Work Conditioning and Graduated Strengthening Programs
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The culture of progression, passion and authenticity behind Specialised Health drives all of us to provide quality Exercise Physiology services in the compensable space. We support claimants in achieving their return to work and life goals through specialist exercise and lifestyle prescription while recognising the importance of open communication with all parties involved in the rehab process. We share knowledge with a passion and are made up of exceptional individuals.

As a part of my role, I get to pry into the lives of these individual’s and share them with you! Biara Webster, Exercise Physiologist and Content Manager, Specialised Health

STAFF SPOTLIGHT #7: Carmyn Barnes 

Given that you, our loyal readers, have recently learnt Specialised Health opened its NZ doors earlier this year, you can guess Carmyn walked through the door around the same time.

Carmyn has now been with the Specialised Health team for 7 months and was one of our first EPs across the Tasman Sea!

Carmyn studied in South Africa, obtaining Bachelor of Science with Honours in Biokinetics. (Biokinetics is the cooler name for Exercise Physiology). As if that wasn’t enough, she completed a second honours degree in education, specialising in gross motor development for children aged 2 months – 13 years, and can call herself a Kinderkineticist! 

Most of her experience as an EP (for adults) has been in South Africa working with various health conditions including but not limited to post-cancer rehab, cardiac rehab and musculoskeletal rehab.

Why did you choose the Exercise Physiologist career path?

I remember having to do a careers assignment in grade 8 and I interviewed my cousin (who is also an EP) and that was that! 

I loved the idea of working with people (I’m what some would call a “social butterfly” and a self-proclaimed expert at talking) and movement (I did every sport under the sun at school) at the same time. Also, the body is just so interesting! I’ve never looked back.

What are your Ninja Exercise Physiology skills?

 I have always had a passion for cancer and cardiac rehab but recently have discovered that I really enjoy working with mental health conditions, something I wasn’t exposed to very much before. I also had quite a few clients with hip conditions back in Cape Town, so I am confident with, and enjoy, the hip joint. I have also had hip surgery myself which naturally lead me to do more research. 
🐱‍👤 Cancer 🐱‍👤 Cardiac 🐱‍👤 Mental Health  🐱‍👤 Hip Joint 

Do you exercise?

Absolutely! I would go crazy without it and am possibly a bit of an addict...
3 days a week I swim with a surf-tri squad, twice a week I do Zuu Training (a form of HIIT that uses primal and human movements without weights or machines), and then I run once or twice a week, depending on how busy the week is 😊
Zuu training?! I had to google it! Check it out here

Tell us about your most inspirational client…

I had a cardiac client back in Cape Town who is also a prostate cancer survivor. He is in his 70s and still a helicopter pilot and instructor. His wife suffered a stroke which caused Locked-In Syndrome, so she needed round-the-clock care. He was so dedicated to his own health, despite all the stress that was going on at home and the financial need to keep working to provide care for his wife. He attended rehab/maintenance with me 3 times a week and played squash once a week (I lost hopelessly every time I played against him). It amazed me to see how positive and driven he always was, and he reminded me to be grateful every week.


Food – LOVE, love eating!! But if I had to choose one off the top of my head it would have to be muesli and yoghurt with lots of seeds, nuts and strawberries! Another favourite food is peanut butter, with apples or carrots.. or a spoon!

Exercise – Swimming. Prescribing and performing. 
Personally, it provides me with the cardiovascular fitness that benefits me in all of my other types of exercise, and there is just nothing like the feeling of gliding through the water. As an EP, so many people can benefit from swimming and they don’t even know it. It’s low impact, good for strength and cardio!

Fact – A 3-year-old boy’s voice is louder than 200 adults in a crowded restaurant (I also work at a preschool and I can most definitely attest to this!!) 

Fiction – Definitely a toss-up between Remember the Titans and The Guardian (movies). As for books - This is Going to Hurt by Adam Kay is brilliant and hilarious (it isn’t fiction, but I wish I’d forget the whole book just so that I can read it again!).

Exercise Myth Buster - Squats give you a booty. I find squats destroy my quads more than my glutes! They are a great functional/whole body exercise but there are so many better exercises you can do for a booty to specifically target the glutes, one example is hip thrust variations.

Have you learnt anything new recently?

SO MUCH since joining Specialised Health!
I am still in the process of learning, especially about Chronic Fatigue and HRV, which is something I’d touched on before but never too much in depth. Every time I think I have it down, there is something else that pops up – it is fascinating and challenging at the same time!
Check out what Carmyn’s referring to in our articles here: 
Fatigue Part 1 (What is it), Fatigue Part 2  (Management) 

Do you have a life outside of Exercise Physiology?

Yip 😊 I mentioned before that I work at a preschool as teacher support (I am trying not to let my other degree go to waste!). I absolutely love kids so it’s great that I get to do that. I also coach swimming at a Learn to Swim school here in Christchurch. Besides work, I love being outdoors, and living in a new country means there are so many adventures to explore so I’ve been doing a lot of snow visits, hikes and touristy things around New Zealand. I also try to read at least 2 books a month, but that depends on workload!

What are your goals 2019?

My biggest goal for 2019 was to find stability in Christchurch. I followed my partner here after he got a job here. I only got my work visa in January this year so after 8 months of not working I was, and am, very keen to settle, find a good routine and focus again, which is slowly but surely happening!
I also want to get back into doing sporting events. I used to do a lot of open water swimming events and triathlons back in South Africa and haven’t since moving here, so that’s possibly on the radar for the end of the year, when the temperature outside isn’t in the single digits 😊

Contact Carmyn  

Area of service: Canterbury, New Zealand

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