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.

Have You Thought About The Way You Move?

Routine tasks that you move your body through without much thought like bending down to pick something up can be wiring in bad mechanics.

Notice how the vertebrae bulge out when she firsts bends down, then when we correct the pelvis position her muscles contract around the vertebrae and protect them.

This shows how your body can just go through the motions however it thinks is correct, but your form might not be what you think it is. Fast forward and repetitive movements like this or exercises done wrong repeatedly will eventually lead to injury and cause “idiopathic” aches and pains.

This is why our training sessions do more than physical work because the brain is intricately involved in controlling your physical movement. We teach you to be mindful of how you’re moving in order to correct and reprogram sustainable function.

How Do You Feel?

The state that your body is in on a regular basis should be an indicator of how fit you are. Your body should feel good after taking on the demands placed on it. If you’re hurting, limping, stiff, and sore in the wrong places then your body is warning you that something is off. It’s best to listen to the warning signals before your body feels irreparable.

Another aspect to consider is how you feel during and after an exercise or an entire workout. Training should prepare your body for life outside of the training room. Obviously there is appropriate muscle soreness related to an exercise that targets a certain muscle, but soreness shouldn’t permeate into the joints. When your joints feel sore or stiff from exercise, a good possibility is that your muscles aren’t working properly and your joints are picking up the slack. There’s also exercises that exacerbate compression, meaning your muscles are working but the technical aspect of the exercise causes compressive forces throughout the body. This usually manifests as muscle soreness accompanied by stiffness and rigidness when you try to move.

If you’ve been following us for awhile, you know the importance of efficient movement. When your body can’t move optimally it starts to compensate and alter your mechanics. You need to have some rhythm when you move to transmit force evenly throughout your kinetic chain. When you’re rigid, your movement gets altered and your function isn’t optimal. Then the entire point of exercise is missed because you can’t handle the demands of the real world appropriately.

Force

Your body encounters and responds to multiple forces to propel through space.

Your body rotates, shifts, adducts, abducts, flexes, extends, undulates, spirals, pronates, supinates, and more- all at the same time.

These functions are necessary to move yourself efficiently through multiple planes of motion without pain and dysfunction.

As a human, your natural movement revolves around your gait cycle and the functions that make it successful.

To elaborate further- these functions work in oppositional harmony and set off a domino effect through your kinetic chain with every motion you do. Sometimes more or less depending on the movements.

To simplify- you need to be good at performing these functions. Your muscles contract better and your body moves better when natural functions aren’t compensated for.

Train with our team of Functional Patterns practitioners to address dysfunctional movement and restore your natural performance.

Functionalpatterns.com

What To Expect In Our Gym

In our gym, you won’t see an exercise demonstrated and then be expected to execute it while our trainers stand around and count reps.

Instead, what you’ll find is trainers who show you how the exercise should look, coach you through the technique, and then ask you where you’re feeling it to make sure you’re doing it correctly.

If you’ve been hurt by trainers in the past, come and see us, not all trainers are created equal. Our team is made up of Functional Patterns practitioners that are taught cutting edge techniques to get your body out of pain for good, and moving better to enjoy an active lifestyle!

Move Correctly

Nothing happens independently with movement, everything works synergistically to move correctly.

If you’re misaligned in one part of your body while you’re moving, another part of your body will compensate and contract the wrong muscle, or the right muscle the wrong way- causing imbalance, leading to pain and injury down the line.

This is why it’s important to manage your form during every rep if you want to sustain/enhance your fitness and ability to function down the line.

This is what our objective is when training you. Getting your body to learn what it needs to do in order to function and move well.

Sometimes this is simple but not easy because your body and brain have been working a specific way for years. Sometimes that way is what causes imbalances that lead to overuse, injury, or chronic pain.

Once we uncover what we need your body to do, we teach exercises that reinforce that objective until the nervous system learns it and the function has been programmed/reprogrammed into your neuromuscular system. This reinforcement helps make changes that last.

We watch your from during every rep because one set of an exercise done wrong, AKA- done the way your body has always done it and thinks it’s right, doesn’t create the change your body needs to be reprogrammed. This is where our trainers come in, to pester and annoy you until you get the rep done right, multiple times. (We really don’t mean to annoy you, but sometimes the right work can be monotonous until your brain and body grasp the concept). We’re just here to help 🙂

If you’ve been trying to rehab your body with no improvement then you might not know what you need. We’ll help you pinpoint the missing pieces and improve the way your body moves!

Functional Fitness Part 2

We know by now that our body is one integrated unit, so repetitive movements that isolate it into sections cause disconnections throughout your kinetic chain. In our previous post Functional Fitness Part 1 we highlighted some exercise techniques that get a lot of hype, but don’t necessarily deliver the most bang for your buck. In this post we’ll explain why we believe there are better methods to ensure prolonged health and fitness for your body.

We know that the human body evolved to walk upright on both legs, so regressing your training to crawling movements won’t help your daily function. Yes, you’ll feel your muscles working and your brain will think you’re doing something good for your body, but since we don’t walk on our hands our shoulders need a different kind of support relative to our legs. So crawling movements won’t enhance or coincide with the functions of human movement discussed in our previous post- standing, walking, running, and throwing.

HIIT workouts are stressful on your body, and too much stress spikes cortisol and makes it hard to lose fat anyway (plus it’s cumbersome on your joints and hard to sustain for more than a few weeks without some form of pain or injury). So if you’re doing HIIT workouts to lose weight, do the longevity of your body a favor, and stop eating so much. Then just exercise to stimulate muscle tissue in a manner than mimics the way it functions in the real world, so you can sustain your fitness as you age.

Powerlifting can make you stronger but usually at the expense of hernias, stress fractures, disc herniations, torn tendons and ligaments, and compression on your spine. So it’s high risk, low reward because once you injure yourself it’s hard to recovery back to 100%. And in reality why do we need to lift such heavy objects? Humans have developed brains to work smarter not harder. We’ve developed pulley systems, levers, and machines to move objects and do the heavy lifting for us. Compared to other animals, like a silver back guerrilla, we are extremely weak. So the next time you need to move a piece of furniture use a friend to help, or on those rare occasions when you need to move a big rock or firewood, use a wheelbarrow. And get strong at what you do most, standing, walking, running, and throwing. This will help cultivate strength that you can use without damaging your joints.

We share these thoughts to spread relevant information about the human body and the repercussions of the way we treat it. If you like what you do and your body feels okay, keep doing it. But if not, we offer an alternative way to train and sustain your health and fitness.

*Hint; check out the picture from this post, and our last one. Compare how confined the squat pattern is, versus the running one. The bar on the back causes compression, and the running (assuming your joints are adequate- we can help with that) can engage the entire body through horizontal force distribution and create strength and mobility that you can use more often.

Functional Fitness Part 1

Functional training can mean different things to different people. In our gym, it means exercising to coincide and enhance your body’s natural movements- like walking, running, lifting objects, standing, and navigating daily demands without pains or injuries limiting your function.

Humans innate biology designed us to stand, walk, run, and throw. These functions shaped our muscles and the way our muscles work. This is why our trainers prioritize exercises that match these types of movements. The outcome is a well connected, strong, and mobile body that can withstand the demands of the real world, because real life enforces these mechanics consistently. As opposed to movements like crawling (not a regular function after we learn to walk), burpees (beating your body up to burn calories from overeating), step aerobics (repetitive strain on your knee joints), spin classes (conditioning your hips to be stuck in flexion, like sitting all day) , or powerlifting (not the same demand as lifting an object because the barbell limits your range of motion).

If you like disconnecting your legs from your upper body during spin class, overdoing HIIT classes to punish your body from overeating, using your lumbar spine as a lever during powerlifting, or just like acting like an animal and crawling around the floor- then you do you. BUT if you’re only doing these types of things because you’ve been told they’re healthy or they’re going to help you, then stop and reconsider how your body actually functions (standing, walking, running, throwing) and if these types of exercises are reinforcing these functions or causing dysfunction.

Stay tuned for our next post as we elaborate further on these different modalities.

Vanity Training

The problem with exercising exclusively for how you look without addressing how you function, is it’s not sustainable.

Just like a car that isn’t working, a new coat of paint won’t fix the problem under the hood.

The new paint job will make it look good, but eventually it will break down and you’ll have to admire the paint job without using the car.

Eventually the new paint job will rust because you’ll neglect the car that you can’t drive.

Just like a body that “looks good” but you can’t do anything with it. The looks you busted your butt for will fade because your body is in too much pain, injured, and broken to actually put in the work to keep your body looking good.

If you pursue functional mechanics when you exercise, the exercise will carry over long after you’re done working out. Your body will feel good, you’ll be able to move well, and your body will look good as a result of proper training. Training that is sustainable and supports the complexities of the human body.