I have a truth bomb for you. Are you ready? Here it is. People can appear to be in shape but in actuality, be unhealthy. Wait. What?
You know the folks I’m talking about. They have killer muscles, they look amazing, but when you watch them in the gym, you realize that they’re using the exact same machines and doing the exact same exercises using the same muscles over and over again until the end of time.
Let’s be perfectly clear.. Exercise repetition is important, but there has to be a mix up in the routine or your body will become “used” to what you’re doing.
For my face to face clients, they each get a customized program based on their needs, goals, strengths and weaknesses. For the first 3-4 weeks, we do a lot of the same exercises. There will be variations to the exercises, but a lot of them the same. Again, based on their goals.
Then the next 3-4 weeks, we do a different set of exercises with different reps and weights, and variations then the next 3-4 weeks, we do yet another different set of exercises but different form, weight, positioning, etc.
Those first weeks are more “simple” exercises, and by simple, I mean not complex. That doesn’t make them any less effective or as difficult, but it helps you become more aware of your body and how your body works and building those muscles that you use in everyday life.
Building on that, I incorporate the more functional and complex exercises into their routines which takes that body awareness to an entirely new level.
Think about this with me…
Can you get up off of the floor, without pushing down on your knee or pulling up on something?
How about picking something heavy up off of the floor without arching your back and putting it in a compromising position?
Or how about picking something up and putting it over your head without dropping it on your noggin? Can we say luggage into overhead bins?
You’re seeing a trend here, yes?
Functional exercises will help you not only appear to be in shape, but to help your overall health and well being.
What’s the point of being shredded if your body as a whole isn’t healthy?
No point, right? Right.
Let’s dive into functional exercise and how, you could even potentially burn higher amounts of calories using these kinds of exercises.
What is a functional exercise?
Let’s not make things too difficult, right? Functional exercises are exercises that not only strengthen muscles that you use when doing functional movements, they are functional movements.
Here’s what I mean.
How often are you on the floor with your kiddos or sitting around on the floor in your gal’s living room with a glass of wine?
Ever tried to get up off of the floor without making all these weird noises and having to have someone help heave you up?
Have you ever noticed that you are out of breath once you get up off of the floor?
Literally adding moves such as up and down off of the floor into a circuit will really heat up the calorie burning level of your workout.
Can you say… burpees? Yeeaaahhhhh, functional, right? Or literally laying flat on your back on the floor, and getting up as quickly as you can, then laying back down flat.
Girl, you’ll be outta breath so fast you won’t know what hit’ya.
You’re welcome. 😊
But let’s not stop there. Let’s take another move; how about the deadlift where you have to pick something up off of the floor.
How many times have you seen someone bend over to pick something up and they are super hunched over where their shoulders are rounded and they just look like their back is going to snap any second?
When you’re going to pick up that next heavy thing or your kiddo, try this instead:
- Keep your shoulders straight and ‘pinned back’
- Hinge at your hips with soft knees and lower your upper body towards the ground
- Grab ahold of the object you are trying to lift and brace your core
- Pushing down through your legs, like you’re trying to push the floor away from you, stand back up.
Voila. You have deadlifted a heavy object.
Why are functional exercises important?
Functional exercises are important because they are quite literally what help you through your day to day life.
As stated in the above paragraphs, you have to have these types of exercises in your routine to be able to strengthen the muscles that you use every single day.
Basically, the strengthening of these muscles and the incorporation of these exercises make your life movement more efficient.
But… Functional Exercises aren’t glamorous.
Well. That part is correct. Although I would like to offer that the clean is a pretty cool looking exercise…. but, I digress.
You’re right. Functional exercises are not glamorous, but they are important.
So important in fact, that I would like to propose to you that if you did a program that strengthened the muscles you needed for everyday movements instead of only the ones that will “shred your abs” or “carve your back muscles” you’d reach your goals faster.
I’m totally serious here, so go with me.
Am I saying that all of your exercise routine should be functional moves only? Of course not. What I am saying is that your workouts should strengthen those muscles that help with the functional moves of life.
Let’s take your biceps in your arms.
Your biceps do a lot of work throughout the day that you probably don’t even think about. And good looking biceps are sexy on men and women, amIright?
Well, strengthening your biceps is a great place to start.
“So, Amber, you’re saying just do 500 bicep curls and I’m good?”
Uh. No. Keep tracking with me here.
There are about 8 bazillion different ways to do a bicep curl, and yet, the only one we can think of doing while we’re in the gym is straight up and down from our thighs to our shoulders.
Here’s a few variations on bicep curls just for kicks and giggles:
- Hammer Curls
- Bent supinated grip bicep row
- Horizontal Bicep Curls
- Concentration Curls
- Zottman Curl
- Preacher Curl
….Are you seeing my point here?
How about your legs? Your legs do just about everything for you from walking to running, to everything in between.
Building and shaping those legs helps get strength for those daily movements such as climbing the stairs while carrying a baby carrier, right?
After over 1,000 words I think you get my point on how important functional exercising is.
No, it’s not always glamorous. I mean, who wants to be lying flat on the gym floor then getting up as quickly as you can? And back down again. Then up. Then back down.
I mean. Weirdo, right?
But at this point, who freaking cares. You’ve got crap to do in your life and if that means doing some exercises that aren’t so hip and glam, then so be it!
If you want to throw in your e-mail below, I will send you a week of free full body workouts for the gym that have functional exercises in them.
Don’t worry, I keep your email address safe and I never spam. In addition to the free week of workouts, I’ll send you a few gifts and then I’ll send you a weekly motivational email on Sunday afternoon to get your motor running for Monday!
Look. I know it’s hard sometimes doing things we don’t want to do. Especially when our time is so extremely limited.
Believe me, I get not having time. I 100% understand not having time to literally go to the bathroom let alone getting a good workout in. I am a wife, mother, and I own my own business, so there are times that I have to get in a killer workout in between clients and sometimes I just want to do the glamorous stuff.
But, do you know what?
It’s not always the glamorous stuff that will get me to my goals. I’m not just talking about fitness goals; I’m talking about life goals.
Being healthy and fit helps me to live well and I love it. So bring on the functional exercises with a sprinkle of the glamorous exercises and here’s to living well, sister.