Your Guide to Squats

It’s time to educate yourself on the relevance of the squat. Prioritizing this movement in your training routine when it makes up a small amount of daily movement, neglects movements that you do majority of the time, like walking. Think about it… outside of the gym how many times a day do you squat compared to how many steps you take?

We aren’t kangaroos, we’re humans. We move around by transferring our weight from one leg to another in a contralateral pattern. Whereas a squat is going to keep your legs confined to a bilateral position. We aren’t saying squats aren’t important, but in the real world when you need to bend over and pick something up it happens a fraction of the time, it usually doesn’t happen repetitively, and you’re doing it for a specific purpose that normally doesn’t make up your entire day (unless your job or sport requires that, but we’re talking about general function).

When you use the squat as an exercise, you’re performing it for numerous reps with the intent to build muscle and get stronger. The problem with using squats (or any bilateral/sagittal based exercise) as the bulk of your leg training is that you’re building arbitrary muscle mass, meaning it doesn’t serve a purpose. The strength you built doesn’t carry over outside of the squat pattern, so the way your body moves most (ie; walking) doesn’t have the support it needs.

Come train with our trainers to learn how to build muscle that aligns with it’s function. Carrying over the strength you build in the gym to a stronger body outside of the gym. You’re human, it’s time you start training like one.

Exercise Less?!

Exercise can be bad when we go through the motions of our default movement patterns. We just pack on more muscle imbalance that causes a subconscious stress on our mental and physical state, affecting our physiology. Then we cope with drugs, alcohol, food, sex, whatever dopamine fix we need to temporarily feel better. We enter the cycle of trying to outwork our coping behavior and beating our body up in the process, but we can only do that for so long until we feel “old” because our habits caught up with us.

Taking a few steps back to heal our body with intentional movement might not feel or look like society’s idea of exercise but it starts to retrain our brain and body to function better, promoting muscle mass that is symmetrical and “balanced” to help us respond to stress better. Then when our muscles are in balance we’re consciously and subconsciously able to handle stress more efficiently- physically, mentally, emotionally, spiritually, etc. and then we don’t feel the need to cope. Then it comes time to break out of the habits that we developed from coping that we no longer need.

This behavior change is painful and uncomfortable but time well spent and can start seeing changes in weeks for little things, months for some bigger things, and sometimes years for habits we’ve built over our entire lives. This is the change that helps our physical health- from muscle strength, weight loss/ weight maintenance, hormone balance- which in turn helps our mental health like anxiety, mood, depression, and the ability to not have to cope the way we used to. And when we do need to cope we are able to be more aware of what we’re doing and why, and maybe not even coping the same way we did in the past because our stress response is improving.

This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t exercise, as most doctors and so called fitness experts will tell you that you need to eat less and move more to stay healthy. But if you move wrong and use your muscles in a state of imbalance then all of the above cataclysm of events happen- and that’s not healthy. You need to understand more about your body in order to make sure you behave in a way that promotes health. When you’re over exercising and under eating for so long, your body’s hormones get thrown out of whack and it makes it a lot harder to lose weight and body fat. You end up spinning your wheels trying to lose weight or build muscle but you’re fighting an uphill battle, up  a water slide. When you learn to fix your muscle imbalances when you “exercise” instead of just going through the motions of various movements, you’ll be able to address the subconscious stress on your body- aligning your posture and your hormones. This equates to a healthier body inside and, most importantly, outside of the gym!

Contact our gym to learn how our team can help you start and sustain your journey to a healthier you!

Step Into Our Functional Gym

What makes our training different from other gyms is that we don’t let you go through the motions of an exercise, just to say that you exercised.

We prioritize your posture during an exercise to activate muscles that are normally dormant, to support your body in a way that it normally doesn’t get supported.

So no matter where you’re at physically, your body can benefit from this type of training because it’s low impact, corrective, and sustainable.

This lets you build a foundation to progress from, without pain!

Hows That Working For You?

When you work hard in the gym, you expect the exercises you do to carry over to the real world. In the form of strength, flexibility, stamina, energy, health, and overall fitness.

For the genetically gifted ones it does, but what about the average folks who do what they’re supposed to do and still fall short? Why are they busting their butts every day at the gym but still can’t lose weight, still have joints that hurt, still not feeling strong or mobile? To answer those questions you have to ask what they’re doing. Are they really doing the right things or just doing what everyone else is doing and expecting to get lucky with their results. Or are they doing what worked for an athlete that was already born with overall better muscles, minimal body fat, and naturally fit?

If you’re already born that way, this post isn’t for you- you can keep doing what you’re doing and succeed in spite of what might be wrong for others. If you’ve tried everything but still can’t make progress then read on.

Our trainers work to address principles of health and fitness that often get overlooked, not given any thought at all, or are sometimes too hard at first to want to learn. The fact is every body is unique and what works for one person might have to be taught completely different to another body. Another little valued fact is that every body has a similar blueprint for how muscles are designed to function. If you don’t follow this blueprint then it’s hard to make progress that is sustainable. If you do follow it (with slight modifications for your individual needs) then you’re able to achieve the strength, flexibility, and fitness that you’re working toward. You need to work smarter not harder.

If you’ve been chasing after health and fitness for years or even decades, look in the mirror and ask yourself… “how’s this working out for me?” You can’t keep doing the same thing (exercises, eating habits, sleep, recovery, etc.) and expecting different results.

Something is NOT always better than nothing

Something is not always better than nothing. Usually it’s the other way around, the mindset that something is better than nothing. Jogging for a few minutes is better than not moving at all, but not if jogging causes your knees or your back to hurt.

Our trainers are of the mindset that something is not better than nothing, if something causes pain or adversity. Instead we teach you something that is better for your body and your needs. This ensures that you continue to make progress and you can sustain your fitness as you age. Because what’s the point of doing something if it wrecks your body and you aren’t able to do it for long.

Pushing past joint pain because you need to jog in order to lose weight for an upcoming wedding or because you keep gaining weight, isn’t healthy. It would be healthier to do something with your diet and eating habits and lose weight by addressing those. Then you can use exercise as a way to strengthen your body by moving correctly instead of rushing through a workout because you feel the need to punish your body for being overweight. Punishment during a workout often means pain after the workout.

If this sounds like you then you need to consider why you exercise. Do you want to lose weight, do you want to be strong, do you want your muscles to work so you don’t have pain? All of the above are possible but your path to achieve them needs to be intentional and holistic. Meaning you shouldn’t feel like you need to outwork a bad diet, food should be fuel used to give you energy for your day or a workout. It shouldn’t be used to cope from stress or overeaten regularly. Exercise should be used as a tool to build a strong and stable body progressively overtime and not a means to an end.

Diet and exercise work together to help your health and fitness. Rushing through a half-assed workout isn’t how your body was meant to be trained. The mindset that something is better than nothing isn’t a healthy one because it promotes a half-assed result. Spinning you in circles, not losing weight but not gaining extra weight from an unhealthy, unsustainable cycle. Lose the haphazard “something is better than nothing” motto because it’s limiting your potential.

Personalized Personal Training

How it started; how it’s going.

Started with numerous issues, most notably was scapular dysfunction that contributed to pain in the upper traps.

The first exercise is conditioning the muscles of the shoulder girdle & thoracic spine to integrate instead of putting all the demand on the traps.

The second exercise is reinforcing the corrective mechanics and putting those muscle connections to work during movement.

The result is a better connected body that can disperse force through the kinetic chain and balance the workload for the muscles.

As we continue to clean up dysfunctional movement patterns, moving correctly will train the body to operate efficiently and handle the demands of the real world without pain and injury.

Functional Strength Training

In most gyms you’ll see lifters moving weights up and down, but that leads to compression on your joints and spine.

In our gym, we prioritize lifting weights through a horizontal force to train the muscles to contract the way they do in the real world.

Weight lifting that you see in most gyms builds muscle through vertical forces, BUT your muscles don’t work like that.

Your muscles function through multiple forces and need to be capable of dispersing force horizontally and vertically to help your body move well through all planes of motion.

So before you pound out rep after rep of barbell squats or bench presses, recognize that your body doesn’t actually move like that on a regular basis.

To learn some functional alternatives check out the Functional Patterns Training System to set your body up for the world it lives in.

Come meet our team, we’re the only trainers in San Antonio who are FP Certified Human Biomechanics Specialists, ready to help you address your dysfunctions and move better!

Exercise for Life

We teach our clients to move intentionally to connect the upper body and lower body contralaterally. Bipedal contralateral movement is what developed our muscles, and why they function the way they do.

Modern times have made it difficult to keep our muscles functioning the way they were designed because we use the wrong lifting patterns when we exercise, we’re sedentary… and then we SIT on an exercise bike for “exercise”, we stretch the wrong way resulting in flaccid muscle tissue. All of these variables effect the way your body functions in real life.

In our gym we train your body to move the way your body naturally moves in life outside the gym. Simple looking, but not so easy to perform (correctly) when your body has been out of touch with these foundational movements. It takes time and repetition to reconnect your muscles and get them working optimally.

Why Do YOU Exercise?

Most people exercise to stay in shape, often not realizing what that actually means. Is staying in shape about looking good, or feeling good? That’s subjective.

To our trainers, “staying in shape” means feeling good. And the looks usually follow. That means understanding why we exercise. It shouldn’t be because you’re beating your body up to outwork negative behavior, like overeating, being sedentary, or managing stress. When you first address the behavior that’s causing you to feel the need to exercise you can then begin to use exercise as a tool to address your physical function.

While exercise is a good behavior, it can also be used to cope. Like having stress run your life and instead of turning to drugs you use exercise. However this can lead to wear and tear on your body if you don’t address what’s causing the stress to begin with, because you become an adrenaline junkie chasing after the endorphins from an intense workout. The intensity causes wear on your joints and you can’t sustain it. So now that you can’t workout like you used to in order to “manage” your stress, you turn to food for comfort. Exacerbating the problem, and never addressing the root cause.

If you decide to modify behavior and get to the root of stress and the way your body responds to it, you can de-stress without having to workout. And then you enter the rare state of using exercise as a way to improve your function, performance, strength, and mobility, all while fixing your joint pain, muscle aches, body stiffness, and old injuries. So exercise becomes a sustainable habit and builds your body up, instead of breaking it down.

Learn to fix your behavior that’s leading you to use exercise as a drug and you’ll solve a lot of the problems holding you back physically and mentally. Our team is here to help guide you through the process!

Check out www.FunctionalPatterns.com for more information.

Mind Muscle Connection

Neuromuscular reprogramming is just fancy jargon for training the brain/body connection via the correct exercise stimulus.

We have our clients utilize a mirror for most exercises to point out when their form is compromised leading to injury and understanding why the way they perform certain functions causes pain.

The consensus is that their brain thinks the way they’re already doing it is right. But when they get a reality check in the mirror they can finally see (and feel) the cause and effect from improper movement.

Your brain is always going to prefer to stay in its comfort zone and move through the path of least resistance, which is what prompts your muscles to respond with inefficient patterns. A pro tip we teach our clients is to slow down the movement and focus on controlling the details. Your body will learn how to use your muscles efficiently to move correctly and retrain your brain in the process.

Come feel what our gym does differently from the rest in the industry. Set up your initial (no obligation) consultation so we can get to know your body and you can get a feel for our style of training.