As a personal trainer, it’s my goal to help people get fit enough to live the life they desire. This always leads me to finding your why. What motivates you to get into your best shape?
Not everyone needs to back squat 400 pounds – and not everyone wants to. Whether you want to eliminate your back pain, stop feeling out of breath when you walk up the stairs, or want to have more energy to play with your children, having functional fitness will help.
Functional fitness is a term that is frequently heard and often misunderstood. In reality, functional fitness is using the gym and training to improve your functional capacity in life. A simple example of this is the squat. Even though not everyone needs to be able to back squat 400 pounds, I believe that everyone should train and understand how to execute a squat with proper form. This is because, whether you’re aware of it or not, everyone squats. Every time you sit in a chair, stand up from the couch, or use the toilet, you’re doing a variation of the squat. Without having the proper form, carrying out the same repetitive motions – even standing up from and sitting down on a couch – can create imbalances, cause joint pain and other discomfort, and will eventually lead to injury. By understanding proper squat technique and the fundamentals of movement, you’ll not only become stronger and more capable in the gym, but you’ll also become more capable and safer outside the gym. This is equally true for learning the proper body mechanics of a row (so that your neck doesn’t bother you when vacuuming) or learning how to execute a plank (so that your back stops getting tight at work). By understanding, practicing, and strengthening through good movements and getting into good positions, everything you do in life gets better.
Right now, think of a physical restraint you’d like to eliminate or a physical goal you’d like to achieve. Many people have the misconception that the gym is only for bodybuilders or athletes, and that they have to achieve a certain level of fitness before they can go to the gym. In reality, the opposite is true. Each one of us has our own level of fitness, and the gym is where to go to cultivate strength, endurance, and tenacity to excel in life.
What is your level of functional fitness? Is there something you’ve always wanted to do, but couldn’t? Ask yourself how training and having functional fitness might help with that. Life is too short to do anything less.
Personal Trainer Jake Smith loves incorporating corrective and functional exercises in his programs to help people stay pain free and maximize their potential. With backgrounds in sports and Olympic lifting, Jake has a competitive drive and significant knowledge about kinesiology and sports specific training.