PreviMedica Exercise Specialist

Previ Fitness: Foam Roller Routine

Foam rolling is becoming a staple in various types of training programs due to its ability to increase mobility, range of motion, reduce knots, and improve overall quality of movement. Everyone from the seasoned athlete to the exercise novice can see benefits from utilizing foam rolling. They are inexpensive and almost every gym has them readily available. So pick one up and try the routine below, or ask our PreviMedica exercise specialists to show you how to utilize this versatile tool.

foam-roller-exercise-1-of-5-1Foam Roll – Gastrocnemius


Sit on the ground with your legs straight and calves on top of the roller. Using your arms press yourself up so that your buttocks are hovering over the ground.


From this starting position roll back and forth keeping knees locked. Focus the pressure on the back and sides of the calf just above the ankle. Roll for 30-60 seconds. To increase the pressure try stacking one leg on top of the other rolling only the bottom leg. To further increase the pressure, actively dorsiflex the toes (pull them toward your shin) to place the gastrocnemius on stretch.


Foam Roll – Soleus


Sit on the ground with your legs straight and calves on top of the roller. Using your arms press yourself up so that your buttocks are hovering over the ground.                               


From this starting position roll back and forth keeping knees unlocked. Focus the pressure on the back and sides of the calf just above the ankle. Roll for 30-60 seconds. To increase the pressure try stacking one leg on top of the other rolling only the bottom leg. To further increase the pressure, actively dorsiflex the toes (pull them toward your shin) to place the soleus on stretch.

foam-roller-exercise-1-of-5-3Foam Roll – Piriformis


Sit on a roller with your hands behind you on the floor. Lean to your left side taking your right hand off the ground. Place your left ankle on your thigh just above your knee. Keep your right foot on the floor.


From this starting position roll back and forth over the piriformis. Roll for 30-60 seconds then switch sides. Try altering your body position throughout to hit the piriformis at multiple angles.


foam-roller-exercise-1-of-5-4Foam Roll – IT Band


Lie on your side on the ground with the roller underneath the outside portion of your thigh. Place the same side elbow (or hand) and the opposite hand/foot on the ground.


From the starting position press up and roll back and forth over the outside portion of your thigh. It may help to work from the bottom of the hip to mid-thigh, reposition and then work from mid thigh to just above the knee versus using long broad strokes to hit the entire IT band. Roll 30-60 seconds and then switch legs. To increase the pressure take the opposite leg off the ground or stack it on top of the opposite leg.

foam-roller-exercise-1-of-5-5Foam Roll – Thoracic Spine


Lie on your back with a foam roller placed  in the middle of your back. Your feet should and buttocks should  be on the ground, with hands behind your head.


From this starting position, slowly extend the upper back. DO NOT extend the lower back; it may help to think of bracing the stomach to ensure that the movement comes from the upper back. Slowly work the roller up and down the back repeating the extension at the various spine levels (Cervical and Lumbar).

If you’re interested in a personalized fitness assessment and exercise plan, we encourage you to meet with one of our PreviMedica exercise specialists. Contact us at 855-773-8463 or by email at Happy foam rolling!

Previ Fitness: Choosing the Correct Size Stability Ball

Stability (or exercise) balls have become extremely popular for workouts and even to use while sitting at your desk! While they come with many different names, they are an inexpensive piece of equipment that can ramp up all of your exercise efforts. The instability caused by the round surface makes your entire body work harder to maintain balance no matter what exercise you are performing. However, most people are not aware that effectively performing stability ball activities requires the correct ball size.

There are several guidelines to use when selecting the proper stability ball. When sitting upright on a stability ball:

exercise ball

  • Feet should be flat on the floor – with weight evenly distributed.
  • Knees should be level or slightly lower than the pelvis – creating an angle of 90 degrees or slightly greater at the hips and knees (thighs parallel to ground or pointing down slightly).
  • Pelvis, shoulders, and ears should be in a vertical line – the body should not be leaning in any direction (acting as a counterbalance). Try lightly bouncing up and down it will usually produce this alignment.

Stability balls generally come in five different sizes, according to body composition. Height alone is not the only factor in determining ball size! Stability balls are flexible and therefore when selecting a ball, body weight is another important factor to consider.

A general guideline for using height to determine the correct diameter of the stability ball is as follows (this is assuming average body weight that is proportional to height):


If your body weight to height is larger than average, sitting on the stability ball will compress it more. To prevent this, try using the next larger ball size in order to maintain the 90-degree rule.  Another thing to keep in mind is that stability balls do have some adjustability to them. If the angles at the hips and knees are  greater than  or less than 90 degrees, some air can be released  or added to obtain the proper 90 degree leg angle.

You should remember that releasing air from the stability ball will cause the ball to flatten. When the ball has a larger contact area with the floor and the body it becomes more stable. This means that balancing exercises become easier and lose some of the desired effectiveness. Alternatively, adding  more air to the exercise ball will increase the difficulty of balancing and stabilizing, as the contact area decreases;  just be sure not to over inflate your ball (each manufacturer will have suggested guidelines). Additionally, stability balls tend to lose pressure with regular use due to stretching so keep an eye on the inflation level and adjust as necessary.

Now that you know how to pick the proper size stability ball you can feel confident making a selection!  They come in a wide variety of colors, not to mention they are great for increasing balance, strengthening the core and make every exercise (or sitting at your desk!) seem a little more fun. Happy exercising!

If you are interested in learning more about our exercise program and how it can complement your nutrition plan, please contact us at 855.773.8463 or email us at

Previ Fitness: Why Functional Fitness?

plank NataliIt seems the term “Functional Fitness” is the new catch phrase. You see it everywhere. So what really is this method of training?

Functional Fitness started out as a tool for Physical Therapists and Occupational Therapists to rehab clients. The concept being: instead of using gym machines, which are often isolating one muscle at a time, utilizing various muscles in both the upper and lower body while also stabilizing the core to focus on retraining a client’s muscle to move in the correct pattern. It trains muscles to work together to prepare them for daily tasks by simulating common movements that one might perform at home, work or in a sport. Many proponents say it is “working out for real life”.

While traditional workouts focus on building muscle it is important to remember movement patterns are vital.  Altered body mechanics and the resulting movement compensations often lead to injury.

How does this tie into Functional Fitness?

When designing a workout, instead of only considering the imminent injury or compensation and how to singularly fix it, our PreviMedica exercise specialists consider how the person’s entire environment might be contributing to these movement limitations or adaptations. As Dr.Gary Gray (considered the “father of function”), said in a recent post, “in my opinion, if the individual doesn’t have a past medical history or pain with movement, I would encourage you (the Personal Trainer, Physical Therapist etc.) to change the environment first.”

If you consider the person’s environment as a combination of lifestyle and the fitness program they prescribe to, do trainers regularly inquire about lifestyle factors? For example, does the person sit at a desk all day, wear high heels, or are they constantly on a telephone? Our PreviMedica  exercise specialists make it a point to view each client as a whole and take all of these (and more) daily activities into consideration.

In a study published in May of 2010 in “Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise”, researchers found that men who spent more than 23 hours a week watching TV and sitting in their cars had a 64 percent greater chance of dying from heart disease than those who sat for 11 hours a week or less. That statistic is distressing but what was astonishing was that the risks were relatively unrelated to how much the subjects exercised. Many of the subjects worked out often, but then sat for hours and, despite the intermittent exercise, their risk of heart disease increased. The study showed their workouts did not counteract the ill effects of prolonged sitting. In other words, adding the positive habit of exercise was not enough to counteract the negative effect of sitting for extended periods of time.

To truly make positive changes, our PreviMedica team looks at not just adding positive habits, but removing negative habits. In addition to working out, some suggestions for small sustainable changes are:

  • Getting up every hour and taking a brisk walk break,
  • Drinking plenty of water throughout the day
  • If your job allows, invest in a standing desk which increases your heart rate and in turn, burns more calories versus sitting.

Our PreviMedica exercise specialists conduct movement assessments at your first fitness session to isolate limitations and recommend exercises that focus on function and moving more authentically. This will help stop your body from compensating with inefficient movements which most often decrease performance and increases risk of injury. Every little bit helps in the quest for health!

To learn more about functional fitness and get your own assessment, schedule a consultation with an exercise specialist by contacting us at 855-773-8463 or emailing

Meet Your PreviMedica Exercise Specialist: Shawn

When you enroll with PreviMedica, you have the option of meeting with one of our exercise specialists. Together you will design a workout program tailored to your fitness level, goals, and interests. To learn more about the program, today we are chatting with our very own exercise specialist, Shawn!


Shawn has been with PreviMedica for just over a year and has led the design and implementation of our fitness program. She wins the contest for coolest office space and gets to come to work in sneakers every day. Living the life!

Hi Shawn! Thank you so much for chatting with us today. We have to say, your job as exercise specialist is one of the more unique roles here at PreviMedica. Meeting with a nutritionist through video conference is one thing, but doing an exercise session over video is a totally different ballgame! Tell us, what are the advantages to the client when meeting with you this way?

Hi Eunice, I am very excited to speak about the fitness program offered at PreviMedica.

The number one advantage to clients is accessibility. All a client needs is a laptop, space to back away from the computer, and enough clear floor space to perform a straight legged plank.

After a thorough assessment, a program is designed based on the clients’ preferences, also taking into consideration: exercise likes and dislikes, where one chooses to workout, available equipment, previous exercise experiences and individual goals.This allows our clients’ to receive the same exclusive programming one would receive when hiring an in home personal trainer.

Another benefit to participating in this program is the ability to take part from the comfort of your home.  No longer does working out at home mean popping in a mass produced DVD that doesn’t consider a person’s current fitness level. This often leads to injury, lack of results, frustration and ultimately quitting the program feeling as if one has failed and no exercise program will work.

Very cool! We can imagine that, for your clients, having their appointments with you from home also make things more comfortable. The gym can be an intimidating place, especially when you are first starting out! 

You mentioned doing an assessment for each client. What exactly does this entail? 

We pride ourselves in the fact that the fitness program we offer is 100% personalized.  Every plan is developed based on each individual’s current fitness level. To ensure we devise a safe and effective program an in-depth assessment which considers past injuries, postural dysfunctions, movement impairment syndromes, dynamic malalignments and altered muscle activation patterns is conducted.

There are many reasons people develop movement dysfunctions and inevitably they lead to altered mechanics and cumulative injuries. By providing our participants with a thorough movement assessment we can correct faulty patterns and help prevent future injuries. This also allows us to advance our programming in a tailored way ensuring clients have a strong foundation and understanding of correct exercise form, before progressing to more intensive fitness routines.

I’m sure you are thinking “this has to be a tedious, time consuming process”. Fortunately, all of the assessments performed take minimal time, while still allowing our exercise specialists to get a complete picture of where each client can safely begin their fitness journey.

I’ve seen you in action and it’s really interesting to watch you assess and talk your clients through the program. Definitely something that I think would be beneficial for all of our clients to experience. With the technology aspect of it, are there any challenges that you’ve had to work through?

The biggest challenge I have found working with clients via video versus in person is the constant unknown. Whether it is finding the correct camera angle or an enthusiastic exercise loving pet, every appointment is a new and exciting challenge! This has definitely enhanced my ability to “think outside of the box” in order to design personalized programs for every client.

Hmmm we could be on to something there… Maybe an exercising with your pet series! Only half kidding. 

Some of your clients may not be aware, but aside from being an exercise specialist, you are also a registered dietitian AND a chef. A bit of an overachiever, huh? 🙂

Tell us the story of how you got all those letters after your name. Which came first? Why did you decide to do all three?

Yes, I am an exercise specialist, Registered Dietitian, and a professional chef. I love all three disciplines. Each offers a different focus which I enjoy. Combining exercise and dietetics allow me to express my scientific side, while chefing allows me to express my artistic side.

I began my educational journey pursuing a Bachelors of Science in Culinary Nutrition from Johnson & Wales University this degree seemed to combine both the scientific and artistic aspects I enjoy. Upon completing my degree, I pursued my Registered Dietitian licensure. While utilizing both these disciplines I had clients’ asking about exercise so I decided to pursue Personal Training and then additionally Corrective Exercise. My licensure in these professions allows me to provide clients with a whole mind body approach to health and wellness which I strongly believe in. Ultimately, each of these occupations is about helping people become healthier and happier and that is why I love my job.

Yes! It’s amazing to see how those three disciplines come together to support and encourage our clients. I know that you are mostly focused on exercise as part of our PreviMedica team, but being able to offer all three of those services within our program is really an advantage to the patient.  

Moving on.. people are always curious to know how experts in different fields lead their own lives. For example, what does a dietitian eat? Or what is a chef’s favorite meal to cook? Along those lines, as an exercise specialist, what kind of exercise do you enjoy the most? 

That is very true often people assume dietitians eat only healthy foods, chefs eat only exotic foods, and personal trainers lift weights for hours.  As an exercise specialist, I often train people very early in the morning. Nobody wants a tired coach, so I must work out before I train to wake up and get my blood pumping. That is why quick high intensity training is my favorite. Minute drills or Tabata style training gets the job done offers as much variety as your imagination can provide and never gets boring. I am not a person who can run on a treadmill for an hour I find it too boring. Living in Florida I also love running on the beach or swimming (often with my dog), bike riding, rollerblading, really any outdoor activity.

We are also big fans of HIIT! Looking forward to seeing more of your quick workout plans on our Facebook page and blog. 

Well this being a team of nutrition nerds, you know that we have to ask about food. Let’s throw it back to when you were growing up, what was your favorite food as a kid?

Hmmm favorite food…. That is difficult. I grew up with a mother who was a fantastic cook and would make everything from comfort food to Classical French, picnics in the park to dinner parties. I loved all her food. Which is why, at age 7 I decided I could make rice pudding. Unfortunately I did not understand the term “water bath”-to put ramekins in shallow water to promote even heating- so I proceeded to pour the rice pudding into the pan of water and basically made rice pudding soup. It was a rough start to my culinary career!

Hilarious! It seems to be that many of us come from families of foodies. Must be why we ended up here! 

Absolute best meal you have had recently? 

Ceviche made by a Peruvian woman -it was spicy, slightly sweet, sour and slightly bitter –perfectly balanced and every ingredient was the epitome of freshness. DELICIOUS! That complimented by grilled peaches with a dollop of homemade mascarpone and a drizzle of reduced aged fig and balsamic reduction. YUM….you are making me hungry!

Um, remind us to find out where you got ceviche and those fancy peaches later. Time for the lightning round:

Spicy or mild? 

Spicier the better

Coffee or tea? 

Coffee in AM herbal tea at night

Beach or mountains? 


TV or book?  


When working out: music or silence? 

Music -unless outside then I enjoy the peacefulness of nature. 

Pirate or ninja? 


Thank you so much for sharing with us today, Shawn! Ninjas are more fit and all, so I can see why you chose them. 

No dog or cat question?

Oh, we assumed you would say dog since you mentioned your dog twice up there. But ok… cat or dog?

I ride the fence- prefer dogs but all the cats I’ve had as companions to my dogs have acted like dogs. So, hard to say… Don’t say anything. I might get beat up! That’s like saying you like Yankees and Red Sox.

Oh no worries… We won’t tell!

If you are interested in learning more about our exercise program and how it can complement your nutrition plan, please contact us at 855.773.8463 or email us at

Previ Fitness: Summer Total Body Routine

Summer is right around the corner and that means plenty of time outdoors! Try this quick total body routine to tone up and feel your best this summer.

Stability Ball Dumbbell Press

Targets: This exercise works the Abs, arms, chest and shoulders. Your legs will even benefit from their role of stabilizing the body.

Push Up and Row:

Targets: This exercise works all the muscles of the upper body: pecs, back, biceps, triceps and abs. Your legs will even benefit from their role of stabilizing the body.

Wide Stance Plank with Leg Lift:

Targets: This exercise works the abs, obliques, delts and hips. While the added leg lift component strengthens the glutes, hamstrings, and hip flexors.

Elbow to Knee Crunch:

Targets: This exercise targers the internal and external obliques and abdominals.

Perform this routine using dumbbells heavy enough to allow you to keep correct form. Perform 12-20 repetitions and complete 1-3 sets with 30 seconds- 1 minute of rest between exercises.

If you are interested in learning more about our exercise program and how it can complement your nutrition plan, please contact us at 855.773.8463 or email us at