5 Simple Tips to Improve Your Sleep

Lack of Sleep & Sports Injuries

Huw Darnell – Accredited Exercise Physiologist AFR

The importance of sleep for optimal human function and sporting performance has been well established, however it is often an area of performance athletes execute poorly. In a recent study Milewski et al 2014, explored the effects of chronic lack of sleep and it’s effect on sports injuries.

They were able to show over a 21 month period that athletes who experience a chronic lack of sleep, i.e. getting less than 8 hours on average per night have were shown to increase their chance of injury by 1.7 times compared to those who get 8 hours or more.

Lack of sleep also manifests itself into decrease central nervous system and cognitive performance, affecting memory and motor learning, it decreases the immune systems defenses, which increases susceptibility to illness and infection, it decreases muscle glycogen resynthesis and therefore can effect energy stores and finally it can affect muscle recovery by decreasing protein synthesis.

Sleep #1_cr

Whether you are an athlete or not you should aim to get 8 hours of sleep per night. Below is pre-bed checklist that can help to maximize your sleep:

  • Have a bed time routine: warm shower, brush teeth, regular sleep and wake time and don’t view bright computers, phones or TV’s within 30 minutes of going to bed as it can disrupt your sleep.
  • Perform high intensity intense training earlier in the day if possible
  • Get your night time nutrition right: don’t consume stimulants from midday onwards e.g. gym pre-workout, coffee, caffeinated teas, avoid eating heavy meals for dinner and avoid consuming large quantities of fluid or any alcohol in the evening.
  • Have sleep friendly bedroom: have a comfy bed that for sleeping only, this means no phones or computers in bed. Your bedroom should also be as dark, quiet and cool as possible
  • Relax, don’t stress: abdominal breathing, visualisation and progressive muscle relaxation are advanced techniques that can be used to help relax the mind and the body before bed. I also find performing a brain dump, where you write all your thoughts down on a clear sheet of paper can help keep a clear mind for bed.


1. Picture from Yann Le Meur http://ylmsportscience.blogspot.com.au
2. Milewski et al (2014). Chronic Lack of Sleep is Associated with Increased Sports Injuries in Adolescent Athletes. Journal Pediatric Orthopaedics, 34 (2):129-133.

Muscle up for MND is Back!

Muscle-up-for-MND---LED-screen-2015 (1)-1

Get ready to have the most fun you have had while exercising!

• Support 300 terminally ill Queenslanders
• Break a world record

Aspire Fitness & Rehabilitation and Queensland Sports Medicine Centre are again proudly supporting the MND and Me Foundation by entering a Team into the “Muscle Up for MND” event supporting Queenslanders living with Motor Neurone Disease (MND). Just like last year the aim is to invade the Gabba in an attempt to break the World Record for the Largest Personal Training Circuit Class.

The current World Record is 2061 people, held by Guy Leech.

On Saturday 7 March 2015 you get the chance to:

• Be a sporting superstar by running out on to the world-famous Gabba for a training session
• Rub shoulders with some of Australia’s elite athletes while training
• Brag that you are a world record holder

Of course by participating we also get the chance to show our support for Queenslanders impacted by this terminal and debilitating disease.


During the one hour session (8.45am – 9.45am) we will rotate together through 10 different stations set up around the ground – including an AFR & QSMC boxing station. Exercises at each station will go for 4 minutes in duration and cater for different fitness levels allowing everyone to Muscle Up. To participate all that is asked is that you donate your regular training fee (or a minimum of $20). All donations over $2 are tax deductible.

This is a great opportunity for us to come together have some fun, while helping a very worthy cause. When you register you will be asked join a team – just select AFR & QSMC.

To register and for more information click here



Please come and help us break the World Record for the Largest Personal Training Circuit Class and support 300 terminally ill Queenslanders!

QSMC and AFR are supporting the “MND and Me Foundation” by sponsoring an exercise station and entering a team into the “Muscle Up for MND” event to assist Queenslanders living with Motor Neurone Disease (MND). 

The aim is on Saturday 15 March for 3,000 people to invade the Gabba in an attempt to break the World Record. The current World Record is 2061 people, held by Guy Leech and we hope to smash it!

This is more than an event, it is an experience! How often do you get the chance to:

  • Be a sporting superstar by running out on to the world-famous Gabba for a training   session
  • Rub shoulders with some of Australia’s elite athletes while training
  • Brag that you are a world record holder


Of course by participating we also get the chance to show our support for Queenslanders impacted by this terminal and debilitating disease.

The World Record Attempt

During the one hour session (9.00am – 10.00am) we will rotate together through different stations set up around the ground. Exercises at each station will go for 4 minutes in duration and cater for different fitness levels allowing everyone to Muscle Up. To participate all that is asked is that you donate your regular training fee (or a minimum of $20). All donations are tax deductable.

This is a great opportunity for us to have some fun, while helping a very worthy cause.  For more information about MND and the MND and Me Foundation check out this link.

When you register you will be asked the name of the group you are associated with.  Please enter Aspire Fitness & Rehabilitation.

To register and for more information please visit: www.muscleupformnd.com.au

Yours in Fitness

Queensland Sports Medicine Centre & Aspire Fitness & Rehabilitation

What is Motor Neurone Disease?

MND is a terminal condition where the motor neurone nerve cells that control your voluntary muscles progressively die.  It leads to the paralysis of limbs and the ability to speak, swallow and breathe. The mind and the senses usually remain intact. The disease is rapid and debilitating.

The latest MND statistics are out and it is not good.

In 2011 there were 790 MND related deaths in Australia.

  • One death every 11 hours
  • One new diagnosis every 11 hours
  • Average life expectancy 27 months
  • 90% of cases completely random
  •  A cure is yet to be found
  • An effective treatment is yet to be found
  • It can strike anyone at anytime


The MND and Me Foundation was formed in January 2011 to raise awareness of MND and its impact on the community. MND and Me Foundation saw the desperate need to assist people living with MND and their families to maintain their independence and quality of life for as long as possible. The Foundation contributes financially toward research into finding a cure, but until one is found, the major objectives are to ensure those who have to live with this terrible disease and their families are supported by the Foundation both in financial and non-financial ways.

The MND and Me vision is to create a quality of life for people living with MND which is not compromised by their diagnosis – a life with dignity and independence.

In 2010, Scott Sullivan was told he had Motor Neurone Disease and his life expectancy was just 3-5 years. In spite of this tragic news his first thoughts were not only for his beautiful wife Sarah and his two children, but for other people living with MND. He was instrumental in creating the MND and Me Foundation.

Scott’s courage and drive to help others despite his illness is an inspiration to us all.

For more information on the MND and Me Foundation please visit www.mndandme.com.au

For further details feel free to contact Paul Olds on 0411 984 137 or admin@mndandme.com.au

From the Trainers Desk – March


Ask around at your local fitness centre what a persons’ reason is for storming up a sweat day in and out and the answer that you are most likely to hear is ‘ I want to lose weight.’ Despite this widespread thought pattern amongst gym goers – what they are referring to is the F word – fat.

To help you get on your way toward that goal – of fat loss – I have come up with Ten Top Tips for to lose fat and tone up!

1Resistance Training is Essential – Ladies this means you! I see countless women slogging it away for hours on the treadmill when the place you need to be is the weights room! Exercises like squats, deadlifts, push ups and chin ups will give you the most ‘bang for your buck.’ When done appropriately they will not bulk you up – this is a common misconception.

2 – Do High intensity Sprints – When was the last time you saw a fit looking muscular guy or a shapley toned woman walking on the treadmill? High intensity sprints will super charge your metabolism and create a substantial ‘after burn’ effect. Our programs will deliver you the latest in evidence-based research to ensure success!

3 –Just Move! – Numerous research papers show that people who have a higher level of incidental exercise (cycling to work, taking the stairs, yard work) have a far lower risk of obesity related diseases and improved body composition than they sedentary counterparts. We want to take this a step further and teach you the most efficient way to train so you get the most out of every workout!

4 – Eliminate Processed Foods from your diet – If your grandma doesn’t recognize it or didn’t eat it when she grew up – neither should you. Processed food are high in sugars and other additives that simply are not the best fuel for our body. We will guide you through the pitfalls of the fad diets and love the process of educating our clients to make complete lifestyle changes.

5 – Eat Smart Fats The inclusion of ‘good’ fats in your diet will help your body metabolise  ( use up) fat stores and help with joint integrity and cognitive function. Think nuts, avocados, wild salmon, coconut oil. These are examples of super foods. When you eat them is also critical – knowledge is power!

6 – Eat Protein for Brekky – Protein at breakfast time will feed your muscles and brain with a steady supply of insulin and to keep you feeling full for longer. This will avoid you feeling like you need that mid morning sugar fix – a massive counter measure to your weight loss goals!

7 – Cut down your sugar intake –  Sugar can pile on the calories and if consumed excessively can lead to weight gain and chronic diseases such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes and some forms of cancer. Remember sugar often hide in foods you wouldn’t suspect.  It pays to read the labels and avoid foods that have added sugar

8 – Get enough sleep – Long term studies show how important sleep is in maintaining a lean body. Sleep helps your muscles recover and grow, and a well rested body will outrun, out lift and out train a tired one! Let us show you some great apps to improve and track your fitness goals – objectifying the process is fantastic for motivation!

9 – Control What You Eat – No one ever ate anything by accident. Think about your food choices – will they benefit your body, help you toward your goals and give you the best shot at reducing your waistline? Portion control and movement are a proven method to loose weight, with all the additional info available now days lets not forget the basics!

10 – Have Veggies at Every Meal Yes this includes breakfast. By filling your plate up with low calorie, nutrient rich vegetables you are nourishing your body with powerful foods that will improve your metabolism, feed your muscles and reduce inflammation ( which can lead to increased fat stores.) A change is as good as a holiday, changing your habits just like this one will have a profound affect on how you look and feel!

Change is coming!! Keep in mind there are many other ways to improve your body composition – this is simply short list of the most effective and sure fire ways to reduce fat mass.

For more information about ways to obtain a lean body, contact Personal Trainer Sally McWilliam at s.mcwilliam@aspirefitnessrehab.com.au.

ONE ONE ONE Eagle Street


What an exciting few weeks with the launch by Queensland Sports Medicine Centre & Aspire Fitness & Rehabilitation of services including –

  • Corporate Group Fitness,
  • Corporate Health Assessment packages
  • Seminar Series
  • Ergonomic Workstation Assessments
  • Remote Fitness training packages for those unable to make the classes
  • Clinical Pilates and
  • Sports and General Physiotherapy services all onsite at One One One Eagle Street, Brisbane.


One One One Eagle Street continually strive to be on the cusp of cutting edge innovation. In a move unseen in Corporate Brisbane, the building management team from Jones Lang LaSalle are hosting a suite of ‘Room Service Offerings’. These services including personal and corporate health & wellness services available to their customers at Brisbane’s newest commercial skyscraper without them even having to leave the building.

At 200 metres tall this $700 million tower possibly offers the best workout space in Brisbane allowing participants to take in views across Moreton Bay while they ‘get their sweat on’. This model adopts a holistic approach to customer care, health and wellness. It is driven by combining industry leading service providers teaming up with building management to foster a culture of work life balance, something that can easily become one sided in todays demanding work environment. While the systems are well founded in the United Kingdom it has until now not been widely embraced in Australia.

The response from customers in taking up the services have been extremely positive and it is expected that this will set a benchmark in customer care within the industry.

We look forward to assisting you and your company on the fitness journey. We provide a single point of reference for all your corporate wellness programs, ergonomic assessments, and clinical services to ensure your working environment remains enjoyable and pain free, whilst being able to access some fantastic services without leaving the building.

For further details about services at ONE ONE ONE Eagle Street contact the AFR team on (07) 3310 4969 or reception@aspirefitnessrehab.com.au.

Exercise & Alzheimer’s

Aspire Fitness & Rehabilitation are excited to announce the recommencement of our twice weekly group Medical Exercise classes at Alzheimer’s Australia (Qld) this February under the supervision of Accredited Exercise Physiologist Molly Shevill.

Now into it’s 2nd rotation from commencement in 2012 this specifically designed comprehensive program is helping assist Alzheimer’s Australia (Qld) clients with their ongoing needs to keep fit and active.  Following initial assessment and subsequent review participants enter the group format with a program founded on evidence-based research.  This is proving a positive physical, mental and community experience for the participants and their carers.  A joint media release by Exercise Sports Science Australia and Exercise Is Medicine has reinforced the benefits of this types of program.  To check out that Media Release – Media Release Alzheimers and Exercise

From the Trainers’ Desk


January is the time to get your goals down on paper, start (or continue) your commitment to a healthy you and maybe even step out of your comfort zone by trying something new. To get your creative juices flowing and to help inspire you, throughout January we will be letting you in on what the Aspire Fitness & Rehabilitation Trainers  and Exercise Physiologists have planned for their 2013.

First up is AFR Personal Trainer Super Sal McWilliam:

“This year I have decided to take a bit of a different approach to my health and fitness.

My first goal is to try a new style of workout for every month of the coming year. First up will be Bikram Yoga which I will be doing five days a week for the entire month.  Lifting based training will be my February training style, March I will get down and dirty with Parkour and April will be altitude training. I will supplement these with regular strength training – feel free to join me for a weights workout in the gym!

Goal number two is to compete in a Physique Competition – so this one is all about nutrition! With my monthly workouts planned ahead, all I need to focus on is clean and healthy eating. I will compete in May of this year.

My third goal comes from a challenge I didn’t manage to complete last year due to injury. I will start and finish the 96km gruelling trek that is the Gold Coast Kokoda Challenge in July this year.

Fourth is inspired my a mate who has challenged her work colleagues, friends and family to complete a 5km, 10km, half or full marathon in July to raise $25000 for cancer research. I will be taking on the half marathon with a few other brave and fabulous QSMC and AFR staff, clients and friends.

My fifth goal for this year is to continue to spread my message of the importance of leading a healthy, active and fulfilling lifestyle. I truly believe that exercising regularly, having a positive, outlook and healthy approach to life is the only way to live!”

To chat to Aspire’s Sally McWilliam about setting your goals for a healthier you in 2013 email s.mcwilliam@aspirefitnessrehab.com.au  or contact Aspire on (07) 3310 4969

From The Trainers Desk


High Intensity Interval Training – HIIT – is more effective for fat burning, raising your metabolism and upping your post exercise oxygen consumption than aerobic exercise.

Interval training increases the amount of fat you burn not only during your workout but for up to 24 hours post exercise as well.  Short but intense intervals are superior to steady state exercise at burning fat because working above your anaerobic threshold forces your body to adapt metabolically.  Or in other words, your body demands your fat stores be used as fuel to sustain the high level of intensity being performed.

HIIT yields the greatest results not only because of its effects on the body during the workout itself– but its’ impact on the body post exercise. Although one hour of aerobic exercise will burn more calories than 30 minutes of HIIT  the ‘afterburn’ of interval training will far outweigh that caloric value. This afterburn will raise your metabolism and elevate energy consumption for a far greater time period post exercise than any steady state workout.

Interval training is less boring and more time efficient than steady state cardio. For those that loathe the idea of slogging away an hour on the treadmill – as I do – going into a workout consisting of of 10 x 30 sec sets is much more appealing than 60 minutes of mind numbing continuous jogging. HIIT also makes you feel powerful and challenges you mentally to push yourself to new heights.  Try one of the following interval workouts next time you get your sweat on!

      • Treadmill  –  30 sec sprints with 90 sec slow walk recovery x 10
      • Rower        –  100m sprints with 200m slow row recovery x 10
      • Spin Bike   – 45 sec sprints with 2 minutes rest x 10


For further information about HIIT contact Sally McWilliam at s.mcwilliam@aspirefitnessrehab.com.au