Functional Fitness

Throughout my fitness journey, I’ve learned everyone has a different definition fitness and goals.  I call this functional fitness.  Everyone has their own functional fitness goals and ideals, but what exactly is functional fitness?

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functionalfitnessFunctional Fitness, as defined by Google, is the focus of building the body to be capable of doing real-life activities.

That’s pretty broad right?  One person’s real life activity might be walking up 2 flights of stairs to get to his office.  Whereas another person’s real life activity might be rock climbing every day to check birds’ nests.

Furthermore, functional fitness is really just another gym buzzword, however, it does provide real life goals to people.

Some people enjoy going to the gym, picking up, and putting down heavy weights.  I happen to be one of these people.  Weightlifting has literally changed my life (I’ll talk more on that in a different post).  But weightlifting isn’t for everyone-no where near everyone.  Some people struggle to walk around the block and their goal is simply be to be able to walk for 5 minutes without getting winded.  Does this make their goal any less important than the guy who wants to bench press 400 pounds?  Absolutely not.  And that is the beauty of Functional Fitness.

I read this really great article about the fitness industry and how fitness people (professional and non professional) aren’t doing IT correctly.  They’re not motivating people or helping people and they’re over stepping their bounds.  Before I summarize the article, I want to share a personal anecdote that happened to me just this past week:

I needed a spotter for bench press day.  Jacob was so sore from his workout the day before that he didn’t get up and go to the gym with me.  I asked one of the front desk people at the gym for a spot.  This trainer is the head of the trainers at my gym and is highly qualified.  “Cool,” I thought “she’ll be a really good spot and, in addition, if I’m doing something wrong, she’ll offer friendly advice.”  She did offer me one technique advice.

Then she overstepped her bounds to tell me that my training program isn’t working and if she were my trainer, she’d have me doing 3 days a week, doing this and that, eating way differently (she told me my eating isn’t conducive to my goals), and that I should come see her for a personal assessment and to get on the right track.  She should know, she used to compete as a body builder.

I was so upset the rest of my workout.  I kept second guessing myself.  Maybe I should do what she suggests.  The scale hasn’t moved and isn’t my whole goal to lose weight and get stronger?

I remembered my several friends who are personal trainers.  Some have nutrition training while others do not.  The one piece of advice they keep telling me over and over is that most trainers over step their bounds significantly.  As a result, most trainers are not even qualified to give nutritional advice.  Which brings me to today: I stumbled on that article talking about health people wrongly promoting health and fitness and overstepping bounds.  He ends talking about Functional Fitness and how it can apply to EVERYONE.

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What is Functional Fitness to you?  Functional Fitness can be such a broad and varying subject.

Do you want to be able to walk up stairs without getting winded?  Have blood pressure issues and want to improve your cardiovascular health?  Or do you just want to be able to walk 5 minutes without being tired?  Functional Fitness achieves your goals.  You pick your activity, it doesn’t have to be at a gym, it can be anything from walking, hiking, biking, swimming, etc., and you choose a frequency (say 4 days a week you’ll do your activity) and you do your activity at 80% maximum effort.  So if walking at a fast pace for 20 minutes is your maximum, walk slightly under your fastest pace for 20 minutes.

Firstly, there is no limit to functional fitness, there is no demand for you to go to a gym or work with a trainer, it’s all about you and your personal goals.  Secondly, there is no end time limit and you just constantly improve yourself.  You can now walk that 5 minutes easily? Go for 10 minutes next7099265a99715f2603602aa06543c466Set small, attainable goals like I talked about here.  Set quantifiable goals.  “This week, I will walk 15 minutes every day around my neighborhood.  Next week, I will walk 20 minutes.”  Only you can control your fitness and only you get to quantify what functional fitness means to you.  You can do it and you’ve got me here in your corner cheering you on!

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