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When I qualified as a personal trainer I felt like it was the most under-whelming thing I had achieved in my life to that point. Why? Well, because it was not really that difficult and, more to the point it felt like being able to help people make relevant change in their lives had only just begun. Nowadays I liken it to passing your driving test… Sure, you have a license but the real learning is on the roads.
In my quest to develop my training knowledge I turned to the internet. I wasn’t interested in bodybuilding because from my observation of their methods it was the antithesis of healthy. So I studied a lot of YouTube videos to learn about the human body and that is when I found a small bald guy called Naudi Aguilar from Functional Patterns. He was cocky and quite dismissive of the fitness industry trends and he was the only person I saw who exhibited what I believed and still believe was functional training. I then got sucked into working in a commercial gym and into the trends in that gym, but that is a story for another time.
What this post is about?
In this blog post I thought I would share what Functional Patterns is and why it is so relevant for improving humans. I say that, not to be all ‘deep and philosophical’, rather to plainly say that humanity is in need of deep improvement. If you don’t believe me, and if the last 2.5 years have not been proof enough, then here are some stats:
Those are some staggering numbers, the UK has a sick population, and all we ever hear about is energy prices and politics…
Now I could go on a rant here, but the bottom line is that the UK is a lot more liberal than places like the USA where the pharmaceutical companies, literally, sell people drugs on TV.
The more sobering reality in the UK, and I’m sure all around the world, is that when people who are part of those statistics come to the realisation that something is wrong in their lives they often join a gym and hire a personal trainer to help them improve their lives. They believe that, by attending a gym and burning shed loads of calories, they are going to fix their problems but they hate every minute of it and they find it really taxing on their bodies. Their bodies are already under stress because of the aforementioned lifestyle challenges. In the end they either become addicted to the process of bodily punishment or they quit and go back to their lifestyle from before. Both result in them compounding their issues… More on this in a moment.
What does Functional Patterns, training and overall human health have to do with each other?
The answer is everything…
Imagine for a moment that your pain, aches, fear, anxiety and depression can all go away with just some simple changes to the stimulus you provide your body. Training is a stimulus, food is a stimulus, what you read and think are stimuli.
You see, the human body is not segmented, yet everyone treats it that way. We have specialists in isolated areas of health but none that cover the most important aspects, that's where Functional Patterns comes in.
I see clients every single week that have some form of problem that they are trying to overcome and most of the time they are standing in front of me because I am their last stop before they give up on themselves completely. They’ve often tried everything that conventional systems have to offer, often in isolated appointments with opinions and conjecture thrown at them.
In the last two years I have seen two people who believed that they had kidney pain and problems, yet they kept getting tests and reports from doctors to say that there was nothing wrong with them. When we implemented some Functional Patterns concepts in their training they suddenly don’t have any kidney pain anymore…
For the record, I am not a witch doctor, I just know that they are severely compressed in their spine and the pain that they are feeling is because they have a muscular imbalances, which has resulted on compression in the region of their body that creates pain near their kidneys.
Here’s a good example of what I mean…
In this article by Functional Patterns you can read a more detailed version of what I am about to tell you.
If you have a person with poor posture and hyper mobile joints, this will affect how they hold themselves and their non-verbal communication.
Non-verbal communication is somewhere between 70-93% of how we communicate.
If a person’s body is in poor posture with hyper mobile joints then the central nervous system will face a BIG problem. The central nervous system is in control of how muscles lengthen and contract. If a joint is hyper mobile that means that the muscle and tissues around the joint are not stabilising the joint as well as they should; this then means that when the muscles lengthen and contract they are never quite sure how to behave. This, in turn, will send a cautionary signal to the brain as a protective measure. When this happens your central nervous system will have a very difficult time prioritising correct mechanics in movement because it is never quite sure how muscles will respond… Hence, said person with poor posture and hyper mobility will exhibit anxious behaviours. Here are a few:
Now, if the brain is in a constant state of confusion because the muscles are incorrectly functioning, then you will have a situation where the resources that the body needs and has, will be mismanaged… For a moment, imagine a road system where every single road, traffic light, car speed and obstacle was accounted for and streamlined. Where everything moved smoothly, there were no delays or queues. A perfect symmetry of movement as the cars, busses, people and environment were in perfect flow, like watching a beautiful river.
Now imagine what happens over time when the roads do not get looked after and the traffic lights begin to be faulty. Imagine what happens when cars break down or one person drives too fast and another drives too slow…
The system then becomes less efficient and problems arise.
That, my friends is like the human body and in particular the muscles of the body.
We humans have created a lot of issues for ourselves without even realising it and yet the answer is simple… We need to become more functional.
What is functional though?
Here’s how Naudi, myself and other Functional Patterns Practitioners think about it….
When it comes to training we have to think about the major functions that humans have physically formed to do over many, many years:
These are the Functional Patterns BIG 4 and there is no doubt in my mind about this from an anthropological perspective. Functional Patterns is the only system in health and fitness that takes this approach - nothing compares to it and nothing ever will.
The goal for your training, diet and the way you think about yourself should be oriented around a more functional approach.
When your muscles help you stand better then you feel better.
When they help you walk better, you’ll be able to exert yourself more comfortably and, you’ll feel better.
When they help you run better then you’ll have better adaptations and your body’s system becomes more efficient.
When your muscles are trained in a way that supports our 4 primary functions the body improves exponentially. When the body improves exponentially you will choose better foods to eat, you will think better thoughts and your life, as a human being will improve.
How to get started...
There are a number of ways to get started, Functional Patterns have launched a 10 week online course, which is a great place to start if you are willing to put in the work on your own and really understand how to optimise your body.
For a lot of people that is where the stumbling block is, simply because if you’re in pain and struggling with your health, your confidence in your ability to fix yourself will be challenged. That’s where Functional Patterns Practitioners come in.
I am a practitioner and I work closely with another practitioner here in Solihull in the UK, and we both deliver face to face coaching and online coaching. The best thing to do from here would be to reach out for a consultation.
There is always a solution and if you have made it this far in today’s post then you’ll understand that all is not lost.
If you need to understand more then check out the results on my website and the Functional Patterns website to understand more.
The most important thing that you can think about is the idea of hope, hope is a feeling that will be brought about by a thought. That thought will be in your mind and that is your body’s way of saying ‘it’s possible’. I had hope that I would lose weight and I made it happen by applying myself to the process. I had hope that I would fix my chronic pain and recover and I made it happen by applying myself to a process.
No one says it will be easy, but it is damn sure worth the effort. Trust me.
You’ve got this.
Stay Strong and Keep Moving,
Links to statements made in this post: