My journey in the health and fitness industry has been one of continual growth. I began this journey in 2006 by moving to San Diego to pursue a career in personal training. I was budding musician, but firmly understood that making it as a composer/producer probably wasn’t going to pay the bills immediately. At this point, I put my passion for music aside and decided to put my efforts into another passion, fitness. It is here where I started my obsessive pursuit to understand the human organism.
The concept of Functional Patterns is a train of thought that has been building upon itself over the course of my entire lifetime. I was taught at a very young age to question authority and everything around me by my highly skeptical parents. My parents were extremely hard workers who were very resourceful with the little money they had. They lived by the “practice what you preach” motto in every sense they could. The apple didn’t fall very far from the tree and I have embodied (to the best of my ability) what I was fortunate enough to be taught at a very young age. The Functional Patterns method didn’t start with the memorization of techniques. It started at a base of reasoning that has seemingly been missing from the industry of health today. When ego checking experiences of life mixed with the values I had already wired in from my childhood, a different approach towards looking at the human organism emerged.
By the time I had approached the fitness industry, I had studied many of the social sciences that were beginning to shape my subconscious. I had come from a small town where people were very sheltered and although I still thought differently, many of the small town influences were still present in me. I had come to realize that many limiting beliefs were inside me and that I needed to understand their origins to shed those limitations. It was a painful struggle to say the least. When I came to San Diego to start my career, I knew that I was going to have to be willing to drop everything I knew if it meant making it in the fitness industry as a personal trainer. Still there were some beliefs in me that I was unaware of that were too deeply ingrained to let go at that point. The most limiting of most of those beliefs: needing to be buff…
My foundations when it came to working out were extremely primitive. I made the associations that because I was short, I needed to compensate for that by building muscle. Little did I know that most of my life working out to purely build muscle was acting as a mask to hide the problem of my poor self image. My knowledge on how to build muscle was limited at that time and I was fortunate enough to have a manager that really knew the science behind packing some serious muscle. Obviously building on my already poor self image was not a good thing, but by learning that one science it enabled me to extract that information and use it on a wide array of other sciences. Although I knew science existed, I never paid any mind to it. It wasn’t til I was introduced to science in a bodybuilding format that made me realize how powerful it was. It was so powerful that I had gained 20 lbs of mass in 9 weeks without the use of steroids or any supplements, and I accomplished that by lifting about half the weight that I used to lift. In the 6 years prior working out, I had never seen gains of that magnitude. I felt like I had been given a tool belt of thought I could never imagined in my mind.
During that time of experimenting with bodybuilding, I had many of my other colleagues in the gym getting into my ear about functional training. As hard headed as I was about my own body, I knew that at least for the general population functional training was a safe alternative to the bodybuilding workouts I was doing. These trainers at my gym would tell me about how functionality needs to be administered if we expect for people to live longer and healthier. From my perspective, longevity for my client’s made a whole lot of sense. It just didn’t seem to be that way for myself. It’s as if I had two schools of thought I got to extract from. A mastermind genius in bodybuilding (Jim Patterson) that was extremely scientific in his approach and some progressive geniuses in their own right (Marcus Heliker) divulging on the future of what the fitness industry would evolve towards. Within time I slowly started integrating the progressive along with what I was already doing. After obsessively pursuing each training philosophy, I began to notice things happening with my body that had never happened before.
After using my body as my first experiment for the implementation of new training techniques, I started to feel pain for the first time in my life. Debilitating pain. Pain that left me bed ridden at times. I would have rotator cuff impingement and lower back problems that would disrupt my sleep at night and would simply not let me function comfortably in reality. For 3 months I tried several different types of therapy that would help temporarily, but they weren’t getting at the source of the problem. Coming from a perspective of feeling invincible in my early 20’s to not being able to workout was the most ego crushing thing I had ever experienced in my life. During this time I was slowly becoming aware of my poor self image, until one day I was slapped in the face by reality. Through a friend I was referred to a scientific massage therapist (Laura Vedra) who took a different approach than the other scientific massage therapists I had seen prior. Without knowing anything about me, I vividly remember her telling me: “you’re extremely depressed”. I looked at her and said “what do you mean”? “Your posture is closed off, you’re trying to hide something”, she replied. At this stage, I was doing corrective exercise and myofascial release almost every day (under NASM guidlines), so when I was told this it stung for about 2 weeks until I finally met up with her again to give me a massage. Talk about going to a person feeling helpless… She then began to do work on me and started breaking down the science of her approach and how she went about fixing people. It made more sense than anything else I had ever heard. The problem was that she was 150 dollars per hour, and I was broker than a joke. I left the massage feeling violated, yet felt changed because my low back and shoulder were not hurting anymore. This experience planted a seed that created Functional Patterns.
After coming to the realization that I was wearing a mask all my life trying to protect myself from accepting I was human, all the while learning some theory in terms of muscle relationships, I took the learning I had from my childhood of being resourceful without having much and started experimenting with myofascial release. I knew I couldn’t afford Laura, considering I was flat broke, but knew there had to be some way to recreate the effects she had given me the day I worked with her. Within time, I became the lone weirdo at the gym rolling around on balls having people stare at me for years. Although I was alone and broke, these were some of the greatest memories of my life. I was pain free, more agile, stronger than I ever had been in my life, and most importantly I was living my life with a purpose that was not about wearing a mask. This process took about a year to learn and it has been the foundation I have built my body of information off ever since.
Life has been a constant learning experience with continuous battles to find out the relative “truths” of what it actually means to be healthy. I am forever a student of learning about the human organism and have a firm belief that I will likely never figure it out. The cliche “the more you know, the more you know you don’t know” rings true the more I learn. With that comes an ever more committed passion to serve the wellness community and my species in general.
CEO and Founder of Functional Patterns