After quite a few years in the fitness world, you start to see that concepts, ideas and methodologies work on a bit of a cycle. Things pop up, become the ‘only’ way to train, then fade away and get surpassed by the latest and greatest. Currently, Functional Fitness is in vogue. It’s not its first rodeo, in the late 90s and early 00s, it was the way to train.
The initial concept of Functional Training is a solid approach to anyone’s training. Base your training on what you are going to be do doing in everyday life. Train for a task, build the functionality to complete the task. It’s a simple concept that’s easy to buy into, hence it’s popularity way back when and now.
Unfortunately, how you go about achieving this is where Functional Fitness has suffered. I remember when trainers had their members balancing on Swiss balls performing barbell squats with a multitude of bands attached to each limb, all in the name of Function! I forget what the rationale of this training was, probably to stand out from competitors, but let’s just say it got a little silly, went far away from the original concept, and, as it didn’t actually work, went out of fashion.
The rise of CrossFit has brought a new focus on Functional Training. Using tried and tested strength, weightlifting, gymnastics and metabolic conditioning methodology to bring real results. The popularity has meant that there are now lots of gyms doing Functional Fitness. That’s amazing as long as the methodology is sound and the proponents understand why and what they are doing. If they don’t, and I’ve already seen some signs of this, then we risk going down the silly route again in the name of ‘Function’.
Largely through the work of CrossFit and it’s splinter experts, the aim of Functional Training has been expanded. For general fitness, it is to be prepared for anything life can throw at you and to be able to complete tasks more quickly and efficiently. To be better at life. An extension of this is competitive exercise, Functional Fitness as a sport, which has allowed more people to explore the limits of their physical capacity.
At this gym, we try not to get caught up on the name, but we do try to achieve the same goal. We do this by taking care of our foundations through nutrition, movement, rest/recovery and mental wellbeing.
When we have strong foundations we can express ourselves more fully. We can pull, push, squat, bend, run, swim, bike, jump, climb, carry etc. as and when we need to. We can carry all our shopping in one trip, climb a mountain, load and unload our luggage ourselves, climb into our attic without a ladder, run the dog, throw the kids about and lots and lots of other stuff. What’s more, we can do it all with a smile on our face. We develop strong and enduring bodies and a mental attitude to match. We do and we are doers.