You Get What You Pay For

Sometimes the cheapest option isn’t the best option. Not just with your health but anything. For example, a cheap apartment might cost you less per month in rent, but when the landlord doesn’t take care of things and there’s bugs everywhere or something’s always broken and needing repairs, the inconvenience isn’t worth it. Just like a gym that cost $20 a month but you’re left to your own devices and training your own body, figuring out what works for you through trial and error. Or maybe you pay $80 a month for unlimited group classes but then you’re drowning in a sea of other people, forced to go through a workout that everyone else is going through, that might not be right for your individual needs.

This is when it pays, to pay a little more for personal training. You get one on one attention, exercises created for your unique requirements, and you can ask questions, offer feedback to your trainer, and the workout can be modified to best address what your body needs!

Sure, it costs more, but when you only have one body to invest in, make sure it is a wise investment. You want to see AND feel tangible results that are sustainable, rather than just paying someone to stand around and count reps while you do the exercise they just demonstrated. Our trainers do all of that, plus we let you know what to expect during the exercise, where you should feel tension, what is normal, and what is not supposed to be, and then while you’re doing it, we remind you of what you’re supposed to be focusing on to manifest what we described during the demonstration. You’re constantly being reminded what you should be mentally focusing on, so physically your body is doing what it needs to be doing to ensure you aren’t going to hurt yourself.

If you want to shut your brain off and just copy an exercise you see for the desired amount of reps without knowing what muscles you should be working or how to activate them, then use YouTube or a cookie cutter fitness app. But if you actually want to learn about your body’s function and how to put that function to use correctly, to mitigate pain, ward off injuries, and enhance your peak physical function- during exercise and in life outside of the gym, then follow us on social media, subscribe to our newsletter, read our blogs, check out to see the type of training methods we utilize, and then you can decide if you want to spend your money with us!

No pressure, it’s your body, treat it the way you want to treat it.

Health- What Does It Mean To You?

The health and fitness industry can be overwhelming with all of the information- information that contradicts itself and information that is unpopular from the mainstream. You have to read all the sides and decide what is best suited to you- with all your health history and complex individual requirements. We think its helpful to consider what health means to you? Is it a 6 pack abs and big arms, is it good blood panels, is it being able to move without pain, is it eating nutritious food, is the ability to keep up with your kids, grandkids, and fur babies, is it NOT having to take prescription medicines, is it all of the above and then some?

We view health and fitness with the overall ability of the body to thrive. Physically, mentally, externally, internally, handle stress well, fuel your body with the right foods and environment, and have the ability to live life without being limited by pain, poor health, and other restrictions. We don’t view health and fitness as simply having a nice looking body. What looks good on the outside might be in turmoil on the inside- either from poor dietary habits, inability to cope well with stress, or too much emphasis on the physical and not enough on the mental, emotional, and internal needs of the body. All of those factors cumulate to make up health and fitness.

We want to be upfront that we aren’t your typical gym that just pushes a good looking body and doing whatever it takes to get there. Sure that is nice and a reflection of health but without all of the other aspects, no matter how toned and trim your body is, you can still be unhealthy or unfit.

So take a moment to reflect on what being healthy and fit means to you. If you’ve been hesitant about going to a gym because you’re concerned it’s all about what you look like, then look no further than SA Functional Fitness! Our gym is tailored to what your body can do, not what your body looks like. Come as you are, and as a byproduct of regaining and training function, your body composition will change along of the way. But remember, that shouldn’t be your sole focus because the way you look doesn’t always align with the way you feel and the way your body performs.

Fitness is defined as “an organisms ability to survive and reproduce in a particular  environment.” This is from a biological standpoint and not what popular opinion defines fitness as. So if you hold true to this definition, then are you fit? Are you able to navigate the daily demands and real world conditions of your environment, without turmoil, pain, anxiety, aches, and being overwhelmed, exhausted, and incapable?

Being fit determines your health, the more adaptable you and your body are to the environment you live in, the more strength you can use to handle the physical demands, the more focus you can exert to manage stressful situations without feeling like you need to cope with a drink or comfort food, the more energy you have to make it through the day without fueling yourself with caffeine just to have another restless night of sleep because your body and brain are too wired to rest, truly rest.

As all of the layers of health and fitness work with each other, the better your body is at existing in reality. Instead of forcing your body to workout and eat a nutritious diet because you know it’s good for you, your body will start to want these things because it feels good when you treat yourself right.

So stop working out and dieting solely for “looks” when you know health and fitness goes deeper than the superficial vanity you see on commercials, movies, advertisements, and peer pressure from all sides. Fueling your brain and body that way is exhausting and it’s why we don’t truly have health. The rat race of beating your body up and extreme dietary deprivation places the body in a stressed state and then it doesn’t have the means to heal itself so your hormones become out of whack- and then you’re working against your weight loss goals and so you start working out even more to lose those last few stubborn pounds that just won’t come off. But if you take a step back it’s because your health habits aren’t really that healthy.

The calorie restriction and daily cardio and strength training, stresses your physiology out and your body goes into survival mode to keep from losing more weight, and then when you try to workout harder, you still don’t lose weight because biologically your body is working to stay at homeostasis. True health and fitness is a mind shift from what you’ve been told and seen most of your life and learning to encompass physical, mental, emotional, and physiological aspects of health to truly thrive as a human being.

So, rethink your definition of health and fitness. Does it align with where you see yourself in 10, 20, 30 years. Is it sustainable or are you pushing the extremes to look good now, without regard for what’s going on inside of your body and how that impacts your future health and fitness?

“Live intentionally and not habitually.” – Naudi Aguilar



Big and Strong

My name is Michael, and I am the owner of SA Functional Fitness. I used to think that lifting heavy weight and having big muscles made you strong, it does and it doesn’t. It does make you strong when you lift that particular weight in that particular pattern, however the strength I gained in the gym didn’t translate to reality. The way my body moved when I was in the real world, never represented the way I moved my body in the gym, so that strength in the gym only applied to the gym- never to my lifestyle.

I ended up with various aches and pains in my early 20’s that I wrote off as “no pain, no gain” and continued to do what I thought, at the time, was the correct way to train the human body. As time went on the aches and pains got worse and little injuries started to pop up, first as nagging, then as something that required me to alter my training program and seek traditional methods of healing. I tried chiropractic, massage, physical therapy, cryotherapy, Airrosti, foam rolling, stretching, mobility exercises, body weight training, and more. They all served a purpose toward managing my pain, however nothing truly fixed the underlying issue- I didn’t know how to move well. Poor movement over time started to break my body down due to various compensation patterns I had developed to offset my aches, pains, and injuries.

I finally connected the dots that the way I had trained my entire life was inadequate and what led to my body becoming disconnected, and essentially useless for the way I wanted to live- pain free! It wasn’t solely the heavy lifting, but the exercise patterns that I was moving my body through when I lifted. When the human body moves, at it’s basic function, muscles on one side of the body shorten and muscles on the opposing side of the body lengthen, to propel the body through space. This is called contralateral reciprocation- connecting opposing limbs with each other, right arm/ left leg. It’s easily observed during the most fundamental human movement, walking. When I went to the gym I was squatting, deadlifting, bench pressing, doing isolated muscle work on machines, and ultimately trying to activate individual muscles to make them stronger and balance out the body. None of that worked as I intended. I discovered that muscles can never be isolated, unless your surgically separate them, due to a web that surrounds our body and unites every muscle with each other, called fascia. In other words, when one muscle is working, multiple muscles elsewhere in the body are also working to achieve the intended action. The way I was originally taught to exercise didn’t account for any of that. Over time, my body become out of synch with all the moving parts that make up efficient movement, and little things like walking my dog, playing frisbee, getting in and out of my car, and living life started to become hard because my body wasn’t prepared for the various forces encountered in reality.

These experiences led me to discover a training system called Functional Patterns, that’s geared toward training the human body and the mechanics that compose its various movement patterns, and then getting the body stronger when it moves through those patterns. After employing these new techniques into my training I immediately felt the benefits and saw the logic behind the system. Unfortunately I was still incorporating some of my old traditional exercises into my workouts because I thought it would compliment the new techniques. So some days my body would feel great and then the next day I could be in the same state that caused me to seek out alternative exercises in the first place. Finally I decided to abandon the traditional methods that didn’t serve my function, but only fed my ego and body image. After a few weeks of solely training with the new system I noticed that something felt different. I didn’t wake up with a stiff lower back, my knees didn’t hurt climbing down stairs, and I felt taller, lighter, decompressed, whatever you want to call it, my body felt like it was healing.

At this point, I had been a personal trainer for a few years, peddling out the same exercises to my clients that I had been doing for years. None of my clients complained because, like me, they thought it was all just part of the process. Some were in pain and we’d work on traditional rehab exercises that I had learned from physical therapy, and others just wanted a good workout and we’d work on traditional strength training exercises. Neither instances ever improved my clients pain to the point that it was gone, only diminished for a couple hours or days, nor improved my clients functional strength, only to the point that they could lift heavier dumbbells or more plates on a machine. In fact, my clients who were getting stronger in the gym were starting to complain about little joint aches and muscle twinges that they hadn’t reported when we originally started working together. I knew something was missing but I never had a long term solution to fix their pain or improve their performance without causing minimal amounts of adverse tension. Until I found and experienced the Functional Patterns training system. I decided to start implementing some of the exercises that had helped me and cut out the exercises that I thought were doing more harm than good. Slowly but surely my clients started to feel more lasting relief from their pain and felt better outside of the gym when doing things like playing golf, running errands, and even keeping up with their grandkids. I knew this system was a game changer and I wanted to learn more. I purchased some of their online materials and books to start with and felt my understanding of the human body and movement increase. Then I decided to seek out a practitioner to get training first hand by someone with more experience. My perception of what I thought exercise was about, was crushed- in a good way, and the doors to physical and personal growth opened wide.

At the time I had been working at a local personal training studio, that when I had started, their training methods made sense. But as my body and the bodies of my clients slowly deteriorated I realized that I had to leave the traditional fitness culture behind and spread the knowledge I had acquired to more people. This led me to open SA Functional Fitness to make a lasting impact on helping people move better, without causing pain in the process. Fast forward and I am now a Functional Patterns practitioner, still learning from fellow practitioners that have been incorporating this system longer, and learning from each client that I see. Every body is the same, as we all have the same underlying muscles that are designed to function a particular way, however every body requires different exercises to stimulate the muscles in a way that is going to undo the compensation patterns they’ve gotten themselves into. For example, as humans, we should all have the ability to drive our body forward when we walk by utilizing the glutes, as well as other muscle functions. Sometimes we lose that ability, for various reasons like too much sitting or old injuries, and we end up moving our body with only our calves, or hiking up one of our hips. The muscles must be retrained to activate the glutes during that particular movement, but not by doing squats or clamshells with mini bands, those are the wrong patterns. We teach you the correct movement patterns that are going to engage the glutes and integrate them with the rest of the body, in a fashion that mirrors real life movement, like walking or running. Over time your body will learn to move better at the things you do most, and if you move better, you aren’t victim to aches or pains that develop from improper movement.

Ultimately, if you’re in pain, that’s your body signaling you that it needs help. It’s key to get to the root of the muscle malfunction early before your body starts to move around the pain. Your body will avoid the painful stimulus and adapt your posture and eventually the way you move to allow you to “live” with the pain. We believe that’s no way to live and so we exist to help you find a long term solution to improving your movement- to mitigate pain and improve your posture. If you’ve been living like this for years and years, it’ll take more than a few weeks to undo the damage, but with your hard work and the right techniques, we’ll teach you a recipe to improve your quality of life, and sustain it.


Exercise for Health, Not Appearance

Exercise motives that are based strictly on looking good or losing weight negatively affect our health. Everybody has a different idea about what they believe to be a healthy looking body, but if looks are the only reason for exercising, that can limit the potential for progress in other aspects of our health. Exercise is a great tool for physical strength, mental well-being, managing pain, improving our quality of life, and preventative healthcare.

When our only objective is to lose weight when we exercise this can lead us on a path of body destruction by doing whatever it takes to lose that last 5 pounds. This can lead to overtraining, poor form, building bad habits, and crash dieting. It really is true that “slow and steady” wins the race. We have to think of our health as something long term and not something that is going to be fixed overnight or maintained without continuous effort.

The quick fix is enticing for everyone because we want our efforts to pay off immediately. When all of our hard work doesn’t illicit results right away we start getting frustrated and turn to magic pills, not eating enough, and then eating too much, exercising so intensely that our form turns poor and our chance of injury increases, or we just get fed up and throw in the towel all together. Instead of eating a little less at each meal and exercising a little more at each workout and building habits that we can maintain, we sabotage our success by trying to change everything at once and then expecting that change to manifest into accomplishing our goals right then and there.

Instead of having goals based only on physical aspects of health, like trying to look like the fitness models in magazines. Create goals that enhance other aspects of your health. Start off small, like trading french fries for a salad, and do it for the benefit of adding more veggies to your diet instead of doing it because it’s less calories so you know you’ll lose weight. If your goals change from losing weight to eating more vegetables you’re more likely to choose meals that are lower in calories anyway, so you’re still likely to lose weight but that’s not your only focus and therefore not the only benefit. By eating more vegetables you can experience natural energy through the day instead of feeling run down, with the new energy you don’t have to wire yourself with caffeine, and so you don’t get dehydrated as often. So now instead of beating your body up to lose a few pounds, you’re building your body up by fueling it with good food and staying hydrated. Habits like these will inevitably lead to healthy weight loss, one of your goals, but not the only one.

If you prioritize other aspects of your health as your motivation for exercising then it’s more likely that you’ll accomplish your goals. From losing weight and getting stronger to managing anxiety and living a fit and healthy lifestyle. Life is short but if your health is compromised then the days drag on and quality of life starts to suffer. Exercising with the right intent will sustain your body and your health to enjoy everything life has to offer for years to come. Keep yourself in the game and take care of your body to promote longevity and function. The days of exercising to look good are fading and the era of exercising to look and feel HEALTHY is in demand!


Green Juice Recipe

Liquid vitamins ? energy for the week ahead ??medicine for the flu season ?
Each bottle contains Apple, Carrot, Cucumber, Celery, Lemon, Lime, Ginger, Parsley, and Cilantro… just enough sweet to drink up all the health benefits ?
Health is a matter of what you eat to fuel your body. Let food be thy medicine ?

Weight Loss Transformation

Deb’s 30 day “Before and After” weight loss transformation. Deb has been a client of ours since we opened and comes to workout twice a week for functional strength and conditioning training. In addition to that she walks 3-4 times a week on her own and consistently eats a Whole 30 based diet.

While it’s nice to see the changes in only 30 days, it’s important that she continue the habits of exercise and healthy eating or it will be very easy to gain back the weight that she lost. It’s goes deeper than 30 days because it’s about establishing the habits of a healthy lifestyle to keep your body fit and healthy in the long run.

Noticeable changes include less fat around the abdominals, arms, and face. In addition to the decrease in body fat, Deb reported that her energy increased, she slept better, her joints hurt less, and she had more mental clarity and focus. Eating healthy isn’t just for looks it’s also about making you feel better, and that’s the true definition of health!

In the course of 30 days, following a consistent exercise routine and Whole 30 nutrition principles, Deb was able to lose 12 pounds! That’s not her end goal but it’s a starting point to show her that with a lot of dedication it is possible. Now it’s time to continue the habits she’s created these last 30 days to promote steady weight loss and not get caught up in trying to lose weight fast. If we try to lose too much too fast we end up crash dieting and no healthy habits are built during the process to maintain the weight loss and continue to lose weight in the future. When it comes to weight loss it’s important to remember that slow and steady wins the race. It’s not just 30 days, it’s a lifestyle!

If you need help creating healthier habits to promote a healthy lifestyle we are here to help guide you in the right direction and make sure you establish consistency with your habits to obtain the results you’re looking for! 

Body. Brain. Let’s Connect

A picture is worth a 1,000 words… this picture says a lot because a lot is going on during this exercise, physically and mentally. John is incorporating thoracic rotation by connecting his Left lat to his Right glute & his Right shoulder to his Left hip via a deep connection of muscle groups known as the myofascial slings. These slings connect the upper body with the lower body- an important connection for quality movement. We’re taking it a step further with this exercise and integrating the movement at a nueromuscular level to make this sling connection a sub conscious action. If you want to move pain free the rest of your life, the way all your muscles work in unison with each other has to happen at a sub-conscious, automatic level. 

During this exercise John’s left glute is on fire and the deep core musculature is engaging as the left lat pulls and right arm punches connecting with the obliques to help rotate his ribcage and thus the myofascial slings are engaged and connecting John’s upper body with his lower body. The action during this exercise replicates a way our muscles connect with each other in life outside of the gym. It’s important to connect the body in the right way if you want to move better in day to day life and move better during exercise, both which lead to less overall aches and pains in the body. 

This exercise was all about getting John’s body in the correct position to automatically activate the correct muscles at the correct time so his joints didn’t do the muscles job, aka no more joint pain when he is out functioning in the real world! When your muscles work correctly this means less wear and tear on your joints, the key to sustaining an active lifestyle well past your prime!

If you’d like to learn how you can optimize your lifestyle, we’re here to help!

Book Your Consult!

Recipe: Smoothie Goodness

The best smoothies have a little bit of everything for a well rounded nutritional boost! This is a smoothie that supplies me with energy throughout the entire day, and it’s also a delicious treat.

To make this one you’re going to need:

  • Almond Milk
  • Coconut Water
  • Kale
  • Dates
  • Banana
  • Walnuts

Combine all of the ingredients in a blender, to your taste, add ice, and enjoy!

This smoothie packs a powerful punch of nutrition, you get a dose of calcium from the almond milk, electrolytes from the coconut water, magnesium from the kale, iron from the dates, potassium from the banana, and omega-3’s from the walnuts… to only name a few!

Top Toxic Chemicals

As ambassadors of health it’s important to consider, not only the things you’re putting in your body through nutrition, but also what you’re putting on your body that influences your health. Chemicals that are in many household products, like cleaning supplies and cosmetics can contribute to toxin buildup in your body which will determine your state of health. Toxins easily enter the body when they are applied topically and absorbed through the skin or inhaled and absorbed through the mucous membranes.

Many of the items we use everyday contain amounts of toxic chemicals, from baby powder to artificial sweeteners. We’ll break down some of the most common chemicals you’ll likely encounter so you are aware of the potential health risks.

  1. Parabens top the list because over use of these can alter the bodies normal hormone function, leading to possible reproductive problems and cancers. Parabens are compounds that are used as a preservatives in the pharmaceutical, cosmetic, and food industry and can contain the names, methyl, ethyl, propyl, and butyl. Common products that contain parabens are mouisturizers, makeup, creams, and perfumes. Be sure to check the ingredients the next time you grab your favorite product, the same way you would check the quality of ingredients contained in your food.
  2. Talc comes in a close second because it is a common ingredient in baby powders to treat diaper rash and even reduce body odor. Some products may use talc that contains asbestos which is a known carcinogen, however most cosmetic talc powders are asbestos free. It’s better to play it safe and check the ingredients before you use it. The better option would be to steer clear of talc and choose versions of baby powder made with corn starch.
  3. Aluminum Zirconium is another chemical that’s found in most deodorants and serves as an antiperspirant which obstructs pores in the skin and prevents sweat from leaving the body. There is some evidence that links aluminum use with Alzheimers disease but other studies suggest that there is no correlation. At the end of the day you can choose to limit the amount of chemicals you put on your body by choosing aluminum free deodorants.
  4. Propylene Glycol is a chemical that is used to absorb extra water and maintain moisture in certain medications, cosmetics, or food products. It can be used as a less toxic anti-freeze in food processing centers or residential water pipes where accidental indigestion may be possible, it’s also used in common food products like ice cream and artificial sweeteners. The FDA has classified propylene glycol as an additive that is “generally recognized as safe” for use in food, however some studies show that it contributes to skin irritation, neurological symptoms, cardiovascular problems, respiratory issues, potentially toxic to liver and kidneys, probably not safe for infants and children, and may be a pathway for other harmful chemicals. Although it may be safe, the potential health complications are something to avoid by limiting your intake of this chemical.
  5. Oxybenzone is a common chemical used in sunscreen to absorb ultraviolet light, but some research shows that it can be absorbed through the skin. Experts believe oxybenzone is linked to hormone disruption and cell damage that may lead to skin cancer. Such contradictory information, we need sunscreen to prevent skin cancer, yet some of the sunscreens we use may also contribute to skin cancer… confusion overload. My suggestion is that you try using mineral sunscreens with ingredients like zinc oxide which create a physical barrier on the skin to protect it from the sun, instead of chemical sunscreens which contain potentially harmful ingredients. However, sun exposure is good for health and wellbeing so make sure you get outside to take advantage of the natural Vitamin D! I recommend trying to expose yourself during the times when the UV light is least intense like in the morning and evening and if you do go outside during the afternoon make sure you have access to shade, can cover yourself with clothing, or apply a mineral based sunscreen, and ideally only spending a few hours at a time in the sun as your tolerance to the UV light increases over time.

The purpose of this is to create toxic awareness, not toxic fear or avoidance, because it’s impossible to be completely toxin free. What you can do is pick and choose what you expose yourself to, for example if you can use natural sweeteners instead of artificial sweeteners then you’re able to limit the amount of toxins entering your body. By creating more awareness of what ingredients are in the products we use everyday we can begin to make substitutions that lead to a healthier lifestyle by choosing the natural choice instead of something artificial that contains chemicals that aren’t great for us. If we spend time making decisions about eating healthy food that is natural and doesn’t contain chemicals and preservatives then we should also prioritize the quality of the products we use everyday and limit the amount of toxins we expose ourselves to. Remember that your health and wellbeing is influenced through the quality of the food you eat, what you choose to drink, your physical activity, and also the quality of household and cosmetic products you use.


Recipe: Collagen Pistachio Chocolate Bites

These chocolate bites pack a serious punch of nutrition, not only are they tasty, but their health benefits make them worth every bite! As the name of the recipe suggests they contain collagen, which is the most abundant protein in your body and supports the cells of every single tissue in your body! Collagen is a major component of your health, it promotes skin elasticity, holds together your bones and muscles, protects your organs, and provides structure to your joints and tendons. As you can see these chocolate bites are way more than just a dessert, they’re “skin firming, antioxidant rich” sweet treats!

Here’s what you’ll need to make them:

  • 1 cup cacao butter, finely chopped
  • 3 tablespoons raw honey
  • 1 cup raw cacao powder
  • 3 tablespoons grass-fed collagen powder
  • 1/4 cup pistachios, chopped (can sub for nut of your choice)

Baking instructions:

  • Melt the cacao butter into a double boiler, whisking until it is fully melted, and remove from heat immediately.
  • Add the honey and whisk into the melted cacao butter. Add the raw cacao powder and collagen powder, and whisk until very smooth.
  • Pour the melted chocolate into an ice cube tray or cookie sheet and top with chopped pistachios.
  • Let the chocolate chill in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes before removing from the mold.

Total time: 40 minutes

Prep time: 10 minutes

Inactive time: 30 minutes

Serves: 10

Recipe provided by: