In late 2014, I moved to Charlotte, NC. All I kept hearing from people was how different life would be in the South. I had visited this region of the country extensively and was aware of the cultural and historical differences between the South and where I was located in the West. Naturally I was expecting to see major differences in the health and fitness world as well. Although I never bought into it, many people believe Colorado is full of healthy people who all eat organic food and are thriving in their day to day lives. Subsequently, I heard from numerous people how unhealthy it is in the South and how that’s where the real obesity epidemic is most prevalent. I was led to believe that people don’t believe in exercising regularly and it would be very difficult for me to start up a personal training business from scratch down there.
Guess what? As usual, humans think they know more than they actually do. What I found down here isn’t that different form what I encountered in Boulder on a daily basis for 15 years. If people are interested in eating healthy and making healthy choices, there are plenty of options available that will support those choices. Also, if an individual places high value in regular exercise as a means to enhance their lives, there are health clubs and training studios all over the place that provide opportunities for people to engage in movement. Similarly to Boulder, I found that the collective consciousness is drawn to what looks cool and glamorous when it comes to fitness. Naturally, Crossfit is huge in this part of the country. Flywheel and various facilities that offer high intensity cycling are wildly popular down here. The notion that exercise should have a corrective element and be used as a means to increase longevity is nonexistent down here. “This is great!” I thought to myself. It’s exactly like Boulder! In Colorado, “Glam fitness” dominated the scene and everyone was constantly talking about how much pain they were in from their last workout or how animalistic and sadistic their trainer was. People were constantly coming into our studio broken from some crazy workout or routine they were involved with that ignored science and technique in favor of performance and intensity. Down here I’m witnessing regularly, people coming in and trying to go faster, heavier and harder without ever being coached on proper bio-mechanical movement patterns. You’ve heard me say it before, but the reason I’m fine with this style of fitness is simply because when they get injured, I know how to fix them. Or at least decrease their pain levels dramatically.
There is one difference between fitness in the South and fitness out West. In the South, people are fanatical about over-exercising their kids in an attempt to make them a “Superathlete.” Just a week ago, I saw an athlete who was 17 years old and played their sport virtually year round 6 days a week. When I asked them why they don’t rest more and why they train so hard, their reply was “Because I need to get a scholarship.” As I expected, this athlete’s ankles were a mess, knees were out of alignment, and hips and shoulders were in excessive rotation patterns. “Good luck with that scholarship”, I chuckled to myself as I watched them walk and perform incredibly basic, rudimentary movements with difficulty. I urge all parents of prospective “Superathletes” to read Faster, Higher, Stronger by Mark McClusky. Then, when you’re finished reading that, read Any Given Monday by Dr. James Andrews. Maybe then you’ll let your kids act like kids during the summer instead of throwing them into clubs and traveling leagues and camps. My point is that no matter who the individual is, or what sports they play, or how old they are, etc. if we wrap our heads around the idea that exercise is a vessel that will carry us to the next level, we’ll probably train with an intensity that will injure us. Exercise, when done correctly, is a tool, a valuable one in fact, that will help the body withstand the destructive nature of sports, life and dysfunctional movement patterns that are catalogued in our bodies throughout a lifetime. When that tool is delivered correctly by a professional and accepted by the recipient correctly, longevity is enhanced by ensuring that clean movement is applied daily. We take ourselves out of the risk pool for joint replacements, surgeries to fix sports injuries, and everything else out there that is plaguing humans.
So there is no doubt that I have my work cut out for me down this way, but I’m excited at the opportunity to introduce a more intelligent approach to fitness with the expertise and professionalism that made me successful in Colorado. All I can say so far is that everyone that I’ve worked with down in Charlotte has been blown away by how they feel once they experience some time with me and all have mentioned that , “there’s nothing like this anywhere down here.” I’ve got news for everyone, what we do is incredibly unique and you likely won’t find it replicated anywhere in it’s true form. So thank you to Sam Iannetta and Functional Fitness for giving me the tools that I need to help humans all over the country and I promise I will continue to lead the crusade against the “Glam fitness” population by presenting a better, smarter system. Follow @Rich1ill for more information on intelligent fitness and a longevity based approach to movement. Thank you!