From Long Distance Running to Gymnastics Strength Training

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As Chris Banul and Coach Matt drove up to an Ido Portal Workshop in Dallas, TX last year a man with long, scraggly hair stood in the parking lot with a shirt that read “Hug Dealer.”

Chris, spewing profanities and questioning why he had come looked at Matt in astonishment.

Really…what did he get himself into?

Turns out, that that was Chris’s “Daniel Coyle point of ignition” as Matt puts it. If anyone knows anything about Ido Portal he is all about natural movement of the body and his culture “represents a contemporary paradigm shift in physicality, moving away from main culprits in movement and fitness as well as the separation between health, aesthetics, performance and art.”

“All types of people with different backgrounds and histories come together at these workshops for a single purpose and it’s very powerful,” Matt says. “I think Chris not only performed better than he thought he would but he enjoyed it and coming out of the workshop I think he rededicated himself.”

When Chris initially came into Force four years ago with his wife, Erin Hazler, they were both long distance runners looking to supplement their running with strength training. Fast forward, now Chris can frequently be found upside down, twisted into a human pretzel or scaling a wall/rig/rope while Erin can be found throwing heavy weights over her head. They are both a true testament to the changes and growth you experience through fitness.

“Focus on being consistent,” Chris says. “Don’t compare your abilities to anyone else’s, just pay attention to the progress you’re making and you will amaze yourself.”

Chris’s dedication to the process and accepting that mastering a new skill could take months or even years has been what has made him so successful. Take, for example, that he just recently finally mastered the pistol squat after almost two years.

“Frustrations day to day don’t seem to shake him mentally,” Matt says. “He applies himself to the moment but keeps a broad spectrum on the progress which I think is so vital.”

When Chris isn’t at Force he’s a manager at a pawnshop and enjoys building tables and gymnastics implements as a woodworker and even outside of Force he’s still working on his mobility and gymnastics skills.

“Being able to do things I’ve never had the ability to do before drives me to keep exploring what else I’m capable of,” Chris says. “I’m a healthier and more confident person in all aspects of my life now.”

Chris is now training 9-10 times a week both at Force and at home and he’s at the point in his training where he can play around with the movements more. At first, his programs were tailored to the basics. Matt was building his engine and introducing the gymnastics strength training and now he is able to reengage with a skill and explore all the different ways he can change it or transition into it.

“Chris’ sense of humor is my favorite thing about working with him,” Matt says. “He makes the coaching part easy because of his discipline and we can joke about the fact that he can now do stuff better than me. He’s been a joy to work with and he’s one of those clients that makes you feel privileged you get to work with them.”

In Health,

Coach Tessa

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