If you have been a health club member for the past twenty years you may or may not have noticed a major shift in how fitness facilities are laid out and the type of equipment used for workouts. Up until the early 2000s gym culture was heavily influenced by bodybuilding culture, most of the equipment was designed for muscle isolation because that's what consumers wanted. Nowadays when you walk into a commercial gym you are likely to notice a lot of open space and a lot less equipment; my guest on episode 40 of All About Fitness is Juan Carlos Santana a gym owner, strength coach and educator who has had a major influence on this evolution in the modern fitness culture.
Juan Carlos is the owner of the Institute of Human Performance, which has been named as one of the top gyms in the country by Mens Health, he is an international fitness educator, the star of numerous fitness videos and the author of many articles and books including Functional Training (which I highly recommend if you're looking for some ideas to kickstart your training program).
Juan Carlos Santana
Let's face it, training for a bodybuilding competition or even to look like a bodybuilder takes a tremendous amount of work and simply isn't relevant to how many people live. What happens is that often people will focus on their favorite muscles or the ones they think will most impress potential suitors and the result can be an overuse injury or muscle imbalances. Using one muscle group at a time is a great way to get a pump but just isn't that exciting or engaging for people who only have the ability to workout a few times a week.
Someone's been skipping leg day!
In the early 2000s Juan Carlos was one a number of fitness educators promoting the concept of functional training which can be described as training for a purpose. The principle of specificity tells us that our body will adapt to the specific forces imposed upon it; sit in a machine to isolate a muscle and only that muscle will get strong. Using your whole body to move in all three directions is a much more effective way to develop strength in many muscles at the same time.
A big component of Juan Carlos' education was how to take the strength and conditioning techniques normally used by high performance athletes and apply them to the average adult population. This was ground breaking stuff in the early 2000s One of the most significant features of functional training is that it focused on training multiple muscle groups at the same time via using movement patterns as opposed to the bodybuilding approach of focusing on only one muscle group at a time. If you work with a trainer today, whether or not they know it, they have been influenced in some way by Juan Carlos.
Juan Carlos was a major influence on my career; it was an honor to sit on a panel with him at the ASIA Fitness conference in Bangkok in 2015
I think I went to my first workshop with Juan Carlos back in '99 or '00 where he actually put me through something call the dumbbell matrix (I volunteered for it) which was a multi-directional circuit that got my heart rate cranking using only 25 pound dumbbells, that got me hooked. From then on I learned as much as I could about functional training and focused on helping my clients move better using equipment like stability balls, medicine balls and resistance tubing. My clients loved the fact that they were getting a great workout using their whole body instead of just sitting in a machine pushing a lever or lying on a bench struggling with a weight.
In our discussion today on All About Fitness, Juan Carlos and I talk about recent fitness trends, the benefits of training like an athlete, the pitfalls of training like a Kardashian and, most importantly, how exercise can slow down the aging process; since IHP is located in Boca Raton, FL and Juan Carlos works with a lot of older adults - he kinda knows what he's talking about.
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