WHAT IS FUNCTIONAL FITNESS?

Functional fitness is a classification of training that prepares the body for real-life movements and activities.

The Mayo Clinic describes it as “It trains your muscles to work together and prepares them for daily tasks by simulating common movements you might do at home, at work, or in sports”.

Functional fitness movements, are real life activities such as squatting, reaching, pulling, and lifting.  Functional fitness is focused on building a body capable of doing real-life activities in real-life positions, such as lifting a suitcase into the back of your car or picking up heavy shopping or a child without injuring yourself. It is about building strength into your body to protect it during daily activities unlike the stylised way lifting weights in the controlled environment of a gym.

If you want to protect yourself against injury, then it may be time to incorporate functional fitness training

 

COMPONENTS OF FUNCTIONAL FITNESS

Movements such as bending, hinging, lifting, pushing, pulling, twisting, turning, standing, walking, jogging, running, sprinting, jumping, starting, stopping, climbing, and lunging are all made easier while training to improve functional strength.

Functional fitness training includes strength, balance, coordination, power, range of motion, and mobility. All of these components form part of functional training so you can move more freely and easily without the risk of injury.

 

WHO CAN BENEFIT FROM FUNCTIONAL FITNESS?

Anyone can benefit from incorporating functional fitness training into their exercise routine, either as the primary exercise or as a cross-training for a specific sport or activity.

We would always recommend beginners start with bodyweight exercises before adding additional resistance.

During our Group sessions or individual PT sessions, the exercises used are personalised to you and your ability and needs.  Each exercise can be regressed to strengthen your particular weakness or progressed as you become fitter and adjust to the movements.

As functional fitness is about moving easily and well it can benefit anyone and everyone!

 

HISTORY OF FUNCTIONAL FITNESS

Functional fitness can be traced back to our ancestors who needed to move well for their very survival ie hunting and gathering.  It may have become a popular term more recently, but it is really just training your body the way it used to be!

WHy FUNCTIONAL FITNESS?

As functional fitness supports everyday life, it includes movements such as walking, pushing, pulling, bending, squatting, lunging, and core. These exercises improve functional strength.

The human body is designed to have all its muscles work together and support each other to accomplish certain movements and tasks.

Functional fitness has been used for rehabilitation and therapy to correct and retrain individuals with movement disorders whether through accident, injury, surgery or just an inability to move well.  Exercises used mimic the individuals’ normal daily activities to ensure freedom of movement.

THE RISE OF FUNCTIONAL FITNESS

Along with some other Personal Trainers, I have chosen to move away from the standard gym environment in favour of focusing on more functional training.  I also prefer to train outdoors whenever possible as this provides the additional benefits of exercising in fresh air.

We use a variety of equipment from resistance bands, kettlebells, medicine balls, battle ropes and exercises to improve balance and coordination.

We also aim to put the FUN into functional fitness by playing games and team challenges, so it doesn’t feel like you are training hard!

 

FUNCTIONAL FITNESS BENEFITS

Functional fitness can benefit your health, everyday life, and athletic performance:

  • Increased muscle strength and endurance
  • Muscle and body stability
  • Easier movement
  • Reduced stress
  • Building muscle memory and exercising brain memory
  • Building core strength
  • Increased mobility
  • Improved balance and coordination
  • Improves balance and posture
  • Encourages muscle and ligament strength
  • Reduced risk of injury

It forces you to utilise your entire body to maximize your physical potential.

Our group Functional Fitness sessions are held on Monday, Wednesday and Fridays 6-7pm outside in our own private training field. Alternatively Personal Training solo or small group is also available.  Please give me a ring to discuss what would work best for you.

Paul 0780 0780 039

Recently, someone asked me why I thought I was qualified in training people with mental health issues? Well, here’s the thing.  Besides the fact that I am seven months into a year-long Mental Health Exercise coaching course, I live with the big black hairy dog every single day of my life. I think that alone qualifies me in dealing with issues, especially as I have survived over 40 plus years of it.

Recently, my mental health has taken a dive and apart from using exercise and routine to manage my health, I have taken up drawing since the New Year. This drawing I did of Carnage represents how I feel about my inner gremlin or black dog, call it whatever you will!

A lot of the time I suffer in silence as I don’t like to burden others with my stuff and to be honest, I don’t have many people in my life that understand this BS. That is one of the reasons I jumped at the chance of doing the course I am on, the need to be there for others that need a safe place to train and talk, to provide some sort of empowerment.

Back to the point though, shit happens.  Recently my life had felt quite calm, and the dog left me (it’s such a relief when its gone) and I have felt like I have so much to look forward to, especially with a grandchild on the way (me a granddad – I was sure I was going to be dead by the time I was 23)!

Last week though the first signs of it coming back hit me.  I went through all my usual routines to manage my mind and my mood lifted.  It helped that I went to see Russell Brand in the week and being with other like-minded people and having a good laugh lifted me right back up there.

Then this week happened.  I was tired and run down.  Clients were messing me around dropping out of sessions, so my routine went by the wayside. During my own training session, I suddenly had the feeling of wanting to just curl up and die, to end it all.  I felt sick and tired of dealing with the dog and being in the pit of despair. I have no idea why it hit me then, but I put pen to paper and wrote down whatever came out of my head (which one of the many voices was it speaking today, what a nutter), put it down and went back to training.

After finishing what I was doing, I wrote again and this time I flipped it over and spat out positive self-affirmations. It didn’t go away but I felt better for it. I carried on with my day until my evening clients arrived for group PT, I put the mask on and did what I do best and acted as if.  Phew I got away with it again.  No one knew I was in pain. When I finished I was exhausted. Next day was a 5am and I felt like a different person; happy, confident and on top of it.

I have no idea why I am writing this other than to say we all suffer; even successful business people and athletes go through negative thoughts and depression and there is no magic cure (I wish there was). For me exercise, meditation, writing and gratitude have helped. I was always a functioning alcoholic and the same with regards my depression. I still show up and put the work in be that working for my clients, my family, or my own self-care. I have my non negotiables that I refuse to move for anyone, they keep me sane (I use this term lightly of course).

I am a million miles from ever being cured from this BS, but I manage it to the best of my ability. Some things work for me others do not, but I keep trying to improve myself and learn each day. The feeling of loneliness never goes away even when I am with the people I love and that hurts but I know they are there.

Don’t be alone, find someone to talk to find a routine to help you manage. If nothing else get out of your bed, make it, and take it from there, small things lead to greater things.

Love and peace

May is Mental Health Awareness Month. During this time millions of people, from around the world, will be fighting the stigma against mental illness, educating the public, and sharing their stories.

Yes, I am one of those people.

With so many people suffering, it is important to recognise and understand mental health and the impact it has on you and those around you.

We can’t predict the future, so how can we best prepare ourselves to face challenges as they come our way? There are so many ways to build mental strength, here are just some ideas that work for me:

EXERCISE – Exercising regularly can be one of the most amazing mental strength builders. Whether you prefer group exercise or exercising alone, it is the habit of turning up consistently and regularly and doing something physical which in turn releases our positive hormones.

READING – spending quality time reading, reflecting, and simply escaping the busyness of the day is a proven way to quieten your brain.

REFLECTION, MEDITATION, MINDFULNESS – whatever works for you, but the act of pausing is an amazing doubt reliever and leaves you feeling spiritually nourished.

NUTRITION – getting healthy nutrients into your body to fuel your energy level is one of the most important things you can do to stay strong.  Try to avoid going too long without eating as this can negatively affect your mood.

FAMILY & FRIENDS – spending time with people you love allows you to reset your priorities and see things more clearly. Yes, I know some days you cannot see the wood for the trees and no matter who you are with you feel so alone.

GRATITUDE – practicing gratitude and staying positive in the moment is a de-stressor and fills our head with good thoughts. I do my gratitude every evening and sometimes I am just grateful to be alive.

SLEEP – we all need our rest, and sometimes in the most challenging of times, we get less because we are worrying about everything and nothing which has a negative effect on the one essential thing we need to function well each day. Aim for 6-8 hours of quality sleep and try to develop a positive sleep hygiene routine.

Today, we have the challenge of letting doubt and fear seep into our daily lives. All around us, we are under attack – our jobs, our kids, our family, our friends, and society at large. We are surrounded by noise of one kind or another. We hear more about the bad that can happen or is happening than the good.  The exercises above are just some ways that we can work daily to overcome the fear and negativity that is being thrown our way.

This month, I challenge you to a few things:

  • Reflect on what you do daily to overcome fear, uncertainty, and doubt.
  • Share those exercises with someone in your life, it might help them.
  • Go into situations with an open mind. You never know what might be happening in someone’s life so be understanding. It’s a fact that those of us suffering will always say we are fine. Think before you speak.
  • Take the time to learn something new about mental health and how it is impacting your community.

My arthritis and me …

I was diagnosed with arthritis just after my 30th birthday.

I had been involved in a couple of minor car crashes in my early 20’s which had resulted in whiplash and had suffered subsequent episodes of lower back pain and torticollis (a very stiff neck, where it gets stuck in one position)!

At the time, the recommendation was bed rest – usually two weeks bed rest accompanied by strong painkillers.  At the end of the two weeks, I was still in a lot of pain, felt depressed, had lost two weeks of pay and had no further understanding of how to prevent this occurring again.

Over the following years, I have flare ups of lower back or neck pain, again resulting in more time off work and having to rely on family and friends to help with daily chores and childcare. Then it was confirmed that I had Osteoarthritis just after my 30th birthday.

I was so worried about further flare-ups that I avoided activities which I thought might make it worse including exercise and I even changed career as I couldn’t manage some of the physical demands.

Lower back pain was my daily norm and frequent periods of my neck muscles spasming requiring strong painkillers and anti-spasmodic medication.  Again, my GP kept suggesting daily painkillers and sleeping tablets to manage the condition.

I realised that I had to take more responsibility for myself and find things that worked for me.  So, I tried a variety of different complementary therapies.  Some worked better than others but the trick seems to be regular monthly maintenance treatments to keep flare-ups at bay.

I lost some excess weight I had been carrying to take the pressure off my joints and try to limit foods which can cause inflammation.

However, the biggest change I made was to start exercising regularly!

Research was starting to suggest that weight-bearing exercise was beneficial and maintaining full range of motion of movements.

So, I tried various exercises and gyms but still didn’t stick with anything consistently.  Until I found ‘bootcamp’.

Despite being really unfit and inflexible to begin with, I persevered.  I would watch the clock intently and will it to get to the finish time, but I kept turning up.  Why?  What was so different that I kept coming back regularly?  The answer was I was having fun despite myself!

It was obvious there was people of all ages and abilities, but they all encouraged each other, and we had a laugh every session.  Everyone had exercises they found easier or harder.  Every session, I didn’t know what to expect because such a variety of exercises were used.  This meant, I couldn’t get anxious about it beforehand and just turned up.  With my various physical issues, I was given different options for each of the exercises so on a good day I could push myself but if the arthritis was flaring up, I could opt for a more manageable option.

Attending the sessions regularly, gave me the confidence to try other things.  I started a 0-5km running course, then moved onto entering 5km and 10km races.  Even entering a couple of Half-marathons and one Full Marathon.  I have also taken part in obstacle courses and proudly showed off my bruises to anyone and everyone the following day!  To me, this is my equivalent of a gold medal!

I still don’t look athletic or super-fit but my day-to-day life has improved dramatically.  Due to the increased core strength, I do not experience the debilitating back pain I used to.  The bodyweight exercises have helped me build up strength in my leg muscles which in turn mean I don’t have the knee problems I used to.

As I have a desk-bound job, attending the FUNctional Fitness sessions means I get to exercise outdoors whilst having a laugh with other like-minded people.

As I am getting older it is really important to me that I can keep taking part in all the activities I enjoy now and all the adventures we haven’t yet had including more world-wide travel and playing with our grand-children.

 

 

  1. Arthritis is painful.
  2. It may affect your spine, neck, hips, knees, hands and feet and even adversely affect your internal organs.
  3. It is a complex condition, with over 100 forms, which affects people differently.
  4. There is no cure but there are things you can do to manage the condition.
  5. There are a number of factors which can affect the condition eg the weather, your job, being over-weight or your daily routine to name but a few.
  6. Relief can be found using either hot or cold compresses or a combination of both.
  7. Although arthritis commonly occurs in the over 40’s, it can affect people of all ages including children.
  8. Arthritis accounts for one in three of all GP visits and every year millions of working hours are lost resulting in forced retirements.
  9. Injuries can aggravate the condition so ensure you have an appropriate exercise programme, for YOU, to reduce the risk of aggravating the condition.
  10. Movement can help … studies show staying physically active is THE most important thing YOU can do to help your arthritis.

 

According to NHS.UK, Osteoarthritis is the most common type of arthritis in the UK, affecting over nine million people.

It often develops in people in their mid-40s, most commonly in women and where there is a family history of the condition. However, it can occur in any age group and be associated with other joint conditions such as Rheumatoid Arthritis or Gout.

Osteoarthritis affects the smooth, cartilage lining of the joint, making movement more difficult and leading to pain and stiffness. As the cartilage lining degenerates, the tendons and ligaments have to work harder. This can cause swelling and create bony spurs called osteophytes.

Severe loss of cartilage can lead to bone rubbing on bone which may alter the shape of the bones.

The most commonly affected joints are the spine, hips, hands and knees.

The weekly recommendation for aerobic exercise is 150 minutes of moderate-intensity or 75 minutes of vigorous-intensity or an equivalent combination. Ideally this should consist of 30 minutes exercise daily, which increases your heart rate, preferably with at least three 25-minute sessions at a higher intensity rate.

“Exercise is good. But exercise intelligently,” says Bashir Zikria, MD, an assistant professor of sports medicine at Johns Hopkins University Medical Center in Baltimore. “Low-impact exercises, are smart choices … if you do high-impact activities, avoid hard surfaces and don’t do it every day.”

Multiple studies show that mild to moderate exercise is beneficial for people with arthritis. However, everyone’s circumstances are different, so it is vital to so an individually designed exercise programme, following a thorough assessment is vital.

For arthritis sufferers it is also important to get the right balance of activities which help maintain flexibility without aggravating the condition .  An area which is often overlooked, is range-of-motion exercises.

Range of motion refers to the ability to move your joints through the full motion they were designed to achieve. These exercises include gentle stretching and movements that take joints through their full span. Doing these exercises regularly can help maintain and improve the flexibility in the joints.

For anyone over 50, regular exercise, combined with a daily regime of range of motion exercises is vital to maintain body functioning to allow you to live life to the full.

Ring Paul on 0780 0780 039 to discuss an individual exercise plan for your needs.

So, I was really stoked to receive this little beauty today. A big shout out to Ben at   https://www.pullupmate.co.uk   for getting this to me.

As a PT/Movement Coach this is an excellent piece of equipment. Not just a portable pull up bar/frame but a versatile training aid that literally takes a matter of minutes to unpack and assemble, all you need is a bit of space and a flat surface. My clients will hate me having this.

I love training in our natural environment but sometimes it can be difficult to find something safe for clients to work from. At this moment in time this is even more of an issue with people being more concerned about what they touch. For me this is the perfect solution I can take it to the training area, set it up, get the workout done, easily clean it down pack it away and move on.

The https://www.pullupmate.co.uk has just opened the door for me to be able to push my clients outside their comfort zone once again. Am so looking forward to starting group training sessions again, we have just gained another station or six.

My only negative comment would be it is a little wobbly when you first start out with it but brace your core and trust it will hold you and all is good.

The https://www.pullupmate.co.uk is a great bit of kit to have for personal exercising too, can easily be set up in your house or garage if you are not a fan of outdoor training or its chucking it down outside. Equally you can throw it up in a small back garden to get a great bodyweight workout.

People often ask me what one bit of kit I would want if stuck on an island. My answer has always been a Kettlebell, think that has just changed.

I will only ever promote something if I think it is going to do some good and this is definitely a handy bit of gear.

Lockdown has been tough on everyone!

To try and stay connected and sane whilst group sessions were banned, we hosted an online group for club members with a daily workout or healthy recipe to try.  We also held a daily challenge to see who could complete the challenge going all month.

At the start of the lockdown all our club members were encouraged to see themselves goals so motivation wasn’t completely lost. Lindsey set herself some goals including “coming out of lockdown without gaining weight or losing any fitness”.

She made the workout the focus of her day whilst on lockdown and posted her results daily into the private members group. 

Lindsey absolutely smashed the daily workouts, embraced the health eating recipes and annihilated the month-long challenge!  

To celebrate her success Paul presented her with a voucher from ‘Nude in Bude’ to treat herself to one of their amazing, all natural products.

I like to challenge myself, find new ways to push myself out of my comfort zone, anyone can do comfortable.

Truth be told I hate running; always have done. That aside I have taken part in numerous obstacle races from 10k to 20 miles with up to 200 obstacles. Have run up and down Snowdon twice, which is 23 miles if I remember correctly and swum through freezing cold water at the bottom to add insult to injury.

Why do something you hate?

It’s all about the challenge, the fun in taking part and the friendships you make along the way.

The last four years I have taken part in Superhuman Games a mix of strength and endurance which pushes you way outside of your safe zone. At the end of the first one if you had asked me to do it again the answer would have been a flat NO … but one day later I was waiting for the tickets to go on sale and am addicted to it!

This year was different for me. Usually I do the same sex pairs but this year due to circumstances I did the individual events (first time they have been held). So many things were different which once again put me into the unknown;

  • The event was held in a different place
  • I took part as a Individual
  • My wife and daughter turned up (no pressure then)
  • Three members from my bootcamp suddenly appeared having driven two and a half hours to Bristol from Cornwall (still no pressure then?)
  • It was 24 degrees C with no escape from the sun
  • Still recovering from a shoulder injury
  • Went vegan in January so apparently would be weak and feeble with the lack of protein in my diet, after all I only eat lettuce and grass apparently.

So the variables all changed, did I survive, did I finish and achieve what I set out to do? Damn right I did.

 

It’s about the challenge, the challenge to see if I can overcome whatever is thrown my way. If my body can beat my brain when that oh so negative voice kicks in and says what are you playing at? You’re too old, too weak, not good enough.

Fuck you and your BS, I can and I will. Don’t want to be on the podium just want to know I can and have fun along the way.

Roll on next summer’s games and hopefully if I can pull a team together this winter too.

Bring it on, if I can so can you.

Remember I am here for you, if you want to do an event I will get you there as long as you are not scared of hard work.