The Inside Story Of Core Stability

Did you know that your core actually consists of muscles on the inside of your body- not just the 6 pack that we’d like to see on the outside?

The innermost muscles of the body are the foundation that 6 packs are built on- and not paying attention to the foundation can have disastrous consequences! Your pelvic floor, transverse abdominals and multifidus in the spine are the pre-requisites for safe and effective movement from a stable base.

The pelvic floor is a muscular sling made up of many different muscles- it has layers, like a basket weave type of arrangement.

It has several functions:

  1. Continence of bladder and bowel
  2. Pelvic and internal organ support
  3. Core stability of the pelvis and spine
  4. Control of intra-abdominal pressure
  5. Sexual function

I’m going to consider 3 and 4 today- 5 is the subject of many other websites- haha!

Some studies report that the PF is made up of up to 80% slow twitch fibres.

These are endurance oriented muscle fibres which means that recruitment and training needs to be geared towards an endurance training paradigm.

Sub maximal efforts- drawing on slowly

Long sustained holds

Often throughout the day

With lots of repetition

This provides the training stimulus for the low intensity core stability function of these muscles.

When the PF contracts, the transverses and multifidus also contracts- co-activation… like the 3 musketeers- one for all!

To control intra-abdominal pressure, you first need to understand that the PFM is the base of a pressurised capsule containing all of your internal organs- the diaphragm under the lungs is the lid and the abdominals make up the walls around the sides.

Any pressure inside the capsule is going to exert a downward force on the pelvic floor.

Weightlifters use this intra-abdominal pressure to help them generate greater spinal stiffness to move huge loads by lifting the pelvic floor, bracing inwards through the abs and then holding a big breath in.

The results of NOT lifting the pelvic floor can result in a “blow out”- google weightlifter rectal prolapsed to see what I mean.

Think of it as force matching- if I add a big load which is exerting downward pressure on the PF I have to increase the force of ctraction of the PF to “match” it.

You can watch the videos of a real time ultrasound assessment and beginner pelvic floor drills for more.- on my website-

From Pelvic Power, Eric Franklin 2002

About the Author

Kylie Patterson is the Clinical Director and Physiotherapist at Lifecare Prahran Market Pilates and holds a post graduate certificate in continence and pelvic floor rehabilitation.

26 Reasons Why You’re Not Losing Weight


Losing bodyfat is a simple calorie in calorie out equation right? Wrong! There are many factors that can stall your progress, most of all it comes down to keeping our hormones and metabolism happy to compliment the process but here is my list of hurdles you may be facing, and as usual, I am straight to the point and brutally honest.

1. You aren’t actually eating healthy
“Healthy” can be anything nowadays. Look through magazines and newspapers, online and peoples’ opinions healthy means something different to all. I actually saw a recipe in newspaper labeled healthy because it was a beef and potato pie made with lower GI white potato and wholemeal flour. Come on guys, healthy is absolutely squeaky clean in my book. If you are eating anything from a packet then you are eating empty dead food. Your diet should be primal: clean, natural, organic where possible, alive and unprocessed. It should of come straight from the animal or ground to your plate: not taken through a warehouse and mushed into a “low carb” “wholemeal” loaf or cured and processed into “chicken in a can”.

2. You haven’t even started to tweak your diet
This I come across a lot. People email me “Ive tried EVERYTHING! But cant lose bodyfat!” I then see their food diary and it’s a sham. By joining the gym and changing your breakfast to oats instead of keloggs Super K does not a sexy body make. If you have been eating the same for many years and make a slight change, yes, good on you, this is a start well done. But to achieve a physique you have never had before you must DO something you have never done before.

3.    You’re lacking enthusiasm
This I can completely relate to. I always train, I always eat clean, this I consider is a requirement of my lifestyle and career. But sometimes I fall off the enthusiasm wagon and feel very unmotivated. Sometimes I consider this to be healthy and I may need a break for a week. But other times I just need to keep going, remembering what I am aiming for or my goals. You may be lacking in motivation because you have no guidance (see point 21) or because you do not love what you are training and eating. I find I am unenthused if I am bored with my food and training – so reevaluate, get a new program and spend a creative day in the kitchen.

4.    You’re already at a healthy weight
This is a common problem I see, especially in this industry and esp in females. Let me get this straight: Female weren’t supposed to super lean, we should be sitting at a heavier bodyfat than men and we also find it harder to get leaner, why? Because we aren’t supposed to be! An average bodyfat range for females is between 18%-22%. My opinion is that a very active and healthy female can happily sit around 15%BF. Now BF figures aside, you may be trying to push a cart up a hill by trying to get lean when your body is sat at its happy homeostasis. Consider that you may already be at your bodies ideal weight.

5.    You’re cardio obsessed
You’re the chick on the treadmill aren’t you? Ever looked at the people in your gym on the cardio equipment? Well I guarantee you that this time next year they will all look the same. Of course low level movement can be beneficial for fat loss, but there is a fine line. Too much cardio can be detrimental to your strong and lean physique goals. So if you are doing 1-2 short HIIT sessions a week great, if you are doing more or god forbid doing endurance cardio forget about loosing body fat and maintaining muscle.

6.    You’re putting on muscle
Muscle weighs more than fat. Fact.

7.    You’re vegetarian or vegan
Now I know this is going to cause some backlash and controversy, and I cannot debate all the rights and wrongs in such a short article. But I believe you cannot achieve a strong, lean and healthy physique by not eating animal protein. If you are vegetarian because of animal cruelty then I completely understand, but there are ways we can be apart of the food chain in a humanly treated way; source your meat, fish and poultry from RSPCA approved farms, or from your local farmer that you know treat the animals with care. If you are Vego because you read somewhere that it is healthy, or your girlf Suzie is a Vego and she is skinny then think again, I suggest you do your research of the dangers of being vegetarian. A book a recommend to read is The Vegetarian Myth by Lierre Kieth.

8.    You’re stomach flora is rubbish
This is something close to home for me as I am currently rebuilding my gut flora. It is a long process but well worth the effort. Your gut is your center; it is your first line of defense for your immune system. If everything is in check and you still struggle to get lean, your gut flora is the issue. Many factors can disrupt the natural balance of your gut, these include antibiotics, stress, an acidic diet, alcohol, high inflammatory foods, sugar and/or high carb intake, toxic load(heavy metals/pesticides/hormones etc) steroids, and a diet high in fermented or moldy foods. I highly recommend working with a BioSignature Modulation Practitioner (Like Me!) a naturopath or a functional medicine practitioner to resolve any gut issues you may have.

9.    You’re kitchen cupboards are still full of junk
Now you are eating clean and primal! But you still haven’t cleaned out your cupboards of your favorite foods, whether they are your staples or just your fav cheat meals, get them out of the house to eliminate any temptations.

10. You still have bad habits
Having something sweet after dinner, just a protein bar at 3:30ish, its just a couple of glasses of wine on a Friday night, but nuts are healthy….just another handful. Take a look at your daily and weekly schedule and see where you are slipping up on a regular basis, be brutually honest with yourself, if it’s regular then it’s a habit. Explore ways you can swap these slipups for healthier options.

11. You’re eating too much
I am not a fan of the word “calorie”, and I would like to say it doesn’t matter, but unfortunately it does at times. There is a difference between eating enough and just eating too much. I don’t suggest weighing food as it cant create all sorts of problems, but I do suggest taking a look at your food intake and assess. Just because low carb is king, doesn’t mean that you can up you fats and protein and dose everything in coconut milk because it’s primal. Eat until you are 80%full.

12. You’re eating too little
Another one I can relate too! Last year I was competing at the beginning of the year, and after I competed I carried on eating next to very little wondering why I wasn’t getting leaner, I wasn’t even staying lean. In one week I nearly doubled my food and instantly got leaner and gained muscle. Now don’t run off and eat you way through the supermarket! But a good indication that you are not eating enough is how you feel during and after your workout, if you feel flat and the workout is a struggle, or you need a nap post workout the reassess your food intake.

13. You’re Lazy
This is fairly simple. If you are a lazy person you usually know it. Pull your finger out.

14. You’re not eating according to your metabolic type
Are you following a generic diet? one that your friend follows? or one that you got off the internet? Well I guarantee you that that diet only works for a fraction of the population. A diet is a finely tuned, individual and personalized program. We are not all the same. For example I am a carbo type, I metabolize carbs easily. Put me a high fat, high protein, low carb diet and I will gain body fat, feel weak and sluggish and be very, very grumpy! But isn’t high fat low carb what all the rage is about right now? Not for me and for many other people. If you are eating clean and not getting results then you are doing something wrong. Finding out what works for you can take time, or just a very experienced BioSig Practitioner! ;-)

15. You’re stressed
Stress is the cause of most people’s problems. Emotional stress, physical stress, financial stress, and relationship stress can all cause your body to produce cortisol, the fight or flight response that catabolizes muscle, worsens insulin resistance and promotes the storage of fat. Take a look at where you could be reducing or addressing your stress factors and see if they are holding you back.

16. Your eating for comfort not for fuel
We have an emotional connection with food, and that is fine, eating is primal enjoyment at its best. But instead of looking at your food as yummy, think of it as fuel. Fuel for the fire; fire that is your workout, your health, your sleep, your hormones, your gut. A couple of slices of fruit toast with jam may taste delicious, but does your body really NEED that? No, it needs clean protein, carbs and fats in balance to function at its optimal.

17. You’re not getting enough sleep
Sleep is a huge factor in body fat loss! If you are getting under 7hrs a night, walking up to an alarm, waking up before 7am AND loosing weight then you are very lucky! Chronic levels of sleep deprivation cause the release of cortisol and the biggest spike in HGH occurs in sleep so try to get to bed before 10pm and have 8hrs sleep a night.

18. You’re eating Neolithic foods
Now a lot of you know that I am a primal eater, paleo, hunter gather, caveman – call it what you like, its clean. And I encourage all of my clients to eat the same, but I understand that not everyone does or wants to and that’s cool with me. But I would like you to take a look at your diet and instead of being stuck and stubborn with what you believe, maybe try taking out some of your staples that may be holding you back. These pitfalls can be dairy, gluten, wheat & grains, processed foods, over consumption of fruit, table salt, and legumes. Some Paleo people eat diary because they can tolerate it and they still get results, but this isn’t the case for everyone. For a comprehensive collection of primal recipes and meal plans you can purchase my eBook cookbook “Pennys Primal Plate” from here:

[simpleecommcart_add_to_cart id="2" ]

19. You’re not doing strength training……at all
You are active yes, you train yes, but I don’t consider a walk around the park and a bodyattack class serious training. To get better results I highly recommend regular weight training in the gym.

20. You’re constantly trying to loose weight
This can tie in with point #4 but it can also be that you are constantly on a weight loss or fat loss plan. You are always trying to burn fat. What’s the rush? Take a step back; sit at a maintenance phase for a few months then try again.

21. You have no guidance in your journey
I truly believe that everybody should have a personal trainer, even if you’re the best there is, I believe you should always be learning from someone better and more knowledgeable than you. I have a trainer and I have plenty of physicians I work with that contribute to my health and fitness. That way whatever I am going through I have a support network to ask questions or to take me to the next level. It is very important to invest in quality people to guide you and rely on strong life mentors. I honestly believe that I would be stuck without these people in my life to guide me (Thanks guys, you know who you are!) Finding a Practitioner that can support you through fitness, diet, health, lifestyle, mental, emotionally and spiritually is key.

22. You’re lacking something
Imagine a car. A car with a missing wheel, with no petrol, with the wrong driver or with a faulty engine. How on earth is it going to get you to where you need to be? Your body is a finely tuned machine that requires the finest care and nutrients which you may be missing. See above point to employ a person that can assess your health and areas you need to work on.

23. You haven’t changed your training program
Have you been following the same program for a while now? Well if you train the same, you stay the same! All of my clients and my own programs are periodised and change every 4-6weeks. This is crucial to get results. Without a program you really are aiming blind.

24. You’re training like a girl
Come on guys, if you can check you facebook newsfeed in between a set your not working hard enough. I want sweat, blood and lots of tears on the gym floor.

25. You have a hormone imbalance
This is a huge factor that I cant really delve into without this ending in  another blog. But lets just say that next to your gut flora, hormonal balance is everything!

26. You’re making excuses
They only person accountable for your progress is you. Not your coach, or trainer, or partner, or boss, or friend, or training partner, or the weather, or a rough week. Take responsibility for your actions.

Well there you have it, when i started writing this blog i had titled it the Top Ten pitfalls, but as you can see once i got going i couldn’t stop! If you have any extras that you feel are holding you back i would love to hear from you. Good luck with your journey.

Yours in health, hormones and happiness,



About the Author


Penny Lomas is an Australian Health and Fitness Writer based in Melbourne. With extensive years in the Fitness Industry Penny is a Fitness Model and Athlete, Personal Trainer and Registered BioSignature Modulation Practitioner. As a Health and Fitness Magazine Columnist, Penny is a positive role model to many empowered females. Penny is also a 3xOxygen Magazine Cover-girl and Ambassador. She is renowned for her never-ending smile, positive attitude and passion to help others achieve their best life.