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


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.

We all know that nothing in life is free. There is always a cost and I don’t mean the money.

If you want to reach your goals you have to make sacrifices; you may have to give things up and work your butt off. Yes, I know it is easier for some than others but you cannot and will not get anywhere in life without putting your nose to the grindstone.

Don’t say you want to lose weight, turn up to a few fitness classes and wonder why you aren’t losing anything. Did you change your diet as you were advised too? Have you really been putting all your energy into the session when you turn up? Have you made those little changes we talked about in everyday life?

My guess, is NO?

Why the hell would you? Where is the pleasure in eating fresh fruit and veggies, lean protein and healthy fats? Why walk when you can drive? Why drink water when you can down a sugar filled fizzy drink?

God forbid you give up the fast food crap, booze, fags, the processed crisps, biscuits etc. etc. After all, life is too short – right?

However, think forward – carry on the way you are and you will not have to worry. You are what you eat after all.

Think what it must be like to enjoy those fat congested arteries with the possibility of a stroke or heart attack? Or having Type 2 diabetes and the list goes on. Am I scare mongering? No. Just saying it as it is. Your life, your choice.

You know the saying you can’t out train a poor diet. Listen to it, understand it and make small but positive changes to your diet. Be the person you want to be.

If you want to be fit, then turn up and put the work in. If you are new, injured or finding things difficult because you’re not feeling 100% all good trainers will adapt exercises for you … but turn up, dig deep and give it a go.

Spare a thought for your workout buddies: do they want to hear you constantly moaning?  Or would they rather have a positive ‘can do’ attitude alongside helping them to achieve more too? Try to train positive – it will help you focus and work harder plus it will be a lot nicer for your training partners.

You have to take it outside your comfort zone. So that means start easy, then change it up a gear. It’s all about progression; you can do it, just turn off that negative voice in your head.

How can you be a better version of you without working for it?

Be consistent: train on the days you say you are going to.

Turn up and give it 100% work.

Try and work it up to the next level, push a little bit harder.

Change that diet; no one said you can’t earn a treat meal or slice of cake. Try and pick the least processed version, or make your own, there are plenty of great cook books out there.

Walk to the shops or work when you can. Use the stairs not the lift or escalator.

Get up and move from the sofa or your desk, you can always slip in a sneaky exercise, a few squats or press ups.

Make the effort, stop with the moaning and excuses. Adopt a Positive Mental Attitude.

Be a better version of you.

New season timetable now available if you need an incentive to make a commitment to change! Or give me a ring to discuss your needs.

Why do you do what you do?

What is your driving force, what makes you get out of bed each day?

What makes you turn up to the gym or your fitness session?

For some it is the usual new year let’s get it on and lose those extra pounds put on over the Christmas period. Others see it as a way to meet and socialise and perhaps are not really very interested in the benefits of exercise at all.

Then there are those that want to be a better person than they were before they walked into their session. If you want to get results then you got to get your ass in gear and sweat some; just turning up and going through the motions will give you nothing. Turn up with the right mind-set and the attitude of a winner and you are on the right path to achieving something good for yourself.

Remember though you have to better yourself each and every day. We can all be brilliant for one day but what about holding that thought and pushing it forward every day. Make each day better than yesterday; you can achieve anything you want so long as you are prepared to put in the hard graft.

  • Find a real sense of purpose,
  • Find the drive and enthusiasm to take you to the top of your game
  • Do not fear stepping outside your comfortable safe zone.

You see it so many times, people just going through the motions but achieving nothing.

You want to achieve? You want to win? Then set the target and work for it like your life depends on it.

That new body shape you desire won’t happen on its own – you have to earn it, sweat it out; you have to give up on some of life’s little pleasures. Now I am not saying you have to become a saint but you do need to live your life differently, eat natural wholesome foods, cut the crap from your life and yes your body may ache a little as you begin to tone and shape your torso.

It’s not just food and training that has to change, if you are going to train hard then you need to love your body some more; treat it with respect, stretch it out, roll it and rest it.

Sleep is just as important as training and clean eating, if not more so;

  • The average adult needs 7.5-9 hours’ sleep each night
  • The body goes through a detox process during the night; the brain begins to flush metabolic waste
  • Muscles begin to repair, etc.

For me I know that each day I must perform better than I did yesterday, no two days are the same, each day providing a new challenge, a new problem to get your head around.

Each time I step into my gym I know that session has to be taken to the next level, if it stays the same as yesterday then I have achieved nothing, my body just says oh that’s right we did this already and just goes with the flow. If I whack the weight a little higher or change up the tempo then I shock the body and it has to better itself it has to work it out and adapt to what I throw at it. I come out of that session feeling like I owned it. My goal is to own every session I do. Each session makes me stronger both physically and mentally giving me the edge on everyday life.

Take each task you do with the mind set of being your best and some and you will get the result you want. Just go through the motions then you may as well sit at home and sit that lazy ass on the sofa while you watch banal TV shows whilst feeding yourself the latest TV dinner packed with chemicals, sugar and salt!

  • Set targets, short term, medium, and the big one
  • Earn yourself a treat on the way (a smaller dress or pair of jeans)
  • Push yourself outside your comfort zone, stop playing safe
  • Work your ass off, get sweaty and feel the burn
  • Aim high
  • Believe in yourself
  • Always be better than you were yesterday, except nothing less.

At www.PaulCollinsFitness.co.uk we aim to make you a better version of you, helping you get fitter, stronger and happier.

Sometimes your best just isn’t enough