Recently this past weekend I was privy to doing my Functional Movement Screen (FMS) Certification Level 1 and 2, and being amongst my peers was not only fun but very inspirational. I looked around the room with such admiration at the variety of education and backgrounds all coming together to learn what it takes to help people move better, move often, and just simply move. As most of those who know me, know that my motto is ‘Performance is for Life.’ I always iterate that performance is not just at the elite level but rather in all walks of life! What people don’t understand in this day and age though is that performance at all levels will fail you if you’re not moving properly.
I want you to close your eyes and imagine yourself in a long white smock as you’re building your first Robot! Think of it’s brain as a computer and it’s body is a steel mechanism of moving parts. This robot is run electrically through the wiring from signals sent from the computer to move the robot’s joints and parts. The computer sends signals to keep the joints oiled and lubricated so that the robot learns to move freely with out obstructions, creaking, or the steel body binding. The computer learns motor patterns so that the robot can move efficiently, and effectively within its tasks. But more importantly, the robot now begins to understand movement as it’s artificial intelligence continues to learn all the patterns necessary to strive in this world.
Ok now take that robot which you just took the time to teach movement within the span of it’s short life, and sit him in a chair for 8 to 10 hours a day. Now you’re noticing the robot is a little slower at moving and there’s a little more steel sounding movements due to the oil in the joints drying up and collecting dust. The robot’s body isn’t looking very shiny anymore, and instead starting to collect the odd rusty specs of dust here and there. Also because of the lack of usage you find that for some reason the wiring from the computer isn’t firing signals fast enough or none at all and the steel in the joints are starting to bind a little so the robot isn’t moving very efficiently throughout it’s daily tasks.
You wonder and study the problems and you try rewiring, and you reset the computer and nothing seems to be happening; you’ve broken the robot… The human body spent the first half of it’s existence or more moving. As you’ve heard before we were hunters, gatherers, warriors, etc. and for this last third of human history we’ve become more and more sedentary. Our careers demand hours and hours of sitting around in front of the computer typing, mouse surfing, reading and all other wonderful things that our borne of our jobs. We are now that broken robot but the difference is we are slowly learning how to reset that computer, we are learning mobility drills, flexibility exercises, myofascial release, and so many other fantastic techniques that are putting us back together. Unfortunately in this society We just have to want to move more then wanting to move at any cost!
Lately we’ve been living in the world of low attention spans and high regard for social media and all the poisonous fruit that comes off that tree. Things like 30 day challenges that push the metabolic envelope to sickness, promises of beautiful bodies at the cost of your health and general mobility and let’s not get started on the nutrition fads; that’s a Blog in itself! I was once asked by a very important man from a company I was working at if I just took down people’s goals and built programs for them to work on. I just gave him a blank stare and told him that goals are secondary to me if the people can’t move properly. I need to see how they move and find out what weaknesses lie within and why. I need to see people’s asymmetries and distinguish what sort of corrective exercises need to be applied and how, I also need to assess their strengths so that I can formulate a few of their goals into a program as well to compliment the fixes needed to move better.
This is why I felt that the Functional Movement Screen (FMS) was an important tool to add to my arsenal, and this is why I still feel that those 7 simple movements in the screen can tell so much about a person and what lies within. This past weekend working with friends and colleagues just reaffirmed that I’m on the right path. Clients don’t need to lose 50lbs tomorrow, they need to lose 50lbs intelligently through a program that incorporates their strengths, considers their asymmetrical issues, compliments their weaknesses but still is able to challenge them physically. I always say, ‘do the exercise right and not only will it be harder but will also make you stronger.’ The fitness world is starting to follow in the elite footsteps and move towards function and specificity, and I believe that the the Functional Movement Screen is a great starting block in assessing a client, so that they can get to their goals in healthy fashion. Well friends, I hope I was able to open your eyes like mine were this past weekend; and now for my next assessment; stay functional (healthy) my friends…
Are you tough enough?
In the past I introduced this Blog with the Smart Principle; Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, and Timely. The truth is I’ve noticed with certain clients just want to jump in the water with both feet never testing it, never asking questions, never considering the consequences of what a hardcore attitude might do to your body or your mind. On the other hand I have those that want more than they’ve put in and start to wonder if the training is even worth it. As trainers this can become quite frustrating considering that we lay out guidelines, support, education, and the training. There’s an old African proverb that says, “Never test the depth of the water with both feet.” (Kouzes & Posner, 2007)
In Kouzes and Posner’s The Leadership Challenge it talks about experimenting and risk taking, but I’ll get to that in a moment. First I’d like to start by asking you that simple question, “How’s that new years resolution working out for you?” I’m guessing that there are a high percentage of you that have fell off the wagon, or have become too busy, or never really saw the results they assumed they would achieve in such a short period, and finally you’re just bored of the same routine since January. So back to Kouzes and Posner, where they state that to create a climate in which the norm is to experiment and take risks, it is essential for leaders to:
Generate small wins
Learn from experience
Generating small wins is an excellent way to begin tracking your performance and goals in your every day life, whether family, work, fitness, etc. Again, this is where SMART can come into play, and helping you refine those small wins; setting milestones is a small step-by-step process for progression. Unfortunately we live in a society that caters to the, “Go big or go home,” with that said 90% are sitting at home! Remember that achieving those small wins will result in success.
Learning from our experience is crucial to our mental toughness, our resilience to obstacles, and to our eventual success in any of our goals set. As humans we are programmed to learn from childhood on until the imminent. Unfortunately taking another shot at society, we often find ourselves being lazy and letting someone else take over the reigns; let them learn it, let them do it. Well now they’ve just become your boss, beat you in a race, or achieved their fitness goals before you! My question to you is, “will you quit because you were beaten? Will you quit because you never reached those goals?’ You have to ask yourself , did you learn anything? Are you mentally tough enough to persevere? Do you lack the fortitude to continue?” I say you are, I say you can learn to be; you are smarter and you can become tougher just by taking that small step forward you never did before. You can pick yourself up and continue, because it is instilled in us the will to live, to move, to run, to jump, to love; so what’s holding you back? You have a resolution to continue, one small win at a time. Track your progress people, you will have something to work for always.
Stay Healthy My Friends…