Health and fitness has always been a continually evolving passion of mine since as far back as I can remember. It all started at a very young age with the idolization of various professional athletes and admiring their athleticism and the amazing feats they could accomplish with their bodies. I remember being in awe of the electrifying dunks and laser quick cuts, speed and strength they elicited. This invariably planted a seed which would transform my values and sprout the emergence of my body and brain’s full potentiality over time.
I started my early years participating in every sport possible, finding satisfaction and enjoyment out of all of them. If you can name a sport, I played it growing up either on a team or recreationally. I always dreamed of being a professional athlete, specifically to play in the NBA. I trained rigorously and pushed myself through every dreaded conditioning drill.
Once I got to middle school, I started experimenting with some basic bodybuilding exercises. Everyday I would engage in sets of pushups, bicep curls, and sit-ups. My primitive brain couldn’t comprehend the long-term ramifications of this and I just simply didn’t know of anything better at the time. So I kept at it and pretty soon was deemed the nickname “hulk” at my middle school from beating all challengers in arm wrestles. This newfound recognition exacerbated my drive to ‘get big’ and I pursued my functionally limited exercises not realizing they were merely a mask to help enhance my self image. The validation I received from my arm wrestling reputation also intensified my faith and confidence in the effectiveness of these basic primitive movements.
Once I got to high school I started to do some more progressed bodybuilding techniques that were substantive to me at the time. I started to play football, and the coaches introduced us to the bench press, the squat rack, and power cleans. The goal the coaches had for us was to make us as big and strong as possible, not caring about form or the damaging effects these lifts would carry out over the short or long-term. We were basically lab rats, experimental specimens forced to push our musculoskeletal systems way past their functional capabilities.
Towards the end of my junior year, I was introduced to ‘functional training’ and started to get great results in the sense that I was exceeding plateaus, looking better, feeling stronger and more powerful, and having fun with my workouts by changing things up. I kept up with this new training modality and by senior year I was performing better than ever. Basketball was always my favorite sport and the sport I was most naturally gifted at. So once basketball season came along I was training harder than ever on the courts and in the gym. It wasn’t long before I started to fall victim to some severe knee pain which hindered my progress significantly. I was always able to play and train through pain, but this time was much different. I still was able to move and play effectively after I was warmed up, but once I cooled down was when I’d really feel the consequences of all the imbalances I’d created throughout my years of training. I’d have excruciating pain on my patellar tendon and on the lateral portions of my knee. They’d constantly snap, crackle and pop and it felt as if everything in my right leg was twisted. When I’d compare it to my other knee in the mirror it was crooked. This worried me and I eventually couldn’t handle the pain any longer so I took a trip to the doctor. They diagnosed me with a ‘foot deformity’ and referred me to a facility to get custom orthotics. They also determined I had patellar tendonitis, chondromalacia patella, a benign fibrous cortical defect in my knee, lateral patellar tracking, and a subluxed peroneal tendon in my ankle. They assigned me to a physical therapist in my town and I began my training there twice a week.
In the beginning of my physical therapy experience they did some basic assessments to test my strength. I scored a 5 out of 5 on the strength test but knew this scoring system had to of been flawed if my knee and leg as a whole was still feeling the way it did. I then was introduced to the foam roller, which was so painful I knew I had to of been doing something wrong in my training regimens. This is the exact moment that planted a seed which would spark my curiosity to learn more about the human organism and how it functions. I went home that day and started researching kinesiology and it opened up my mind to a whole other spectrum of fitness. I began to view exercise more from a problem solving standpoint rather than a mindless metabolic conditioning point of view. This new thought process would change my perspectives of fitness forever. After all, thoughts inevitably are the seeds that give rise to new actions, habits, behaviors and character.
I vividly remember studying this website called exrx.net, specifically categories like bio-mechanical deficiencies, posture, alignment, mechanics and articulations. This alone broadened my horizon of knowledge exponentially. Just when I thought I’d known it all I was perplexed by the intricacy of the body and of all these new words I had never even heard of before. This intrigued me, and I began to understand the importance of learning the complexity of the human body. At the end of the day it’s the only place we’ll always have to live in no matter where life takes us.
Each trip to physical therapy I became more engaged and curious, asking as many questions as I could to help widen my base of understanding. After two months they performed the same strength test on me once again. To no avail I was a 5 out of 5 this time around as well. They told me that there wasn’t anything left they could do for me and sent me on my own with a sheet containing 4 cheesy exercises to practice on my own time. Although I was displeased since my body still wasn’t rehabbed, I still kept my curiosity alive and wasn’t going to let this new blooming passion of mine stop there. Of course many factors determine to what extent a seed can blossom, but most notably the soil in which it grows.
This is when I found Functional Patterns. I was still in awe of how painful a piece of foam could be rubbing against the side of my leg. So I took it upon myself to research myofascial release on the internet. This is what led me to the Functional Patterns YouTube channel. I was mystified by the techniques Naudi was applying and the exercises I saw him executing because I had never seen anything like it before. A tennis ball? That will feel like nothing I thought to myself. But the moment I felt the grueling surges of referral pains emanating throughout my entire body was when I realized this was no joke. The pain was so unbearable in fact that I ran away from it for a couple weeks. Once my knee started flaring up again I knew it was time to get serious about these newly discovered techniques so I buckled down and embraced the discomfort. After a few weeks of practicing the techniques religiously on a daily basis the agony I originally felt was no longer present, and after just one month of release work my knee pain completely dissipated and I’ve been pain free to this day. I then started applying the exercises demonstrated on the channel and noticed a great improvement in my speed, agility, power, strength and coordination right off the bat. The fluidity of the movements and real life application they illustrated made more sense to me than anything else I had seen or experimented with prior. Everything I had learned regarding the importance of posture and mechanics was reiterated and implemented into one crystal clear holistic structural system. The vast database of expertise I encountered was in my eyes the equivalent of mining during the Gold Rush or winning the Powerball lottery. It was everything I had pondered and hypothesized administered into one clear-cut concept. I knew right then and there that this is where the roots of my journey in the fitness industry would stay firmly implanted.
I began to see the relevance and importance of having proper alignment and mechanics throughout all movements and ranges of motion. I started studying stress and the effects it had on the body and brain, and It quickly became very evident to me why so many people end up with joint pain, injuries and disease at one point in their life or another. My whole family and most of my friends have suffered from some type of physical pain. They get lower back, shoulder, neck, ankle and knee issues all the time. After dealing with some of this myself, I knew how terrible the pain was and felt obligated to start solving these problems and help alleviate these physical dysfunctions for good. I started experimenting with various structural realignment therapies and techniques and soon after implementing these strategies I noticed results nowhere to be found elsewhere in the fitness industry. This is when it became evident to me that I wanted to pursue a career in personal training. I found pleasure in training close friends of mine and teaching them more about the vessel in which they’re contained. I wanted to dedicate myself to helping others achieve homeostasis and bring their bodies back to balance permanently. Once I started to feel the intrinsic systems used to stabilize the body activate within myself an emergence of power arose from within me I had never felt before. I started to crave these activations from my thoracic spine, transverse abdominis and gluteus maximus musculature, so I tirelessly ingrained the basics time and time again and slowly started to see all the crooked joints and bad posture I had wired into myself disappear. I fixed the ‘foot deformity’ that the physical therapy clinic told me was permanent, and completely rid myself of all the imbalances in my lower body they had diagnosed me with and most importantly all of the pain. Now the skyscraper I was trying to build all along finally had a proper foundation to stem from. The point of exercise is to condition a human to be more adaptable to different stimuli/environments. When you practice music scales you can play anything, same as if you institute exercise correctly and start with a proper foundation. I then began executing multi-plane ballistic movements without having to focus so much on my form, everything just started falling together efficiently after ingraining the basics. This gave rise to a whole new beast within me, and I no longer was hindered by my knees and ankles which was the biggest relief I had ever felt and the road block I had needed to get by in order to reach my full athletic potential.
Once I heard about the Functional Patterns Master Practitioner Course I immediately jumped on the opportunity. By this point it was very evident to me that I wanted to pursue personal training as a career and help as many people as I could. I knew that the wisdom I would acquire during the program would be priceless, and would set me apart from the rest of the fitness industry. So I embarked on my first ever trip to California leaving behind all of my old values and beliefs ready to keep my growth as a human being running in full stride. I threw away my ego, something very few of us are willing to do and I was in a state of mind where upholding an objective train of thought was the only option from there on out. I had to rid myself of the idea that I somehow needed external validation from other people to feel good about myself and I finally realized what I was put here on this earth to do. I started studying subjects like endocrinology, sociology, culture, evolution, biology, mathematics, physics, psychology, bio-mechanics, politics and investigating all of the earth”s and body’s natural processes. I had to learn how to think scientifically and more critically and had to be willing to work harder than ever before to better myself and learn as much as I could to help enhance the lives of those around me. I found the purpose in my life I had been searching for all along, and that’s to help as many people as I can who cross my path and to spread as much relevant information to as wide of an audience as I possibly can. Now I’m a NASM Certified Personal Trainer and a Functional Patterns Master Integrated Movement Practitioner who specializes in optimizing body composition, pain management, strength and conditioning, hormone balancing, stress reduction, and building sustainability so you can maintain all of this and remain a healthy human being for a lifetime. If you want to get lean, stay out of pain, have the energy of a teenager, get as strong as an ox, and maintain all of this for the remainder of your time here on earth then Functional Patterns is the methodology for you. I am determined to keep spreading relevant thought and to help as many people as I can change their lives for the better. Life is a continually evolving experience and a never-ending learning process that I feel honored to be a part of. We must keep evolving and adapting to change as a species if we wish to move forward progressively as a whole. I look forward to sharing as much as I can with all of you and to help this life changing concept grow to its full potential. The sky’s the limit here at Functional Patterns. This is Kyle Pruzinsky reminding YOU to live intentionally, and not habitually.