What is functional training?

What is functional fitness?

Functional fitness is natural, safe, essential to live and function, core to extremity, and multi-joint movements.  The most important aspect of functional movements is the ability to move large loads over long distances quickly.

900x380Natural movements that are essential to everyday living and function  are squatting, dead lifting, shoulder pressing, and carrying large loads from point A to point B.  If you are in a “functional fitness class” that isn’t using these movements, then that class probably isn’t very functional.

Have you ever head a doctor tell you or someone you know to discontinue squatting or dead lifting?  People come into their clinic injured from these movements so logically these must be bad for people.  Right?

A question for the doctors that prescribes no squatting or dead lifting is how do you get on and off a chair?  If you drop something on the ground, how do you pick it up? By squatting or dead lifting.

If individuals have been injured from squatting or dead lifting, it’s because they haven’t been taught how to do the movements correctly, lifted more than they should, or did not maintain mid-line stability, which generally transfers into hurting the back.

Core is everything!  All functional movements begin from the core (mid-line stability).  The core acts like the bridge connecting different body parts to each other.  If you don’t have a tight core, you will probably hurt your back.  I don’t mean doing a hundred crunches to make your core tight.  I mean learning to consciously activate your core during multi-joint movements (ex. Squat to overhead press, dead lifting, carrying large loads)

What things should you watch for that AREN’T functional fitness?

  • A class that again doesn’t teach squats, dead lifting, shoulder pressing, cleans, multi-joint exercises, and fails to demonstrate how to perform these movements without the knowledge of mid-line stability.
  • Be careful which equipment trainers use.  Just because a class uses bosu balls doesn’t mean its functional training?  Do you balance on wobbly surfaces in real life?  If you do, probably not during the majority of your day.
  •  Be cautious how trainers combine exercises.  Combining dynamic movements isn’t functional exercise?  Leg step ups plus a bicep curl isn’t functional.  Just because a trainer combines different body weight movements does not mean the exercise is a functional exercise.  Remember the definition is the ability to move large loads over a long distance quickly.  A four inch step up plus a five pound bicep curl isn’t moving a large load very quickly.    Dead lifting 135lbs 20x is moving a large load quickly.

In conclusion, beware that functional fitness is a common buzz word used in the fitness community.  Trainers and gyms use the word loosely trying to sell fitness.   Make sure a class includes squatting, dead lifting, shoulder pressing, squat to overhead presses, and teaches mid-line stability during functional movements.

5 Reason’s People Fail To Lose Weight For Their New Year’s Resolution

Overtraining1Statistically the top New Year’s resolution goal is to lose weight.  In a gym setting you can expect a rush of people for about 3 weeks, and then it’s back to normal.  Why are people failing at their fitness goals?

  1.  Write down realistic goals.  Be realistic how fast you are trying to lose weight.  If you are trying to lose 10 pounds, you need to shave off 500 calories with diet and exercise.  One pound of fat consists of 3500 calories.  Therefore consistent diet and exercise can average 1 pound of weight-loss per week.  Slow and steady weight-loss keeps the weight off.
  2. Enjoy the process – Obtaining a habit of exercise for a lifetime isn’t a sprint, it’s a journey.  Do whatever it takes to make the process fun.  Join a group fitness class, workout with a friend, or hire a coach.
  3. Make a game plan – How many people set a goal without a road map to success?  Lots of people!  Do you know how to make a game plan?  Find someone that does.  Do it right the first time!

People with no game plan generally head to the cardio equipment; I call this long and boring.  Yes, you can lose weight with diet and cardio, but you can ALSO burn your muscle away.  Did you know losing muscle decreases the metabolism?  Research is proving that individuals will eventually start gaining weight after years of only a cardio and diet regiment.

Make sure you do strength training for a balanced exercise routine.

    4.  You know what the goal is, but do you know your why?  Let’s say you keep asking yourself why, and you find out you really don’t care if you lose weight.  By not knowing you didn’t care, wouldn’t it literally be impossible to change bad habits?   So know your why.  (Examples:  Afraid of getting sick.  Heart disease runs in the family.  Want your clothes to fit better again.  Need more energy, and to sleep better.)  Develop a strong why so you can overcome not caring.

5.  Fear of success.   Success can be scary when you realize the goal can take hard work, but remember that’s why you need to figure out how to make it fun.  Change doesn’t come easy; if it did everyone would be doing it.  Best of luck during 2014 at achieving your fitness goals!

Are you a 100% committed?

I like this video for a couple reasons. First I like some of the exercises he did and got some ideas for workouts to give clients as well as myself. Second I’ve talked to a lot of people who seem to be stuck, unmotivated, or on a plateau with either life or workouts. The video is a great reminder that it takes commitment for success. Doesn’t matter if it’s a new business, raising kids, working out, or WHATEVER you desire to do….stay committed.

One thing I don’t agree with in the video is the lack of sleep. You can go with fewer hours for a short time, but consistent lack of sleep can make the body do bad things. The greatest amount of healing occurs during sleep. So make sure you sleep enough!

When I get asked the question, how are others so successful? I always tell them they’re a 100% committed to achieve their goal. That doesn’t mean you have to be perfect, but you need to be committed! Being committed doesn’t mean you’ll mess up, it means when you’re knocked down you’ll get back up to pursue your goals!

Enjoy the video…

Group Training Video

8 Minute Workout – Pump Up Your Arms & Chest

The truth about bosu balls, balance disks, and wobble boards.

Does your group training class, personal trainer, or personal training studio use bosu balls for “balance work?”

These instruments are among the oldest aids used in balance work.  The first time you stand on a bosu ball, you’ll find it hard to stabilize your stance when your leg begins to shake.  However—

After completing exercises on bosu balls, balance disks, etc… You’ll notice that your leg begins to stabilize after time.

This must mean you’re gaining amazing balance, right? No!

In reality, your body has simply learned to stabilize on an uneven surface.  While it appears you’ve gained amazing balance because of your bosu ball exercises, you’ve actually achieved better balance suited for a surface that you hardly use in daily life.

Have you ever tested to see whether or not you have gained balance on hard surfaces?

Self Test: You might think that your balance has improved after mastering the bosu ball, so try this exercise to test the truth of your belief.

Stand on one foot.  Still balancing easily?  Now, try standing on one foot while looking to the left.  Hold that position.  Move to a neutral position (look straight forward).  Then look right and return to the neutral stance.  Look down and hold that position.  Return to neutral.  Then look up— hold— and return to neutral stance.  While switching positions, try to turn your head as fast as you reasonably can.

Could you achieve all these positions while maintaining balance?  If so, try the same drill with your eyes closed.  🙂

balance disk

In another method designed to test the efficacy of balance balls, disks, and wobble boards, a muscle test is employed.  For this method, test the strength in a joint before and after standing on a bosu ball for ten seconds.  You should see a significant difference in strength.

Why doesn’t overall balance improve when you practice on uneven surfaces?

The S.A.I.D (Specific Adaptation to Imposed Demand) training principle is the most important standard for people in training to consider.  The S.A.I.D training principal explains that a certain exercise or type of training produces adaptations specific to the activity performed and only in the muscles (and energy systems) that are stressed by the activity.

When you train on a bosu ball, you achieve better balance on surfaces like a bosu ball.  But what type of surface do you stand on primarily?  Yes— hard ground and flat surfaces.  If most activities take place on hard, even surfaces, then those surface types should be used in your training.

Some sports like skiing or surfing take place on uneven ground.  Athletes in these kinds of sports may benefit from some use of bosu balls and balance disks, yet it’s important to realize that most activities aren’t performed on a wobbly surface.

In the future, I’ll talk about the vestibular system in order to explain how the nervous system impacts our balance abilities.

Pre-Season Ski Workouts: Balance and Coordination

In the last post we talked about how flexibility can help prevent ski injury and performance.  The next topic we’ll go over is balance and coordination.  Balance and coordination can be helped by simply engaging in a training program.  By engaging in a training program your body’s muscles will learn how to work together more effectively.

Make sure you focus on functional lifts.  Skiing is a functional sport, therefore you need to train with functional movements.  Functional lifts both improve both balance and coordination.

Coordination for skiing can be considered a smooth controlled movement from one position to another in a reasonable amount of time.  Another example of coordination for skiing is the ability of the core to speak more efficiently with your legs.

Now enjoy this video I put together that will both help your coordination and balance for skiing.

Step Ups – 15 Reps Each Leg

Ski jumps or Line jumps – 60 secs

Split Squats – 15 Reps Each Leg

One Foot On The  Bosu Ball – Shoulder Press – 8 Reps Each Leg

8 Minute Workout – Part 4

Rapid Fat Loss: Part 3

Secret 3: Eat Better

For maximum fat loss, you’re going to also have to pay very close attention to what you eat. While you may be accustomed to rewarding yourself for a good week or two of dieting, you can’t do that any more if you want rapid fat loss. Because trimming down fast means trading out anything and everything that doesn’t benefit your body for useful foods filled with vitamins and nutrients that power up your body and don’t slow it down.

Thinking of having canned pasta tonight? Trade it for whole-wheat pasta that you make yourself. Have a love for whole milk? You’re going to have to go skim if you want to get slim. Feel the need to cap off your meals with just a bite of something sweet? Your sweet tooth is going to have to go hungry for a while.

Essentially, you need to eat a diet based on fruits and vegetables. Toss in some egg whites and skinless chicken breasts, fish, and soy products, and you’ll be well on your way to eating a diet worthy of fast fat reduction.

You’ll also want to avoid foods that increase your body’s water retention. By shaving the salt and starch out of your diet, you should be able to experience noticeable weight loss in a matter of days.

8 Minute Workout – Part III