Functional fitness begins in the gym
Of the countless benefits I receive as a fitness trainer, the one that keeps on giving is what I learn from my clients. Within each client is a life, a story and invariably a body that is trying to achieve a greater level of function or health.
Some of the broader based stigmas of “those people that use trainers” is that they are highly functioning – simply trying to drop weight, look better or prepare for a particular social event. The reality, is that from my experience, nothing can be further from the truth.
While these reasons might apply to a certain subset of the population, there are an equal number of people that work incredibly hard to simply live the best life possible within their injuries or diseases.
My current client list reminds me, as it should you, that “function” is ultimately what stands to make the quality of our lives better. For my multiple sclerosis client, his biggest dream is to keep his legs strong so he can dance at his daughters wedding someday. For my stroke patients, it’s being able to improve their leg strength to make walking with assistance just that much easier. For my 87 year old client, her motivation is simply continuing to maintain her strength so she can live independently for as long as possible.
My point, is that we often need to use inspiration as our form of motivation and when one takes the time to look around the gym, they will see many individuals working on overcoming what might appear to be an “obvious” injury. However, there are just as many whose clothing might hide surgical scars of traumatic, congenital or life-saving procedures. There are also many who experience physical discomfort that they are trying to mitigate through fitness and strength.
Ultimately, the role of fitness takes on significantly more meaning, when we use it as a means to live a more comfortable or capable life. I frequently remind myself of a client of ours who used to travel internationally. His low back was in chronic pain as a result of sitting for long hours. His goal, was to be able to “travel without hurting. ” After a strong core regimen and a useful stretching program, he achieved a quality of life goal that included no back pain. This one event, significantly changed his perspectives about plane and international travel because for the first time, he was able to enjoy them.
Those that make the leap into fitness, frequently learn of functions they never even knew could be improved. In other words, when fitness and strength training were incorporated into their lives, they are amazed at how many other components of their lives get better.
The word “functional fitness” gets thrown around frequently. The most important piece of it however, is learning to appreciate all the improvements to ones life that occur (even sleeping) when taking the time to walk that extra mile, or perform that extra rep.
Bill Victor is the owner of Victor Fitness and Flashpoint Athletic Speed & Agility Specialists. He can be reached at email@example.com and online at http://VictorFitnessSystems.com or http://theflashpoint.org .