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