The Key to Functional Fitness: Address Core Muscle Imbalances

To support this month’s Challenge to Get Moving, I have interviewed a number of local experts to learn more about exercise, the best workouts and how to stay motivated.First we will hear from Body Resolution's Debbi Omizo Banis (pictured on the right). I love how well she explains these concepts and I appreciate the reminder to mix up my workouts to address how my body is functioning. Tell us a little about what you do and the types of people that you work with.My name is Debbi Omizo Banis. I am co-owner of Body Resolution, LLC. I have worked as a personal trainer for over 20 years and worked in a physical therapy office for over 20 years. In my early years, I had a lot of difficulty figuring out exercises for people to do when they had an injury and I felt that I was missing a component of personal training. So, I started to work in a physical therapy office and learned that I could make people feel better through exercise. In fact, I could even make their pains go away.Ultimately, I have been able to apply the principles that I learned in the physical therapy office and in my schooling to make people feel better, get stronger, and heal their bodies. Everyone needs guidance for performing exercise properly. Whether they are a retired active or inactive person, a mom or a dad, a 9-5 worker, a high school athlete, a college athlete, or a professional golfer, everyone needs a coach for exercise.What is your exercise philosophy?Personally, I do something every day. I feel better and stronger when I workout. My body feels stronger and I feel younger. I actually feel better now in my 40’s than I did in my 20’s.It seems that as we age, people have some aches and pains. I noticed that many people just accept it as the aging process, but I have learned that it is not. If we know certain exercises to perform prior to starting, we can usually lessen the pain and continue to work out. In fact, if people start with something hurting, they can feel better after their properly completed workout.Most people don’t work out because something hurts, or they workout and avoid the area. We teach movement exercises that make you feel better and then modify the workout to include the affected part, rather than avoid it. After working out regularly, the body is stronger, the body aches diminish and the person feels much better every day. People wake up looking forward to the day rather than feeling aches and pains getting out of bed.Philosophically, exercise should be fun. Something that you enjoy doing and after you finish, you feel better and feel like you could do more. Exercise allows you to look in the mirror and say, “I like what I see and I’m feeling great!” It improves everyday functions, movements, and well-being. It allows you to play with your spouses, kids, grandkids, friends, dogs, cats, etc. freely.People stop exercising because they over do or perform the exercise incorrectly and injure themselves. My job is to teach people to exercise properly and to use the correct muscles. What’s difficult in my area is that people don’t know their imbalances. They will make their strong muscles stronger and avoid the weaker muscles. If we haven’t learned proper posture, we won’t know which exercises to perform. In other words, we will train what we are good at, but avoid the things that we are not. Over time, they create an imbalance that leads to injury. So that lower back problem may have been from inactivity or from incorrect training.We address the imbalances and train the core in a tri-planar manner. In other words, we move in many different directions to address many muscles. We work on posture in sitting, standing, walking and sleeping. Yes, sleeping can affect our bodies also.I dislike machines because it doesn’t teach the body to stabilize itself. It becomes dependent on the chair or pad it is leaning on. I believe in total body core training in a functional environment. We use bands, kettlebells, TRX, dumbbells, wobble boards, medicine balls, physioballs, and body weight.What is the best workout someone short on time could do?Metabolic resistance training is the most efficient way to workout when there is a very short period of time. It’s performing strength training using multi-joint, multi-planar, and multiple muscle groups with minimal rest so that the heart rate remains elevated throughout the workout.What is the best workout someone new to exercise could do?Body weight exercises are the best exercises to start with. You don’t need any special equipment and it is always with you.There are few popular workout trends right now, e.g. HIIT, functional movement, Cross Fit/ancestral workouts, interval strength training, etc. Which has merit and why?

  • HIIT stands for High Intensity Interval Training. It can be performed in a cardiovascular form or in a strength form. An example is the Tabata. It is performing an exercise for 20 seconds, with 10 seconds of rest, and for a total of 4 minutes. Then you perform another exercise for the total of 4 minutes. It is performed at a perceived exertion of 9-10 (1 = little to no effort, 10 = max effort). The workouts usually last for 20-35 mins.
  • Cross Fit’s definition is constantly varied, functional movement performed at high intensity. It is using activities that prepare you for life such as squatting, running, jumping, throwing, pulling and picking things up. Cross Fit uses minimal equipment.
  • Metabolic resistance training involves working all muscle groups hard and with a high intensity to create a metabolic demand on the body. It involves using all the muscles with short rest intervals, creating an incomplete recovery period and an elevated metabolism for hours after working out.

Each workout trend has its fans.All of the different workouts have the right fit for each person. It is dependent on a person’s goals and fitness level. It is also dependent on the personal trainer that is supervising the workouts. It is also something that the client should enjoy and continue for a lifetime, not just to lose weight. Workouts should be for overall fitness and strength gains and the side effect is fat loss.Some people believe that if they are sweating profusely, vomiting, and their muscles hurt all over, it is an indication of a good workout. They may have worked out hard, but did they workout right? Did they correct the muscle imbalance that was created when they were sitting at the desk all day? Did they have the proper posture when performing that rowing exercise? Were they using the proper muscles to pick the kettlebell off of the floor?The main thing is to workout right. What is the workout that you will do to reach your goal? Is it to gain strength? Is it to participate in a mud run? Is it to lower your cholesterol? Is it to lose body fat?At Body Resolution, we work toward restoring muscle imbalances, increasing strength, preventing injuries, improving performance, and accomplishing this in a safe environment. We use metabolic resistance training, high intensity interval training, and flexibility training.What are the biggest challenges we face to achieving excellent physical fitness/health (specifically relating to exercise)? What are some solutions to these challenges?People get stuck on performing “cardio” or aerobic exercises only. They hop on the treadmill and walk or run at the same pace for years without changing their body. The body becomes so efficient at that movement pattern. It is unable to adapt. We need to constantly change the stimulus to constantly create changes. Going to the gym and performing the same old routine doesn’t achieve the results we are looking for.We need to look for muscle imbalances, and to determine whether there is too little or too much mobility or whether there is not enough stability. If a person is really strong, but immobile or if a person is very mobile, but not very stable.People will complain that they don’t have enough time. If you look at your schedule, there is always time. Making the time and planning ahead is key. Also, doing shorter, more efficient workouts can help with the time factor. We need to make time for what is important. We need to prevent diseases instead of treating diseases.Also, it is not just the time we take to exercise. It is also the time we take to regenerate. We need sleep and relaxation along with our exercise program. We also need proper nutrition.What is the best way to fall in love with working out?Find something that you enjoy doing and people you enjoy doing it with. Going to a local studio or gym that has a relaxed atmosphere that feels more like a family can give you the support and enjoyment you need.Thank you Debbi!