I was not a born a naturally athletic child, even though I was raised on a farm and was taught the value of hard work early on, sports and exercise never came easy to me. Like many in my generation bodybuilding was very big and very popular. So I grew up reading muscle and fitness and idolizing professional bodybuilders. It’s fair to say I spent most of my initial years in the weight room focusing on nothing but isolation exercise is trying to look like the people the magazine’s. Because of this misdirected focus on fitness and improper exercise injuries began to occur. First my wrist, then the shoulder followed by a series of lower back injuries. It was during the rehabilitation of some of these injuries that I was initially introduced into power lifting. At first traditional Olympic Power lifting seemed like the panacea that I had always been looking for. I could still lift weights, the weights could still be heavy and in my mind I could still achieve my goals of being big. After some time experimenting in the power lifting world I was still plagued by pain and injury. Sure I was incredibly strong for someone my size, but I was quick to realize that the pain I experienced during and after each workout was a very un-motivating factor. Plus I was sore for 2-3 days after a heavy session, I feared stairs for days after a heavy leg day! It was during my training and especially during my rehabilitation that I was introduced to the world of physical therapy and sports medicine. I can look back at it now and be grateful that I had these experiences because without them I would never chose the career path that I am in now.
During my sports medicine and athletic training education I was introduced to rehabilitative techniques using modalities and tools that I had never been exposed to before. It was also during this time that I was first exposed to functional based exercise. At that time functional training did exist, the terminology that we used was sports specific training, but either way it brought functional and natural movement to the forefront of our thinking. It was also during this time that I was first exposed to the concept of stabilization training. We knew there were muscles in the body that controlled fine motor patterns but at the time there was not a lot of science to back up at a get those muscles engaged. Stabilization training back then was rotator cuff and ankle stabs, and that was about it.
Once I got out into the field and began working professionally at the clinical level more and more data became available on the benefits of stabilization and functional based exercise. I can clearly recall the day that I finally open my eyes to the fact that exercise should not occur sitting down or laying on a bench. Frankly, it’s very difficult moving away from a lifetime’s worth of knowledge, even though that knowledge was wrong, and learning to embrace a new way of thinking. Even harder was learning to embrace a new way of exercise, but something very interesting happened.
Since I had moved away from traditional bodybuilding and power lifting type exercise many of the self-induced muscle imbalances that I had spent a lifetime creating began to reverse. I can recall the day that I was able to do five pull up’s in a row. Sure, that doesn’t seem like many pull-ups, but at the time I had a huge bench, at insane squat, I could leg press a car, yet had no idea how to use my own body weight.
It has been and continues to be an amazing journey through fitness and wellness. As many of my colleagues would agree their exercises today that we would never dream of asking somebody to do, yet less than 10 years ago they were commonplace. We used to laugh that some of the tools that were in the exercise world before we showed up, and today many of those tools have come back to the forefront of how we train. 15 years ago we would’ve laughed at kettle bells, mocked suspension trainers, never even considered using the balance beam or doing crawling patterns. So as is very common in life everything does eventually come full circle. Of course now we understand the body much better than we used to, we know how to just get it to fire properly so that injury does not occur. We also understand to a much greater degree the importance of full body movement vs. isolation based exercise.
So this Ex-farm boy, ex-want to be body builder, ex-want to be power lifter, un-natural athlete has had an interesting paradigm shift in his life. Since I have gotten completely away from traditional weight training, no isolation exercise and no bodybuilding type movements something quite interesting has happened. I may not be as big as I used to be but I’m just a strong as I was when I was much younger but I don’t hurt. On top of that my physical ability and my overall conditioning is easily that of somebody 20 years younger. This only occurred because I embraced natural movement patterns, primal movement patterns and moved as far away from traditional isolation based exercises as possible.
I have also become a natural athlete, which was something I never possessed before. I now look forward to exercise, I feel better when I exercise and you will too. A lot of time and effort went into creating the program and protocols contained in this book. I wish I had a path laid out in front of me as a clear and concise as what is in this manual when I was beginning my exercise career. While I purposely do not go too deep into the science in this text, it is laid out in a way that will create better tissue conditioning, improve primal movement patterns all while helping to bring out that athlete within.
You made a choice when you purchased this book, you chose to get healthy! I sincerely hope that you will not make the mistakes that I made early in my life when it came to fitness, nutrition and health. I chose and I choose to be healthy and to feel good, so will you. Once you see and FEEL how much better you are when following this type of lifestyle, and it is a lifestyle, you will wonder how you carried on before. Remember, science first, evidence second, then application. Beware the fads and gimmicks as they are ever present, choose to not drink the cool aid and follow your own path, let the science blaze the trail and the mistakes of others guide you in the right direction.