How To Move Better

Tension built in the muscles takes pressure off the joints, ligaments, and bones and allows the muscles and tendons to work as the support system for the body.

This all sounds ideal, especially if you’re someone suffering from pain and restrictive movement because of pain. However it’s not guaranteed to happen if you do exercises that compress your structure. Squatting with a bar on your back causes compression on you vertebrae, bench pressing limits the range of motion of your shoulder girdle and disconnects the pec muscles from the powerful oblique muscles, deadlifting causes your lower posterior chain to work but neglects the upper and causes your lumbar spine to overwork.

All of these are very common exercises that are prescribed to build strength, but often what you aren’t aware of is it’s at the expense of your joints, spine, bones, and ligaments. The physics behind these movements causes the muscles to load exclusively through one direction of force, whereas in reality, the same muscles are constantly being used through multiple angles of force.

There are a few problems with this way of training. The movements themselves don’t allow the force to be balanced out through other angles, and so while the muscles are being worked, the nearby joints and ligaments are also being strained. The movements also don’t allow other muscle chains to integrate with the targeted muscles, which leads to overuse and fascial disconnection from the rest of the chain. Finally, since the movements only train one force at a time, when you go to use your body in the real world, the muscles aren’t thoroughly prepared to be resilient against the multiple forces acting on it.

These movements do make your muscles stronger, but only within the context of the exercise itself. Once your body is off the bench, or the bar isn’t on top of it, your muscles have not been conditioned to withstand other forces. Additionally your muscles have not been conditioned through integration and all the built in connections are not linked efficiently so muscles are working on their own to help support you. Like you’re in a canoe with a group and you’re the only one doing all the paddling- the group should work together to make the paddling easier and the water more enjoyable. Your muscles should learn to work the same way.

Another point to consider is that the exercises themselves cause strain on the joints, ligaments, and bones from the dysfunctional mechanics during the movement. But the exercises can indirectly affect the joints, ligaments, and bones later down the road, by not offering the right support from your muscles when you move in the real world. In other words, the exercises aren’t preparing your body for reality.

Exercise should be used to build resiliency to life outside of the gym. This concept is one that our trainers always remind our clients of when we teach them exercises that align with this principle. The result is a stronger body, leading to less pain and old injuries being resolved in the process.

Come to our gym and learn what is best for your body and how you should be exercising to promote longevity and sustain your fitness.

Hydration

Staying hydrated goes deeper than drinking enough water.
If you’re going to the bathroom every hour after drinking, it means your cells and muscle tissues aren’t absorbing any of the fluid. Likely because they’re stagnant and unable to conduct a current because they lack proper muscle contraction.

Imagine your tissues like a dried up, crusty wash rag you use to clean your body. When it’s dried up it doesn’t work well, but when you wet it, it becomes pliable again and able to function and get those hard to reach places. The dried up rag is like dehydrated muscle tissue, when your muscles are dehydrated they don’t work well. When your muscles don’t work well the contribute to more strain on your joints and overuse of other muscles. To get water to the muscles, you need to learn how to move better so that your muscles start contracting in places that they normal don’t (dehydrated stagnant tissue getting hydrated), when these more efficient contractions start happening more fluid is pumped to the tissues and they become hydrated, pliable, and ready to work better.

Try this; if you have any areas on your body that feel tight or restricted, palpate them like you’re trying to massage them and see how they feel. Compare to the same muscle on the other side of your body. If they’re dehydrated they’ll likely feel hard, misshapen, and not a lot of give to them. Whereas a muscle that’s hydrated you can sink into when you poke it, the contours of the muscle will feel smoother, and the shape of the muscle is full. Think about it as “stiff” vs. “gooey.”

To learn more, check out our latest post on Social Media or our “Fascia” Highlights on Instagram for a full video breakdown!

The Body’s Interconnectedness

As we get older, we’re often told that aches and pains are just a part of aging. A twinge in your knee, restrictions in your shoulder, tightness in your lower back are all common, but not normal.

Pain in one area of your body potentially stems from another region, because of the interconnectedness of your fascial web and kinetic chain linking everything together.

The unexplained problems in your joints are likely a result of your muscles not supporting your joints. Strain in your shoulder may come from dysfunction in the pecs or the lats. Knee pain results from lack of the glutes working properly. The point being, that where you’re hurting, might not be where the problem is.

Our trainers work to get to the root of your chronic pain by addressing dysfunctional movement compensations, allowing you to simultaneously build muscle to provide your body with the strength it needs to keep aches and pain from creeping back in.

If you’re spinning your wheels spot treating pain at the source, then come meet with us to learn how everything in your body works (or doesn’t work) together to influence how you move, and how your movement plays a critical role in pain and injury if you’re moving incorrectly.

Why We Do What We Do

A lot of you have been asking what we do, and the simple answer is we want to bring value to our customers lives. Whether that’s helping them out of pain, building muscle and strength, aligning their posture, or getting them to move better to reduce their risk of injury. All of which go hand in hand.

The fitness world is littered with trainers that promote getting stronger but usually at the expense of your posture, muscle strain, joint pain, and movement restrictions. We opened our doors to be a solution to this approach to getting fit, by teaching alternative techniques that simultaneously build strength and mobility without damaging your joints or exacerbating muscle imbalance.

We are Functional Patterns practitioners providing training that your body needs to function without adversity. Come try our gym to experience where personal training meets physical therapy. We help you reach goals you thought weren’t possible!

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 FunctionalPatterns.com 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

 

 

How To: Exercise

Confession time, I didn’t know how to exercise when I was growing up. The exercise habits I learned on my own, from fitness magazines, athletic coaches, and even other trainers, and exercise programs started ingraining dysfunction on my body and the result was aches and pains… in my early 20’s.

I finally realized if I continued down the path I was on, surely I would need a joint replacement, back surgery, or I would become crippled and unable to function the way I wanted to. I admit, what I learned about fitness and how I started training clients was not conducive to mine, nor their, overall fitness and wellbeing.

I had to wise up and humble myself, because I didn’t know everything and I had to learn more. For my health’s sake and the health and fitness of my clients if I wanted them to stick around and achieve the results I knew were possible with the right kind of training.

Through ups and downs of trial and error I finally found Functional Patterns, a training system for humans! And if you practice FP, or if you’ve ever had a chance to try it with a practitioner, you know that it is all encompassing. Training that is mentally overwhelming and physically deceiving, yet intuitively feels good and leaves you coming back for more.

The best part about Functional Patterns training is that it doesn’t bother my joints. When I first started rehabbing myself from old injuries and nagging pain coupled with joint compression I would uncover movement compensations during an exercise that highlighted my weaknesses and dysfunctions. I was able to gain insight into how to correct my motor skills to support my overall function, and also my function as it related to specific scenarios that I could train my body to adapt to.

The main area that I train my body to get stronger at is my gait. The gait cycle is a key element to human function. It’s how our movement evolved our muscles, their shape and how they function. Exercising the way I had when I was growing up didn’t train the body that way- it grouped it into individual muscles and individual functions and trained them like that. When in reality, the body functions as one integrated unit.

It was a no brainer, the way I was exercising was messing my body up even more, because it didn’t take into account how to train the body to coincide with the way it functions. It didn’t matter that everyone else in the gym was training the wrong way, it wasn’t for me. And in hindsight, it wasn’t right for them either, looking back on it, mostly everyone in the gyms I was working out at had some form of injury or joint pain that they were either working around or trying to fix with the same old rehab exercises that have been around for decades- yet still didn’t work. If they did, I feel like they would have worked for me and everyone else in the gym trying to get out of pain. Once I realized all of this, I started transitioning into more and more Functional Patterns training. I purchased their 10-week online course, started working with an FP Practitioner in person, and eventually wanted to learn more so I got certified and become a Practitioner myself!

The more I learn, and our team of FP Practitioners learn, the more we discover how traditional means of exercise (the common exercises you see being performed) create more damage on the body because they don’t align with the true mechanics that make up the motion(s) of the human body. It’s our mission to fix our own bodies so we can fix yours! We lead by example, so all of the exercises we teach, we’ve gone through and tested out on ourselves first, to ensure that they work. This allows us to deliver a low risk; high reward exercise, rather than making your body feel worse in the process of “exercising” and “getting fit.”

It’s time to learn how to train your body intentionally and with a purpose, rather than habitually and just going through the motions with whatever muscles are working. Time to exercise the right way, instead of compensating your way through an exercise. It’s finally time to see a trainer at a gym that aims to simultaneously strengthen your body while rehabbing your body, so that your body can perform the way you want it to in the real world.

While this isn’t a step by step guide on how to perform the exercise that’s right for you, it is a guide that you should consider when exercising. How does exercising make you feel, during and after, and even the next day. This is one way to recognize if the way you’re exercising and the exercises you’re performing are inflicting damage to your body and impeding your overall function.

If you want to learn what exercises to do, and how to do them, to achieve a high functioning body as you continue to age and without all the aches and pains, then schedule your Initial Consultation with one of our FP Practitioners today!

 

 

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!

Fed Up With Cookie Cutter Personal Training?

We aren’t your typical gym, we’re a boutique personal training studio training the human body the way it’s designed to function. We build muscle and strength that translate to every day movement. Our team of trainers are certified Human Biomechanics Specialists that work to uncover muscle dysfunctions that restrict how YOUR body moves and restore muscular imbalances that cause weakness, instability, and pain. Our training methodology is all encompassing; we train strength, flexibility, mobility, core, cardio, injury prevention, and rehabilitation all in one workout! Our exercises aren’t arbitrary, they’re designed to solve problems on YOUR body that other styles of training don’t account for. Come feel what it’s like to move without pain and experience the other side of the fitness and rehab industry!

Neuromuscular Exercise

Your brain naturally defaults to the neural pathway that represents what you’ve done before. These pathways are created based on habits and behaviors, ei; how you move, what muscles you use to move, what your muscles are doing when you’re not moving, etc.

The brain prefers the path of least resistance- the easiest route to avoid working hard. Since the brain (nervous system) controls our physical actions (muscular system), our function is at the mercy of this path. The way we move is determined on how hard the brain wants to work to coordinate the movement, dictating correct biomechanics versus dysfunctional mechanics based on how your brain is wired.

If your habits and behaviors wire in neural pathways that reinforce the easier path, then your body systems won’t work optimally and over time this becomes normal, and you aren’t even aware of the dysfunction. Using movement as an example… your daily habit of leaning on one leg and popping your hip out to one side when you stand creates a neural pathway, that your brain thinks is normal. Now when you go for a walk, this pathway that was created from your repeated behavior starts to manifest. Every step you take, your hip pops out to the same side as it does when you stand but you aren’t aware of it because your brain has wired this pathway as “normal.” Just because something is normal doesn’t make it right, because a hip that shifts asymmetrically when you walk creates a chain reaction that leads to compensations elsewhere in your kinetic chain. Causing force to pound into your hip joint leading to a hip replacement, unstable hips lead to an unstable spine and overworked knee joints, leading to neck and ankle problems, etc. Think about what else happens during other movements if all this is happening just when you walk.

This is why we prioritize the “mind muscle connection” during training because your body becomes blind to how it’s moving, when your brain has been controlling it a certain way for so long. Our trainers work to uncover if your movement patterns are serving your body for sustainable function or wrecking your body and expediting the aging process.

Contact us if you want to evolve your training to achieve a more practical outcome, instead of just exercising through that path of least resistance.