In my 20’s, everything I learned about exercise was from magazines or bodybuilders at the gym. Years later, I became a certified Personal Trainer. I learned to exercise "from the outside in”; big muscles first, small muscles last, then stretch. I looked very fit. "No pain, no gain" was my mantra. If only I had known better, I could have prevented what came next.
At 38, I began to have severe back pain every time I trained. I practiced Yoga to increase flexibility as I thought the pain was from tight muscles. Two years and many doctor visits later, an MRI revealed tears in my right labrum (hip) and gluteus medius. Since then, I have had chronic pain, restricted range of motion, and tight muscles. Nothing I've done with my health care team has helped much.
I was introduced to a groundbreaking method of assessing, reprogramming the body, and training, called FRC (Functional Range Conditioning). I am now learning to exercise from “the inside out”.
During my assessment, Matthew Sookdeo, FRC Movement Specialist at Pure Fitness Canada, told me that stories like mine were common. Matthew is a graduate Intern at Sports Performance Centres, run by Dr. Andreo Spina, the creator of FRC. Dr. Spina works from a highly scientific perspective. Think of strength, flexibility, and neurological control as a trifecta; they must be treated simultaneously to rehab injury, or to prepare the body for optimal performance. Addressing only one component (like strength) will not affect desired results.
Whether we are focused on looking good at the beach or maintaining optimal condition, we need to think about the body as a functioning biological system comprised of 37 trillion cells, 100 billion neurons, 640 skeletal muscles and 206 bones. Most of us don’t, and are left not knowing what to do when it all begins to break down.
The FRC model addresses the body as a system, and focuses on educating people about fact versus fiction in order to heal and/or perform at a higher level.
FICTION: "You can correct bad posture with core and back strengthening exercises."
FRC FACT: Your body tissue will adapt to the position (s) you are in the most (like hunched over a computer). To change your posture, you have to change your habits. Strong back and core muscles will not remain in a flexed position all day, thus will not keep you in an upright position. Instead, you must focus on how you breathe, sleep, and sit.
FICTION: "To correct an inability to perform a movement you do progressions of that movement. E.g. to facilitate a proper squat, start with body weight squats, to squat lower put plates under your heels, remove plates, then add light dumbbells, and eventually progress to a rack squat with barbells”.
FRC FACT: You can’t train the inability to do a movement by doing the movement (or cheating it). First you have to assess your movement in parts. It is usually lack of mobility at a joint prohibiting the correct execution of a squat. For example, rather than placing plates under heels, address lack of ankle mobility BEFORE doing squats. “Plates under heels is counterproductive, it’s like squatting in high heels”, says Matthew.
FICTION: "All health professionals give correct advice on how to recover from your injury."
FRC FACT: For a variety of reasons (including a free but flawed medical system that focuses on repair rather than prevention) this is not the case. The clinic has seen a lot of people who haven’t been healed by their health care team, but whose lives have been changed dramatically through FRC.
If you are interested in finding out more about how FRC might help you, book a free consultation with Matthew at Pure Fitness and get your body back!