321 Method: A List Training for Body, Mind and Spirit Comes to Vancouver May 4th, 2014

321 Method: A List Training for Body, Mind and Spirit Comes to Vancouver May 4th, 2014


Most people know Ramona Braganza as a global fitness expert and celebrity trainer. Her client roster and list of Hollywood clients have included (and are not limited to) Jessica Alba, Halle Berry, Kate Beckinsale, Anne Hathaway, Amanda Seyfried, Scarlett Johansson, Eva Mendez, Dania Ramirez, Zac Efron, Ryan Reynolds, Tom Welling, Michael Weatherly, along with the entire cast of the movie “The A Team” – Jessica Biel, Bradley Cooper, Liam Neeson and Sharlto Copley.

And that’s a big part of who she is and what she’s does, but that’s only a small portion of her story and her success.

I met Ramona in 2005; while working at Stude55, a boutique style health club located in the beautiful downtown city of Vancouver. Upon our first meeting, tit was obvious to me that this woman was a leader, and more importantly, a woman who defied all odds; born in Germany and growing up in Ontario, the Canadian native left home, around the same time most young adults contemplate which University to go to, to make a name for herself in the big city of LA. A city that is no short of trainers, health club owners – all trying to climb the corporate ladder in industry success. That did not deter her from her dream; and that drive and determination has been the direct result of who she is and what she loves to do.

Ramona has spent a lifetime in fitness; not just coaching and training clients, but she speaks from a place of experience. Her accomplishments are many, such as; a competitive gymnast, NFL cheerleader, fitness contestant, model and wellness coach. Her true passion is guiding all walks of people toward a better life – body, mind and spirit.

The 321 Philosophy

The same training philosophy and methods she uses with her Hollywood clients can be found here. Originally designed for movie shoots on location where time and equipment were limited, 321 Training Method contains the proven combination of core, cardio and circuit exercises to get you in the best shape of your life.

The 321 Philosophy focuses on the integration of body, mind and spirit, where people can tackle anything life throws at them because they’ll have wellness for the mind, fitness for the body, and peace for the spirit. It’s design is focused on the ability to get you ready mentally, get set physically and go forward emotionally to reach your goals.

There are hundreds of videos and products out there; but very few that actually result in improving one’s lifestyle. Ramona’s products are not your regular run of the mill products! After sitting down with Ramona, I was able to get a deeper perspective on the operating system of 321 works and why I believe it has great potential in our industry for the niche market of weight-loss, body sculpting and those who want to train like the stars do – it’s simple – it is well rounded. It takes into account the biopsychosocial model of a client’s well-being; their physical, mental and emotional well-being. It also ensures that any trainer who wants to add onto their current scope of practice the ability to not only learn the program design and exercises, but the business model itself, and how to improve your own business.


Take The Workshop or Get Certified: The 321 Training Method in Vancouver May 4

As a newly accredited course (with canfitpro), this program gives you the opportunity to become a qualified instructor in Canada so that you too can follow and enjoy the same workout as the top LA celebrities.

The 321 Training Method Level 1 is a workshop and is suitable for gym instructors and personal trainers who want to learn new ways to help clients achieve great results. This massively successful programme, now available in Canada, is accredited by canfitpro and will earn you 2 CEC credits towards your annual CEC quota.

Once you have completed Level 1, you can register for the Level 2 certification course, as this will also earn you 2 CEC credits. Register for both in the same day and save!

In just a couple weeks, Ramona teaches this revolutionary workshop and certification course here in Vancouver, at APT South in Kits (4255 Arbutus Village) for more information on how to register please visit her website here:

Ramona Goes Global:


mobile_appAt your fingertips, with minimal to no equipment, wherever you are, her 321 Method is ready when you are. This highly effective combination of 3 Cardio, 2 Circuits of Strength training and 1 Core segment will get you burning fat fast, losing the weight and building lean muscle tissue immediately!

It come with a 12 week transformational program that progresses you safely through beginner, to intermediate then advanced. Unlike other programs that give you the same workout everyday the 3-2-1 Training Method includes a variety of exercises, daily workouts and top training techniques she uses with her stars to keep motivation high and the body challenged!

There’s even a built in calendar, with bi-weekly fitness assessments and the ability to customize the length of your daily training sessions, whether you have 20, 30, 45 or 60 minutes, will keep you on track! Download it from iTunes today!

So what are you waiting for!

Find her here:

Twitter:@ramonabraganza  / Facebook Page / Website 

Own Your FORM: Linkage vs Leakage

Own Your FORM: Linkage vs Leakage

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The human body is a system, a machine, and like any system they can leak energy if not properly tuned up for peak performance. In Movement Coaching this term pops up a lot regarding the join by joint approach. In kettlebell and clubbell training this refers to properly locking out joints to reduce torque and undue load, as well as force leaks.

Most of corrective movement is based on addressing compensation and dysfunction in the body and looking for these leaks in the system and in movement.  One of the most important aspects of movement coaching is addressing the joint by joint approach and educating clients on the importance of this concept. Looking at how one joint works in conjunction with another can improve overall performance and connection to the tools they use for strength gains, as well as preventing injury.


Linkage refers to the structure; our mechanics working in an efficient and effective manner, joints packed, and tissue ready, moving without pain, without compensation or dysfunction. When our joints and systems are linked, we move with effective energy output, and with synergy.

Leakage refers to the opposite, where our structure performs inefficient movement, usually due to dysfunction or compensation in the body. The systems and joints do not move as they should and thus performance and energy is reduced and less efficient. Most often this occurs without the client or athlete’s knowledge, increasing the client’s risk of injury.

Coaching Linkage:

I encourage clients to look at the structure as a system of links; from hands to feet, inside to outside and to use this visualization every session as a sort of check list to avoid potential injury, avoid leaks (which over time can lead to injury), and to avoid decrease in performance. The joint by joint approach teaches athletes to look at the body as a whole system vs a compartmentalized system.

When you teach proper technique or address correcting a client’s lifting who’s been performing compensated patterns for some time, we have to consider and address what happens to their training lifts. The answer is that to move from leakage to linkage their performance output for a short time will almost certainly go down temporarily, but it is absolutely necessary for long-term sustainability and performance gains.  You are building a foundation for progress and crisper movement.

In Gray Cooks Athletic Body in Balance, Gray discussing this linkage vs leakage as the following:

“It is possible for an athlete to perform well even when poor form is used, but eventually the athlete will experience breakdown, inconsistency, fatigue, soreness, and even injury.

It should be the goal of the training program to create efficient movement in the activity. This will conserve energy, keep the athlete relaxed, and allow the athlete to practice more and compete with less stress.

The problem is that poor form may be easier, more familiar, and more comfortable, and it may even seem to take less energy than proper form. Proper form, however, will take far less energy in the long run.

Poor form, even if it leads to some initial success, will eventually rob the athlete and cost far more time and effort than what is required to fix the weak links. Poor form can incorporate less overall muscle activity and therefore seem easier, but don’t confuse this feeling with efficiency.”

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The Deadlift: Shouldering Responsibility

As an example of linkage vs leakage we will look at the mechanics of the deadlift; which not only includes the hip hinge, but the mechanics of the shoulder complex as well; which is greatly overlooked. We can explore this importance in the 2 phases of the KB deadlift; the “Lift” and the “Unload” phases.

The Lift:

The three directions in which forces are applied to human tissues are compression, tension, and shear in the deadlift . In a lift such as the weight being lifted and center of mass of the upper body and arms are a relatively long way from the vertebrae, and this creates torque (moment of force) that is transmitted to the lumbar vertebrae. Although the vertebrae are a collection of joints, we can visualize that the disc between lumbar vertebrae 4 and 5 is the center of rotation for this force and thus must be managed to ensure prevention of injury and proper distribution of load.

Coaching clients on locking the surrounding joints is an effective tool of bringing attention to possibility of leakage and replacing it with linkage. Locking the joints can act as a tool to visualize a “power source” in the locked elbow. It sends “energy” up the forearm and down into the shoulder. Simultaneously the arm is “growing longer” towards the kettlebell and “pressing hard into the shoulder socket”.

Very quickly the athlete or client will realize that the strength of his shoulder complex and lats in the deadlift is significantly dependant on the locking of the elbow and wrist because even if there is a minor bend in the elbow, the shoulder will destabilize and there will be a loss of control with minimal engagement of the lats .

How about the scapulothoracic complex? The mechanics of this complex are crucial because if the scapula does not perform efficiently there will be leakage in shoulder packaging.  In the scapulothoracic complex, there is only one boney connection of the scapula to the entire axial skeleton (rib cage or vertebra) and that’s at the sternoclavicular (SC) joint. This is where the top end of the collar bone and sternum meet. The acromioclavicular (AC) joint and the SC joint are at each end of the collarbone connecting the shoulder girdle to the rest of the body. But that poor scapula is floating on the rib cage, held in place mostly by muscles and by two joints that aren’t much bigger than the joints in the index finger will result in leakage.

Cueing on how to engage and pack the shoulder effectively can greatly improve an athlete’s success in the deadlift pattern. When your structure has increased stiffness, this ultimately improves the transmission of the force up the chain with minimal waste and minimal loss of energy. The lift becomes much easier and flawless.

The Unload:

Once the athlete has lifted, the eccentric phase of lowering the weight is often not a focus point and where the athlete is fixated on the lift, the unload phase they can reduce efficiently by letting go of shoulder pack or losing mental fortitude. I coach clients to process the deadlift in two phases and we use verbally cueing for both. Pressing the KB “down” as you deadlift the KB up is a great way of ensuring linkage in the lift, but also coaching the athlete to stay stiff as they unload  the body around the trajectory of the bell, moving through the hips will trigger more lat lock which then helps stabilize the shoulders more importantly the spine.  The shoulders don’t move much during deadlifts–they stay back and down without protracting. The ankles, knees, and hips move and the arms “slightly” rotate in the shoulder joint, but the shoulders themselves do not round forward. This is what is meant by linking joints.

This is a process of not only restructuring mechanical patterns, but patterns within the brain. Muscles and tissue don’t just “leak” efficiency; they are trained to do so.

A great demonstration of how to coach “linkage” can be found in this video by Gray Cook:


Not only does the “leakage” reduce the power of an athletic move but also it increases the stress on the joints. Replacing “leakage” with what Dr. Stuart McGill calls “linkage” is central to any system of strength training and or corrective movement. Whether that be training with kettlebells, Olympic lifts, clubbells sports, endurance athletics or yoga; making the connection to linking joints and systems will result in improved performance and reduction of risk overall. There is always the possibility of sacrificing form for output and this leaks the body of energy and potential; therefore, ensuring you are practicing proper technique for crisper coordination and movement.

Your Body Is A Puzzle: The Joint-By-Joint Approach

Your Body Is A Puzzle: The Joint-By-Joint Approach


The joint by joint approach has been growing  in both the clinical and conditioning fields, yet still not widely adopted. Human mechanics are systemic in nature and thus our approach to optimal health should be as well. Thus,  understanding  how one joint affects another is of great importance in any health and wellness field, because it requires you to map the whole body and to see it as a sum of all parts. Much like a puzzle, each joint is it’s own piece, but without the rest of the pieces the puzzle doesn’t work.

Over the course of our evolution, with the invention of the “chair,” and a amore sedentary lifestyle our modern bodies have started developing tendencies for dysfunction. In essence, our mechanics are de evolving and we must pay close attention to the warning signs. Those of us who are sedentary, as well as those of us who are active, seem to migrate to a group of similar mobility and stability problems. We can clearly see certain demographics showcase similar dysfunction and compensation, as a general overview of the population.  Of course you will find exceptions, we each have our own unique mechanics and coping strategies, but the more I work in corrective exercise and rehabilitation, the more I see these common tendencies, patterns and problems. Moreover, I see the growing need to educate clients and coaches on the joint by joint model.

The point in the joint-by-joint approach is not so much the 10 Commandments of Mobility and Stability, as Gray Cook mentions here: Make the ankle mobile. Make the knee stable. Make the hip mobile. Make the low back stable. It’s more about understanding the relationship of what is mobile, what is stable, what needs or lacks motor control and how deficiencies in one, effects the other. These words that we through around in corrective intervention; like mobility or stability is define a segment of the body that should be moving better or have more control. The whole point is to practice with a systemic approach to clear the joints above and below the one with the problem, so that the problem joint can now explore new range or degree of freedom of movement, or “turn on” inactive or inhibited tissue to improve mechanics.

A quick summary from Gray Cooks blog article called “Expanding on the Joint-by-Joint Approach” offers the reader a general overview of the mechanics from bottom to top, feet to head:

1. The foot has a tendency toward sloppiness and therefore could benefit from greater amounts of stability and motor control. We can blame poor footwear, weak feet and exercises that neglect the foot, but the point is that the majority of our feet could be more stable.

2. The ankle has a tendency toward stiffness and therefore could benefit from greater amounts of mobility and flexibility. This is particularly evident in the common tendency toward dorsiflexion limitation.

3. The knee has a tendency toward sloppiness and therefore could benefit from greater amounts of stability and motor control. This tendency usually predates knee injuries and degeneration that actually make it become stiff.

4. The hip has a tendency toward stiffness and therefore could benefit from greater amounts of mobility and flexibility. This is particularly evident on range-­of-­motion testing for extension, medial and lateral rotation.

5. The lumbar and sacral region has a tendency toward sloppiness and therefore could benefit from greater amounts of stability and motor control. This region sits at the crossroads of mechanical stress, and lack of motor control is often replaced with generalized stiffness as a survival strategy.

6. The thoracic region has a tendency toward stiffness and therefore could benefit from greater amounts of mobility and flexibility. The architecture of this region is designed for support, but poor postural habits can promote stiffness.

7. The middle and lower cervical regions have a tendency toward sloppiness and therefore could benefit from greater amounts of stability and motor control.

8. The upper cervical region has a tendency toward stiffness and therefore could benefit from greater amounts of mobility and flexibility.

9. The shoulder scapular region has a tendency toward sloppiness and therefore could benefit from greater amounts of stability and motor control. Scapular substitution represents this problem and is a common theme in shoulder rehabilitation.

10. The shoulder joint has a tendency toward stiffness and therefore could benefit from greater amounts of mobility and flexibility.


Questions to ask yourself before working a particular pattern on yourself or a client:

  • I’m getting ready to train mobility or stability in this segment.
  • I either want this segment to move better or I want this segment to be more stable.
  • Have I truly cleared the joints above and below that can compound the problem?

There is no one way to approach this either. Some focus on top to bottom or bottom to top, or inside out. What is more significant is what will be best suited for your client and the systemic approach. We know that our skin and our fascia have an immense opportunity to offer us signals and communication from the inside out… or outside in approach. The brain and its information pathways work two ways. It doesn’t just send information down the spinal cord out to the hands and feet. We also take up information through the hands and feet as they have the highest degree of sensory feedback via nerves and tactile information sharing. Yet the hands and feet are rarely observed or brought into the training regime in traditional training.

Let’s Pick a Joint: Mechanics of the Foot:

Let’s look at the foot. Our shoes desensitize our feet. Our feet can become sloppy and lazy. The foot will keep flattening out to grab as much sensation as possible because the brain knows there is a problem. There is a lack of feedback. The brain needs more information to ensure the knee and hip work efficiently in association with the foot. If you’ve got bad shoulder positioning in a push or pull movement, you’re going to do things with your grip that aren’t as authentic as they could be. You will change the way you move, and the body will always take the path of least resistance – and compensate.

Understanding how each joint works and mapping the body as a whole should be a tool in every coaches toolbox.

To read Gray Cook’s full article and learn more about the joint by joint approach please click this link:

Yoga Can Wreck Your Body?

Yoga Can Wreck Your Body?

According to a recent New York Times article, yoga can wreck your body:

…for many people, a number of commonly taught yoga poses are inherently risky. The first reports of yoga injuries appeared decades ago, published in some of the world’s most respected journals — among them, Neurology, The British Medical Journal and The Journal of the American Medical Association. The problems ranged from relatively mild injuries to permanent disabilities […]

Read the complete article here, and let us know your thoughts in the comments below!

Oh Lordy, Yoga For Forty Part 2

I felt muscles in my legs I didn’t even know existed. I felt more ribs move with every twist. More pressure in my fingers with every downward dog. More strain in my Achilles tendons as I tried to perfect my Warrior one. I had to stop going to my weekly Kundalini practice to ensure I could maintain my strength for upcoming classes. My basement suite became dustier, laundry grew higher, bus rides seemed longer, and sleep time felt shorter.

As tough as it is to dedicate your body to practicing every day, it is even tougher to dedicate your time.

Was it awful to give up other routines and dedicate my spare time to yoga? Not at all. It was a challenge, but I grew to like it. My daily practice became what I looked forward to during each work day. Knowing I had a welcoming, comfortable, and relaxing place to be in a few hours made the dull days shorter.

That tired, restless feeling most of us get after a poor night’s sleep and an even poorer day on the job was eliminated during my daily practice. It energized me rather than drained. I spent less time wasted on watching mindless TV or checking email and more time being productive. My time was better spent because it became more crucial. Don’t get me wrong, I began to miss staring at the Food Network, but I put more effort into taking care of myself instead.

I enrolled in the course I never got around to registering for, I completed four cover letters for job applications I was procrastinating on, and I got myself into bed earlier and in turn, was able to wake up feeling more rested, despite that I could always keep sleeping.

Time became more precious, which I soon learned may be the point of this whole challenge. A focus on time, the now, and gratitude for the precious time we have.

But how about those precious physical changes? You know, the ones to our muscular frame. As much as I didn’t think it was going to happen, it did.

To be continued…

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