Why do you work out? Be honest with yourself: what is your true motivation for getting to the gym (or going on a run, getting to that yoga class, etc.)? We’re constantly inundated with “fitspo,” and if you’re anything like me, you’ve gone to the gym in the hopes of attaining a certain aesthetic goal more than once. I’m not saying there’s something wrong with training for aesthetics— there’s not. But I’ve heard from far too many people that that is their primary reason for working out, and I want to draw attention to what is, in my opinion, the very best fitness motivation.
Fitness makes your everyday life easier.
Ask yourself: what can you do in the gym, studio, running track, etc. to make your life outside of working out that much better? Let’s talk about a few of the activities a consistent exercise routine can help you with:
- Picking up heavy things
- Running for the bus (hello, HIIT!)
- Playing with kids and pets
- Picking up kids and pets
- Falling asleep
- Temperature control (this one is too real for me—I was always the girl who was cold all the time before I regularly committed to resistance training!)
- Pulling open doors
- Standing up and sitting down
- Falling asleep
- Focusing on your work
- Sitting up straight
- Dancing 😛
- Carrying your groceries
- The list goes on!
In the exercise science world, we call these activities ADL, or Activities of Daily Life. A well-planned training program can help you with all of these, and we call that functional training.
Functional training is a style of training that has become quite popular in recent years. You may have seen equipment such as BOSU balls, kettlebells, medicine balls, and TRX straps at your local gym. These pieces of equipment are commonly thought to represent functional training, but functional training really stretches beyond just the type of equipment used—it’s a style of training that mimics patterns of movement you use in your daily life.
Functional training is amazing because it actually will improve your day-to-day life. The next time you’re running for the train, lifting up a package, or chasing your little cousin around, you’ll be glad you workout. That’s what it’s all about!
So how can you get involved in functional training? A lot of gyms have functional training bootcamp classes that may be a great place to start. Working with a trainer 1:1 is always a good way to make sure you get exercise that is completely tailored to you and your lifestyle. There is plenty you can do without professional help as well —many basic exercise movements also happen to be extremely functional! Here are a few suggestions to get you started:
- Squat and press
- This core circuit
- This balance circuit
- Some form of cardiorespiratory training—whatever you enjoy!
I’ve found the functional training mindset to be liberating compared to more traditional types of fitness messaging. This style of training is both sustainable and empowering. Functional training guarantees that you truly will chase health with your fitness routine, and hopefully have a little bit of fun in the process.
During your next workout, ask yourself: what can I do in these 30-60 minutes to enhance the other 23 hours of my day?
Are you a fan of functional training?
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