“Functional training” is a term that gets thrown around quite a bit in the fitness industry, usually under the guise of providing magical powers to the trainee utilizing methods that fall under the “functional” umbrella. So is there any need for “functional training” in your workout program? Well, just as with any other aspect of life, what might be advantageous in small, smartly-programmed doses can turn tragically wrong when taken to extremes.
…and we do mean *tragically* wrong…
Just remember that “functional” exercise should be considered as a continuum of movement patterns that, at the most basic and more stable end of the spectrum, *may* be safely performed under load. And remember, too, that a little goes a long way. Adding some sensible, unilateral (single leg) training to the mix? Yeah, that works.
Cirque de Soleil-like maneuvers while toting a barbell? Uhhh…not so much.
Here’s a good rule of thumb to keep in mind: the more sport-specific a certain movement is reduces the likelihood that the movement in question ought to be performed loaded. With the obvious exceptions, of course, to sports where lifting heavy objects is the sport (powerlifting, Olympic weight lifting, ect.)
Strength. Skill. Balance. Flexibility. These are all qualities that contribute greatly to an athlete’s success, or to a “regular” Joe or Jane’s quality of life. And, too, these are qualities with very narrow overlap. Which is where your Efficient Exercise professional can help.
So don’t become a spectacle like the guy in yellow above. And if you do run across this specimen in the wild, send them our way. We (or at least, Keith) might not be able to provide any helpful fashion advice, but we can certainly put them on the right path to fitness with a smartly programmed strength protocol.
Taking the long view, whether in diet or exercise, is a concept we stress at Efficient Exercise. Quick-fix crash diets seldom work and worse, usually result in rebound fat gain over-and-above one’s pre-diet weight. And being too greedy for accumulated strength and/or muscle gain can result in burnout or injury that would keep one out of action indefinitely. Much wiser, then, to take the sensible long view.
Remember: health, fitness and wellness is a lifelong journey. Treating these issues as a race will only end badly. EE’s Westlake trainer Skyler Tanner has recently written a masterful piece on this very subject. Be sure to check it out, as it’s great food for thought.
And realize, too, that the needs and goals of the competitive athlete are very different from those of the of the client seeking lifelong health, fitness and wellness. EE’s Rosedale trainer Keith Norris has written extensively on the differences between training for health vs training for performance (here and here), and the assertion that athletic superiority does not necessarily correlate to superior health. In fact, the opposite is more likely the case.
So, although there are many things to be learned from the training of athletes (both from a physiological and psychological standpoint), the intelligent trainer is able to identify — and apply! — only those aspects that are pertinent and particular to the general public.
And that’s what separates our Efficient Exercise trainers from the rest of the pack. Our trainers oversee safe, effective, and professional exercise prescriptions appropriate to each client’s goals and abilities.
So here’s to intelligent training and diet — and to lifelong health and fitness — done the right way. The Efficient Exercise way!
Strength training has come a long way in the last 40 years. It’s hard to imagine now, but there once was a time when even football players were advised *not* to lift weights because it would make them “muscle-bound” and slow.
But good information has a way of getting out, and nowadays even baseball players, ballerinas and golfers embrace the idea of incorporating smartly programmed strength work within their overall training regimen.
Still, though, there are misconceptions that persist. And one training related misconception we’d really like to see go the way of the dodo is this: the notion that women who partake in serious weight training will become “bulky and manly”.
Wow, this one drives your Efficient Exercise professionals bonkers for sure. For starters, women simply do not have the hormone levels necessary to build and support the shear mass seen in men who partake in serious training — no matter how much time and effort they put into it. In particular, women lack the testosterone level required for ample muscle gain, *and* they possess high levels of estrogen to boot — making it nearly impossible to gain the type of muscle mass most women are worried about. Often, when one sees an extremely muscular and vascular female lifter, there’s a pretty good chance that there is, shall we say, a certain degree of “pharmaceutical intervention” at play.
In fact, Efficient Exercise trainer Lesley O’Neal is the poster-girl for the train heavy-and-hard female. Lesley looks fantastic, and you can best believe that there aren’t any tiny pink dumbbells or “toning” exercises to be found in her workout routines.
The following video is a clip from one of our recent Efficient Exercise “training the trainer” sessions. The topic of the day’s discussion — autoregulation as applied to exercise programming — is of interest only to the training geeks out there. However, we’d like to include this so as to show just how heavy and hard Lesley does train. In the video, Keith takes Lesley through a deadlift and dip session — and the girl does some seriously hard work in the process:
Bulky? Manly? Hardly. A fantastically fit, shapely, and healthy female? Most definitely. Lesley personifies the Efficient Exercise prescription, and is doing her part to eradicate the “women in the weight room” misconception for good.
Know any ladies who are skittish about serious exercise because of the “she-man” misconception? Make sure to send them Lesley’s way. One free consultation will ease their fears, and put them on a path for a healthier tomorrow.
It’s no secret that we at Efficient Exercise are enthusiastic supporters of our local farmer’s markets/a> and co-ops. And one of the luxuries of being here in Austin is that it affords us the opportunity to frequent many excellent, alternative, locavore food options.
And that’s good news — especially since, at the federal level, food policy can become so completely politicized and out-of-touch.
Which begs the question:how did something so basic as nutrient dense, nourishing food go so completely afoul of common sense?
Do your part to bring common sense back to the food you consume. The easiest place to start is by frequenting your neighborhood farmer’s market or co-op. It’s good for you, good for the community, and a blessing for sustainable farming.
We don’t have to tell you that there are a proliferation of diet slants out there — vegetarian/vegan, South Beach, Paleo, Atkins…high fat, low fat, and everything in between — but if there’s one item that just about everyone can agree on, it’s that the long-term consumption of sugar and highly processed “food” is by no means healthy.
We all know we need to limit our sugar intake, but somehow the initiative to do so is lacking. So maybe you’re looking for that one good reason to drop sugar from your diet? Something to kick you into gear? Well, maybe this will strike a cord. In the following clip, Science journalist Gary Taubes (Good Calories, Bad Calories and Why we Get Fat) discusses his Mother Jones cover story Sweet Little Lies, an investigation into the sugar industry.
The politics of sugar might be complicated, but the answer, if you’re concerned about your health, is simple: just drop it from your life. And know that your Efficient Exercise professionals can help guide you through this tough process. We care, because eating right and smart exercise are the Yin and Yang of excellent health. Looking to go a little more in depth in crafting a diet? Ask you trainer today about Efficient Exercise’s nutritional counseling.
So make a vow to kick sugar from your diet, and don’t forget to RSVP today for either the Tuesday, 6:30 PM or noon Saturday HIIRT class. It’s a blast working out with like-minded folks. Or maybe you’d rather create a “private” class for just you and your friends or work colleagues? Round up at least 6 participants, and we’ll work out the logistics. Ask you trainer, or email Keith (email@example.com) for details.