functional movement training
A few years ago, if you had asked me what I thought about movement, fitness, or health, I probably wouldn’t have had much to say. If you had asked me about what it looked like, I probably would have told you that it looks like working out with my “bros” from time to time. I’m not sure I really knew about the health benefits of movement, from either the mental or physical side of things. Wellness for me, didn’t have much of a focus back then. It was more like sporadic workouts, maybe some time spent in the sauna after a long day or getting in the gym solely to sweat out the week before a night with the guys.
Fast forward 3-4 years and things have changed–drastically. And I feel like I am exactly where I need to be: a fitness professional, highly trained in mobility and functional movement training and building specializing in Animal Flow and Kettlebells. I have become a dedicated, enthusiastic and supportive fitness professional, with clients ranging from complete novices to elite athletes, single to bi-lateral amputees to wheelchair athletes, and I’m proud to help all of my clients find their inner athlete–even those clients who have never set foot in the gym before. With research, practice and years of studies and certifications, along with my technical, scientific background, I now have the tools to advise and coach my clients on how to manipulate a wide variety of variables to design programs which efficiently work to achieve my clients’ goals. Each training program that I develop for my clients is unique and customized specifically for the individual: there are NO one-size-fits-all. I truly believe working out and fitness are vital parts to our lives. It’s the best form of (preventative) medicine and healthy living for both myself, as well as my clients. Training has truly become my way to contribute to healthcare and to give athletes the competitive edge.
To take you back a bit, I formerly worked in the hospitality industry, specifically within corporate affairs for hotel chains like Marriott, Trump Towers before switching over to Airport Concepts and development for a number of years. The years I spent traveling, working extraneous hours, attempting to create some sort of work-life balance, and constantly changing location settings took a toll, both physically and mentally. So much so mentally that I realized, ultimately, I needed to leave my profession of more than 15 years. Once I made that decision, I started studying health and nutrition, implemented a yoga practice, spent more time in the gym, and really put a focus on mobility and strength training through the use of kettlebells and weights. I quit smoking, limit my alcohol consumption and became aware and focused on what I was consuming, from a nutrition standpoint. From there, I found Animal Flow and Functional Movement and the rest is history. I had found my calling and I knew almost immediately that I wanted to teach the practice.
Back when I was first researching and practicing the craft of Animal Flow and Functional Movement, I sought out a mentor who understood movement, health, nutrition, and all things fitness related. That’s how I connected with Erik, a man I called “Professor X.” Erik, a wheelchair user professional in skateboarding and real estate development, was a wealth of knowledge. We would often discuss (and argue) about all facets within the world of movement and on one particular day, he said something that struck a chord and made me realize that there is so much more to just moving. We discussed the meaning of mobility and what it means to not only be more mobile, but how we could apply the concept of mobility to our everyday movement.
As we talked, Erik was able to shed some insight on the term mobility–a term used to describe range of motion, oftentimes mistaken for the term flexibility. While mobility and flexibility do go hand-in-hand, to put it simply, flexibility is the ability of a muscle to stretch and mobility is the ability of a joint to move. During one of our many conversations, Erik and I discussed the two forms of mobility: Personal Mobility and Mobility within the Environment. Personal mobility is what we practice or teach to our clients when training and can be classified as controlled movements in a stable environment with little physical movement from one location to another. It is where a trainer may apply the “shin box” to a client as they are locked in, seated and grounded, allowing their hips to rotate both internally and externally while transitioning the levers from one side to the other. On the other hand, mobility within their environment is where the individual can apply a complete range of motion and physically move from one location to another, like a dance or even martial arts. Interestingly enough, Animal Flow has the ability to move from one location to another, in addition to doing all things mobile and flexible.
Functional movement training doesn’t just strengthen one muscle group at a time. Instead, this kind of training works several muscle groups at once. As a result, you build strength holistically, forcing your body to function as a single unit. Because you’re using several muscle groups at once, coordination and neuromuscular control is also improved. In essence, functional movement training is all about training “movements, not muscles.” It mirrors how humans were meant to move, and helps to make us move even better. I’m a firm believer that movements like Animal Flow, Yoga, Dance, Capoiera, and other forms of movements are Functional Movement Training.
What are some key benefits to Movement Training?
- Prevents Injury
- Boosts Performance
- Burns Fat
- Move Better
Movement training like Animal Flow truly has no downside. From enhancing quality of life and preventing injuries, to helping you increase your sport performance and lean out, if you ask me, I’d say it’s one of the best training methods out there.
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