Are you prepared for the Unguarded Moment

Welcome to Muscular System Solutions

Welcome to Muscular System Solutions Blog Page. The goal of our blog is to help educate the community about Muscle Activation Techniques™ and offer a different point of view on how and what it means to maintain a healthy muscular system and body.

This week's blog addresses the question: Are you prepared for "The Unguarded Moment?" In other words, how confident are you that when life physically throws you a curve ball, that your body is ready for it? What this simply means,  is how body able are you?  Let's open this up with personal story.

How i was introduced to the Unguarded moment 

My Unguarded Moment happened when I was 15 years old. I've always loved food and as I got older my weight got out of control. By the age of 15, I was 209 lbs.  The 90's solution for weight loss was Slim Fast, fat free fad diets, and high amounts of cardio. Strength training wasn't something I really understood, other than what my football or swimming coach told me.  Without any type of direction, I made up my mind that I needed to exercise more and eat less. I did what I thought was right and without any preparation, I started to jog.  I started jogging to the stop sign and back to the end of my cul-de-sac, which was only a few blocks, (give me a break I was 15 years old, and I was fat). As I built my stamina, one mile turned into two miles and so on.  I would run every day when I got home from school.  Some days I would run up to 7 miles.  This was the same distance my dad would do when he went jogging, so I made it a goal.  I was on top of the world, I ended up losing 75 lbs and I felt great! Then one day I was in my room and I was getting ready to go for a run. I bent over to tie my shoes and all of a sudden I felt this shooting pain in my back.  For some reason my back spasmed.   I never felt anything like this, I fell to the ground in agony.  It felt like someone was stabbing me in my back, but as quick as it showed up, it left. So I did what everyone does these days -- I ignored it and went for a run anyways. 


As I think about it today several questions come to my head.  I was 75 lbs lighter back then, so why did my back seize up? All I did was bend over. What caused the issue?  Was it something I did earlier in my life? The irony of it all was I wanted to lose weight to make myself healthier, but that was the first battle of a 15-year war of having to deal with back pain. As time went on, random incidents would flare up my back.

Over the next 11 years, it was very peculiar, I could go weeks without any back pain, so I thought my back was fine. Then out of no where, my back would flare up at the most random moments.  I would be helping someone move and I'd pick up a medium sized box and the shooting pain would happen;  I'd be watching a movie and sitting on a couch for a few hours and when I got off the couch I'd get up like an old man with this dull localized pain in my lower back; or when I would turn or stand up too quickly, I'd be debilitated in an instant. As the years progressed I started working out, to help my back and initially my workouts were great and my back was feeling great! As I lifted more and more my back issue started to get worse again. It got to the point where I would just pop 800mg of Ibuprofen to mask the pain so I could lift.  The worse thing was I was only 26 years old, and I couldn't even blame my age.  This made me nervous. I started to get more and more hesitant in doing things and I was extremely limited in my workouts on what I could do.

The Unguarded Moment

The Unguarded Moment is the unconscious vulnerability of a joint system, caused by the nervous system’s initial delay to generate the necessary muscle(s) contraction to response to an expected or unexpected demand on the body, resulting in an injury.
— Scott McWilliam
I made a move I make a million times, and it just popped.
— Kobe Bryant after is 2013 season ending achilles rupture

The Unguarded Moment is a muscular system vulnerability.  All it takes is a split second were your body is put in a position that your muscles aren't able to reciprocate a contraction, jeopardizing the the integrity of the area.  This is why The Unguarded Moment is so confusing, it's random. Everyone is susceptible to this.  These individuals could range from people doing normal daily activities, weekend golfers, parents being parents, or weekend warriors, to athletes who play recreationally to very high level sports.  For example Kobe Bryant ruptured his achilles in his 2013 season after cutting toward the hoop when his ankle just gave way.  During an interview Kobe said "I made a move I make a million times, and it just popped."  His Unguarded Moment was the compilation of past injuries that lead to his season ending rupture.

After being introduced to Muscle Activation Techniques I finally started to understand what caused my Unguarded Moment all those years ago. My body lost its ability to contract efficiently when I put it into positions it couldn't control.  My body was unstable in specific areas, which left me vulnerable. I didn't even know what caused each situation since my pain was so random.  I couldn't pin point a specific situation, until later investigation.  

Are there clues to watch for? 

Here are some signs that can help you be aware of areas where you could be vulnerable to the Unguarded Moment.  

  • You have a series of past injuries or surgeries.
  • You have areas of constant muscular tightness.
  • You have areas where you feel there is a lack of sensation.
  • There are specific motions or activities you are avoiding.
  • One of your sides is dramatically stronger than the other one.
  • One side moves better than the other side.

The Big Picture

Here is the big picture of the Unguarded Moment. How often have you put yourself in situations in which you are 100% confident you were going to make it out without something happening?  How often have you done something a 1,000 times the exact same way, for years, and nothing happened, but on the 1,001st time -- Bam! Injury.  

I've been practicing MAT™ for close to a decade and I've realized that everyone is vulnerable to the The Unguarded Moment. The people who are the most inclined to this moment are  the ones who live either a sedentary lifestyle or who don't receive the proper recovery by over training by exercising too much or continually training for a sport. The sedentary individuals have such a de-conditioned muscular system their muscles aren't adequately equipped to respond to a high demand on the body, which could leave them sore, in pain, or injured.  On the other hand, the individuals who are continually forcing their bodies to do more, are left vulnerable because their bodies are on over drive, plagued with compensation, they are one step way from ending up in injury.  

Thank you for reading Muscular System Solutions first Blog. The point of this blog is to recommend all our readers to start realizing the importance of taking care of ourselves.  Please don't leave your body vulnerable, because at a moments notice, your daily living, sport, or activities could be limited.

Leave comments below about what your unguarded moment was and how you handled it.

    To learn more about how Muscle Activation Techniques™ can prepare you for the Unguarded Moment

    More about the Author: Scott McWilliam MATm, RTSm, CPT, LMT

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    Founder of Muscular System Solutions and co-founder of Lateral Fitness. Scott has been involved in the fitness industry since 2004, but has been involved in sports and exercise his entire life. He made a life changing decision his sophomore year of high school to loose 75 pounds. Scott realized his love of weight lifting in his senior year of high school after his baseball and swimming career ended cause he needed something to keep his weight in control. 

    This was the beginning of his life calling. He dove head first into working out and competed in his first bodybuilding competition in 2003, winning his weight class. What goes up must come down. Scott's bodybuilding career came to a screeching halt with a back injury. After his back was "healed", he decided to make his career official and attend NPTI in 2004 and obtained his first personal training position at Fitness Formula Club (FFC) in the Gold Coast. As his hours and the demand on his body increased he was continually plagued with a constant back issue, which interfered with his workouts. He was introduced to massage therapy shortly after his hire to FFC. Scott had good results allowing him to get back to lifting, so he decided to become a licensed massage therapist, at The New School of Massage, to understand the muscular system more to help his clients. Massage was the tip of the iceberg in his education. Scott then learned about Greg Roskopf’s Muscle Activation Techniques™ which focused on improving muscular function, between 2009 and 2013 he not only became a MAT Specialist, but he received his MATm and Mastery as a Resistance Training Specialist™

    Scott's back problem was finally resolved from getting regular Muscle Activation Techniques treatments and adopted a new mindset on exercise. By learning how to slowly improve muscular tolerance and realizing workout is a marathon not a sprint. His back is stronger than ever. Scott's passion to understand the muscular system is endless. He is continually striving for excellence.


    • NPTI (National Personal Training Institution) Certified Personal Trainer (2004)
    • Licensed Massage Therapist (New School of Massage 2007)
    • Certified MAT (Greg Roskopf’s Muscle Activation Techniques™) Specialist (2009)
    • Certified Resistance Training Specialist™ Mastery (2012)
    • Certified MAT Master Specialist (2013)
    • Currently enrolled in MATRX Foot and Wrist/Hand (2017)