Functional Movement and Your Goals

What does “Functional Movement” have to do with you achieving your fitness goals?

Guest Post by: Michael Anders

Head Trainer Shape Up Fitness & Wellness Consulting Inc.


Most of our clients, like most people, would like to lose weight, tone, shed fat, gain muscle mass, prepare for a race and so on. In the last couple of years it has become more and more important for us to separate ourselves from the big box gyms filled with meat heads and weekend warriors.

Our goal was to give our clients a truelly personalized training program that not only gets them totheir goals, but also gets them there safely while over-delivering. Most of our clients are between  40-60 and have some sort of ailment, the most common being lower back pain.

We start by assessing our client’s posture and movement patterns to check for weak links in their kinetic chain.  Sometimes the weak areas are based on muscle underdevelopment, but in actuality the muscles are strong however it is the movement pattern that is “off”.   When someone’s movement pattern is off, they are not able to activate the right muscles in the right sequence and all the core work and strength training does nothing to fix it (since strength was never the issue, it was activating the muscles at the right time, or simply dysfunctional movement patterns).  Dysfunctional movement patterns lead to higher risk of injury and higher incidence of pain.

Often clients come to us after previously getting injured while working with another personal trainer. We don’t mind getting new clients, but we would rather have people not getting injured in the first place. Through assessing our client’s fitness goals and their functional movement capacities, we are able to keep our clients healthier and have them achieve their goals faster.

Our initial consultations allow us to find muscle imbalances so that we can incorporate certain exercises to correct those imbalances in each client’s program. We don’t do magic, we are not doctor’s,  but we understand human movement and how to perfect human movement.

Find  a personal trainer or coach that you trust, ask them to observe your basic movement patterns,  squatting, bending, walking, lunging, pressing, and pulling. A trusted professional should be able to analyze your basic movement patterns and advise you accordingly on how to correct your imbalances with specific corrective exercises.

You will be able to incorporate your corrective exercises in your warm up, cool down, and/or even your actual workout to prevent  injuries, improve your performance, and alleviate pain.  Avoiding and minimizing the risk of injury is one hundred percent necessary to be successful in achieving your goals!!

One common low back injury occurs when there is too much flexion in your lower back while squatting.  Once you injure your back, you cannot workout anymore, and might fall back on “frustration eating”.  As a result: the pounds stay on.

Another common movement dysfunction we see is when a client is unable to stabilize their shoulder blades while bench pressing or doing push-ups.  Lack of scapular/shoulder blade stability increases the probability of impingement of the shoulder.  A shoulder impingement would prevent you from swimming in any triathlon for at least a year, even with the best physical therapists!  If you are of sound mind, here is what you can do to minimize you risk and prevent most injuries:

  • Find a trusted personal trainer or coach and ask them to check your basic movement patterns and core stabilization.
  • Raleigh, NC residents will benefit from contacting Nick as an experienced Personal Trainers.
  • Have your trainer prescribe specific corrective exercises into your training while continuing to work on your personal fitness goals.
  • Adhere to the prescription your professional provides specifically for you.  If your health and fitness goals are truelly important to you, then take some responsibility for your own health and follow the professional guidance.
  • Have the trainer reassess your movement patterns every 6-8 weeks and make changes to your training if necessary.
  • Enjoy your training ☺

I hope this was helpful to all readers. Feel free to contact me with questions.

Enjoy your training and make your goals happen!

Michael Anders

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2. Highly Skilled, Knowledgable, and Experienced


5 Step Process to Ensure Your Success

1. Advanced Movement Assessments and Lifestyle Analysis

2. The data from your assessments will then be used to create a specialized resistance training, cardiovascular, nutrition and supplement protocol.

3. We wil educate and empower you on how to incorporate the plan into your daily life without turning your world upside down. You can expect to know more than 90% of personal trainers in as little as four months!

4. Next you attack your plan with the fullest of your abilities with our support and coaching along the way.

5. Every 6 to 8 weeks we measure your results and then modify your plan to prevent plateaus and create ongoing physical change!

Decide, Commit, and Blossom!

We will  cover what an ideal situation looks like and then discuss more realistic situations.

Before we move forward I want to clarify a key point that will have a profound effect once we have made our decision. 

Once we make a decision to move forward to a healthier life, we are committing to that decision and all the efforts that will accompany making the decision real.  In other words, our decision is a commitment to do what we have to do to make it happen.  This is why we spend a majority of our time in the decision making process.  

We should rename the process, “the commitment making process.”  There are going to be set backs and times we fall of the wagon.  Depending upon how committed we are will determine how fast we get back to our commitments and what we do in the mean time.  Our commitment and motivation levels will fluctuate.   How can we stay motivated and committed?


1) Define your goals and why they are important to you.

Here are the most common responses that people give me when asked what their health and fitness goals are:

I want more energy, more confidence, and to be happier with myself. I want to feel better.  I want to get rid of my back pain.  I don’t want to be out of breathe going up the stairs.

I want to lose my belly. I want to tone my arms and legs.

I want to get stronger.  I want a stronger core.  More stamina, more endurance.

And I ask WHY are these goals important to you?   Dig deeper when honestly answering why.  At the most basic level you will find that you will be happier and you will feel more alive once you have accomplished greater health and a higher fitness level.  These are facts!

Use the S.M.A.R.T principles when defining your goals.

Specific- Set specific goals. I will lose 10 lbs.  I will lose 3 inches from my waist.  I will lower my stress level, currently a 9 to a 5 within a month.  I will increase my strength by 50% in 6 months are less.  I will reduce my bodyfat% by 3% over the next 6-8 weeks.

Use these guidelines from ACSM to improve your chances of success.  These guidelines are a good place to start.  We call the guidelines, how we will accomplish our goals, our process goals.

Examples of process goals to use:

I will (commit to) weight training at least 3 x week for at least 45 minutes

I (will commit) to doing 30 minutes of cardiovascular training, either jogging or walking for at least 3 x a week.

I will cut my daily caloric intake by 500 calories.

Measurable- tangible results will keep you motivated.  Assess where you are starting from so you can track your progress.

Attainable-  action oriented.

Realistic- relevant and rewarding.

Time measurable-  I will lose 5lbs in 5 weeks

2) Develop Alternatives- if it rains today, I will substitute my outdoor walk/jog for with my Yoga DVD workout.

3) Evaluate the Alternatives- be honest about what is realistic for you.  Set yourself up for success by participating in physical activity that you are good at and or enjoy.  Who or what will provide you with the best SUPPORT?  

Ask for the support of your friends, family, class, coach, and/or trainer to ensure your success!  We need the help of someone we can count on and who is dependable.

You are your most important investment, so invest in yourself!

4) Make a commitment- self explanatory

5) Implement the solution- get started

6) Monitor your solution- evaluate your progress daily, weekly, and monthly. 

As time goes by we produce results, or lack there of.  Our journeys will tell us if we are progressing or regressing.  Just like our journeys will be continued, so will our conversation…. to be continued, stay tuned!

Stay true to your New Year’s Resolution!

New Years Resolution – “res·o·lu·tion”
1.a formal expression of opinion or intention made, usually after voting, by a formal organization, a legislature, a club, or other group. Compare concurrent resolution, joint resolution.
2.a resolve or determination: to make a firm resolution to do something.

Basically, it is safe to assume that a New Years Resolution is a commitment that an individual makes to one or more lasting personal goals, projects, or the reforming of a habit…. that just so happens to be in the first month of the year..

Without getting into the “why’s” or “why-not’s” of individuals and their reasoning for starting a resolution, I’d rather pick apart the top reasons individuals fail at succeeding to make it an actual “resolution”.

According to the Wall Street journal,  52% of participants in a resolution study were confident of success with their goals, while only 12% actually achieved their goals. A separate study in 2007 by Richard Wisemen from the University of Bristol showed that 78% of those who set New Year resolutions fail, and those who succeed have 5 traits in common. We’ll get into those 5 traits later…

First, Why do people fail in the first place? I’m going to list the top 5 reasons I believe people fail in successfully accomplishing their  New Year’s goals:

1.)   Unrealistic goals…

It is my experience as a fitness director and in meeting hundreds of overly ambitious exercisers each year that people are set up to fail in today’s greedy, instantly gratified society. We want a magic pill that works wonders and works them fast! Guess what, that extra body fat didn’t come on overnight, and it surely won’t come off overnight…


Talk with a professional (ie: Personal Trainer) about safe and effective methods to weight loss. Tip: Be wary of the information your m.d. passes along as well… especially if it includes a prescription… ahem… magic pill…

2.) Lack of Personalization…

What does this resolution mean to YOU? What will it mean to accomplish it? Who are you doing it for? How will you feel when you accomplish it??

If you aren’t sure of the answers to the questions above, chances are this resolution is not for you (or maybe not specific enough just yet)

Solution: You must want it badly enough that you can almost taste it. This means your efforts are much more likely to be sustained in the face of adversity. Post motivational quotes around you at home and at work to keep your eye on the prize. Talk it up on Facebook or other social networks for accountability from your friends. Jot down the pros and cons of your reasoning for your particular resolution…

3.) Forgetting to review and recalibrate…

ever heard the old saying “It takes 28 days for something to become a habit”?

I’m  not sure it doesn’t take even longer than that it some cases. I think when it comes to health and fitness goals, it takes several months for things to stick and responses to show. This may be why people fail early… they give up early…

Solution: Be consistent. Practice, Practice, Practice makes perfect. Did you know athletes constantly test, practice, test, practice, re-test, re-practice… ah you get the idea. They do it A LOT! this is because they are constantly re-evaluating their results. In your case, things may crop up later in the year that try to divert your attention away from your goals. revisit and remember what you were thinking when you originally set your goal. Be honest with yourself with your results and you will go much further. A good rule of thumb is to check in every 2 weeks and your chances of staying on course will improve drastically.

Yours in Fitness,

Jessica Williams    cpt

Nutritional Guidelines for Healthy Eating and Living Part 1

Calculate your Basal Metabolic Rate.  The BMR is the minimal number of calories per day that your body burns and or needs to sustain normal bodily functions at rest.  Here is a link that will help you estimate the minimal number of calories that you need everyday, even when you are trying to lose weight

The above calculation does not take into consideration lean body mass.  The more lean muscle your body has, the faster your metabolism or the more calories your body will need.  On the other end of the spectrum, the less lean body mass/muscle you have the less calories your body needs.

Just one of many reasons a prescribed resistance training program is essential to build lean muscle.(Read Muscling Up for other benefits).  Around age 25 our metabolism starts to decline unless we are consistently involved in resistance training.

Muscling Up, Not Just for Muscle Heads

Muscling up: Better health through strength training

Strength training is a system of conditioning involving lifting weights especially for strength and endurance.

Benefits of Strength Training aka Resistance Training:

  • Increased metabolism
  • Reduces body fat
  • Prevents muscle loss due to aging
  • Increases bone mineral density which helps prevent osteoporosis and bone fractures
  • Prevents diabetes
  • Speeds up your digestion which decreases you risk for colon cancer
  • Reduces you resting bloodpressure
  • Relieve lower back pain
  • Reduces arthritis pain
  • Good for injury prevention from strong muscles and joints
  • Improved balance, flexibility, mobility, and stability
  • Decreased risk for heart disease
  • You will look and feel better

Guidelines to weight training:

  • 2- 3 times per week doing
    8-10 exercises with one set of each at 10 -15 repetitions.
  • Warm up by walking on the treadmill or riding the bike before you lift weights.
  • Slowly work up to lifting heavy weights otherwise you may injure yourself.
  • Go through a complete range of motion, move slowly, and with control, breath, maintain a neutral spine. Don’t sacrifice your form just to lift heavier weights.
  • Unlike aerobic training heart rate is not a good way to determine your intensity during weight training so listen to your body and base it on how much you are exerting yourself.
  • Strength training is recommended to be one hour of less.
  • Each muscle you train should be rested for one to two days before being worked again so the muscle can rebuild itself.
  • “No pain, no gain” This is not necessarily true and can be dangerous.  Know that your body will adapt to strength training and body soreness will reduce each time you work out.
  • Always breathe rhythmically, exhaling through the mouth as you perform the work.  Holding your breath can increase your blood pressure.
  • Always make sure you stretch after your workouts.

Exercise Prescriptions and Programs Call Nick @ 919-805-1111  or