside their physio services. Their small group Pilates classes ensure individual attention and great outcomes. Ideal for men and women, it is renowned for preventing and rehabilitating injuries. Physio On Miller also provides a boutique service for pre and post natal clients.

Whatever you require, be it treatment for chronic pain, to soothe everyday stress or for general fitness, they can provide it. They look forward to welcoming you to their clinic. As Exercise Physiologists, Anna and Ashlee look forward to working with the Physio on Miller team in providing a great transition from physio treatment to returning to exercise and sport using targeted exercise programs.
Opening Hours:
Monday – Thursday, 7am – 8pm
Friday, 7am – 3pm
Saturday, 8am – 1pm
Address: Suite 6, 506 Miller St (ground floor, rear)
Ph: (02) 8065 6902


Client of the Month: Sue Campbell

Sue has been attending sessions with Anna for about 12 months consistently with her husband Stu. After struggling with a stress fracture in her foot, chronic lower back pain and finding out she has osteopenia Sue committed to sessions twice a week and a home program. She has comes from strength to strength and always works hard in her sessions. And to top it off this lovely lady just celebrated her 60th Birthday and is also training with CanToo and Anna for the Palm Beach to Whale Beach Ocean Swim in January. Wishing her a Happy Birthday and looking forward to plenty more sessions together.

Sue's Comments:
"I can notice a huge difference in my fitness since training with Anna-Louise. After a broken foot last year she has helped strengthen my foot and legs back to better than before. No more lower back pain that used to plague me and back to ocean swimming! Feel better at 60 than I did at 50...Thanks Anna-Louise, You are Awesome!"

Men's Health: Staying Active to keep your mental health in check

Things happen in life, like difficulties with work or finances, the breakdown of a relationship, overwhelming family responsibilities, or a significant setback. These challenges can take a serious toll on your mental health, if left unchecked. Many men tough it out and struggle alone.

Poor mental health is a huge issue facing men in Australia and in the world:

·      1 in 2 Australian men have had a mental health problem at some point in their life

·      On average, 6 men each day take their life through suicide in Australia

·      Around the world, on average we lose a man to suicide every minute of everyday

·      3 out of 4 suicides are men.

Untreated mental health conditions can carry a high risk for suicide among men. The distress a man experiences at these times can distort his thinking so it becomes harder for him to see possible solutions to problems, or to connect with those who can offer support.

There are several factors that have been linked to an increased risk of suicide, including:

  • Previous family or personal history of mental illness
  • Harmful drug and alcohol use
  • Isolation or loneliness
  • Ongoing stressful life situations such as unemployment, relationship difficulties or chronic health issues

What can you do?

Establishing and maintaining relationships, talking about the hard stuff in life and taking action when times are tough are proven ways for men stay mentally healthy and cope with the stress of everyday life. Good overall health and wellbeing is linked to not only to better mental health but also reduces the likelihood of suicide.

The role of exercise in mental health

There is mounting evidence that suggests exercise is an effective treatment method for people suffering from acute and chronic mental illness, with some studies suggesting that exercise is just as effective, if not more effective than pharmacological intervention in alleviating depressive symptoms.

Exercise can make a big difference in mood and needs to be a fundamental part of mental health treatment. Even one work out a week is known to have great benefits. Exercise can also counteract the side effects of some medications such as reducing the risk of falling by strengthening muscles and helping control body weight and blood pressure.

Why exercise is so important for Men’s Mental Health

·      Exercise helps our body pump out endorphins. Endorphins are basically the body’s ‘feel great’ drug, so we get a natural high when we get moving

·      It gives you time – when your life is busy with work, family and friends, going out to do some exercise can give yourself a bit of time to do no thinking and more focussing on you

·      If you enjoy team sports, then it’s a great way to work on social connections that help us create a more fulfilled life

·      Exercise helps the body combat and prevent chronic disease, meaning that you will live a longer, healthier life and a better quality of life. Many chronic conditions are linked with an increase in mental health conditions.

·      When you exercise you are creating a healthier version of yourself – this will help you feel more confident!

Don’t know where to start and need some help from a qualified professional?

Our team here at Balanced Bodies Lifestyle Clinic is more than happy to help you get started in becoming healthier. We assess and design individual exercise programs to cater towards your needs and goals! We have worked with many people with different health concerns, including that of mental health and are more than willing to help you in your exercise! If you would like to enquire about how we can help you, please contact us on 0419 287 631 or

Client of the Month: Troy Cairns

Troy has been attending sessions with his wife Camilla and more recently group classes since January 2016. He is committed to his home program and enjoys swimming and cycling each week. This commitment has paid off with some great improvements in strength, mobility and reduction in back pain. Troy is pictured in the centre after a cycling endeavour in the Italian Alps earlier this year

Troy's Comments:
"My New Year's resolution as I faced turning 50 was to improve how I moved and felt doing the everyday things. And wanted to get strong enough to go surfing with my son. I had a sneaking suspicion this might require some action from my core - an area that has lain dormant for many years.  I roped my wife in and we have been doing sessions with Anna since.
I've had a chronic back problem for almost 30yrs and my wife has ongoing neck issues. Anna took both these things into account in devising a program for us.  We now happily grunt and sweat out way through her sessions because we have seen the improvement. I now move with more confidence and once again can tackle simple things like bending over, without trepidation.  It's not really been about fitness for me - as I am pretty active swimming and cycling regularly. The benefit has been that I now use my whole body rather than just some favoured parts when I move. I am now looking forward to catching a few more waves this summer - and to tackle the more challenging exercises that I suspect Anna has in store for us"

Over 50's Women's Health: Am I Normal?

When you reach your 50's, many things in your life are bound to change: kids growing up and moving out of home, a change of workplace and most importantly, changes in your health. This week, we are going to discuss some common health issues that affect women in their 50's to celebrate Women's Health Week!


One of the most important things that happens in women in mid-life is menopause. Menopause is defined as the cessation of your period in 12 consecutive months and it typically occurs when women are 45-55 years of age. You can go through early or premature menopause as a result of surgery or cancer treatment, where there can be a sudden drop in all of these hormones, causing symptoms to be more severe.

Why is menopause such a big deal?

When you go through menopause, you experience changes in levels of hormones such as oestrogen and progesterone. The changes in hormone levels change over the months and years as your approach menopause. This results in symptoms such as hot flushes, night sweats, mood swings, weight gain, depression and osteoporosis. Mild to moderate symptoms seem to affect up to 60% of women. 

Chronic Health Conditions related to menopause

1. Cardiovascular disease

Oestrogen has a protective effect against cardiovascular disease. So when you reduce your levels of his hormone in menopause, your risk of getting cardiovascular disease increases. This includes conditions such as hypertension, type 2 diabetes and coronary artery disease. 

Changes in fat distribution from your hips to your tummy (abdominal obesity), as well as from fat underneath your skin (subcutaneous) to around your internal organs (visceral) contribute to this increased risk of cardiovascular disease as well. This can significantly impact how you see yourself, in terms of body image. Women in mid-life tend to gain weight and change their body shape, not only due to hormonal changes but due to environmental factors: physical inactivity and sitting down more. 

2. Osteoporosis

Did you know that the average woman loses up to 10% of her bone mass in her first 5 years of menopause? Reducing your bone mass significantly increases your risk of getting osteoporosis, a condition where you have weaker bones and are at a greater risk of fracture. We accumulate bone mass from childhood up to 25-30 years of age and this declines with age. So when we lose the protective effect that oestrogen has on our bones during and after menopause, we need to be much more vigilant about maintaining our bone mass (hint: this can be done with exercise!).

3. Breast Cancer

Starting menopause after 55 years of age increases a women's risk of breast and endometrical cancer - this is likely due to a greater exposure of oestrogen over the lifespan. This is an issue that needs to be considered as you reach your mid-life, as changes to your lifestyle can greatly reduce your risk of getting these kinds of cancers. 

4. Mental illness

Changes in your hormone levels can cause your emotions to change quickly, which may result in depressed moods and anxious feelings that women can sometimes feel around menopause. The symptoms of menopause can also affect mood and can make women feel depressed. For example, if you have poor sleep quality because of night sweats, this could result in a negative mood and negative thoughts. 

Are you getting your daily dose of exercise?

Extensive research has shown that regular and specific kinds of exercise can result in many benefits throughout your lifespan - especially when you're in your 50's!

Specific kinds of exercise can greatly improve your health outcomes and wellbeing. For example, strength training and weight-bearing activities beyond just walking can help you maintain your bone strength; reducing your risk of osteoporosis and a fracture. 

Balanced Bodies Lifestyle Clinic is here to help!

Our Exercise Physiologists at Balanced Bodies Lifestyle Clinic have extensive experience working with men and women in their 50's and beyond. We have worked with many people with different health concerns and are more than willing to help you in your exercise! If you would like to inquire about how we can help you, please contact us on 0419 287 631 or