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Elevate Your Fitness Journey with Functional Movement: Essential for Everyday Strength and Vitality

Published on: February 28, 2024

I forget how it goes, but I remember reading a quote once about not training for a specific sport or to look a certain way, but to train for life. It always stuck with me, not because I’m an athlete (I am definitely not lol), but because it makes sense to move your body now in ways that will keep your body moving in the years to come. Functional fitness is something that is rooted in all of us. Our bodies were developed with the intention of having all of our muscles work together and support each other to accomplish certain movements and tasks. It’s all about getting back to basics – focusing on natural movements that mimic what we do in our daily lives. Isolating certain muscle groups to add mass was not what our bodies were naturally made for.

In this blog post, you’ll learn what functional fitness is, what it isn’t, and the benefits of performing functional exercises. 

What is Functional Fitness?

Also known as functional training or functional movement, functional fitness is a classification of training that prepares the body for real-life movements and activities. 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. It includes movements such as walking, pushing, pulling, bending, squatting, lunging, and core. 

Think about your day for a moment. When you get up from a chair, you’re essentially doing a squat. And when you’re lugging those heavy grocery bags, it’s like a deadlift. These are the kinds of movements that functional fitness revolves around – exercises that have a real-world application.

The main focus of functional fitness is on building a body that is capable of doing real-life tasks in real-life positions, not just lifting a certain amount of weight in an idealized posture created by a gym machine. Ever heard of someone who can deadlift 300+ lbs at the gym but throws out their back putting a suitcase in the back of their car? Or someone who can do heavy bicep curls with dumbbells but strains a muscle lifting a child? 

Movements like squatting, reaching, pulling, and lifting will be made easier with functional fitness integrated into your exercise routine. And they include movements for strength, balance/coordination, power, range of motion, and mobility.

Functional movements are always compound exercises (compound or multi-joint). This means that several joints and muscles are always used at the same time. That’s the complete opposite of working out on machines in a fitness studio/gym. There, muscles are often trained separately and usually also while sitting.

I’m finalizing a collection of workout plans that are all about functional movements. Whether you’re a total newbie or a seasoned gym-goer, there’s something for everyone. And trust me, once you start incorporating these movements into your routine, you’ll wonder why you didn’t do it sooner. Get on the waitlist to get first dibs. 

What is NOT Functional Fitness

Functional Fitness is not a miracle or solution to all your problems 😉 It is an effective form of training, but not a miracle pill.

Like any type of exercise, it’s a commitment. A journey requiring dedication and consistency. You reap what you sow. If you approach workouts with half-hearted efforts and expecting miraculous results, you’ll be disappointed. True progress, like anything in life, demands unwavering commitment and perseverance.

Functional fitness is the opposite of your typical gym machines where you’re isolating individual muscles. Don’t get me wrong, there’s a time and place for those workouts too, but there’s something special about engaging multiple muscles and joints at once, don’t you think? 

Functional fitness isn’t just about lifting heavy weights or clocking impressive times. It’s about enhancing your quality of life, fostering resilience, and achieving a balanced, sustainable approach to fitness. Rushing through exercises to beat the clock might seem appealing, but sacrificing technique for speed invites injury. It’s important to prioritize safety and form above all else. Technique matters, and small deviations can lead to significant setbacks if left unchecked.

And hey, here’s the thing – functional fitness isn’t just about building muscles or torching calories. It’s about enhancing your overall quality of life. Feeling stronger, more agile, and ready to tackle whatever life throws your way!

strong sportswoman lifting knees during workout

The Benefits of Why You Should Incorporate Functional Movements into Your Workout Routine

Besides making you more well-rounded as a person, functional fitness has a number of benefits. These include benefits for your health, everyday life, and athletic performance. Let’s take a look at seven of the major benefits of functional fitness:

  1. Practicality in everyday life – Functional movements mimic real-world actions, making daily tasks like lifting, bending, and pushing easier and more efficient.
  2. Engages multiple muscle groups – Unlike isolated exercises, functional movements engage various muscles and joints simultaneously, maximizing effectiveness.
  3. Builds functional strength – By focusing on movements resembling daily activities, functional exercises directly improve performance in everyday tasks.
  4. Enhances stability, balance, and posture – Functional movements require coordination and stabilization, leading to better balance and reduced risk of falls and injuries. Improved posture and weight management reduce stress on the body.
  5. Promotes mobility, flexibility and reduces the risk of injury – Functional movements enhance joint mobility and flexibility, and strengthens muscles and ligament, all crucial for overall health and injury prevention.
  6. Efficient workouts – Functional workouts target multiple muscle groups in one session, maximizing time efficiency, ideal for busy schedules.
  7. Suitable for all fitness levels – Functional movements can be adapted for various fitness levels, ensuring inclusivity and progression for all individuals.

So now what? Perhaps I have you convinced that you should include more functional movements into your workout routine…but how? First step is for you to get on the waitlist for the app launching in March 2024! Whether you’re a seasoned athlete or a novice, my programs will cater to all levels, ensuring progress at your own pace. Witness the changes in your strength, agility, and vitality. 

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Kaitlyn is a registered dietitian and fitness enthusiast dedicated to helping busy women improve their health through sustainable habits.

She’s seen firsthand how difficult it can be to balance a demanding schedule with a healthy lifestyle. That’s why she is passionate about empowering women with the knowledge and skills they need to prioritize their health, even when life gets hectic.

She aims to spread the word about the power of habits and to make healthier living more manageable for busy women who are trying to do all of the things, like herself.

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