Gaining Strength Without Pain

Right after Christmas, most of us begin thinking about the new year and those resolutions that have become part of the tradition. Its no secret that one of the most often made, and most often broken, New Years resolutions is, “This year Im going to get in shape.” Every gym owner loves the new year, when memberships take a big spike as the newly-resolute come marching in wearing their newly-acquired sweatsuits and sneakers, ready to shed all those pounds of holiday guilt.

It doesnt take long before the realization kicks in that, “Hey, this is hard.” Hours on the treadmill seem to get you nowhere in more ways than one. Lifting weights just makes you sore, and often injured. Three days a week becomes two, then one, then none. And so it is that another resolution bites the dust.

Paul Britt, local fitness trainer, martial artist and owner of Britts Training Systems in Rockwall, attributes the problem to a number of factors. “Modern gyms operate on a set formula for all members. Get your heart rate up by running in place on a treadmill or pedalling on a stationary bike. I dont know about you, but that bores the life out of me very fast. Then they put you on the weight machines and start building up isolated muscle groups. Thats a recipe for injury right there.” Boredom and pain will kill a fitness program in short order.

Before he will let anyone in his gym pick up a weight, Paul performs a Functional Movement Screen on each person who walks in to train. “Using FMS, I can identify your limitations and asymmetries. By addressing our dysfunctions before we start building on them, we decrease the time it takes to get results and reduce the likelihood that youll hurt yourself in the process.”

Pauls primary tool of choice is the Russian kettlebell. Used for centuries in Russia by elite fighting forces for strength and endurance conditioning, the kettlebell has only recently caught on in this country. “The swinging, lifting and pulling movements we use with kettlebells more closely mirror those of our everyday activities than do traditional barbells. We start out with light weights and make corrections to form as we progress through the program. We work on any body limitations we find in the FMS screen and fix them before we increase weight.”

Gym members include area police, firefighters and martial arts practitioners. Age groups span from grade-schoolers looking to jump-start their athletic abilities up through a couple of 60-plus members who want to enjoy mobility and strength well into their golden years without tearing themselves down in the process.

Britts Training Systems is located at 207 County Line Road. More information can be found at

Bob Lewis

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