Luis Ponce Jr
Human Biomechanics Specialist Level 2
I have been involved in the health and fitness industry for 20 years. In 2000 I became a certified massage therapist under Just For Your Health College of Massage. I began shadowing my father Luis Sr., who at the time was a certified sports massage therapist and personal trainer. I was very intrigued by the results he was achieving with his clients and inspired me to learn more. He was not only able to get people out of pain but he was also finding great success in training a few Olympic athletes. A few months in, I began working part time as a massage therapist while attending college to possibly pursue a career in sports medicine or physical therapy.
In March of 2001, I became certified for personal training by the Health and Fitness Institute in Hayward. The following year, my father invited me to a fitness seminar where Paul Chek would be presenting. At the time I had no idea who this guy was. Both my Dad and I were extremely fascinated with the topics he discussed, postural corrective exercises, functional exercise, pain and posture, diet and inflammation, etc. I remember going to work the Monday after and feeling excited to begin applying some of the corrective techniques I had just learned over the weekend. It was my first attempt towards trying to correct my clients posture and getting them out of pain.
After that, my Father decided to become a Level 1 Practitioner, certified under the Chek Institute. I couldn’t wait for him to come back so that I could go through all of the lecture and program design material. Later that year I decided to drop out of college and pursue my career as a Chek Practitioner. In 2003, I purchased all the prerequisites required for the first module of the Chek training system. In 2004 I became certified as a Chek exercise coach. In 2007, I became certified Chek Level 1.
In 2012, Paul Chek shared a video on Facebook of Naudi Aguilar doing these ballistic multi-plane exercises. Once again, I was intrigued by what I saw. I began to follow Functional Patterns while still immensely immersed in the CHEK system. At that time my programs were designed based on the CHEK 7 Primal Patterns (Squatting, pushing, pulling, twisting, bending, lunging and gait) at this time. By this time I had acquired some decent results with getting clients out of pain, especially those with low back pain and disc problems. However the process to get them out of time took a lot of time and at times there were relapses and reinjuries that left me feeling discouraged.
When I was younger I played many sports but at the age of 7 I started playing soccer which became the sport that I was most passionate about. Looking back, my posture was never the best and I learned at a young age how to compensate for my dysfunctions. Little did I know I was ingraining poor biomechanics into my nervous system. Basically, poor movement programming, lack of tensegrity and compensation is what most likely led me down a path of injuries throughout my career of playing sports.
In 2013 I began developing this nagging left low back pain that became chronic as well as anxiety issues. My workouts became hampered due to the pain and lack of motivation. At this point I began questioning my own competence. In 2014 I was unsure about enrolling for a Functional Patterns certification course with Naudi but course time frame and dates did not align. I had been hearing Naudi speak on the topic of gait cycle assessments and training in relation to our gait cycle and figured this topic would be covered at CHEK Level 2.
So I decided to continue my education with the CHEK Institute and registered for CHEK Level 2 in September of 2013. I was actually really excited as we would be learning how to assess the 7 Primal Pattern Movements including the gait cycle. I was hoping through the course I would figure out what was going on with this chronic low back pain I had acquired and what I was missing in my personal corrective program. Well, what I learned through the assessment was I had a flat lumbar spine and excessive thoracic kyphosis which I had already known from previous assessments. When it came to the Twisting assessment (part of 7 primal patterns) we found that I was not rotating. When it came to the gait cycle, I was a bit confused with the approach as we had only spent 1 hour or so on this part.
Although I acquired some great information through the CHEK Level 2 course, I still felt there was something missing with the application towards corrective exercise. The next couple years I began looking into Functional Patterns, I purchased almost everything Naudi had to offer regarding corrective and functional exercise. I was fascinated with his Power of Posture ebook and Training for Humans tutorials. Fast forward to 2016, Functional Patterns had announced they were holding a Human Foundations Level 1 in Seattle. I jumped on the opportunity real quick and the rest is history.
I attended the FP course in September 2016, and was very impressed by the concept and application of the techniques. At that time I had lower back pain ranging between a level 6 or 7 pain threshold. On the last day of the course I walked about 2 miles to FP and I felt different. The pain had reduced immensely, I felt like I had more spring in my step. It was an amazing feeling! The results I felt after leaving the course had a profound effect on me and I transitioned my training approach to FP 100%.
Although, I was feeling much better, I quickly came to the realization that my body needed a lot of correcting. The deeper down the rabbit hole I went the more I realized it wasn’t just my body that needed to be corrected but also some behavioral traits that needed to be adjusted as well. The more I worked on addressing my dysfunctions, the better I felt. I felt more confident, more calm, and finally certain about the future.
It wasn’t until I began to dive deeper into addressing many of my dysfunctional patterns that I began to understand my clients better. I began noticing similar imbalances in them that I was encountering as well.