142 5th Ave. N. #D

Franklin, TN 37064

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Internal Performance

Muscle Activation Techniques®


 Strategic Personal Training

For those who want to be active participants in life, not spectators!


The Story behind ATR Internal Performance

I opened ATR Internal Performance in July of 2019, after returning to Tennessee from Houston (where I lived 25 years prior). I initially moved to Texas for law school, but after receiving my J.D. I decided to take a completely different route in life.  I developed and opened a fitness studio with multiple locations for the last 15 years, but eventually found the need to simplify. I wanted to focus solely on practicing MAT and offering the type of training I have spent the last 24 + years intensively studying and fortifying.  Helping people experience pain-free exercise and improving how they function and perform is my true passion. I had become a jack of all trades in order to manage multiple studio locations, and knew that moving to a solo practice model would allow me the ability to offer a level of quality most have never experienced before in fitness. 

ATR stands for the various components in my process: Assessment, Training, and Restore. The "Internal Performance" part of the name is to reinforce the prioritization of internal performance over external performance, which is absolutely essential in achieving any sustainable performance goals. If you exercise on a body that is unstable or lacking joint integrity, you will eventually suffer severe consequences. The ATR studio is in a private space in historic downtown Franklin, where distractions are limited, access is easy, and the environment inviting.  I do not follow various fitness fads or trends, nor am I a rep counter or time keeper. I follow science - physics and engineering - of your unique anatomical structure, and I truly custom-fit exercises to your body's needs and goals.  ATR Internal Performance is about making your body as "bulletproof" as possible for life. Every piece of equipment in my studio is another tool in my vast toolbox, that I am experienced in using and can determine when appropriate for each client based on specific abilities, needs, and preferences. 

The ideal client for ATR?  Someone that is seeking something "more" than what is traditionally offered in fitness and is truly invested in the lengthy process of improving and transforming the body.  This person may find that traditional "one size fits all" programs doesn't work well for them or appeal to them. For my own workouts and those of my clients,  I am always looking to maximize the benefits and keep the costs as low to the body as I can.  I want the most effective and efficient methods that will ensure any efforts are not wasted.  ATR is a great fit for the discerning athlete, who is seeking the most effective methods to prevent or overcome injury and ensure longevity in their sport.  It is an equally great fit for non-athletes, who desire to remain active throughout life doing the things they love doing. Aging is unavoidable, but aches and pains don't necessarily have to be a "normal" part of it. Mechanical arthritis is not an age problem; it is an over wear and tear problem that can be avoidable. My goal of ATR Internal Performance is giving everyone of my clients the most personalized and professional training experience possible. I hope to educate and empower you, while we are tackling the challenges of your goals. Your body and health are the best long-term investments you will ever make in you life, and exercise should promote your health not break it down.  

Exercise that matters and has purpose will help you feel younger and stronger for life!


What people are saying...

"I was overweight and in terrible shape after trying 5 large cases back to back over an 18-month period and started training with Heather in order to lose weight and gain some strength and endurance.  I have worked out with her pretty consistently for the last 14 years. The discipline of her work-out routine helped me lose the extra weight and I as well as build the strength and endurance that allowed me to enjoy life and continue a rigorous professional life as a trial lawyer into my 60s. Heather has a great understanding what exercises were best suited for my body and would achieve the best results"

-Irv Terrell


FAQs about MAT®

What are possible signs of muscle inhibition?

  • Movements that are painful

  • Irritating or injuring the tissue easily

  • Feeling weak or imbalanced 

  • Irregular tightness

  • One side of your body moves differently than the other

  • Hard time "feeling" the exercise

  • Decreased performance


What are some of the benefits of MAT®?

  • Increases or maintains the body's tolerance to specific forces

  • Increases or maintains the body's ability to generate specific forces

  • Stop, reverse, or slow down degenerative orthopedic/musculoskeletal and neuromuscular processes

  • Creates an environment for healing in the body

  • Can assist athletes' recovery time from competitive stress quickly and help prevent future injuries

  • Prepares the body to be more efficient in training and athletic performance

  • Brings internal stability to the body and restores mobility

  • Promotes efficient neuro-muscular contraction

  • Find potential problems before they become problems

What should I expect during a MAT® session?

MAT® sessions are typically done on a massage table, starting with active joint evaluations (Comparative Assessment of Mobility) and then followed by very specific muscle tests and sometimes isometrics.  Sessions are usually 55 to 60 minutes in length, but the first session is typically 75-90 minutes in order to get a detailed assessment. This assessment allows me to understand your body's unique history, so that I can make better informed decisions about how we are going to create a plan for you.  Your history is the big factor in how we are going to move forward. Results will vary depending on the complexity of one's compensations and duration and severity of stresses on the body. The goal is to continue improving body mechanics and overall function of the body.  

What Causes Muscle Inhibitions?

In a very simplified explanation, muscles get the signals to contract (or shorten in length) from the central nervous system (the brain) in order to generate force and move the joints. Muscles can lose their ability to "hear" what the brain is telling them to do when the communication system becomes impaired as an adaptation to stress.  Inflammation from stress, trauma, or overuse weakens tissues and weakens muscles. Inflammation makes it impossible for muscles to produce maximal contraction. Some of the signs of impairment might be: tightness, stiffness, weakness, decreased range of motion, painful movements, balance challenges, sub par sports performance. The muscles are the "display units of the body." The goal of MAT® is to raise the tolerance levels of muscles in dealing with forces and stress.

​Is MAT® really a form of exercise?


Yes it is.  MAT® is a precise and focused exercise process that can be used as an adjunct to any number of other exercise processes. MAT® can help an individual prepare for exercise, help someone sustain an exercise program and support rehabilitation for certain conditions when deemed appropriate by medical providers.


Can MAT help my pain? 

MAT® does not directly address pain, as it is not a pain modality.  You should address your pain problems with a licensed professional.  This is not physical therapy, massage, or chiropractic work.  Consider MAT® a strength modality that is working to improve your weak links. Sometimes after weak tissues get stronger, it can alleviate pain symptoms.  So it might indirectly affect pain, but is definitely not a quick fix. 

As an athlete, how can MAT® help if I don't have any pain?

Short-term imbalances can go undetected causing decreased performance. With MAT, we can test specific muscles before and after training to gather info about the intensity, frequency and duration of workouts.

How long will this take?

MAT® is a process, just like most everything else in life we do.  It depends on the status of your system and how much you are willing to commit to the process.  You can't take away years of continued abuse to your body in a couple of sessions.  The more severe the  abuse on your body, the longer it might take. As you go through the process, you will start to learn how to pay more attention to your body and its signals that something is wrong and you will start to know how hard you can push your body and when to back off.   You don't have to do MAT®, but if you want to function optimally,  it is a great tool to incorporate into  your regular fitness regime to optimize your results. You can take it as far as you want to go.  

How often should I do MAT®?

That is something that we usually discuss in the first session based on  findings during the assessment.  Most clients will come either once or twice a week  for several weeks  in the beginning, depending on the degree of  issues.  Then, most people move to a "maintenance" schedule that is less frequent, possibly once a month or once every 6 or 8 weeks. The answer really depends on what your issues are, the severity, how you treat your body on an on-going basis, and how well you want to function going forward.  Some clients come regularly to use MAT® as a patrolling tool to uncover potential problems before they become an issue or to keep sports performance levels higher.  It depends on if you want to patrol for fires or fight the fires.  You can't guarantee your body is improving unless you check it. 


Who is MAT® for? 

MAT® is for anyone really. Someone who has tried exercising but every time they do, they get injured or have pain symptoms. Someone who wants to exercise but does not know where to start, and would rather have professional guidance based off where their specific body is starting from. Athletes wanting to keep their body strong and "tuned up" to optimize performance.  Someone  who has been in chronic pain and has tried every possible modality (which is recommended first) with no progress or relief.  Someone who wants to make sure their workouts are not hindering them and want to ensure they are addressing their weak links.  MAT® allows you to know if your body is handling exercise correctly or is it potentially going to cause problems.  Your body is the one with the answers and will tell us when it is ready to move forward. 


Get in Touch !

hello@atr-fit.com  /  Phone: 615-543-5370