When and why did you first start training with Function First?
I started at FF in January 2011. My husband and I had just purchased a home in the neighborhood. I was looking for a daily fitness solution that fit into my lifestyle and meshed with my knowledge of the fitness industry. Anthony has been an industry colleague for many years (14!). He is one of IDEA Health & Fitness Association’s expert presenters and he often lends expert commentary to the articles that appear In IDEA Fitness Journal and IDEA’s other publications, for which I am editor in chief. So, I had direct knowledge of cutting edge training methodology and knew AC personally. Why wouldn’t I want to work with one of the best and brightest? How lucky was I to move into the neighborhood and be just over a mile from the studio?
What challenges were you facing with both everyday activity and athletics when you first joined?
I was very into triathlon training and a long-time runner when I started at Function First. I had also recently dropped a very heavy cutting board squarely on my left big toe joint. The havoc that wreaked up the left side of my kinetic chain included pain in my foot, knee, piriformis and reaching up into my infraspinatus. It’s amazing how it’s all connected. I had never had any of this pain until the cutting board incident. Like any stubborn athlete, I soldiered on, making it worse until I couldn’t run anymore. Shortly after starting X Factor, I did some corrective sessions with AC to sort it out. My toe joint will never be the same, but he gave me simple solutions that keep me in alignment, which releases a lot of the pressure my compensations build up. In four years of training with the team here, I’m happy to say that I’ve not incurred injury and have probably averaged 4-5 X Factor classes every week.
Can you tell us why you think the Function First Approach worked for you in reaching your goals?
It’s fun; it’s approachable; and even though I train in a group, it’s always customized to me. I know the training team has the skill/knowledge/experience to progress or regress me safely depending on how I’m feeling that day. Moving athletically and testing my body and mind in different ways at every session gives me a lot of joy. I love to feel my body move and test its limits. I’ve learned to crave lifting weight in multiple planes and shift the weight using full-body strength. The fact that there is not a treadmill in sight but instead shelves and bins and nooks and crannies full of fitness “toys” that are employed so creatively by all of the training professionals here speaks volumes to the knowledge of Function First’s trainers. It matches what I know to be the gospel in the fitness industry today—that you’ve got to keep challenging different body systems to keep progressing them. Our trainers are always experimenting with new formats and exercises, which is also key to maintaining my interest and attention.
What do you like best about the training program?
First and foremost, I love and appreciate the trainer-coach-inventor-tinkerer-inspirers I’ve trained with here over the years: From AC to Derrick to Wendy, to Natalie, Reyci and Danny (sorry, I’ve only trained with Derahan once!), they have always been all about helping us to improve and meet our goals. They are professional, knowledgeable, perceptive, funny and welcoming. They make the program! My X-Factor teammates make it worth coming, too. We all want to improve ourselves, so everyone is very positive and supportive. It’s both inspirational and aspirational to work and sweat alongside people who have fought through pain and injury, and see them “get after it” during training. That’s the magic of the programming here. So many have risen from the ashes of what they thought was destined to be chronic pain and inactivity to be strong, competitive life athletes who have shed the pain and learned how to train safely and smartly.
How has Function First changed your day-to-day life?
Training here has given me tremendous body confidence and, truly, confidence all around. I remember coming here for my first training session. I think it was Derrick’s first day or week, too. But I was so nervous I wasn’t going to be able to do things perfectly or that I would embarrass myself. I had some serious performance anxiety. DP’s confidence and great coaching got me over that in a couple of sessions. I can almost always sense that same trepidation in the newbies that join us; remembering how I felt, I try to make them feel at home. We all do. But I think we all learn to laugh at ourselves pretty quickly when we can’t get the correct foot forward on a ViPR bazooka combo, or we get lost in a circuit and have to ask what the heck comes next. Who cares? Learning and laughing along the journey is what it’s all about. I’ve trained with both the AM and PM X-Factor crews and both groups razz each other mercilessly. It’s hilarious at times. But we also support one another and cheer for one another’s victories. I still remember watching in awe as Rachel, Em and Ten started cranking out unassisted pull-ups a year ago. Amazing stuff! It made me so happy to see and share in their victories. I’ve made some lifelong friends here and plan to stick around for a long time! I’m so honored by this! Thank you, Function First.