What is functional fitness?

Posted: 23rd Aug 2016

Category: Health and Fitness Tips


Functional Fitness – this seems to be a largely over used word in the fitness industry, certainly over the last 5 years. It seems that every week the new and latest functional fitness trend is making the rounds on social media.

But what is functional fitness? And how can you incorporate this in to your current exercise program to help you achieve your goals and improve you lifestyle?

Well give me two minutes and I’ll be able to answer those questions for you…

Functional Fitness primary purpose is to help you more efficiently complete every day tasks in your life. For example this could be carrying in shopping from the car, walking up the stairs at home or simply opening and closing the door at home or in the office. Basically everything you do on a daily basis. Therefor functional fitness is designed to help make this feel more comfortable and easier to achieve.

How is this different for different people and how do we train using this technique in the gym?

Now that we understand what functional fitness is, we can clearly understand why there are new forms of functional fitness trending and appearing on a daily basis. For the athletes competing at Rio this year functional fitness will mean something a lot different to you and I. For Tom Daley it is important that he has the functional ability to get himself in the pike for when he needs to perform his job of competitive diving. For non professional sports persons reaching up to the top of the cupboard in the kitchen to get that can of baked beans down for tea is still very much classed as a functional movement.

In a gym setting both movements can be easily performed with 1 piece of equipment.

Understanding the goals and need of an individual, instructors and coaches can easily make any exercise functional to meet that need.

Why I believe in functional fitness

Functional fitness is something that I have a massive passion for and there are two primary reasons for this:

As I got in to the fitness industry, functional fitness was gaining massive media coverage in America and it got me for the first time in my life excited about fitness and training. Having spent many years training to become a professional golfer and working with a strength and conditioning coach I was pretty much bored of standard training, so it offered me variety and additional motivation to help me achieve my goals.

I separated my right collar bone and worked with a physio to regain 99% rage of motion and completely remove any pain all through functional exercises.

Every time I work with a client and no matter what their age, ability,  goal or time frame, I always attempt to ensure that they use a functional movement that relates to not only their daily activities but  also their goals. For me functional fitness breads FUN and that is where every training session should start. If you don’t enjoy and have fun when you train then you’re not going to get the most from your programme.

5 top tips for achieving functional fitness:

  1. Set yourself a manageable goal
  2. Find at least 1 exercise in your training that you can relate to daily movement
  3. Have Fun – FUNctional starts with fun for a reason
  4. Don’t be afraid to try something new on occasions
  5. Ask your instructor or coach for help – that’s why we are here.