Functional medicine and the role it has in Personal Training

Written by Mark Coles - Follow on Google+ | Facebook | Twitter

If you know anything about me, you’ll know that my passion in life is to help people realise their full potential. I get immense joy from teaching as many people as possible how to look great and feel great. And when it comes to helping people get in the best shape of their lives, I’d say that at M10 we go further and deeper than nearly all the personal training companies you’ll ever come across.

Over the years I’ve had the pleasure of working with many people, helping change lives in more ways than just body composition and fat loss. In my search for excellence, I've come to realise that there are many other factors holding people back from achieving optimal health and body composition results.

Have you ever thought that toxic overload could be holding you back with your fat loss programme, or that your hormones could be affecting your energy levels, mood, memory and sleep?

Would it surprise you to know that when women detoxify from heavy metals like mercury, the fat literally melts off them?

The list is endless but these are the sort of things that go unchecked in today’s world!

Something Missing

From a very early stage in my career as a Personal Trainer, I began to question the necessity of western medicine. Now don’t get me wrong – I know medicine has its place and I have the utmost respect for the doctors who are dedicated to medicine and helping save lives. But I just felt there was something missing…

I was constantly asking myself why people who struggled to sleep, were taking medication, why people who were depressed had to take drugs to make them happy and why people were having to use drugs to control cholesterol problems and blood pressure. For most people with health issues, the basics of nutrition have never been considered, the correct amount of sleep and the load of stress so many people place on themselves are never even taken into consideration.

Transforming Lives With Functional Medicine

These are major areas that I address within my system – and once they’ve been corrected, people’s lives have simply been transformed.

I was first introduced to the model of FUNCTIONAL MEDICINE on a Biosignature CE course in Arizona with the Poliquin Institute. (You’ll find a detailed definition of functional medicine at the end of this article but for the moment, just let me tell you that it’s personalised medicine which deals with primary prevention and underlying causes instead of symptoms for serious chronic disease.)

On the course I had the pleasure of hearing Mark Schauss speak on toxicity and evaluating laboratory tests. From that day on I was fascinated by the way that functional medicine was helping cure so many people of diseases such as Alzheimer's, auto immune disease, ADHD, autism, cholesterol problems, diabetes and many more.

I decided to expand my knowledge of functional medicine by signing up for the Applying Functional Medicine in Clinical Practice (AFMCP) programme. 

Working With Leading Specialists

To offer this new level of service to my clients, laboratory tests are sometimes necessary. For these I use one of the world’s leading labs, Genova Diagnostics, whose detailed tests allow me to look for such things as gastrointestinal imbalances, toxicity, hormonal imbalances, stress indicators and much more. These are all major reasons why people fail to improve their health, change their body shape, struggle to find the energy to exercise or even struggle to find even the energy to get through the day.

I have an affiliation with two London-based specialists. A leading doctor in functional medicine provides consultations to my clients and laboratory test interpretation support. And I also use Matt Lovell, an elite nutritionist who sees clients of mine on a regular basis.

What is Functional Medicine?[1]

Functional medicine is personalised medicine that deals with primary prevention and underlying causes instead of symptoms for serious chronic disease. It is a science-based field of health care that is grounded in the following principles:

  • Biochemical individuality describes the importance of individual variations in metabolic function that derive from genetic and environmental differences among individuals.
  • Patient-centered medicine emphasizes"patient care" rather than"disease care," following Sir William Osler’s admonition that"It is more important to know what patient has the disease than to know what disease the patient has."
  • Dynamic balance of internal and external factors
  • Web-like interconnections of physiological factors – an abundance of research now supports the view that the human body functions as an orchestrated network of interconnected systems, rather than individual systems functioning autonomously and without effect on each other. For example, we now know that immunological dysfunctions can promote cardiovascular disease, that dietary imbalances can cause hormonal disturbances, and that environmental exposures can precipitate neurologic syndromes such as Parkinson’s disease.
  • Health as a positive vitality – not merely the absence of disease
  • Promotion of organ reserve as the means to enhance health span

Functional medicine is anchored by an examination of the core clinical imbalances that underlie various disease conditions. Those imbalances arise as environmental inputs such as diet, nutrients (including air and water), exercise, and trauma are processed by one’s body, mind, and spirit through a unique set of genetic predispositions, attitudes, and beliefs. The fundamental physiological processes include communication, both outside and inside the cell; bioenergetics, or the transformation of food into energy; replication, repair, and maintenance of structural integrity, from the cellular to the whole body level; elimination of waste; protection and defence; and transport and circulation. The core clinical imbalances that arise from malfunctions within this complex system include:

  • Hormonal and neurotransmitter imbalances
  • Oxidation-reduction imbalances and mitochondropathy
  • Detoxification and biotransformational imbalances
  • Immune imbalances
  • Inflammatory imbalances
  • Digestive, absorptive, and microbiological imbalances
  • Structural imbalances from cellular membrane function to the musculoskeletal system

Functional medicine emphasises a definable and teachable process of integrating multiple knowledge bases within a pragmatic intellectual matrix that focuses on functionality at many levels, rather than a single treatment for a single diagnosis. Functional medicine uses the patient’s story as a key tool for integrating diagnosis, signs and symptoms, and evidence of clinical imbalances into a comprehensive approach to improve both the patient’s environmental inputs and his or her physiological function. It is a clinician’s discipline and it directly addresses the need to transform the practice of primary care.

If you would like to work with us either online or at our personal training facility in Nottingham's city centre, fill in an enquiry form today.  Otherwise, you can pick up a copy of the M10 Blueprint which details the methods we use with our clients to help them lose fat and change their body shape

M10 blueprint

[1] Used with permission from the Institute for Functional Medicine © 2010


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