Functional Fitness at its finest: Let’s Build a House!

Sid CementWhen people talk with me about what they hope to get out of becoming more physically fit, they often say things like “I want to be able to play with my kids” or “I want to be able to help my aging parents build a new fence”. What these people are really talking about is functional fitness, a recent “buzzword” in the fitness world, which refers to the relationship between physical form and function. These people intuitively understand that their lack of fitness is interfering with their ability to function — to do what they need or want to do — and that fitness is a means to an end, and not just an end in itself.

Functional fitness exercises focus on developing a body that can do real-world activities in everyday situations, not just a body that can lift heavy weight in isolated motions or with a fully supported posture on the latest machine at the gym. This matters because we don’t “function” in the controlled world of the gym most of the time; our everyday lives contain many more variables! The ability to pound out 10 reps at 75 pounds on the “pec deck”, for example, doesn’t necessarily transfer to the complex, and often demanding, motion of lifting a car seat (complete with squirming baby!) in and out of the family mini-van. This isn’t to say that isolation exercises won’t help strengthen your muscles and other soft tissues or benefit you in real life situations. They most likely will. But functional fitness begins with learning to control your own body weight and teaching your muscles how to work together through a wide range of motions and during a wide range of activities. It involves developing balance, core strength, and flexibility in addition to muscular strength and endurance. In the long run, functional fitness is the kind of fitness that will allow you to do everyday tasks and avoid injury doing so.

Being functionally fit can benefit us in our own life, but it can allow us to be a blessing for others as well. One of the reasons why I am so excited to bring a team from Blitz down to Mexico to build a home for a family living in poverty, is because I can! I have the strength, health and functional fitness that lets me mix concrete, carry lumber, and pound nails all day long. And as a 46 year-old man, that is a really cool thing! Being able to “do the work” on site in Mexico validates the work I do in the gym to be functionally fit. I regularly go to 6 am HIIT classes or run stairs with my friends not just because I have nothing better to do; I do those things so that in my everyday life I can do what I need to do, and help those who need my help, at any given time.

Why do you work out (or are thinking about working out)? What “function” do you want your “form” to support? Are there real-world, everyday places that can benefit from the “gift” of your functional fitness? Or are you looking for a new challenge where you can put your functional fitness to the test? Interested in joining the team from Blitz this summer (August 2-9) in building a house for a family living in poverty? Contact either Chris Tse or myself by filling out this form to learn more about how you can put your “form” to good use!

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