I hear the term functional training getting thrown around a lot more than it was ten years ago and Crossfit has definitely impacted the fitness industry is the last five years. People ask me “What do you do at 312 Athletic Club?” “Do you do Crossfit?” Let’s take a look at the best definitions I could find from the big players in the game. American Council on Exercise claims if you’re certified through them as a Functional Training Specialist you’ll be able to:
Help people move more efficiently, prevent injury, improve their balance and flexibility, build strength, and improve their overall quality of life.
It’s clear their focus is on quality of movement and quality of life. Some of the tools associated with functional training are things like kettle bells and bosu balls and suspension trainers. These typically come in contrary to the typical gyms the 80’s and 90’s with all the seated isolation equipment designed to restrict motion other than a specific area of the body. So functional training became a style of exercise that would have the mindset to train the body as a whole rather than in parts.
Here’s what Crossfit says their aim is: To forge a broad, general and inclusive fitness. They also say: Our specialty is not specializing. Neither functional training experts nor Cross fitters really makes a claim to be specifically good at anything. However the Crossfit Games make some bold claims. They call it the sport of fitness and the champion is the “Fittest on earth.” Their website – CrossFit Games also claims this about the games:
There is no other true test of fitness.
The Games were created to fill a void—no other true test of fitness existed. From Ironman triathlons to the NFL, all other athletic events neglected to accurately test fitness. Even decathlons, while testing a relatively wide range of abilities, missed vital components of physical fitness.
The main point is this: fitness is not same for all people. But you must ask the question, fit for what? You cannot tell me what fitness is until you tell me what you want to do. Who’s more fit? A sumo wrestler or an iron man athlete? The sumo wrestler is not fit for the iron man competition, just like the iron man competitor is not fit for sumo wrestling. This is in the same way the iron man competitor is not fit to play wide receiver in the NFL or play the net in NHL. They are all specific tasks with very little to no crossover benefit between them. The same can be said for Functional training. Functional for what? You can function very well in the Crossfit Games, but how about in the NBA 3 point competition? You must be able to define what fitness or function means to you before you train. Now if you don’t care and you just want to look good, you still have to know what looks good to you. Then you can design a program based around that. At 312 Athletic Club that’s exactly what we do. Whatever being fit means to you, we can help you get there. A training program has to be as unique as the individual. Every training program we design at 312 Athletic Club is like a finger print, there’s no duplicate. It’s designed for your body and your vision of fitness and function.