My Inspirations: Hey Girl, it’s Craig Funk

Craig Funk is the owner and trainer of Funk Fitness, the newest certified DDP Yoga instructor, host of multiple (amazing) DDP Yoga workshops, and has amazing strength and physique.

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I first met Craig at his 2013 DDP Yoga workshop. Obviously I noticed his amazing physique and strength, especially when he did Psycho Push-ups in the middle of the workout. Craig is one of those fitness moguls that are in such amazing shape, and holds themselves with such confidence that you can’t imagine that they were every any other way. I was bowled over to learn that was not the case with Craig. It’s beyond inspiring to see how far Craig has journeyed, and really important for people to read that it’s possible to go from being and overweight, bullied kid to being a successful, popular, modern-day Adonis.

Q: You have one of the most amazing physiques I have ever seen. Have you always been into sports and fitness?

A: I actually was very overweight as a kid. I was close to 250 pounds my sophomore year of high school. I started training Brazilian Jiu Jitsu when I was 15 years old because I was getting bullied at school on a daily basis. From there I started wrestling at age 16 and then got into Kettlebells half way through the season. MMA kinda took over after high school and by the age of 19 I stepped into the cage. I never really played any other kinds of sports. I’ve always been into combat sports where it’s a you versus the other guy. Ya know, the stuff that typically takes 2 balls.

Q: What do you attribute your physique to?

A: Kettlebells and DDP YOGA. I also do a lot of calisthenic work. Mix that in with grappling and sparring, plus a day or two of circuit training, and you’re gonna build somethin’! DDP YOGA 10 Second Push Ups play a huge part ;)

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Q: You’re the owner of Funk Fitness. How and when did you get to be a successful gym owner?

A: I was about 22 years old. It started off very small. One day I decided that Funk Fitness would be a pretty cool name, since everyone knew my family for working out so much. There wasn’t a lesson plan for a business or how to start a gym. I just kinda did what I thought was the right thing to do and offered to people the things that I believe in for health and fitness. To this day I’ve done zero advertising and have gone 100% on word of mouth. But as the gym grew, I decided to contact the guys I knew who had successful dojos and gyms. Taking advice and changing things accordingly from them and my lovely fiancee. But as of today the bills are paid and members are happy! If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it!

Q: In addition to being a gym owner, you’re also an MMA fighter. How did you start training for that, and how does that fit into your DDP Yoga and Kettlebell regime?

A: I’ve actually backed off MMA and decided to sit on the smart side of the cage. The outside! haha I do a lot of coaching now. I still do my best to get in to train with as many professional fighters as I can to know I still got what it takes.
Q: I believe you suffered a pretty serious back injury. How did that happen? Was that before or after you started DDP Yoga? How did you recover from that?

A: Yes, I was stacked on top of my head from another MMA fighter and then driven down with my bodyweight and his at the same time. Something cracked and popped in my lower back. I went about 2 years living in unbearable pain and noticing my hips and knees were paying the price too. I then found DDP YOGA and never went back. I followed the eating guidelines and lowered the inflammation in my body, and did DDP YOGA up to 3x a day! I’m 100% pain free!

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Q: How and when did you discover DDP Yoga? What were you hoping to get out of it when you began?

A: I woke up at 5:45am on a Saturday morning. Getting ready to head to the the airport to go on a cruise with my now future wife, I sat on the couch and saw a video advertised on Facebook. It was Arthur’s video (the extended cut). When I saw that Diamond Dallas Page was the creator of this program, it instantly caught my attention. I told myself that the moment I returned home, I would buy his program. I did, I ordered on a Monday night, the program came by Thursday. I started Friday morning and I never went back. I was praying for a miracle to stop the lower back, hip, and knee pain. And thanks to DDP YOGA, I got just that! This is a miracle program that is not a fad, and will be alive and well for a very long time. I will never stop!

Q: What have you gotten out of DDP Yoga that you didn’t get from your other exercise forms?

A: Functionality! More flexibility and 100% pain free lifestyle. From sitting in a hunting blind, going on a long car ride, practicing martial arts, being active with my kid, I am 100% pain free!! If I felt any better, I’d be dangerous!

Q: You’ve hosted one or two popular DDP Yoga workshops. How did you get involved in organizing those events? What was your favourite part of that?

A: 4 actually! I had such a belief in what this program can do for people, I absolutely had to get in touch with DDP himself and set this up for people in my home town and state to get a chance to train with the man who literally created a program that changed and gave me my life back!

Q: You’re training for your DDP certification. How has that experience compared to your experience of teaching other fitness classes?

A: I am now officially the 1st DDP YOGA Instructor in Michigan! Knowing how to teach a class and being comfortable talking to large groups of people really helps! But DDP YOGA is it’s own animal! This is one of my favorite classes to teach at the gym! Such great energy!!

Q: What’s next for you? How are you going to integrate your DDP Yoga certification into the current classes at Funk Fitness?

A: I’ve already started working with a core group of guys who really needed this program. I worked with them through my entire certification, and they have really spread the word and every time I teach a class, there is a new to several new faces! This isn’t just a fad workout, it’s a lifestyle! Word travels fast, especially when you see results like this program can provide when you put in the work!

Q: Back to you! What is your proudest achievement?

A: Honestly, Being awarded the rank of Eagle Scout. I also have 3 goals on a piece of paper that I look at every day. 1. Black Belt in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. 2. Black Belt in American Karate. 3. DDP YOGA Instructor. DDP YOGA has played a huge part in my life, because without it, I wouldn’t be able to do any kind of training at all! I will spend the rest of my life spreading the knowledge and promoting this program to those in need. I 100% believe in this system!

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Q: Is there anything you still struggle with?

A: My goal in DDP YOGA is to get my foot up and leg completely straight in the standing leg lift. I am 100% more flexible, but that is something I am working on and I will get to! Never Stop Pushing.

Q: What would you say to anyone considering DDP Yoga?

A: Without question, without hesitation, without a doubt in my mind, I will always say this is a miracle program. There is nothing else like it on the planet. It is going to be around forever. This is an absolutely amazing lifestyle and I could not stronger recommend that you get involved in DDP YOGA!

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Q: Where can we find you?

A: Funk Fitness in Brighton Michigan! Check our gym out on Facebook! If you’re in Michigan, stop in for a DDPYOGA workout sometime! I have people that come from hours away just to feel the love and positive energy inside the walls of Funk Fitness. Everyone is welcome!!

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My Inspirations: Kristin Pasquill

I set up this blog to help others be inspired the way I have been inspired. Part of that is sharing my story, which I have done over, and over, and over…. You guys must be getting sick of hearing about me now; I know I am getting sick of typing about me! Other ways to inspire include sharing motivational posts about DDP Yoga, nutritional information, and the occasional bit of yoga humor.

But one inspiration I somehow overlooked sharing until now is the stories of people around me in the TeamDDP community who inspire me. Seeing their success, their grit, their motivation continues to motivate me everyday. After all, it was a the achievements of a certain Team DDP member that prompted me to give DDP Yoga a try in the first place. There have been numerous times when I just lack the energy to get on the mat, but then I hop onto teamddpyoga.com or one of the DDP Yoga Facebook groups, and when I see members of Team DDP overcoming obstacles, achieving a goal they’ve struggling with for a long time, or even posting about the workout they did that evening,  I find the inspiration I need.

I want to promote the people who inspire me most so that they can inspire others too.

I am kicking off this series with a BANG! I have chosen to present an awesome success story, and coupled it with a challenge for the month of October.

Kristin came to my attention recently when her transformation story appeared at TeamDDP, and she became more active in various groups. In particular, I noticed that Kristin has the most amazing biceps I have ever seen so I reached out to her to ask how she got them. It turns out that in addition to packing some pretty impressive guns, she’s also a really nice person.

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The Interview

You look like someone who has been lean and athletic all their lives. Has that been the case?

Thanks but not at all! I have struggled with my weight my entire life. I’ve fluctuated between chubby and down right hefty, but lean and athletic were never words to describe me until I discovered DDP Yoga.

How did you discover DDP Yoga?

A friend of mine introduced me to the program. He came over for a visit after not seeing him for months and looked so good! I asked him what miracle diet he was on and he replied with DDP Yoga. He left that night and I immediately started my research. Found Arthur’s video, cried for a while, and started my journey just a few days later.

What shape were you in when you first started the program?

Unhealthy, sad, over weight… just about every negative adjective you can think of. I had my daughter 10 months before starting the program and in those 10 months of her life I managed to gain 70+ pounds. I struggled with depression and had poor eating habits. I was a mess to say the least!KP01

What was your first few weeks with DDP like? What did you struggle most with?

I have to admit, my first few weeks were rough and honestly thought about quitting. I did nothing but The Diamond Dozen for a couple of months. It took me a while to learn the moves, using my yoga blocks and getting into safety zone more than I was actually doing the moves. It was hard. But I kept at it and the more I practiced, the easier it got. And here I am now with my yoga blocks collecting dust on the shelf!

How have you changed since starting DDP Yoga?

I have said this before many times and to Mr. Page himself: this program literally saved my life. I’ve struggled with my health and weight related issues my entire life. I was diagnosed with fibromyalgia and arthritis as a teenager, spending a lot of time in physical therapy and taking medication for pain. My doctors always told me if I got my weight under control, the pain wouldn’t be as severe, I just could never get it under control until starting this program. And at one point my weight was so severe my doctors were talking Diabetes.Today I am medication free and the healthiest I’ve ever been. So when I say DDP Yoga saved my life, I truly mean it!

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You’re a huge success story. What parts of the program worked best for you?

Thank you kindly! It is still crazy to hear that and to see my story on the website as a success. It’s hard to decide what’s worked best for me because it has all worked so well! I will say, I love Strength Builder and Stand Up. Two things I never thought I would have- strength and balance. And those two workouts in particular have really helped me out a lot.

What is your proudest achievement with DDP Yoga?

In the beginning I thought it would be to lose the weight. And while that’s something I am very proud of, getting my health under control has been my proudest achievement. I have always been unhealthy, even as a child. I love food and always will, but growing up I made poor choices with food. Lots of processed junk and fast food. DDP Yoga and the eating program have taught me so much. I can still eat plenty and stay healthy! And my body is thanking me for it. I no longer have to worry about weight related issues with my fibromyalgia and arthritis. Diabetes scares are a thing in the past. And that’s a beautiful thing!

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Is there anything you still struggle with?

I would like to think I’m pretty alright with most of the moves, but to this day I struggle with Wrap and Burn. I actually used to skip that move a lot of times. But luckily there’s a great group of people on our Facebook group that had the brilliant suggestion of using a towel so that’s what I do now! Hopefully I’ll get rid of the towel one day… baby steps :)

You’re a Mom? How does that impact doing DDP Yoga? How did being a mother impact other systems you may have tried?

I am! A proud mother of 2. My son started kindergarten this year but before that, both of my kids were at home with me the majority of the day. And even when both of them were home, doing my DDP Yoga was still very doable. I either waited until their nap time so I could have complete “me time” or just do it when they’re awake! They crawl under me like a bridge in Down Dog from time to time, but that doesn’t stop me. :)

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At one point after having my son, I spent a lot of time at the gym. And while I had success with it, I was hurting constantly and not getting near the results I’ve got with DDP Yoga. Not to mention I would have to find someone to watch my son so I could drive all the way across town to get to the gym. It just wasn’t doable for me. I’ve also tried other at home workouts that required a lot of room moving around and that’s a bit difficult with kids. I love that I can get an amazing workout even in a small space. All I need is my yoga mat!

What advice would you give to someone considering the program or starting out?

DO IT. Just do it!  Coming from someone that’s pretty much tried it all, just try it. Try it and stick with it. You’ll be amazed at what you can accomplish.

How have people around you, either online or in person, taken your transformation?

It’s been pretty crazy! A positive crazy I mean. I get the majority of support from the wonderful people I’ve “met” online through teamddpyoga.com and the awesome Facebook groups. Without them I’m not sure if I would have as much success as I’ve had. In person from friends and family, I’ve got a lot of positive feedback. The best has been my parents and relatives telling me how proud they are of me. Gives me that warm, fuzzy feeling inside!

How have you taken to the role of inspiring others? I am in awe sometimes. Never in a million years did I think I would ever inspire anyone. I have received countless messages and emails from people I don’t even know telling me I’ve inspired them to start the program or stick with it. It’s an amazing, hard to believe feeling that I am truly grateful for.

You have the most amazing biceps any of us have ever seen… Tell us your secrets!

Haha thank you so much! No secrets really. I typically do some kind of DDP workout 5-6 days a week. The slow burn pushups have really helped tone my arms up. I also have started what I’ve dubbed Bathtub Pushups, although you honestly could do them just about anywhere. I started the habit of every time I went into my bathroom of doing a rep of 10 pushups. And by the time the day is over, a lot of times I’ve done 100+ pushups! Clearly I spend a lot of time in the bathroom lol. But they have really helped a lot I think. I have never been a fan of push ups, but the strength I’ve gained with DDP Yoga and only doing 10 at a time have really made them doable and fun!

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What is next for you? What are your future fitness goals?

It’s funny, when I initially started the program my goal was to lose 30 pounds. I met that goal and then another. And another, and another, until here I am now 100 pounds lighter and the healthiest I’ve ever been. DDP Yoga has taught me the sky is the limit. To believe in myself and anything is possible. I’m far from it, but my next goal is become certified as a DDP Yoga instructor so I can teach others (literally) that they can do exactly what I did.

The Challenge

And now the challenge. We all want arms like Kristin’s, right? So let’s do what she does. For the month of October, anytime you are in the bathroom, do 10 inclined pushups. I’ve been doing it for a couple of weeks now and I am definitely seeing a change! I have added my own rule in: if for whatever reason I can’t do the push-ups (running late, not wanting my HR up at 3am), I do 10 full push-ups later. Here’s Kristin to show how it’s done!

BANG!

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Where You At? Find a Local DDP Yoga Instructor!

I put together a map of all the Level 1 Trainee Instructors (and some of the certified ones too!)… Want to find a DDP Yoga class in your area? Check to see if there are any here! Click on the marker of the instructor in your area to see their contact info to set up a class! Check back often, new instructors are signing up every day!

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Your Mama’s Yoga Review!

Poses

Scorpion, one-legged bound Down Dog, Twisted Wrap & Burn, some seated spine thing….

 

Before DDP Yoga, I was a pathetic weakling. In particular, I had zero upper body strength. I tried a laundry list of programs, both yoga and non-yoga, to no avail. The major problem was that I never got any stronger. These workout systems certainly showed me what I could do one I gained some upper body strength, but didn’t offer a pathway to acquiring the strength to do it. The issues that arose were a high injury rate, a lack of modifications (or a huge gap between the modified and unmodified versions), or a complete lack of any real-strength building.

Now that I have done DDP Yoga, and achieved all manner of goals and feats, I wanted to revisit a few workouts and see how my experience compared.

1. Brian Kest’s Power YogaBryanKestsPowerYoga

I tried the first workout on this disk a few months before I started DDP Yoga and made it all the way to the first Down Dog pose. He held it  for – what at that time I thought was – such a long that I couldn’t take it. So back on the shelf it went. DDP speaks pretty highly of Brian Kest, so I decided to revisit the workout now that I have some killer upper body strength (thanks to DDP Yoga). This time I did the third and hardest of the 3 workouts, and this time, I made it from start to finish, opting for the most difficult of version each pose. I didn’t burn as many calories as I would have in a DDP Yoga workout, but I enjoyed it, and the instruction was almost straightforward. I’ll definitely be doing this one on rest days or after a run!

2. Baron Baptiste’s Power Yoga51MAS29KBXL._SY300_

I did this when I was in grad school. I remember cursing, sweating, falling over and not being able keep up. This time around it was a snore. In contrast to Brian Kest’s reasonably accessible instructions, this was the kind of nonsense that triggered my #HCS4L and I to make a parody of the stuff yoga teachers come out with. It is one of my great regrets in life that we didn’t consult Baron Baptiste’s library of yoga DVDs while coming up with the dialogue:

3. The Firm Power Yoga16113_THE_FIRM_Power_Yoga

This was the first yoga I ever tried. I dreaded the Plank to Chaturanga to Cobra flow in this workout, I just couldn’t do it. I tried it last week, and flowed through the entire thing with all the advanced options, and didn’t even get into my fat-burning zone. This is a nice, easy workout, and would be a good way to cool down after DDP Yoga if you’re working out at night (the heart rate blast of DBD can make it hard to get to sleep.

4. P90X Yoga-X tumblr_m95rke858U1qhl3z1

The original Yoga-X isn’t a bad program. I certainly have a lot of problems with P90X, but this isn’t one of them. It’s a nicely laid out workout, with a wide-variety of moves, and pretty good instruction. The issue I had with this workout (and the other yoga workouts in this review) is that no matter how many times I did it, I couldn’t lower to Chaturanga off my knees, do the push-ups, or any other advanced moves. In other words, it showcases your strength nicely, but does little to build it. I also found that some of the transitions into harder moves aren’t as fluid and accessible as they could be. For instance, getting to Warrior III, Tony Horton goes straight from Crescent Post to Warrior III, with very little instruction from how one makes it to the other. Consequently, in my early days of following this workout, I never made it to Warrior III. Revisiting it, I was able to take the instructions I learned in DDP Yoga, and apply them to this workout, and in doing so, got more out of it. Also, because of all the strength I built doing DDP Yoga, I was able to do the entire thing from start to finish, all advanced poses, and barely break a sweat. I will do this workout from time-to-time when I have little energy but lots of free time (it’s over ah hour-and-a-half long).

Bonus: P90x-3: Yoga and Isometrix

I’ve already ripped Yoga 3-X apart here, so I will limit this discussion to Isomterix. This workout is the complete opposite of the fluid Vinyasa style found in the original Yoga-X. In Isometrix, there are a dozen or so poses, and you get into one  at a time, hold them for 45 seconds and get out of them. More so that any of the other workouts, this is great for showcasing your new-found strength and flexibility, but does ZERO to improve it. I did get into my zone more so in this workout that the other non-DDP Yoga workouts, but I will also never do this again, because doing nothing but hold a selection of poses for 45 seconds at a time is tedious to say the least. Nonetheless, it was fun finding out that I could do One-legged Bound Down Dog and Side Plank with bound leg!

 

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Why would waste your time with those silly, non-DDP Yoga workouts?

Pain-free Physical Therapy.

On Friday, I was on the V-Down Podcast discussing my background with chronic knee pain.

In a nutshell, I spent over a decade with chronic knee pain. It got so bad that for the two years in the run up to starting DDP Yoga, I couldn’t walk up a flight of 3 steps without feeling like hunting knives were being driven through my kneecaps.

Right before discovering DDP Yoga, I went to a physical therapist for a month. After doing an assessment of my knees, she told me that it would take at least a year-and-a-half of biweekly therapy sessions before I could even consider running a mile. ONE MILE! And she wasn’t 100% sure that was a realistic goal. I stuck with it for about a month, but I couldn’t take it. Each session involved the PT digging into my IT bands for 30 minutes or so, which left me with dark bruises down my outer thigh. Then, the next session involved the therapist digging into my painful bruises for 30 minutes! For all my suffering, I saw ZERO improvement. So I quit!

In contrast, DDP Yoga was fun, sustainable and effective. In under 3 months, I ran a Warrior Dash. In under 9 months, I ran a Half-Marathon, and in just over a year I ran a Full Marathon. All with zero leg pain.

Yesterday, I went for a casual run. I wasn’t running any set distance; I was just planning to run as long as I felt like it. After getting turned around a couple of times, and spending about 3 miles completely lost in a weirdly laid-out neighborhood, I realized I had run 10 miles. I figured I had enough light to go for 13.1, so I did. Even better, I set a personal record for that distance!

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Coincidentally, we have just reached the date on which my physical therapist said I could possibly consider running ONE mile. And I am running 13.1. For fun. I have 2 upcoming half-marathons this year (I may sign up for more). My new goal is to get one done in under 2 hours. But for now, I am happy in the knowledge that I have gone from being lazy and injured to being the kind of person who runs 13.1 for fun!

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I see why the song “Fix You” was chosen for Arthur Boorman’s transformation video: