Archive for the ‘Fitness Passport’ Category

Fitness starting with your Feet

November 29, 2015

Our feet and ankles are very important, considering we couldn’t stand, walk, run, or roundhouse kick someone in the face without them. Unfortunately, our lower limbs tend to be neglected unless something goes wrong.

Strong and flexible feet, ankles, and calves provide our base for stable movement, and are essential for performing our daily activities without pain or strain. In this article, I will give you a brief introduction to the the basic anatomy and movements in the ankle and foot (just enough for a good familiarity, but not enough for you to perform surgery…). Then, I’ll discuss the primary importance of working on this area, and finally, how to incorporate exercises for these areas into your training routine.

Your lower leg is made up of the bigger tibia on the inside and the smaller fibula on the outside, then connects lower down to the talus and the calcaneus (heel), then to the five small bones of the instep and the metatarsals and phalanges (your toes).

Lots of different sized ligaments connect the bones together for stability, along with various muscles from the big calf to the small muscles that move your toes.

Foot Anatomy

The ankle and foot is made to move in a great variety of angles to provide stability and dexterity, carrying us over all types of terrain from soft sand to rocky ground. Your ankle is not like a hinge on a door, and your foot isn’t just one big lump you slide your socks onto.

All the large and small joints in this area work together to provide this nimbleness, but only if we keep them moving like they are supposed to!

Your Lower Legs Work Hard for You – Here’s What They Do

Jump RopeOur calves (the bigger gastrocnemius and smaller, deeper soleus muscles) point the foot down, giving us the power to rise up on our toes and assist with running and jumping. But even with the foot flat on the ground, our calves provide stability in squatting, lunging, and other big movements.

On the front and sides of the shin are the anterior tibialis, posterior tibialis, and peronei muscles, which provide stability like stirrups and slings, and also the fine motor control that keeps us balanced and steady.

Down into the foot are many small muscles that control our arches and toes. These foot intrinsic muscles are the most at risk for atrophy from disuse when we don’t actively get out of our shoes and move our feet as we’re meant to do.

What Can Go Wrong in the Foot and Ankle

With all this considered, it’s easy to see the complexity of large and small muscles and joints working together to keep us upright and walking, as well as running, jumping, and balancing.

The coordination and differentiation of all these possible movements is key to foot and ankle control, and to moving freely and gracefully through your feet.

It’s also likely why we hear so many complaints about stiff ankles and feet.

If the smaller muscles are too weak to support your foot and ankle, your body reacts by increasing the tension where it can, in the bigger muscles. The tightness in the calf and ankle is then a protective mechanism that stretching may help a bit, but improved control and strength in the foot would solve.

Another common issue people experience is collapse arches in the feet. This is caused by poor mobility in the midfoot, along with weak posterior tibialis and intrinsic muscles. With improved mobility and strength in these areas, the arches should correct themselves over time.

Below we’ll discuss a variety of exercises with an emphasis on coordination and dexterity to wake up dormant muscles and restore proper mobility and control over this important area.

8 Exercises for Building Strength and Motor Control in the Feet and Ankles

The exercises we show here have an emphasis on active movement in various angles and ranges of motion.

A lot of people don’t fully explore the movement our feet and ankles are capable of, and this results in stiffness and weakness. The first step is knowing that it is actually possible to move this way, and the next and best step is to practice!


Below, we’ll look at each of these exercises in detail so you can understand the mechanics and benefits of each exercise, as well as programming recommendations.

1. Foot Circles with Toes Flexed (Curled)

Foot 1This movement concentrates on the small muscles in the arch of the foot. These foot intrinsicssupport the foot, and control over them means improved control and dexterity, which is so important in graceful and athletic movement.

It’s a simple movement – it’s just making a circle! – but the addition of flexing your toes makes this surprisingly difficult and can lead to muscle cramping in the beginning. Start off by not flexing your toes strongly and do the circles slowly.

Do 10-15 reps in each direction for 2-3 sets.

2. Toe and Ankle Movement Coordination

Foot 2Here is another simple movement that works on coordinating the use of the muscles of the lower leg and foot. Simply lift your foot up and down through your full range of motion and add the toe movements with it as well.

The coordination is toe extension (lifting toes upward) as you lift your foot upward, and toe flexion (curling in) as you point your foot down. And the other variation is then flexing your toes down as you lift your foot upward, and extending your toes as you point your foot down.

Do 10 repetitions of both variations for 2 sets.

3. Diagonal Patterns

Foot 3These are combined motion patterns of either your foot lifting up and rolling inward and then pointing down and outward; or your foot lifting up and rolling outward and then pointing down and inward. You are essentially tracing an X with your foot as you work on the coordination of ankle and foot motions.

This can be another surprisingly difficult exercise and is extremely useful for learning how your ankle can move.

Do 10-20 reps for 2-3 sets.

4. Rolling up Onto the Toes

Foot 4This is the first exercise where we are putting weight onto our feet.

The goal here is to combine a loaded active stretch to the ankle and foot together. It’s a dynamic move, so don’t hold too long in any position, instead go slowly through the full range and back again to encourage active movement through all the positions.

Do 5-8 reps for 3 sets.

5. Squats with Ankle Rotation

Foot 5In this exercise, don’t worry if you can’t drop down into the full deep squat position. The purpose of this exercise is to practice rolling on the inside and outside of your feet while weightbearing in a “compromising” position.

If you were to run and unexpectedly roll onto the side of your foot, you’d likely get a nasty ankle sprain. The exercise shown here is a progressive way to practice these common stresses to your feet and ankles. You can control the pressure and stress of the movement and use it to strengthen these positions to make it less likely to be severely injured when it unexpectedly happens.

Do 5-8 reps for 3 sets.

6. Ankle Rolling Side-to-Side

Ankle RollingHere we move to standing and up on the ball of the foot as we practice rolling our ankle from side to side.

Again, it’s better to do this while we are controlling the forces so we can strengthen them, rather than having it happen randomly and possibly causing injury.

Do 5-8 reps for 3 sets.

7. Weightbearing Ankle Circles on the Heel/Ball of Foot

Foot 7Continuing in standing, we’ll now practice ankle circles while placing as much weight as we are comfortable with on either our heels or on the ball of the foot.

There are different forces and strains involved in the two variations, so it’s good to familiarize yourself with both.

Do 10 reps in each direction for 2 sets.

8. Calf Raises

Calf RaisesAnother classic exercise, this is the most direct way of strengthening the calf muscles in their full range of motion from a full stretch to a full contraction. You can adjust your intensity by how much you hold on with your hands and by eventually adding weight to your body through a backpack or holding dumbbells.

If this is too much for you, then work both feet at the same time or start on a flat floor versus a step to reduce the range of motion until you get stronger and can handle strengthening from the full stretch.

Do 8-12 reps for 3 sets.

Fundamental Calf Stretches for Flexible Lower Legs

Calf StretchA very common complaint we hear from people is their lack of ankle flexibility.

Many bodyweight exercise moves, especially as you move into intermediate and advanced work, such as the pistol squat and various locomotive patterns, require good ankle flexibility.

The calf muscles are a very dense muscle group because we use them constantly – even just in standing and walking. And the ankle joints,  because of the lack of variety of motion throughout the day, tend to be stiff and immobile. This can require aggressive stretching, in terms of load, not intensity, to achieve improvements in range of motion.

A classic and effective exercise is using a step or sturdy block for your foot so you can drop your heel down to stretch.

It’s simple, not fancy, but works extremely well if you are consistent and approach it the right way. I recommend doing this in shoes, in this way you can place the middle of your foot on the edge of the step comfortably for the stretch. This is protective of your foot arch and allows you to put more weight into the stretch.


The variations are with your knee locked out straight and with your knee bent. The straight leg version emphasizes more of a gastrocnemius stretch, and the bent knee version gives the calf muscles a bit of slack and thus puts more of a stretch in the ankle joint.

The calf responds well to long holds of stretching, so 1 to 2 minutes for 3 sets should be a minimum goal. Stretch before active movement such as the strength and motor control exercises above so that your body learns to adjust and retain the new range of motion from the stretching.

Self-Massage Techniques for Healthy Feet, Ankles, and Calves

Self MassageA bit of self massage work is very useful in the lower leg and foot to loosen some tension prior to stretching and exercise.

The massage itself doesn’t make you more flexible, but it does temporarily help you feel less tight and gives you a window of opportunity to stretch further with less discomfort.

Just make sure not to overdo it, the trick is to apply just enough pressure to ease tension, not push as hard as you can to force it to happen!


Starting at the foot, work along the sole along the contours of the bones and feel the small muscles in you feet, keep the pressure light at first then gradually increase the pressure. If you are doing it correctly you’ll notice an easing off of tension in the muscles. You can then add more pressure and continue if you feel you need it, or move on to the next area.

Move on to the sides of your shin, into the calf and the front of your shin. The calf can be especially sore to massage deeply, so be aware of this and go gradually until you get accustomed to the pressure.

You can also use a ball to change the pressure and get into the muscles from a different angle.

Along with being mindful of gradually increasing pressure, you should limit your time on self massage to no more than 5 minutes. Too much of a good thing is still too much. And it is much more valuable to spend the majority of your time on active exercise.

Keep Your Feet Healthy for a Lifetime

Our ankles and feet are too often under-exercised and taken for granted considering how much we rely on them everyday. It’s no surprise that this neglect of their full range of motion and total potential for coordinated movement can lead to stiffness and weakness, and perhaps even pain.

This article focused on simple, yet effective exercises that not only lessen the chances of potential injury, but may also reverse some damage that has already been done (barring any true injuries in need of surgery or more intensive therapy).

Spend 5-10 minutes on these exercises every day, and you’re likely to feel your feet getting stronger, more flexible, and more able to handle variations in movement.


Article Sourced from:


Coffs Coast Health Club eNews – August 2015

August 2, 2015

Treat yourself this August at Coffs Coast Health Club!

freebiesJoin Coffs Coast Health Club during the month of August and not only will you receive NO JOINING FEE but you will also receive either a FREE MASSAGE or FREE PERSONAL TRAINING SESSION on us
The power is in your hands! Either supercharge your workouts with some extra one on one support from one of our qualified personal trainers or get pampered by one of our massage therapists!
Limited spaces available so get in quick before they all go!

Call Chris on 0475 757 531 or reception directly on 6658 6222 to secure your booking now!


FREE Health Check and Program for Fitness Passport!

Fitness-Passport 3Have an event coming up? New to the gym? Looking at recharging your fitness before summer? To reward our fitness passport members we have decided to give you something back to get you closer to your goals!

A FREE Health Check and Program tailored to your needs and goals to help you kick start your Summer body! Call us on 6658 6222 or email us at to book your FREE session today!
Member Appreciation Day!
member-appreciationAugust 2015 is a monumental month in the history of Coffs Coast Health Club. It signifies 6 years since we first opened our doors & the start of our crusade to empower the Coffs Coast to be the happiest & healthiest community in Australia.
The club is certainly owned by passionate local health care professionals but it is the 5c49db3b-5267-4601-a041-675417f10285community in & around the club that breathes life into it. This community is made up of a terrific team & magnificent members combining to create a comfortable & supportive environment. The club has been recognised Australia wide for the efforts of everyone involved by becoming the regions most awarded health club & we want to say thank you.
On Saturday 29th August we will be celebrating our current members & recognising those team members & club members that have been the driving force of the club since our grand opening. 
We will have special offers, special events, special times & small gifts to thank our ambassadors, so grab your diary & book out a morning of fitness & fun for everyone. 
Further details of the day will be posted in the club & electronically over the next few weeks. See you there!

Improve Your Strength, Balance, Flexibility and Combat Stress

Less-Mills-BodyBalance-ClassesWhen was the last time you really stretched?  BODY BALANCE is a fabulous yoga based class designed to improve your strength, metabolic health, flexibility and balance.  These classes also assist in the management of anxiety and depression and can help combat stress.

BODY BALANCE is a class with lots of options giving you the freedom to develop the exercises in a way that suits you and your body best.  It also a great class for expectant mothers and can improve both pregnancy and the birth.

BODY BALANCE is on our timetable on Mondays at 6.30pm, Tuesdays at 9.30am, Thursdays at 6.30pm, Saturdays at 9.30am and Sundays at 4.30pm. 

No shoes required, wear comfortable clothing, bring a yoga mat or a towel and something to keep you warm for the relaxation/meditation session at the end of the class.
Do yourself a favour and give a BODY BALANCE class a try this week.


Dance for Cancer Fundraisers with Jacqui

IMG_0271Stars of Coffs Coast – Dance for Cancer is a gala fundraising event for the Cancer Council NSW.  The “Stars” consist of business owners and other notable characters from the Coffs Coast dancing with some of our local fabulous and talented dance teachers. The “Stars” are required to fundraise and perform a dance routine at a showcase dance event at C.ex Coffs on Saturday, 14th November 2015.

We are REALLY EXCITED to let you know that our very own Jacqui Barnett has been nominated as one of the Stars of Coffs Coast who are going to be Dancing for Cancer in November this year.

Funds raised go to support vital research, prevention, information, support and advocacy programs.   Jacqui would be extremely grateful if you could see your way to being involved in her fundraising.  How?  


Choose one, or all of the options below:
– You can directly deposit donations via this link into her fundraising ‘account’.  OR in the Cancer Council donation box at Coffs Coast Health Club reception.  The one with the dancer on the top of it!

– You can attend her Trivia Night with a Twist on Friday 28th of August at Cavanbah Hall, Coffs Harbour by either purchasing tickets (and raffle tickets) from reception at Coffs Coast Health Club (cash only) OR by clicking on the following link to purchase them through Sticky Tickets.  Raffle Tickets for this event can also be purchased here.

Also coming up 30th of October is a Halloween Cocktail Party!

Stay tuned for more information or contact Jacqui on 0421 971 155.



Create your own Personal Training Group and be Rewarded!
sgpt-logo-353Group Personal Training is the most time efficient and affordable way to achieve your goals. All you need to do is create a group (minimum 3 to a group) then choose your trainer and you can get started!  As a Reward if you are the one that creates the group, you will get your first 2 group sessions free (when booked in advance). Pay from as little as $20 per session per person. 

Start the process, see the results and feel the difference.  Organise you trainer by calling Glen on 0411 037 097 or speak to reception on 6658 6222.



Have you tried Metafit with Simone?
safe_image-php 2Metafit is a 30 min High Intensive Interval workout (HIIT) using bodyweight. Metafit couples short intervals (10-30 sec) of high intensity bodyweight exercises such as sprints, squat jumps and more, with intervals of complete or active rest (core work). 
Metafit is suited for everyone and is great for
* Weight loss
* Shedding body fat
* Building muscle
* Boosting your metabolism
* Increase fitness
* Time efficient
* Continue to burn calories hours after your workout. 
Metafit sessions are held at Coffs Coast Health Club on Wednesday nights at 6 pm. With the warmer months fast approaching, starting on the 11th September Simone will be doing Metafit sessions outside Fridays at 6:15 am. You might like to organise your own team training and get started straight away.  Metafit is great for off season training for all sporting codes. 
For more information call Simone on 0402202864
Logo2 2Save on Healthy Inspirations This Month!With 15g of Protein and only 3g of Carbohydrates, Healthy Inspirations Proti powder is a quick, easy and satisfying snack and will keep you going between meals – alternately use a bit more and add some strawberries, raspberries etc to it, if you need to use for a meal on-the-go.

Great as well for making protein pancakes for breaky! 

SAVE $10 and pay just $39.99 at reception or speak to Simone, Leslie, Sheree or Jenny in the Healthy Inspirations office.



How does fitness and exercise history affect your experience of a treadmill challenge?

JScientistason Newcombe, one of Coffs Coast Health Clubs members, and also a Psychology Honours student at Southern Cross University, is conducting a study under the supervision of Dr. James Donnelly. They want to understand how various physical and psychological factors influence someone’s experience during a fitness challenge.
They are hoping to find volunteers who can attend a 40 minute lab session at SCU in Coffs Harbour, complete some questionnaires and physical measurements, then do a fitness screening on a treadmill (approx. 10 mins). They will ask you questions about what you think and feel before, during and after the treadmill exercise.
To thank you for your time, you will have the option to place your name into a prize draw. Three people will receive a gift donated by Coffs Coast Health Club located at the Link Indoor Leisure Centre, Hogbin Drive, Toormina. The possible gifts are a massage, a personal training session or 1-month membership.

If you are interested, in good physical health and over 18 years old please email Jason at Jason will contact you to answer any questions and book a time that is convenient for you.  

This study has been approved by the Human Research Ethics Committee at Southern Cross University (ECN-15-115).


New Priviliges Card Business!
the athletes foot logo 2Athletes Foot Coffs Harbour is your local premium sports footwear provider and has decided to come on board as a COFFS COAST PRIVILIGE CARD BUSINESS! What that means for you is simply flash your Coffs Coast Health Club Members Card and receive 5% off any purchase!

We have over 40 businesses currently on our priviliges card! Simply logo onto to have a look at our list!

What can you do in 60 minutes?
Massage1Have a great massage with Ange or Kai during August for $60 that’s what you can do!  

Our massage therapists know how nice it is to be kneaded so are offering you a discounted massage rate to get rid of those winter aches and pains.  $60 for 60minutes – August only.  

Book at reception or call us on 6658 6222. BE QUICK because spaces are filling up fast!


B075SMAI Boxing Gloves are Here for PUNCH!      

SMAI are international leaders in the manufacturing of combat sports equipment  with over 28 years experience supplying athletes and Fitness industry professionals. 

The SMAI Element Boxing gloves are manufactured with the following key features:
– Constructed from durable Syntec leather ideal for use in Circuit training, Boxing and Group training.
– The inner mould is made from 100% latex injected foam for ergonomic comfort and shape retention over long term use.
– 2” Velcro Wrist support for comfort and protection
Sold online for a RRP of $89.00 but you can get your pair at the club for ONLY $39.99! See reception to secure your pair before they are all gone!


Coffs Cup Opening Hours!
m-JESSICA-WRIGHT-LUCY-MECKLENBURGH-620x413cEnjoy your Coffs Cup 1/2 Day Public Holiday, experience the great outdoors & spend some quality time with quality people on Thursday 6th August, as the gym we will be closed from 12noon.

However there are no excuses for missing your workout in the morning as we will be OPEN as normal from 5.30am and fully operational with all classes and childminding.

All 24/7 members will be able to access the club at anytime to workout when they want though, so take advantage of that option too…