What is Functional Fitness?

What Is Functional Fitness?

And what’s the deal with the fad?

fad \fad\ noun: a temporary fashion, notion, manner of conduct, etc., especially one followed enthusiastically by a group: craze

The fitness industry has seen its share of fads come and go.  At one time or another everybody was going to spin class or step aerobics or pilates or…  So now what?  It seems like every time we turn around another person is bragging about their new PR (personal record) and showing off their ripped hands.  Functional fitness, popularized by CrossFit®, has taken over where the fitness giants of the past once stood.

But what is functional fitness?  The idea of functional fitness was developed by Greg Glassman over several decades.  He officially founded a gym grounded in functional fitness in 1996 in Santa Cruz.  Greg Glassman’s gym finally evolved into CrossFit® and the company that forged the groundbreaking idea of functional fitness.  Since then, the popularity of functional fitness gained momentum and has taken over.  As for it being a fad?  It is definitely followed by an enthusiastic crowd, but its 19 year history might crush the idea of it being temporary.

Greg Glassman developed functional fitness by looking at fitness demands across all sports. He designed a program that would prepare people for any physical contingency.  He developed a philosophy that trains for not only the unknown, but the unknowable.  It is not a specialized workout program.  It was developed as a functional program that would allow people to adapt the strength and skills they gained to any physical demand in life.  Functional fitness is designed not to make you better at soccer or baseball or running.  It is designed to make you better at everything; focusing on overall fitness.

Fitness is comprised by ten different domains: cardiovascular/respiratory endurance, stamina, strength, flexibility, power, speed, agility, balance, coordination, and accuracy.  We encounter each of these domains in daily life.  You don’t have to be a professional athlete to need agility or strength; you need to be able to carry your groceries, pick yourself up when you fall, chase your children, and lift heavy boxes. Functional fitness routines are designed to increase your fitness in a way that will improve your ability to function on a daily basis.

The CrossFit® athletes you see in the news and social media are the elite athletes that have made functional fitness more than just a way to stay fit.  Their accomplishments are incredible and their feats of fitness seem unattainable.  So what about the rest of us?  What about the grandmas and the policemen and those of us that just need to get in shape?  Functional fitness is for us, not just elite athletes, and functional fitness is the best way to accomplish your goals.  Through functional fitness you will get in the best shape of your life, regardless of age or current fitness levels.

So how do you get started?  Walking into a gym can be intimidating.  Everyone you see seems to be kicking butt!  There are loud noises and weights being thrown around.  Everyday people doing pull ups and push ups and movements you haven’t been able to do since you were 5.  But every athlete you see working out had to start somewhere.  Every athlete had a first day; they only are where they are now because they came back for a second.

By: Jenna Toth, co-owner of The Pine Box