Christian Baldia is the superman of recovery, movement and fitness. He's a musculoskeletal rehabilitation coach at Advance Wellness in Hamilton - a key focal point in Morag's own functional movement training. Christian gifts his clients the ability to move, perform and compete at levels they never thought possible. We had the honour of interviewing and collaborating with Christian for an in-depth feature about him, his work and his advice for his clients. Plus, Christian was kind enough to supply some videos of his own personal exercises and routines!
Despite their differing capabilities, lifestyles and injury history, one thing is for sure with respect to Christian's clients; they all have a common goal, and that is to move better.
Christian Baldia's perspective of functional movement enables him to work with clients from all walks of life. From children at the age of 4, high school athletes, business professionals, retired adults to seniors around 95 years old and beyond. Taking his clients under his wing, they become educated on how their body functions, while being presented capabilities and movement potential (i.e. person who can’t squat yet but showing them what are some things we can work on for them to be able to do it confidently in the future). These are the foundations of his work. However the results speak for themselves: increased strength, fat loss, increased balance, flexibility, reducing risk for injuries, better reflexes and managing work posture becomes a by-product of their training.
"It’s not an overnight process, but rather consistency, mind-set, willingness to do their work outside of our gym sessions, proper amount of sleep and eating habits are all needed to achieve whatever goals they want to conquer."
We had the pleasure of interviewing Christian to ask him some questions we'd been dying to hear the answers to, and here's what he had to share.
What is your personal definition of “Functional Movement”?
Why do you think it holds so much importance in our everyday movements?
"Based from my experience, a “Functional Movement” is any movement or exercise that will give more than what it takes from you. In other words, high gain and benefit with low risk for injuries, any movement that has a huge positive carry over for your daily life; to manage any posture that you spend 80% of your day with such as prolonged sitting, standing, bending, lifting, sport specific biased stance etc."
"It is of so much importance because it is what balances us from all the imbalances that we do and experience in a day-to-day living. Anything of too much is not good for us (too much sitting, too much standing, too much time spending on a certain posture or too much of doing the same movement over and over again). All of these will overwork a certain set of joints and muscle or what we call kinetic chain. A kinetic chain is a combination of various body segments connected via joints and moved through muscle activation."
"As shown on the images above, you can clearly see the connections around our body and how the extremities; left and right side are all inter-connected to each other. Over-working one certain posture will unintentionally weaken one chain while putting too much stress on the other chain. Therefore, the goal of “Functional Movement/Training” is to help any person to move better in order to balance things out.
From my experience, these 7 basic movement patterns are very important for a person to be proficient on moving functionally."
1) Upper and Lower Body Push
2) Upper and Lower Body Pull
3) Hip hinge (bending from the hips NOT from the back)
6) Loaded Carry
7) Gait pattern
You can also combine these patterns with each other to create a compound movement, just like what is shown in the images below:
"And for a person to get the best bang for their buck when performing any of these 7 basic patterns, the “Big 3” pillars of movement should be applied in order for these exercises to be safe and effective."
See the slideshow below for descriptions:
What led you to pursuing the career you have chosen? What training have you done?
"That’s a common question that I get quite often, and my answer is to be able to help people who are going through / went through the same physical disabilities that I had before. I used to be a wimpy kid during my childhood years, in sports and academics, and life in general.
I get sick easily, always running out of breath, fat, low-self-esteem and all sorts of other weaknesses. But I witnessed the helping hand and grace of God through the coaches that He surrounded me with, it wasn’t an easy road or journey as I may say because 15 years ago I never thought of being on this profession or didn’t even had an idea that this kind of job existed.
It’s a kind of profession that you won’t be hearing from kids if you ask them what do they want to be when they grow up. The coaches who have mentored me has inspired me to help others as well, as to what they say “always pay It forward the help that you have experienced”.
I was determined to embrace the grind of growing and learning from others who are better than me and share my knowledge to the ones in need and willing to be helped.
I have trained and learned from different institutes and organisations. Got my Personal Training / Exercise Consultant Certificate from New Zealand Institute of Health and Fitness; Certified as a Level 1 Coach from Original Strength Institute (International Organisation); Certified Level 1 Kettlebell Instructor from StrongFirst School of Strength (International Organisation).
I also finished a Bachelor’s Degree in Business last 2010 back in the Philippines before I migrated here to New Zealand.
Worked in a corporate job before but I just didn’t saw myself working in the office for the next 20 years."
What component of your work do you gain the most value from?
"The different learnings and experience that I have every day at work is the one that I gain the most value from. Every person that I see has a different injury, health / life issues therefore my clients and my colleagues at work help me widen my experience every day. It drives me to study more, learn more, and apply more of what I know. Therefore, helping more clients becomes a by-product of everything."
What does your personal workout/training program usually consist of?
"My personal workout consists of ground-based movements and resistance training through the use of minimal equipment and my own bodyweight. My personal preference of tool is either the kettlebell, steelmace, bodyweight, sandbag and barbell or all of them depending on what type of goal I am working on. The reason why I prefer these kinds of workouts and tools is because they are simple enough, not time consuming to do, doesn’t take much room space, relatively cheap, and most important is it mimics almost everything that I do in day to day life. Movements such as picking things up from the ground, lifting overhead, correcting posture, carrying things from point A to point B, twisting, bending, getting up from the ground to standing up. These movements also help me to increase my reflexes and body awareness, therefore being more functional in almost any indoor/outdoor activity that I do or wanted to do. If you would look closely on my videos, I always go on barefoot and no gym gloves when I’m training because my feet and hands are the entry points of any external resistance to my body."
In accordance with our 'My Sunday Profile', we asked Christian about his typical weekend routine:
morning prayer fellowship with my wife together with our brothers and sisters in Christ.
house chores, grocery, food shopping for meal preparation
morning workout with my wife and other friends
afternoon walks, out of town when necessary
cooking for the upcoming week’s meals
morning workout with my wife and other friends (if not done on Sunday)
helping out sometimes on my parent’s food truck business
helping out on church’s electrical, instruments setting up
attending evening Church service
"Here's a sample of my movement check / routine prior doing any resistance training, I don't follow any particular sequence with it, but just do what my body needs on that certain moment to loosen up my joints."
Christian was also kind enough to create for us a video collage of his common exercises. Typically, he picks 3-5 of them depending on what goal he is working on. He does change his programme every 8-12 weeks depending on what he has achieved and based on his coach's recommendation (even coaches like him need coaches as well to help him out on him goals and for constructive criticism!)
From not only being a lovely person to work with, train with and interact with, it's not difficult to see that Christian knowledge base and expertise speaks worlds on his behalf. Functional Movement holds importance in our lives whether you're a professional athlete, a weekend workout warrior or simply throughout out day-to-day lives and activities. Through working with a trainer and experienced and knowledgeable as Christian, Morag's personal recovery process has accelerated immensely, enabling her to return to the sports and activities she previous thought were lost in the trail of past injuries.
Christian's client base is proof that no matter what age, stage or capability, you are always invited to live better and move more efficiently.
Check out more or book in a session with Christian himself, head to the Advance Wellness clinic website here!
Note: All image sources linked (if known)
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