Growing up in Germany I was into soccer, and, from the very beginning, it became my life.

At 17½, just as I was about to sign a pro contract with a Bundesliga team, I was badly injured during a friendly game. Unfortunately, the injury was irreversible and abruptly ended my soccer career. For years, it was too emotionally painful to even attend or watch a soccer game.

So I decided to take up weight training instead. After a few years of training with weights, I developed severe back pain. Although I consulted numerous doctors and specialists, no one was able to diagnose the cause of the pain. All they did was counsel me to stop exercising and to give up weight training.

That, of course, was not a satisfying answer for an energetic 20-year old! So, after receiving my Master’s Degree as a brewmaster and an economic engineer, I began to explore physiology, kinesiology, and anatomy with the aim of finding the cause of my back pain. Over the years, I learned to deal with the pain and to work my way around it when exercising and, although it improved, it was never resolved.

After finishing my degrees, I came to the US to find a job with one of America’s top breweries. However, during that time, my father had a stroke at the young age of 53. I returned to Germany and was with him when he died, which had a profound impact on my life. I realized that earning my degrees was more my father’s dream than my own. So I decided to change direction entirely and focus on learning about the body, pain, and exercise. I was mainly driven by the desire to become pain-free myself and to do what I love most—to help athletes and others become pain-free and improve their performance levels.

I returned to the US to continue my studies and was privileged to be able to learn from some of the best experts in the field and to have had several of them as my mentors. The most influential of these were Dr. Mike Clark, Dr. Vince Guagliano, and Dr. Eric Cobb.

Through the course of my training with them, I discovered that a large part of my back pain was caused by my injury as a young soccer player and the subsequent surgery that left me with a small difference in the length of my legs. This threw my pelvis out of balance and led me to rotate one side forward, creating a constant irritation in my back. Through that realization, I was able to reduce my back pain dramatically, without, however, completely eliminating it.

Then I learned that the pain might be driven by my nervous system due to imbalances in the functioning of my visual and vestibular systems. At first this seemed like an outlandish idea because these functions appeared unrelated to my lower back. However, during one of my classes I was able to confirm that I indeed had imbalances within these systems. I also learned how to correct them, and, to my astonishment, within a matter of days, my back pain disappeared completely! I was amazed by this turn of events, but also inspired to discover more about functional neuroscience. It became a focal point of my life and, to this day, as the science evolves and makes new discoveries, I continue to deepen my knowledge.

Of course, this experience greatly influenced the way I now work with my pro athletes and other clients. Along with traditional methods of strength and conditioning, martial arts, athletics and human performance fields, by working with a client’s nervous system through communicating with it via specific assessments and then applying the correct stimulus to the right area of the brain, the level of pain or discomfort can be resolved and the client can ultimately make the changes necessary to reach his or her highest level of wellness and athleticism.

Chris Hoffmann

MS, ART I Z-Health Master Trainer I Heart-Math 
Certified Coach I NASM-CPT, CES, PES I Performance
Enhancement Specialist I C.H.E.K. Practitioner I Corrective Holistic
Exercise Kinesiologist I Soft-Tissue Specialist