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Fusion fitness
New exercise philosophy personalizes your workout

Photos by Dan Bishop

April 2014

You’ve decided you’re ready to get into better shape. But while your mind is willing, sometimes, your body is not able.

Injuries derail physical fitness goals on a daily basis as people dive into regimens without true knowledge of their individual limitations. The Functional Movement Screen, part of the philosophy of Functional Movement Systems, is designed to screen out people with high risk for injury in certain activities and help develop a fitness program designed for their body type and level of endurance.

FMS has become the talk of the high-profile athletic community. The Stanford University football team employed the system and had a low injury rate, and a healthy Cardinal squad went on to win a berth in the Rose Bowl. But FMS is gaining popularity with athletes of all ages and skill levels.

"People really like it," says Dr. Jeffrey Sergent, co-founder of Fusion Gym in Glendale, which offers a 12-week course utilizing FMS.

"We do an initial screening that takes 25 minutes," Sergent says. "We can see where people might be susceptible to injuries. Maybe they’re not to flexible in their hips or have some core imbalances. We’ll screen that out and put people in classes. We’ll have scenarios where we are going to work with our hip mobility people over there and our shoulder mobility people over here."

The program is divided into phases, focusing on core, breathing and mobility to start for two to three weeks followed by some-higher end exercise, featuring weeks that are more cardio-based and others dedicated to weight training.

Serious athletes and reformed couch potatoes enjoy the FMS noncookie cutter approach.

"There’s no one universal answer for fitness," Sergent says. "This takes a little bit more of the guessing game out of training. And when people find something they like with exercise, they get hooked on it."

Keeping Score

"If winning isn’t everything, why do they keep score?"

That profound question from Vince Lombardi, which led to championship football and bred an entire philosophy, could also be the key to better health.

"What we measure we can fix," says Dr. Robert Gleeson, director of Preventive Cardiology at Froedtert Hospital and the Medical College of Wisconsin, when asked about the importance of people keeping score in several areas of their individual well-being.

How do you measure up? We encourage you to score at home:

Sleep: 7-8 hours a night

"Some people say they can get by on five but in reality that’s not long enough for the brain to heal or the biological clock to reset," Gleeson says.

Cholesterol: 100-150 mg/dl

HDL (Good) Cholesterol: 50 mg/dl (Male) 60 mg/dl (Female)

LDL (Bad) Cholesterol: 50 mg/dl

"New guidelines released in 2013 stated if you’re treating someone with a problem just put them on the right drug and forget about the number," Gleeson says, adding that the target numbers listed above reflect the cholesterol value of "an Aborigine who’s never eaten Cheetos," but is attainable and should be the goal for the average person.

Blood Sugar Ideal: 80 mg/dl

Normal: under 100 mg/dl

"There’s a big range," Gleeson says. From 70 to 100, people do well."

Blood Pressure: 115/75 mm Hg

"Above those numbers, mortality rates double for every 20 millimeter increase in the systolic top number," Gleeson says. "If you’re at 175/100, the mortality rate is eight times higher."

Exercise: 30 minutes/7 days a week

"Everyone in the world would be much healthier if we all took a brisk 30-minute walk, seven days a week," Gleeson says.

Alcohol: 2 drinks per week

Two teaspoons of ethanol per week (the equivalent of two glasses of wine) can have a positive impact on overall health.

— Mark Concannon



This story ran in the April 2014 issue of: