Becoming a personal trainer has been the single most impactful thing I’ve done for my own health and fitness. Looking back, it’s like I knew next to nothing when I first began. By trying to improve as a trainer I have acquired more knowledge and experience in a few years than I did in a decade of training just for myself.

With that being said, let’s start from the beginning.

As a lifelong athlete and fitness enthusiast, I first started working out in a gym when I was 17.

I, like many, wanted to look better and knowing very little, I did what I saw online, and slowly learned some patterned exercises. I didn’t track progress, I didn’t do any cardio, I had no concern for mobility, and I didn’t think once about my actual health. I just moved weight around with the hopes to put on some muscle and get stronger.

Thankfully that part of training is kind of idiot-proof as long as you stay consistent and eat some protein. For about 8 years, this is essentially how I trained 3-6 days a week. My diet slowly improved throughout that time, as did my body composition.

Seems simple enough right? What most fail to understand is the body is slowly accommodating to these patterned exercises, becoming less mobile for the sake of efficiency of the exercise. On top of that, tissue cannot infinitely adapt. Eventually it reaches its limit, and along with joints that now have a restricted range of motion, you run into plateaus and then eventually injuries.

This starts a cycle of tweaking something, easing off the gas, and then working your way back only to get reinjured. Your body starts to feel stiff and achy, and on top of that you aren’t even improving your health.

One day I came across kneeovertoesguy on instagram. He’s a personal trainer that specializes in helping people improve their knees but in a broader sense promoted a more logical approach to training. Full range of motion exercises, training your weak links, and ensuring a body that felt and worked good, rather than just looked good.

I immediately began implementing some of the information from kneesovertoesguy. Mobility became my main objective when training, rather than gaining more muscle. This introduction to mobility training allowed me to think about the human body and training in a whole new way. I slowly learned and implemented more and more mobility training into my own program. My body started to loosen up, my back tweaks (that my family claimed were hereditary) disappeared, my shoulder pain vanished, and my body composition didn’t seem to be suffering at all.

Now, as a slightly less naive personal trainer who went through this humbling mobility transition, I realized how little I actually knew. Wanting to provide the best service possible for my clients I thought it may be worth it to seek some additional formal education. I stumbled across functional range systems, an organization that specializes in mobility training. Their introduction seminar “functional range condition” is all about improving range of motion and how to own that new range. I decided it was worth the investment and signed up. It opened my eyes to so much that I was ignoring in regards to training. Their system placed an emphasis on training your joints (the root of all movement), whereas the standard training I was still using focused solely on the superficial muscles of the body.

I definitely got my money’s worth and left knowing I knew even less than I thought I did. I began implementing the new information and protocols absorbed from the seminar. I started training rotation of my joints, training the deeper, foundational tissues, and expanding my still, limited range of motion. The more and more I dove into this new system, the more value I saw in it.

Fast forward a few months, my mobility had improved significantly but I had a desire to continue learning. I could now confidently improve a clients general mobility but every body is different and general results were not what I wanted to offer as a personal trainer. So I signed up for the “Functional Range Assessment” seminar. This again opened my eyes to how little I knew. After a few assessments performed on friends and family I realized once again the value in this. If someone had a bad hip, that is something that needed to be specifically addressed so that the hip could do hip stuff without pain or limitations. General exercises were not going to address this bad hip either. Specific internal training would be required to make adequate adaptations. This allowed me to see some areas within my own body that needed to be improved, so I got to work.

Now I had taken a mobility course, and an assessment course, both taught me a ton, but left me eager to continue learning. So I did just that. I saw other personal trainers post clips of their “Internal Strength Model” training, and they talked about how to specifically train connective tissue, how to specifically train both slow and fast twitch muscle tissue, and how to train for longevity. So I signed up for one more seminar with the FRS guys.

The ISM was by far the most informative of the three. It completely changed everything about my training and provided me with a blueprint for how to train for any desired adaptation I want. I immediately knew this was how I would train myself, and all personal training clients going forward.

I had never heard anyone talk about training connective tissue before. I had never heard anyone talk about prioritizing the deeper tissues of the body before. I had rarely heard anyone discuss training slow vs. fast twitch muscle. I had never heard anyone concerned with how to train to build and maintain quality joints. I had never heard anyone talk about how to specifically train for speed both in muscle and connective tissue.

It’s been about a year since I took the course and the changes in my body have been astronomical. I have always asked a lot of my body and I would sometimes suffer because of it. Low back stiffness, repetitive shoulder strains from calisthenics and rock climbing, stiff muscles, knee pain every now and then. All of that is essentially gone, yet I’d argue I put my body through even more shit than I did prior to this course.

Training connective tissue was a huge missing link for me and I think is a huge missing link for most. Training rotation in your joints (and linear movements for your spine) is another thing that is rare. Yet the body has structured itself with the most important tissues being the deepest so why would we neglect those tissues and expect the body to continue working well? The specificity of this training system has been life changing.

I feel the best I ever have, (I think) I look the best I ever have, and I perform the best I ever have. Recently I have even been training for an ultra spartan race, repeatedly putting myself through 3-4.5 hr runs, fully expecting my body to break down like it used to. But the next day I keep waking up feeling ready for more work.

It truly is the most comprehensive and well rounded training system I have ever seen and my wish is to share it with as many people as possible. I will continue doing so through social media @tommykudobafit, and with my clients.

If you are interested in training to become a better you, optimizing for total health and fitness, get started here – Contact Tommy Kudoba Fitness – Personal Trainers Kitchener, ON