Real Women Lift (and Men too!)

Strength Training.  Who does it?  How do you do it?

Almost two months ago now, the clinic seemed to be receiving several patients that were affiliated with Real Women Lift.  The patients all had the highest regard for this local personal trainer and I wanted to meet her and see what she did.  I looked up her website online,, and spoke with the owner, Cindy Treaster (see her beautiful picture below) who allowed me to come in and observe her training sessions.  A significant portion of her business is treating in small groups, 4-6 people for an hour with varying types of training methods attacking the entire body.  My interpretation is that this allows her to personalize her sessions and monitor the clients thereby providing great service, but allowing a more reasonable price for her clients.  I was so intrigued that I signed up for a month this past July for the 4 week session she hosts in the summer.

Cindy Treaster

I quickly learned that each session, she asks her clients if they have any aches/pain or tender spots and then alters the training session accordingly, which is wonderful.   In general I do think personal training is great, it gets people doing different routines and challenging their bodies.  For me personally, after designing treatment and exercise programs all day long, it is nice to just have someone else tell me what to do!  Also in particular to Real Women Lift, with my substantial schools loans from my wonderful doctoral education the small group price is a wonderful value!

Of course, the more individualized training and/or attention an individual receives the more personalized it can be for the client.  Hence, why I believe in my model of physical therapy with the 1-on-1 personalized attention for an hour where it allows you to address the patient holistically.  But with healthy individuals, who are looking to have someone assist you in your strengthening needs, I think Real Women Lift is a great option!  Especially for many of those runners we see who only run, and keep coming back to us and we say…”Do you strength train?” and you say what again?? (you know who you are…)  Whatever way you choose to strength train on your own, Real Women Lift, at a gym/fitness center, with a personal trainer, in your own home, WHATEVER, remember that your body wants you strong no matter if you are a desk job individual, recreational runner or elite athlete and it will scream at you when its weak spots start showing!

Often too people like to strengthen the “showy” muscles: 6 pack abs (rectus abdominis), biceps, triceps, upper traps, chest, lats etc…But don’t forget to strengthen those smaller and deeper muscles that keep you strong and stable like your rotator cuff muscles, deep ab muscle called transversus abdominis, the intrinsic muscles in your feet, etc.

If you have any comments, questions or concerns regarding strength training or physical therapy feel free to comment below, contact your local area physical therapist or if you are in the St. Augustine, FL area contact us at or 904-516-8121.  If you are interested in learning more about Real Women Lift and live in the St. Augustine area as well, feel free to contact Cindy Treaster at


Annual Check-ups with a “Peace” of Nutrition

As a physical therapy practitioner, my goal is always to treat patients holistically.  If an individual comes in for knee pain, I am not just going to look at the knee but also the hip, ankle/foot maybe even the back depending on what they tell me initially.  In addition, I don’t just ask about the pain, but I ask about what is limited functionally, about their past medical history, their goals from physical therapy and what not.  But, there is not enough time, in my opinion, to assess what is wrong functionally or is painful as well as look and screen 100% of the other areas and I want to be able to provide that information for my patients.

So, Steve and I spoke about this matter and we decided to start offering Annual Check-ups to provide that overall assessment of individuals.  We are able to look and screen hearing, mental health, nutrition, social behaviors, emotional health as well as cardiorespiratory health, sensation, vision, risk for disease etc.  That is all in addition to the more physical therapy aspects as well of aerobic capacity, balance, speed, core and functional strength, flexibility, posture and quality of certain movements.  It took us some time to develop these Annual Check-ups to ensure an individual’s overall wellness, but we feel confident that we not only have the screens put in place to help to identify an individual’s strengths and weaknesses but also the resources set to address things that are outside our scope of practice such as social and emotional well-being in addition to nutrition.

Speaking of nutrition…I recently met with Amanda Perrin a wonderful Registered Dietician Nutritionist and owner of Peace of Nutrition, LLC out off of SR 16 to discuss our nutrition screening aspects.  I was happy to hear how we were quickly screening nutrition was up to her standards and appeared to be appropriate for what we were doing.

Amanda Perrin Photo

After we got the business out of the way and speaking with her further, I learned that Amanda and I had numerous similarities including our desire to help mothers during pregnancy and afterwards with addressing wellness of the whole body.  She even offers a service called Mommy and Baby Grow that is specially designed for mothers, in addition to her being a certified lactation specialist!  We discussed potentially pairing up in the future with our Bounce Back to Baby program so that she can answer the nutrition aspect that new mothers often ask us when participating as it is a vital part of pre and post birth.

So who knows what the future holds?   But she definitely agreed if we have patients that require a nutrition consult through the annual check-ups, she would be willing to be a resource for them, so we are very happy in making this relationship.

Just as a little plug too, Amanda offers one-on-one nutrition counseling, personalized weight loss programs, medical nutrition therapy for disease management and prevention, diet analysis with personalized nutrient preferences, group talks, grocery tours, home visits and much much more!  In addition, she specializes in digestive issues and diabetes and also shared with me her passion for addressing childhood obesity.  Feel free to check out her website at or contact her directly at 904-377-6190 or

If any comments, questions or concerns for myself feel free to comment below, contact your local area physical therapist and/or nutritionist or if you are in the St. Augustine, FL area contact us at or 904-516-8121.

Abdominal Bracing for Back Pain

If I only have time to give my patients with back pain one exercise, it would more than likely be abdominal bracing.  Abdominal bracing is working the muscle transversus abdominis which goes from the ribs to the pelvis and wraps from the front all the way around to the back.  It is often referred to as the natural back brace and hence why I find it so important with many patients because it helps support your spine.  In the beginning, I have patients starting with just laying on their back and gradually I progress with adding movement of the arms and/or legs, and then performing the bracing in sitting, standing, and finally with all functional movements such as squats, lunges, etc as the quality and endurance improves.  Check out the video above for details on how to initially perform abdominal bracing.

abdominal bracing

If any comments, questions or concerns feel free to comment below, contact your local area physical therapist or if you are in the St. Augustine, FL area contact us at or 904-516-8121.


How to Decrease Neck Pain with a “Simple” Chin Tuck

Neck pain?  Who hasn’t had neck pain?  Whether it was from looking down at the computer too much, sleeping in an awkward position or after an ab work-out, we have all had some sort of neck pain.  Often in the beginning, people just have temporary neck pain, with the pain being for the most part gone within a day or three.  But when people get more concerned is often when it is lasting for a week, month, 6 months etc.  When they should be most concerned though is the beginning of the pain, because at that point in time who knows how long it is going to last.  Often when you have that first experience of the pain, it goes away fairly quickly and then you notice it happening again 6 months later…and again 2 months later. The neck pain begins happening more frequently and perhaps taking more time to let it go…and other things might start to bother you like headaches or shoulder pain because you start compensating due to the pain in your neck without even knowing.

Good news though…you can help your neck for the long haul.  With the below exercise, effects will most likely be more immediate for those who have been experiencing pain the least amount of time, the longer you have been dealing with the problem the more time it may take to take effect.  With that being said, it is helpful and necessary for nearly all individuals with neck pain…

I call this exercise a chin tuck.  The reason for the doing this is you have a muscle that tends to work too much, called in short SCOM, and you have muscles that become too weak that rest on the front of the vertebrae in your neck, longus colli and longus capitis which are behind your trachea and esophagus.  We want to help those smaller weak muscles work better so that they are able to stabilize your neck.

To do so…the most important aspect when starting out is to lie on your back!  In this position gravity will help you, and your neck muscles will not be fighting to hold your head up.  Now there is a muscle that runs from just behind and below your ear to your breastbone and collarbone (this is the muscle I mentioned, called the SCOM), you should be able to feel for its edges as it feels like a big twizzler, maybe ¾” in diameter.  If you are having difficulty finding it, try turning your head to the left and feel for the muscle on the right side of your neck.  After finding this, simply rest your finger lightly on top of it.  (If you start feeling lightheaded, dizzy, double vision, sweating, nauseous, anything similar in nature, simply remove your hand from the muscle, and stay laying on your back until it subsides within a couple of minutes, usually less.  I have never had a patient experience these symptoms, but there are some sensitive structures in the area you will be resting your finger, so just in case!)

Next, I want you to nod your head like you are saying yes.  You should NOT feel the muscle that you have your fingers resting on, SCOM plump up/get bigger/contract.  If so, try to nod a little less.  Once you are able to perform without the SCOM plumping up, hold for 10 sec and repeat 10x (if able to without the muscle plumping).  Stop the repetition if the muscle plumps as you are no longer using the correct muscles, longus colli and capitis, but you are using the SCOM.  Try again and hold as long as you can, within the 10 seconds, before SCOM plumps.  If you are only able to hold less than 3 seconds before SCOM plumps, discontinue the chin tucks and try again later in the day.

The key is to get those muscles I mentioned, longus colli and capitus, to have more ENDURANCE not necessarily strength, so don’t try contracting harder but if 10sec holds 10 times are a breeze, trying holding for longer.  These muscles will be vital in making sure that your neck pain goes away and doesn’t return later down the line.  So check out the video to give you perhaps a better idea than just my words, and if there are any questions or concerns feel free to comment below or if you are in the St. Augustine area feel free to email me at and if not please contact your local physical therapist.


Sports Physical Therapy