Fall Fitness: Functional Training
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Fall Fitness: Functional Training

You've seen the ads online and t.v. with the so-called solutions for weight loss or spot toning your body without changing your diet or exercise. You should see the spam in my email folders for this stuff!  Is it too good to be true? If that's the thought running through your mind, it probably is. The truth of the matter is work is essential to good health and fitness. You can't bypass reality to get what you really want or need for your health and fitness goals.

Why is it work?

When the world was perfect at creation, Adam was charged with taking care of the Garden of Eden (Genesis 2:15). When Adam and Eve sinned, work entered into creation (Genesis 3:17-19). Perfection is now gone. So now, we have to work at everything. That includes our health. We have to create work situations in order to stress the body enough to make positive changes like better heart health, digestive processes, mental processes. The list goes on and on. As human beings, we went from perfect order to greater chaos; therefore, we have to work to attempt to keep order in our bodies.

Farmers used to do hard physical labor on their farms. Women used to churn butter, walk behind a plow, lift heavy things, etc. When was the last time you pulled up your large area rug, carried out to the clothesline, threw it up on the line and beat it until it was clean? That kind of work went by the wayside as modern conveniences came into our homes and workplaces. As a result, our physical fitness and overall health have deteriorated. Exercise is work simulated for our bodies to regain our health.

Functional training works movement patterns of daily living and physical labor that we either do or used to do. It also burns calories like nothing else! My hubby and I are laying electric lines to our home. What he thought would be an easy task, turned out to be a rather long and exhausting workout. Electric cable from the outside electric box to the connection to the house has three big cables together in one case. The ground wire is thinner but also thick and heavy. We had to thread both of them through ribbed plastic conduit you see behind me. It resembled wrestling a 30 foot long snake! Functional training came into play with this task.

Anyone who has done functional training may have picked up on the types of work it simulates. If you have ever worked with battle ropes, you will appreciate the practical application:imagine doing both types of Drummers, Arm Wrap & Pulls with a large kettlebell tied to the end, and flipping tires. Most of the movement patterns are the same. Also, my martial artist brain kicked in when my hands were tired and sore from gripping this "beast". I used a modified arm bar to keep my grip while Hubby uncoiled the cable from the spool. The cable pulled hard, so I had to hold tight, resisting a bit while walking along with the pull; otherwise, I would have either hit the ground abruptly or the cable would still be on the spool. Sore? Yes, a bit. Where? gluts, hamstrings, quads, forearms, and hands.My back feels great, no pain. This kind of work is common on farms and in rural areas. Functional training works many of the muscle groups in the movement patterns of activities of daily living and physical labor. It uses the appropriate muscles for the activities while protecting vulnerable areas of the body.

What kind of work works?

What actually works depends on your needs and the goals you want to achieve. For a new exerciser, it may be basic cardio such as walking on a treadmill, 8 weight exercises with machines, and flexibility exercises for major muscle groups. For someone who wants to lose weight but has exercised for a while, it may be a blend of functional training exercises concentrating on core, balance and coordination, running-cycling-swimming for cardio spurts, with multi-functional flexibility exercises. For an elderly person, depending on their health condition and current abilities, but it would normally include endurance exercise, strengthening of the core and legs for mobility, basic strength for upper body, balance work, and flexibility exercises to help reduce pain and increase range of motion. It will be work because everyone needs progressive overload to get the results he or she wants. What works depends on your needs and goals.

What results should you see from your work?

You will begin to notice that the work gets easier as you go. However, a new stress load will be added to help your body build again. By building, I mean strength, endurance, and even the appearance you want.You will have a longer calorie burn after the workout is over. Outside of the workout, you should notice some of your daily chores like carrying heavy items or shoveling snow become easier. If you want to keep the workout going at home, forget the snowblower! Use the shovel. You will also see that you use your glutes, hamstrings, quads, and core more for the activities you do,while protecting your back from injury. If you had painful joints, you should notice less pain and new ways of doing the tasks that used to cause you pain. There are fantastic benefits from making your workout work for you!

Make your workout work for you! Work it!

May God bless you!

These videos may have music or language that does not fit the mission and beliefs of Totally Fit 4 Life. I don't know since my the sound on my computer isn't working right now. These are being shared for the examples of exercises. You can always mute the sound if you wish.

Link to battle rope exercises on Youtube.com:


Link to functional training exercises:


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