Why functional fitness is a FAD!
Well, the cats out of the bag.
Functional fitness has come and before it goes and while it is in its prime, let’s take a big look at why functional fitness in itself is nothing but a passing fad of people wearing fluro panties and knee high fuck me socks that say ‘boss’ on one calf and ‘girl’ on the other.
Now before your fluro panties are in a twist and your gripping a tight fist of either callouses or some sweet finger pants, I want you to understand that there is no one who is more disappointed to find this out than myself.
Why? Because Functional Fitness is something that I have learnt, taught and done for near on a decade now.
But let’s get one thing straight – I ain’t changing my tune.
Because as much as functional fitness in itself is a fad, functional movement is not.
Woah, woah, just calm ya party tits and have a sip of your kale and coconut ultra herbal shake and allow me to explain..
You see, we often see fads come and go from each and every industry. From yo-yo’s and Trump supporters to modern Hip Hop and killer clowns who, in reality are really just misunderstood 28 year old boys who still wet the futon in their parents “dungeon”.
Fads often come, take a heap of money and then fizzle out when enough people get sick of their annoying bullshit and realise how silly they look wearing a powerband and Croc’s whilst sporting speedlines in their eyebrow.
Functional fitness sits somewhere on the Fad-Spectrum (I honestly don’t have any idea what the fuck that is, I literally just made it up) between Kony 2012 and Scientology. For a lot of people, it is nothing but a buzz word thrown among hashtags of #bootyful, #fitspo and #yourworkoutismywarmup.
Now the reason why I am verbally shitting on what brings so many people a dump of endorphins and the feeling of connecting to a fitfam is because deep down in my loins I genuinely want this fad to last as long as possible. Seriously – functional fitness is literally for every single body.
The issue is that if we ourselves are in a comprised, unfavourable or inefficient position then simply throwing some booty-popping, glute pumping, thick thigh building, fandangle functional exercise at a person to help band-aid their personal insecurity is near on redundant.
Or worse – it can actually be detrimental to the individual.
Both physically and mentally.
Now – before I get any further into this, yes, I think it is completely OK to want to be aesthetically pleasing and jacked and tan. If that is what genuinely makes you happy. If however you feel that happiness is on the other side of that then I have news for you – your issue is deeper than your tinder stalk.
You see, efficient movement is king. Long before garage gyms became hipster and functional fitness graced the industrial areas of the inner city people were throwing balls, running, wheeling wheel barrows, climbing fences, dancing, surfing, kickboxing, powerlifting and doing a shit load of other forms of exercise or movement that required them to learn how to move as efficiently as possible.
They paid detail to how they moved rather than the exercise as a whole.
Now let’s get it straight, what’s more important than super-efficient movement is that you are exercising in the first place. Whether that be Zumba, CrossFit, Social Tennis or weekly Swingers parties.
Over time though you want to (re)learn how to drive your skeleto-muscular vehicle as smoothly as possible. Because, well, it’s the only vehicle you do literally have to drive for the rest of your days.
I always found it ironic when someone heavily overweight gets upset about people not taking care of “things”…
An ever increasing demand to work longer and hustle your face off (whilst applying the appropriate #hashtags) forces us to be in shitty environments that piss negativity and sickness on our mental and physical health.
“But my job doesn’t force me to sit down and hate life so you WRONG Dev, you wrong!”
Sure, buttsock, but do you think 13 years of sitting, leaning and rocking on your jail-like school chairs during the most physically formative years of your life might fuck your shit up a little?
Back to work…
What has sitting in penguin suits and the office arsehole, Jerry have to do with my health? They both negatively impact your life inside and outside of that facility.
Sitting has been said to be the new smoking. Causing a series of health problems from breathing to back pain. As much as I agree with this, I feel sitting is more like the new alcohol. You can have a drink or two from time to time just don’t do it all day every day. With your hips in constant flexion (which basically, is any seated position), your hip flexors continue to shorten and your hip extensors (#bootygains) continue to lengthen and weaken. Now, thinking of the skeletal system as a pulley system and the muscles of the body as the pulleys, then this will over time pull us into a really inefficient and poor default position in which will use as a base position to execute just about any movement from.
Stress however, stress will kill you. Stress is smoking. It in it’s long form, stress will give you cancer. Well, kind of.
Oxygen theifs like that arsehole Jerry causes you some serious long term stress forcing your ancient meat skeleton to think that it is constantly under attack by some pissed off sabre-tooth tiger and therefore dumping cortisol into our system like pingas at a music festival - you don’t physically see it happen, but you know it’s affecting everyone. Not only that, our hip flexors are known as ‘emotional muscles’ and actually continue to creep load and pull forward on our spines forcing the good ol’sway back that gets encouraged by our high heeled, pointy foot prisons to properly fuck our skeletal structure up.
Fuck you, Jerry!
So, stand up at your desk where you can and more importantly stand up to that asshat Jerry.
Look, among all this jibberish and badassery my point is this; functional, efficient movement is king.
Our need as a human being to squat doesn’t change. It is a birth right. What does your 3 year old nephew and 73 year old tuk-tuk driver from Thailand have in common? They can both squat – because that’s how they poop. Our need to squat doesn’t vary, It is our intensity that varies. Our foot position, out load, tempo and accessories all need to be adapted to suit our levers, loading and life.
A great powerlifting coach will always pay attention to how you move. A great dance teacher will always put emphasis on how YOU should move. A great martial arts coach will encourage you to feel out the art.
Functional fitness is only functional when our clients and athletes are in strong, stacked positions that allow them to operate and move at their full potential. A dysfunctional position exercised through a “functional” exercise is no longer functional – It’s just exercising. That’s not necessarily bad, it is just far less favourable.
One of the best bits of advice I got when I first started working in the industry as a 16 year old some 11 years ago was to think about removing the persons skin, fat, muscle and observe the persons current skeletal structure. From their, the idea is to teach them a strong stable structure in which they will learn to squat, jump, push, pull, climb, throw, dance, run and whatever the fuck else they want to do for the years and years to come.
Anyone can exercise someone. That’s easier than offending a millennial.
Learn to observe their movement. Learn to observe a stacked, strong and stable body – then exercise that.
To conclude, I am simply encouraging us that are in the health and fitness space to continue to search out credible, real knowledge rather than simply feeding buzzwords hidden behind insta videos of "functional booty exercises" - please, you're better than that.
Don't stop learning, you owe it to your clients and to the hundreds if not thousands that you haven't even met yet.
Yours in rants,
p.s. Please forward any hate mail to firstname.lastname@example.org.