Functional Fitness For the Win

Functional Fitness For the Win Blog MediaYou killed your workout yesterday at the gym hitting your personal record of bench press and pulling more then your own weight in a seated row. Today, you went to help a buddy move his 70 pound couch only to throw your back out with excruciating pain. What happened? In all likelihood you’re not training your body for function fitness and everyday life. You may be fit, toned, tight and ready to hit the beach, but are you ready to lift all your bags of groceries up the stairs to your third floor apartment?

Functional Fitness is among one of the latest buzzwords heard in gym and fitness facilities worldwide these days and rightfully so. Changing the focus from having “the biggest biceps” to training for real life scenarios is the latest craze. But what exactly is functional fitness, why should one utilize functional training, and how can one incorporate it into a workout?

 

Functional Fitness 411

Functional Fitness means the goal of working out is to prepare your body for everyday activities such as walking, bending, lifting and climbing stairs safety and efficiently. Functional fitness training goes beyond a goal of being able to bench press 250 pounds, but rather, trains your body for everyday life instead of specific events.  This approach combines movements as varied from yoga, Pilates, and physical therapy and builds upon them to create a full body workout that causes different muscle groups to work together. Convectional weight training isolates specific muscle groups to help strengthen them, but fails to teach muscles to work together with others as they would in everyday tasks.  Using various muscles in the upper and lower body simultaneously, functional fitness exercises also emphasize core stability.

Why Functional Fitness?

As discussed earlier, functional training helps make everyday activities easier, reducing your risk of injury and improving your overall quality of life. Functional exercises tend to be multijoint and multimucsle exercises. Instead of only using the biceps, a functional movement might utilize the biceps along with the quadriceps, hamstrings and core. These types of movements work more muscles in a shorter amount of time allowing you to get in and out of the gym faster. Functional training programs allow you to get the same amount of work throughout your body in half the time of a convectional hour-long weight training session. In addition, functional exercises can help to improve balance, agility, and muscle strength.

Functional Fitness Exercises

Multifaceted physical movements found in activities such as kickboxing and Pilates involve varying combinations of resistance and flexibility training that can help build functional fitness. Many people, including myself, get overwhelmed when they think of functional fitness movements. 10-foot rope climbs or 200-pound box pushes pop into their head. The good news is, functional training doesn’t have to be scary or intense, you just simply need to incorporate more then one-muscle group. An easy way to think of function fitness is ways to mimic everyday movements such as picking up large bags of groceries, climbing stairs or taking a child out of a car seat. You can mimic these actions through basic exercise movements such as squats or steps ups and then add resistance or rotation to incorporate more muscle groups.  Some examples of specific functional fitness moves that use multiple joints and muscles include:

 

-Multidirectional Lunges

-Squat to shoulder press

-Step-ups with weights

-Plank with dumbbell Row

-Turkish Get-Ups

 

Click here for more awesome functional fitness moves from ACE certified professionals.

 

As you add more functional fitness exercise into your workout, you should quickly see improvements in your ability to perform everyday activities.  All of the improvements will show quite the return in your exercise investment!

 

~Fall in love with taking care of yourself. Mind. Body. Spirit.~

 

-Hannah Anderson

Staying Cool Outta School

Staying Cool Outta School
Hello Warhawks! I hope all your summers are going exactly how you planned and you are truly “living the dream”. For many of you, there is a magical, almost mythical object that creates cold air, also known as Air Conditioning. For many students, when they return home for the summer, the A/C is on and life is great. But for some people at home, and most students that stayed here in Whitewater, A/C is simply a luxury that hasn’t felt the desperate need to be used yet. If you live in a house like mine which means your walls are basically porous and electric bills are in the hundreds, A/C isn’t a very smart financial decision. But staying cool isn’t just about how comfortable you are while you’re at home, staying cool is a crucial bodily function and while you don’t have A/C on, your body can go into overdrive to stay cool. Some of the most common and threatening heat related problems are as follow:

 

  1. Heat Rash: Heat rash is a skin irritation caused by excessive sweating during hot, humid weather. Heat rash looks like a red cluster of pimples or small blisters.

 

  1. Heat cramps: A person who has been exercising or participating in other types of strenuous activity in the heat may develop painful muscle spasms in the arms, legs, or abdomen referred to as heat cramps.

 

  1. Heat exhaustion: Heat exhaustion is a warning that the body is getting too hot. A person with heat exhaustion may be thirsty, giddy, weak, uncoordinated, nauseous, and sweating profusely. As with heat syncope and heat cramps, the body temperature is usually normal in heat exhaustion. The heart rate (pulse rate) is normal or elevated. The skin is usually cold and clammy.

 

  1. Heat stroke: Heat stroke is a serious, life-threatening condition that occurs when the body loses its ability to control its temperature. Victims of heat stroke almost ALWAYS die, so immediate medical attention is essential when problems first begin. In heat stroke, a person develops a fever that rapidly rises to dangerous levels within minutes. Symptoms and signs of heat stroke may include confusion, combativeness, bizarre behavior, feeling faint, staggering, strong rapid pulse, dry flushed skin, and lack of sweating. Delirium or coma can also result from heat stroke.

 

So for everyone who may not be so lucky to enjoy air conditioning OR maybe you work outside all day, here is a few tips and tricks to help you stay cool! I selected the ones that require the least amount of items and would be easiest to accomplish.

 

Pamper your pulses. Need to cool down, stat? To chill out super-fast, apply ice packs or cold compresses to pulse points at the wrists, neck, elbows, groin, ankles, and behind the knees.

 

 

Fill up the tank

Get a leg up on hydration by drinking a glass of water before bed. Tossing and turning and sweating at night can result in dehydration, so get some H20 in the tank beforehand. (Pro tip: Just eight ounces will do the trick, unless you’re really into those 3 a.m. bathroom runs.)

 

Go old-school

Remember when refrigerators were iceboxes that contained actual blocks of ice? Us neither. This stay-cool trick is straight out of the icebox era, though. Make a DIY air conditioner by positioning a shallow pan or bowl (a roasting pan works nicely) full of ice in front of a fan. The breeze will pick up cold water from the ice’s surface as it melts, creating a cooling mist.

 

While I like to bash summer on how hot it is, I can’t help but to think about the negative temperatures in winter… It truly is a double sided sword…

 

Stay Cool Warhawks!

 

“Success is a journey but we treat it like a place and it doesn’t make sense if you don’t you enjoy the ride.”

 

 

-Riley Pink

Five Tips for Facing Your Fears

We all having something we’re afraid of. Sometimes our fears are small and Five Tips for Facing Your Fears (Blog Picture)easy to overcome, and other times our fears become our limits. Fear is a completely natural part of life; it has the potential to make us stronger. However, it can only be helpful to us if we overcome it.

I recently read a wonderful article by the Huffington Postwhich provided readers with 5 tips for overcoming Fear and Self-Doubt. The 5 tips described in the article were

  1. Don’t pick goals where the stakes are low: If you are sure to do things within your comfort zone, you are not taking any risks. This prevents you from ever trying anything new.
  2. Nobody is rooting for you to fail: Nobody is going to care if you succeed or fail. You should chase your dreams without worrying what anyone else thinks about it.
  3. Just because you don’t like where you have to start from doesn’t mean you shouldn’t get started: Wishing you were better at something won’t get you anywhere. If you’re not the best at something, the only way for you to get better at it is to practice it.
  4. Stop making uncertain things certain: Don’t act like failure is certain. It’s not.
  5. The only real failure is not taking any action in the first place: We cannot let fear dictate our actions. You can enjoy a lot of success by doing the things that most people make excuses to avoid.

This article really has some great advice on how to deal with fear. Whether you’re afraid of going to the gym, applying for a job, or traveling far away, it is important that you remember the advice mentioned in this article.

Remember, when it comes to FEAR, you can either Forget Everything And Run, or Face Everything And Rise. The choice is yours.

 

|Stay motivated and don’t give up. Amazing things will happen|

 

Julia O’Connor

Your Perfect Fit

Your Perfect Fit BlogAmericans are well aware of the endless benefits of daily exercise for the mind and body, as it’s been preached for years. So like many, you’ve hopped on the exercise bandwagon and have been active in the gym and outside. You grab your shoes, lace up, and head out the door. It doesn’t matter what workout you’re doing- one shoe fits all, right? Well, not quite.

Your feet work hard every day carrying you through your daily tasks of walking, cleaning, standing, working and exercising. Because your feet are at the root of everything you do, it only makes sense to care for them accordingly. When you neglect the roots you stand on, you’re going to deal with the swelling, blisters, injuries and the lasting discomfort that goes along with it (what a fitness buzz kill!).

With so many different kinds of shoes on the market, it’s hard to distinguish what’s cool-looking versus what’s going to really support your body for your workout. Depending on the exercise you’re doing, it’s crucial that you are choosing a shoe that’s going to help make the best of your workout while helping to prevent injury.

Below, I break down the best type of shoe to support specific exercises.

 

If you’re: Running

Wear: a run specific type of shoe

Why: When it comes to running, there is no one “best” shoe. Every runner has a different foot and running style and their shoe should be tailored to fit each specific need. Some need more sportive shoes with stronger arch support, while others may need something completely different.  Take the time to head to a specialty running store such as Endurance house or Fleet Feet where a professional can watch you run and determine the right shoe for you.

 

If you’re: Cross Training or in the studio

Wear:  training shoes

Why: Cross training shoes are built for versatility. Weather you’re attending your favorite group fitness class or walking on the treadmill, these shoes are meant to be supportive and durable. Depending on your personal preference, cross trainers can have minimal to moderate cushioning with wider bottoms to handle the variety of surfaces. These shoes are also ideal for your time spent on cardio machines, short sprint intervals and some strength training.

 

If you’re: Strength Training

Wear: strength training or lifting shoes

Why: The key aspect of strength training shoes lies in the heel. Typical lifting shoes should have minimal cushioning, making them non-compressible. They should be supportive, but with little to no heel. You are able to maintain the most traction and stability with a flat shoe, which allows for more mobility with heavy lifts. Many lifters recommend the classic Chuck Taylor Converse sneakers, as they are sturdy shoes that can lace tightly to your foot.

 

No matter what kind of movement you’re doing, it’s crucial that you are finding the best shoes that support your body’s needs. Try to avoid purchasing shoes based only on color and style and consider what activity the shoe will be used for. Taking the time to find what shoe works best with your type of exercise will not only help decrease injuries, it also helps reduce any pain in the body from absorbing all of your bodies activities. The next time you go to workout, take a moment to stop and think about the type of shoes you are using to ensure they are properly supporting your body’s needs.

 

~Fall in love with taking care of yourself. Mind. Body. Spirit. ~

 

-Hannah Anderson