Moving Well Podcast

The Moving Well Podcast gives you fitness advice for efficient, effective and pain free exercise.
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Now displaying: 2016
Nov 19, 2016

In this episode, Janet and Nikki chat with Molly Courtney, a Certified Health Coach, Personal Trainer, Weight Management Specialist and diet rebel about why diets don't work and what does when it comes to improving health or losing weight - should that happen to be your goal.

They cover:

  • The difference between health coaching and getting a meal plan
  • Weight bias and how it can be counterproductive in helping clients achieve health goals
  • Why outcome based goals can delay progress
  • How to successfully implement changes in your lifestyle without feeling deprived, frustrated or miserable
  • Strategies to start loving yourself today and not 10 pounds from now

Additional resources and links mentioned:

Weight bias quizzes

Studies supporting weight bias

Studies supporting why diets don't work

Links mentioned

About Molly Courtney

Molly is a weight-neutral Certified Health Coach, Personal Trainer, Weight Management Specialist, and Diet Rebel. She has a degree in Exercise Science with extensive training and education around behavior change, nutrition, and human performance.

She is the creator of the L-O-V-E Method, a self-discovery approach that empowers people to find and live by their own definition of health and reach their goals with LOVE (Yes, this is absolutely possible!).

To work with Molly and find out more about how to become a diet rebel, visit her site at

Nov 10, 2016

In this episode, Janet and Nikki talk with Jenna Etzel, National Instructor Trainer for Les Mills US.

They discuss the pros and cons of teaching free style group fitness classes vs pre choreographed ones and the difference between taking a training that gives you a base level of knowledge and one that teaches you how to run a class.

They also chat about how mindset can influence your success as an instructor and how to avoid injury, overtraining and burnout.

Finally, they offer sage wisdom on how to find acceptance that no matter where you go or how long you teach, there will always be problems with the microphone.

Links mentioned

Take a les mills training:

Jenna Etzel is an ACE, AFAA and Les Mills Certified Group Fitness Instructor.  She graduated from W.S.U. with a degree in Psychology and a minor in Spanish, which has oddly come in handy frequently in Fitness!  Jenna currently works for Les Mills US as a National Instructor Trainer and Assessor Lead, teaching new Instructors and Assessors how to become certified/qualified in an effort to work toward our global mission of creating a fitter planet.  Jenna currently teaches Les Mills BODYSTEP®, BODYVIVE®, CXWORX®, BODYPUMP® and Trains CXWORX®, BODYSTEP® and Born To Move®.

Jenna loves helping people get where they are trying to go, both in a classroom setting as Group Fitness participants and in a Training environment with new Instructors.  She loves to study and apply learning strategies that help people learn new skills quickly in a supportive environment.  It is paramount to her that people leave each class or Training experience feeling safe, successful and proud of what they've accomplished so they'll be willing to continue learning and growing.

Jenna loves to write and to laugh with friends and family.  She finds much inspiration in seeing how other people overcome adversity and aspires to live and work from a place of helping others.  She believes each of us CAN change the world.


Nov 3, 2016

In this episode, Janet and Nikki talk with Ada Wells, Doctorate of Physical Therapy and sports rehab expert about how to reduce your risk of pain and injury when playing rotational sports (e.g. golf, tennis, running).

They cover myths and misconceptions about training for rotational sports, core control versus core strength (plus why you need both) and the most common causes of injury in rotational sports.

Additionally, they discuss when to stretch or stabilize something and what parts of the body need stability and mobility to increase power and decrease pain.

Areas that typically need more stability:

  • Foot
  • Lower back (lumbar spine)

Areas that typically need more mobility

  • Ankle
  • Hip
  • Midback (thoracic spine)

*The shoulder girdle typically needs both mobility and stability

Links Mentioned:

Tutorial of Ada's favorite foundational exercises for sports training:

Ada Wells, PT, DPT, PMA®-CPT, Level 3 TPI Golf Medical Professional

Owner of ProBalance, Inc.

Ada Wells, DPT, PMA®-CPT, is a Physical Therapist, PMA® Certified Pilates Teacher, a Polestar Pilates Educator, and a Level 3 Titleist Performance Institute Golf Medical Fitness Professional. As owner of ProBalance, Inc. in the San Francisco Bay Area since 2004, she has leveraged her experience as a movement practitioner/physical therapist for over 22 years to develop rehab and injury prevention programs for everyone ranging from corporate desk jockeys to golfers. In addition, she is an educator for Polestar Pilates, the highly respected comprehensive teacher training program developed by and for physical therapists and fitness Pilates professionals.

Dr. Wells has provided her services to celebrity golfers at the American Century Golf Championship nationally televised on NBC since 2003 and has been part of the volunteer Wellness Team at the US Open Golf Championships since 2012. She has been a guest instructor on the Athletic Training Channel of Balanced Body® Podcasts and has presented nationally and internationally for Pilates on Tour®.

She can be found online at:

Website: www.ProBalance.TV

YouTube: ProBalanceTV

Twitter: ProBalanceTV

Facebook Groups: Pilates 4 Golfers

Linked in Moderator: Pilates for Physical Therapy & Rehabilitation; Pilates for Sports Conditioning & Athletic Performance

Oct 27, 2016

In this episode, Nikki and Janet sit down with physical therapist, certified Pilates teacher and professional yoga therapist, Paige Raffo to talk about the transition to coming back from an injury, so you don't get re-injured.

They cover:

  • How to know if you need to see a medical professional for your pain
  • The different types of pain and injury
  • The typical process of transitioning from rehab back to regular exercise
  • The difference between rehab and post rehab + the roles of the medical professional and fitness professional
  • How to create a conversation between the medical professional and the fitness professional to get the best possible outcome for the patient/client
  • How to find the right physical therapist to meet your needs

Links mentioned:

Soreness podcast with Janet and Nikki
Paige's website

Paige Raffo, PT, OCS, PYT, CPT, OMT

Paige Raffo is a licensed Physical Therapist and board certified Orthopedic Clinical Specialist (OCS). She earned her BS in Health Science from St. Mary's College of CA and Master's degree from Samuel Merritt University, CA. She is owner and a practitioner of integrative physical therapy in Bellevue WA.

Special training includes certified Pilates instructor (BASI), Professional Yoga Therapist (PYTI), and Orofacial Myofunctional Therapist (AOMT). She is a voracious learner engaging a wide variety of continued education courses related mind-body manual and movement therapies yearly.

Paige enjoys the challenge and reward coming from working with clients from a whole body perspective. She has special interest in hypermoblity, spine care, women’s health, orofacial and airway health. It is her passion to educate not only her clients but colleagues on the importance of holistic physical therapy and wellness.

She is active and gains great joy from spending time outside of work with her family and friends, playing in the outdoors, cooking and eating. To learn more about Paige, please visit her website at

Oct 20, 2016

In this episode, Nikki and Janet chat with integrative wellness practitioner Heather Umberger, M.S. counseling about the importance of play in movement and how play can be used as a tool to more effectively reach your fitness goals.

They discuss how play can improve confidence and create an experience that keeps you wanting to return to an activity (like exercise) rather than avoid it.

Heather explains how we've been evolved to use play as a tool to grow learn and develop. She offers tips for how you can incorporate play into your fitness program (even if you're super linear).

Benefits of playful movement:

  • It helps you work harder without the same level of discomfort
  • More self confidence
  • Improved mental outlook and decrease stress levels
  • Less self consciousness - helps you take more risks
  • Studies have found when movement is viewed as play and not exercise, then you're more likely to make healthy food choices
  • More creativity and productivity 

Examples of playful movement and fitness:

  • Games (e.g. tag, adult frogger)
  • Nia
  • Laughter Yoga

Three ways to bring play into any workout:

  • Do something different (in exercise or during a part of your day)
  • Go outside and explore, move, walk or go to a playground
  • Explore what kind of play experiences are in your community (e.g. Nia, Laughter Yoga club, a new fitness class)


Heather Umberger offers innovative and effective mind/body experiences to improve overall well-being that are a result of her master’s degree in counseling, facilitation of the PSYCH-K® process 13 years in the bodywork field, as well as multiple other trainings.

She’s trained in advanced bodywork methods including trigger point, myofascial release, cranial-sacral, lymphatic, Orthobionomy®, Trager®, Berry Method®, Integrative Reflexology®, Nurturing the Mother® fertility/prenatal/postpartum, Infant Massage USA®, Laughter Yoga, the MELT Method®, and Nia. 

Her clients regularly meet goals such as increased fertility and positive prenatal experience; pain relief (from issues stemming from arthritis, fibromyalgia, pre/post-surgical procedures, headaches, neck/back/shoulder, sports injuries); relief from stress, anxiety and depression; athletic pursuit; graceful aging; management of symptoms with neurological disorders; and wellness. 

You can find more about Heather and her classes, movement and massage services in Chesterfield, Virginia at

Oct 13, 2016

In this episode, Nikki chats with Kyria Sabin Waugaman, director of Fletcher Pilates International.

They briefly discuss the history of Fletcher Pilates, Ron Fletcher’s philosophy of movement and how the Fletcher towel work can be used in post rehab and performance settings.

Who was Ron Fletcher?

Ron Fletcher studied directly under Joe and Clara Pilates and is responsible for introducing and popularizing the Pilates Method in the West Coast.

Ron is known for having evolved the Pilates Method while maintaining the intention of the work. With Clara Pilates permission, he brought the work to standing and added elements of barre to enhance the function of the exercises. He also developed the Fletcher Towelwork® to improve integrity strength and balance in the upper body.

Using the Towelwork® to improve performance

The Towelwork® progresses movement from basic to complicated patterns. It starts with stabilization exercises to teach clients how to move from their backs and from a place of symmetry.

Depending on the activity, the application of the Towelwork® will vary, but it gives everyone a sense of strength, flexibility, ease of movement and taking the Pilates principles all the way up through the body.

For many people who play a one sided sport like tennis or baseball, there’s an instability or imbalance in the body that can be corrected with the Towelwork®. Additionally, it can teach dancers how to perform upper body movement from a place of strength and ease.

Fletcher Towelwork® for breast cancer

One of the applications of the work is opening the front of the body. In the case of chest wall surgeries like mastectomies, lumpectomies and open heart surgery, there’s a tendency to close down in the chest particularly when there is scar tissue or pain involved.

This causes changes in upper body posture and compromises the stability of the shoulder girdle. The Towelwork® helps expand the chest wall, improve shoulder stability and correct upper body posture.

Fletcher Pilates teaching philosophy

Ron approached every body from an idea of movement potential – not limitations.

He was all about helping people embody their bodies and he often talked about how we have this give or take, 70 trillion cells that we get to move through life with. He believed that we should treat each person, no matter where they are in their lives as a whole being, not just as someone who is recovering from something.

Links Mentioned:

Fletcher Pilates Website:

Fletcher Pilates in Seattle with Teresa Chikoore:

Kyria Sabin, PMA®-CPT

Kyria Sabin directs Fletcher Pilates® and its affiliated professional Pilates educational program, the Fletcher Pilates® Program of Study.

A graduate of Duke University and a licensed massage therapist, she initiated her studies with Ron Fletcher in 1991 and founded Body Works Pilates studios in Tucson, Arizona in 1993. Recognized by Ron Fletcher as a Master Teacher and Disseminator, Kyria developed the Pilates Program at the University of Arizona where she serves as Adjunct Faculty. She is an international presenter and has served on the national boards for the Pilates Method Alliance, The University of Arizona School of Dance and the Foundation for Expanding Horizons.

You can learn more about Kyria and Fletcher Pilates at


Sep 29, 2016

In this episode Janet and Nikki discuss practical exercise guidelines and precautions for osteoporosis and osteopenia.

They cover the clinical definition, populations who are at risk and ways to increase bone density and reduce the risk of fractures and injury.

Areas of the body most vulnerable to bone loss:

- Hips

- Wrists

- Spine

Contraindications for osteoporosis: 

- Loaded flexion

- Flexion with rotation

- Rotation

Exercise suggestions for osteoporosis and osteopenia:

- Moderate impact exercise to load the bones (weight training, walking, ect)

- Thoracic extension

- Balance and coordination training to reduce the risk of falling

Links Mentioned:

Sherri Betz osteoporosis article

Aug 19, 2016

When it comes to the consideration of alignment, the fitness world tends to be divided.

Some professionals are concerned with the act of getting people to move more, while others believe that you can't really get the benefit of moving without being in or close to ideal alignment.

So how much does alignment really matter?

In this episode, Janet and Nikki discuss how to find a balance between training for good alignment and function and moving for recreation and fun.

They cover how load affects how much alignment maters (higher load = a higher risk of injury, so alignment matters more) as well as what do you if you have any underlying structural issue that stops you from being able to access that ideal alignment.

They also discuss Dr. Jonathan Hoffman's model of how to create balanced movement (fit, foundation and fun) from his book Being Fit: A collection of essays on achieving a healthy, active lifestyle in the modern world.

Jul 17, 2016

The phrase "No pain. No gain" has been around since the 80's, but is it true?

In this episode, Janet and Nikki discuss the science and myths of DOMS or delayed onset muscle soreness.

Looking at the data, they cover:

- The definition of DOMS

- Common causes of DOMS (surprisingly, it's not necessarily caused by working hard)

- How DOMS affects performance in the areas of strength, cardiovascular endurance and flexibility

- The relationship between DOMS and sport/fitness related injury

Episode Length: 25 minutes

Listen on iTunes: 

Jul 16, 2016
In this episode, Janet, Nikki & Rebecca discuss the ins and outs of diastasis recti or the separation of the abdominal wall that is often associated with pregnancy, but can occur as a result of other things. They cover:
  1. The clinical definition of a diastasis recti
  2. Causes of a diastasis recti
  3. How to identify a diastasis recti
  4. How to reduce your risks of getting a diastasis recti during preganncy
  5. The most effective ways to do core training to reduce a diastasis recti
  6. What you shouldn't do if you have a diastasis recti
  7. How to do core training if you've had mesh put in or a surgical procedure to correct a diastasis recti
Also covered in this episode is the topic of waist trainers and corsets and if there are any physical benefits to using them as well as the difference between a medically recommended corset and one that is used for cosmetic purposes.  
Jul 16, 2016
In this episode, Janet and Nikki discuss why recovery is a key component of a well rounded and effective fitness program and how overtraining or not taking enough recovery can decrease your fitness. They cover: - Signs of overtraining - Options for active recovery - The science of recovery and hypertrophy - What actually makes you sore + the science of DOMS - The effect of stress on the nervous system and what that means for your workout  
Jul 16, 2016
In this episode, Janet and Nikki discuss how to maintain and create effortless, easeful posture. You’ll learn how to define good posture, what is a neutral pelvis and neutral spine and how to find good standing and seated posture. You’ll also gain some insight on how furniture can influence your posture and pain patterns and what you can do to modify your environment to support better posture and alignment. Janet and Nikki also discuss common culprits in postural deviations and exercises that you can to do improve posture and mobility. Mentioned Links: Sitting Tutorial Exercises to improve upper back mobility & alignment Exercises to improve lower body mobility & alignment  
Jul 16, 2016

In this podcast, Janet and Nikki discuss if it’s okay to butt wink and the difference between training for a functional movement squat and a loaded squat. They answer common squatting questions like if you should squat past 90 degrees and if it’s okay for the knees to go over the toes.

Causes of restricted range of motion and pain during squats:

- Lack of dorsiflexion/tight ankles

- Tight hips

Corrective to improve squatting mechanics:

- Foam rolling calves and shins

- Calf stretching - Hand knee rocking

- Figure 4 stretch (both neutral and tucked pelvis)

- Core Strength Links Mentioned:

Foam rolling video for exercises to improve dorsiflexion

How to do a plank

Jul 16, 2016

In this podcast, Janet, Nikki and Rebecca of Soma Pilates discuss how can you measure your fitness beyond the number on the scale and or what you look like. They discuss major fitness benchmarks, fitness guidelines and how much you should really workout. The 5 components of fitness - Body composition - Muscular strength - Muscular endurance - Flexibility - Cardiovascular endurance The difference between muscular strength and muscular fitness Muscular strength is the amount of force a muscle can produce to lift a weight one time. Muscular endurance is the amount of force you can produce over a period of time. You typically train for muscular force by using heavier weights and lower reps (usually under 6 reps. Conversely, you’d train for muscular endurance with lighter weight and higher reps. However, any strength training will affect both muscular strength and endurance. How to train for each component of fitness (based on ACSM) Cardio: 150 minutes a week of moderate exercise or 3 times a week for 20 minutes a session for more intense cardio Muscular strength & endurance: Lift 2-3 times a week, focusing on all muscle groups Flexibility: Can be used as dynamic stretching or movement throughout a workout or can be used as static stretching (30 seconds or more) preferably at the end of a workout to preserve power. Links mentioned: Soma blog on performance related injuries

Jul 16, 2016
  Oftentimes, new moms hear about all the things they can’t do once they find out they’re pregnant or with a new baby at home. In this episode, Nikki Naab-Levy talks with prenatal and postpartum fitness expert Rebecca Crouse-Roman about the things you should work on when you’re pregnant. 3 things to focus on during and after your pregnancy 1) Shoulder stability and strength After you’ve had your baby, your going to use your arms. A lot. You’ll be holding him or her while breast feeding, pushing strollers, lifting bulky bags and transferring car seats. Talking the time to create strong stable shoulders during pregnancy will decrease your risk of shoulder injury and pain and help prepare you for the new loads your arms will experience after you’ve had your baby. Some examples of good arm exercises include targeting the rotator cuff and doing bicep curls and rows with an emphasis on good shoulder alignment, over load. 2) Walking Walking is one of the best exercises you can do when you’re pregnant, because it’s low impact and incredibly functional. Also, after you’ve had your baby, you’re going to spend a lot of time chasing your kiddo and he or she starts crawling and walking. 3) Squatting Squatting is one of the most functional ways to build lower body strength and as your pregnancy progresses it is going to be more challenging to move around. Additionally, after you’ve had your baby, you will oftentimes have to get out of chairs while holding your child, so it’s ideal to have the leg strength to be able to do this unassisted. Links mentioned: Rotator cuff exercises Pelvic/hip stability exercises Pelvic floor podcast with Nikki & Janet Book a session with Rebecca
Jul 16, 2016
Listen on iTunes Listen on Stitcher What is the pelvic floor? The pelvic floor is a hammock of muscles at the bottom of our pelvis that is responsible for keeping our organs from falling out. Both men and women have one. Signs of pelvic floor dysfunction… - incontinence (peeing when you workout) - lack of sexual satisfaction - pelvic organ prolapse Causes of pelvic floor dysfunction… - Childbirth - Muscle imbalance (too much or too little tone) The pelvic floor, breath and core… On the inhale, the diaphragm contracts decreasing pressure in the abdominal area and the pelvic floor relaxes. On the exhale, the diaphragm relaxes increasing pressure in the abdominal area and the pelvic floor and abdominals (TVA) contract. When this doesn’t happen we’re more prone to getting core dysfunction, back pain and pelvic floor problems. How to train the pelvic floor and should we do Kegels? There was a Cochran review (read gold standard, evidence based) study about Kegels that found that Kegels are effective to for training the pelvic floor. Doing a Kegel with other exercises could potentially yield an even better result, but this hasn’t been studied yet. Cuing for a Kegel:
  1. Imagine your pelvic floor like a 10 story building.
  2. On the inhale, let the elevator drop to the basement.
  3. On the exhale, lift the pelvic floor up to level 2 or 3 out of 10.
  4. On the inhale bring it back to the basement.
This can be done lying on your back or sitting. If you’re having prolapse or a lot of pelvic floor dysfunction, it may be easier to do while lying down. If you have a hyperonic pelvic floor focus on letting it turn off. If you have a hypotonic pelvic floor, you want to focus on turning it on. How to do a Kegel in a squat: The highest pelvic floor activation is at the bottom of the squat, so you can think about engaging your pelvic floor as you go down and releasing it as you stand up out of the squat. Links Mentioned: Dr. Bruce Crawford Pfilates Method Judith Aston Pelvic Floor Blog Janet’s studio for pelvic floor training (ask for Angela or Janet)
Jul 16, 2016
Running has many health benefits such as increased stamina and metabolism. However, it is also associated with a high rate of injuries. In this episode, Janet and Nikki discuss: - The common causes of running injuries like IT band syndrome and plantar fasciitis. - Training strategies for both new and advanced runners that can be used to avoid injury, including the 10% rule, cross training and active recovery - Specific exercises and stretches that you can do to improve hip and upper back mobility, alignment and performance.  Links Mentioned Running Resources: Couch to 5k Jeff Galloway - Run Walk Method John “The Penguin” Bingham Stability & Mobility Exercises for Runners: Hip stability exercises Bird dog, book openers & bridges Hip flexor stretches