a functional approach to fitness

With the start of a new year, I’m taking a “new” approach to how I workout in the gym.

Having more than a dozen years of gym experience under my belt, I’m ready to revamp my approach with functional fitness. It’s time to move away from strict routines of benches, barbells and freeweights and starting to fold in some dynamic, creative and useful exercises that will keep my body going strong for decades to come.

What’s functional fitness? It’s a simpler and holistic approach focusing on the basics and many activities we used to do on the playground and in elementary school. It’s about building strength, endurance, speed, flexibility and agility, but also making sure your body is in the best shape it can be to take on everyday life. Functional fitness utilizes a number of muscles, working together for strength and coordination.

Why functional fitness?

Functional fitness readies your body for anything. Face it, most Americans are not physically prepared for anything.

Free weights definately help your body build strength, endurance and muscle. It’s great if you have an awesome bench press and a chisled chest, but just how often will you need to lift 250 pounds up off of your chest – in a straight line?

Machines force your body to move in a fixed path. This is great if you are a beginner at the gym or going through rehab, but not if you are truly trying to build up your body. Life doesn’t move you along in a fixed path. You aren’t walking on a treadmill all day long, or squating on an assisted rack.

Functional fitness combines free weights and your own body weight to build a better you. It breaks from the mentality that many gym rats have and offers a fresh approach to getting in shape.

Still think functional fitness won’t get you the body you want? It’s the basis of how the U.S. Marines train, as well as a number of Hollywood’s best bodies including Kellan Lutz.

Benefits of functional fitness:

  • Saves money (you don’t need a lot of equipment, or a high end gym membership)
  • Can be done and incorporated into your gym routine, your living room, your hotel room…anywhere
  • Creative and constantly fresh exercises
  • Improved balance and coordination
  • Breaks your workout plateaus
  • Burns fat and builds muscle
Examples of functional fitness exercises (the list and variations are endless!):
  • Pushups (endless varieties)
  • Stability ball wall squat
  • Walking lunges
  • Lunges with bicep curls
  • Body weight squats (many variations and varieties
  • Sit ups
  • Pull ups and chin ups

 

I will continue to share more about functional fitness and workout routines in future posts. Stay tuned!

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