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.

Come As You Are

We aren’t the typical gym that advertises chiseled abs and huge muscles. We welcome the unfit. That’s why we exist to help you become a fitter, and better functioning, version of your current self.

If you can’t function well, then your ability to thrive in your environment (the definition of fitness) is diminished. That’s why we emphasize the importance of using your muscles the way there were designed to function.

In the process, weight loss, muscle mass, strength, cardiovascular health, flexibility, and mobility come along for the ride. As your body relearns functions, old injuries, aches, and pains also get rehabbed simultaneously.

Chiseled abs and appropriately sized muscles are what we work toward, but not until the prerequisites of fixing your mechanics have been established. This sets your body up for achieving these goals, without pounding your joints and compressing your spine in the process. First things, first.

When you want a trainer that prioritizes the same goals as you, without hurting in the process, then we’re the gym to help you!

Note: this is a process and not a magical over night fix. It takes time to undo the damage your body has been through from dysfunctional exercise habits, injuries, and pain that comes on from both of these. Once we undo the dysfunction then the possibilities are endless. Just ask our current clients!

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



Human Biomechanics

We have said it before and we’ll say it again, we are not your typical gym with your average personal trainers. We incoproate Functional Patterns training methodology to train the human body the way it was designed to function. Our approach aims to undue the damages inflicted on the body from all traditional means of exercises and mobility that don’t respect the physics and tensegrity of human biomechanics.

Traditional training includes weightlifting, bodybuilding, olympic lifting, crossfit, cycling, yoga, pilates, gymnastics, animal flow, isolated stretching, functional range conditioning, H.I.I.T. training, spin class, and group classes with the objective of burning max calories and gaining (dysfunctional) muscle.

All these forms of exercise are the antithesis of optimal biomechanics and makes it very hard to create the muscle associations we need to make to alter your structure to the degree we could if you weren’t doing those types of training.

If you’re wanting to learn or do Functional Patterns training you’ll get the best results when you aren’t engaging or plan to return to any of the above mentioned methods, as none of them aim to enhance human biomechanics and therefore create a direct hinderance towards you getting the best and fastest results.

While the intent behind all of these methods is good, the application doesn’t deliver. All of the above mentioned methods cause a disconnect from human movement. When you think of “human movement” think of walking as a basic example, and then think about what all of the above mentioned forms of training look like, and now think about how they don’t align with the motions of human movement. So the deeper you go into those forms of training, the further away you go from the fundamentals of how the human body was born to move. And the further you go away from how you were born to move the less optimally your body moves and the more likely your body will suffer from pain and breakdown from injury.

We aren’t saying that these forms of training are terrible and that you should never do them, but what we are saying is that your body wasn’t made for these forms of training, which is often why people get injured, experience unexplained aches and pains, and become less inclined to move well the more they participate in these. If you are experiencing some of these symptoms and are participating in these styles of training, then in that case, we would recommend not doing them. At least for some time to decide if its causing you harm. In other words if you’re participating in them and then stop and your body starts feeling better, then you can see the correlation between these styles of training and the outcome on your body.

If you really want to heal your body, take it a step further and start participating in a training style that matches the way the human body moves, and accounts for all of the intricacies that make up human motion. Enter Functional Patterns training. A system that makes your muscles work (contract/ engage/ activate) during exercise the way they work in the real world. Translating the work you do in the gym to a stronger body in reality. But the key is that you need to train your body accordingly instead of just participating in exercise for the sake of exercise.

Exercise is good, but not all exercise is created equal or produces the same outcome. Some of the above mentioned training styles become just a social hour (albeit a healthier social hour than drinking at the bar) or a way to fit in because everyone else is going to the local gym or workout class. But you should ask yourself, just because those people are working out, are they absent of pain, are they capable of moving without restriction, are they only good at exercising or can they perform in any given scenario?

Hopefully after reading this you’ll walk away with a deeper understanding about how exercise can benefit you if you exercise in a manner that respects the way the human body was designed to move. If you don’t, then sure exercise will have some superficial benefits that your doctor may recommend like lowering your blood pressure if you’re a couch potato and stimulating your muscles as opposed to letting them waste away, but if you don’t exercise the right way then the harms can outweigh the potential benefits. For example, sitting on a spin bike 5 days a week disconnects your upper body from your lower body, places your spine in a kyphotic posture, and doesn’t strengthen your core muscles. This can result in lower back pain from lack of core support, problems when you walk because your only training your body in a seated position, severed muscle chains because you aren’t training your kinetic chain for the way your entire system operates naturally, and a poor posture that makes it look like you’re depressed because you’re always hunched over, eventually maybe leading to some form of depression because your posture will influence your mood- via the emotional links with your fascia… see how health and fitness goes WAY deeper than just exercising your muscles?

These are just examples to start making you think about why we are still such an unhealthy society, with obesity and type 2 diabetes, and still have to have joint replacement surgeries and live with lower back pain even though people are exercising. It’s because nobody is taking the time to educate how complex exercise really is and the way the human body should be trained. Most of us are still working out with a structure from P.E. class or collegiate athletics or what your doctor recommends or what you see on T.V. The problem is that these exercises just keep you running in circles on the hamster wheel instead of solving problems with your body to make you a better functioning human without pain and risking injury when you move, play sports, move furniture, walk your dogs, chase your kids, grocery shop, do yard work, and live life.

If you’re tired of exercising without any applicable, noticeable benefit then contact us to take the first step toward exercising with a purpose so the results extend beyond body composition, weight loss, muscle tone, and cardiovascular health, but start to include a stable posture, a strong body for doing what you do most, and most importantly achieving fitness without pain so you can have a body that handles the demands of real life!

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! 

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!

Recipe: Mint Chip Smoothie

I found this smoothie recipe when I was in Florida on a business trip and I fell in love! I wanted to share this tasty recipe because it’s filled with ingredients that are good for you and the best part is, it tastes like a dessert!

All you need is a banana, 2 big handfuls of spinach, 1 small handful of mint (depending on your taste), cacao nibs (to taste), and cashew milk. Combine all of the ingredients in a blender and enjoy!

Pro Tip: add a frozen banana for a creamier, milkshake like texture… you’re welcome 🙂

Ps. I had to experiment with ratios on this because the smoothie shop that I found it at wouldn’t share the recipe- go figure. The ingredients are all listed so it’s up to you to get creative and make it your own- enjoy!

Functional Fitness

Recently, functional fitness is gaining more of a following because of the impact certain exercises have in everyday life. The word “functional” relates to the way something works or operates, so if certain exercises can help you operate better (improve your life) wouldn’t you do them? The purpose of functional fitness is to utilize special exercises that mimic real life scenarios to prepare your body for life outside of the gym (operate better). Traditional exercises train your body in the context of the gym environment so you’ll aways find yourself spending more and more time in the gym to make progress, because the exercises don’t reflect what you’d encounter in real life. If you want to use your time in the gym to improve your time outside of the gym then this is for you!

If you bust your butt in the gym and plow through an intense training session, only to spend 20 minutes icing your knees every morning then is your workout really benefiting your quality of life in the long run? Mentally, you may feel good about how hard your workout was but if you’re physically worn down after every workout and can barely climb up stairs without knee pain or your lower back always feels tight no matter how much you stretch, then I suspect that your workout isn’t benefiting your life the way you intended.

First, you should ask yourself what you want to accomplish with your workout. Do you want your workout to make you bigger, faster, and stronger? Help you lose weight? Build strength and endurance to raise your children or keep up with your grandkids? Help manage muscle or joint pain that limits your quality of life? Do you want your workout to sustain your health as you age? Once you establish why you’re working out then you have to take into consideration if you’re current workout habits are going to help you achieve what you want to accomplish.

Working out improves many aspects of your life, but mixed with the wrong intentions it may lead to other health complications. For example, if you workout so that you can lose weight and every time you exercise you do high impact moves that place wear and tear on your joints, then over time you may injure yourself and have to take a few weeks off from working out with the potential of gaining your weight back. If you workout because your doctor told you it would help decrease pain but the nagging discomfort or stabbing pain won’t go away, gets worse, or spreads, then you may be performing the wrong types of exercise for what you really want to accomplish. My point being, the way you workout should be taking you closer to your goal, not further from it.

The fitness industry does a great job advertising exercises that look cool, are hard, and make you sweat. That’s why you see most people exercising the way everybody else is, but not really knowing why they’re doing a particular exercise. Sometimes we just do an exercise for the sake of exercising, sometimes that exercise benefits your body in an applicable way and sometimes that exercise distorts your body and, if repeated enough, can lead to problems with posture and movement.

Personally, when I choose an exercise I make sure that it’s going to benefit my life outside of the gym in some way. If I constantly perform bicep curls because I think it’s going to help me pick up my dog easier then I am missing the applicable part. When I go to pick up my dog I am not just using my arms to lift her, I am engaging other muscles in my body all at once to help with the movement. If I want to function better in reality, then when I workout I should implement exercises that mimic my real life environment. If I want to pick up my dog without hurting my back, I would choose an exercise that involves me bending over and standing up while I integrate my hamstrings, glutes, core, and arms all at the same time, because that’s what my body is doing when I pick up my dog. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, the way you workout is going to determine how you move in real life. Traditional exercises don’t take this into account and so what you do in the gym doesn’t improve your life the same way true functional fitness does.

If you like to go to the gym and lift weights for the sake of lifting weights then more power to you. In the same breath, if you’re looking for a workout that has a direct carry over into how well you function in real life then contact us to set up a consultation. You’ll learn how you can make the most of your workout and if your current exercise routine is really helping you or actually harming you. At SA Functional Fitness we teach exercises that get your body on the path to enjoy all life has to offer- we don’t live to workout, we workout to live.