Functional Fitness for All: No Experience Required

Functional Fitness for All: No Experience Required

There is a common misconception that you need to be in top physical shape before attempting a functional fitness workout. However, this could not be further from the truth. While many athletes possess an impressive physique, having a ripped body is not a prerequisite for fitness. Individuals of all fitness levels can take a class by scaling workouts. This includes workouts with an Rx (prescribed weight). Instead of forgoing the workout because the Rx is too high or the exercises are too complicated, you can reduce the weight or scale the movement to meet your current fitness level.

At its core, Functional Fitness is comprised of functional movements that translate into everyday life. For example, lifting, running, and squatting can allow you to pick up heavy boxes while shopping, run to catch your bus, or squat down while holding your child. Everybody needs to be able to perform basic movements such as the ones outlined above. Functional Fitness can allow you to do so at a much greater athletic level.

Making Fitness Accessible to Everyone

Joining a fitness box or taking a class does not mean jumping into complex exercises right away. For every challenging movement, there is an easier alternative for beginners. Most coaches will start beginners off learning the basics. Once you master the fundamental movements, you can increase intensity by adding weight or moving onto a more challenging version of the exercise.
For example, the Diane WOD (workout of the day) requires individuals to perform thrusters prescribed at 95 pounds as well as pull-ups. The workout is three rounds starting with 21 reps of each exercise, then 15 reps, and ends with 9 reps. However, a newcomer may not be able to perform thrusters at that weight or be able to do pull-ups. Instead of writing off this workout, newbies can perform thrusters using the bar without additional weights; this is around 45 pounds. This person could also perform jumping pull-ups or band-assisted pull-ups.

What Beginners Need to Know Before Getting Started

While you can jump right into a Functional Fitness WOD, it is best to take a few steps first. Below are some elements newcomers should address before signing up.

Establish Your Goals

Before stepping foot in a fitness box, newcomers need to define their fitness goals. Walking into a box with no discernable objective is likely to yield poor results. Some common goals include weight loss, making new friends with common interests, or increasing strength and muscle mass. Establishing clear intentions will allow you to make the most of your functional fitness experience.

Buy a Journal

Tracking your workouts is essential to improving your physical fitness. If you neglect to write down what weights you used or how long it took you to complete a WOD, you will never be able to gauge your improvement. While newbies may feel embarrassed if it takes them longer than the veteran athletes to complete a workout, it is vital to write that information down. Tracking your progress can boost your confidence as you watch your time to completion shrink and your strength increase.

Technique First; Weight Second

Watching fellow athletes perform complex exercises with ease may make you feel inclined to try out those movements yourself. However, without learning proper form, you are asking for an injury. All newcomers should master the basic movements before moving onto exercises that are more complex or increasing their weight. For example, if you do not learn the right form for squatting, you can give yourself a serious injury when you add weight to the exercise. Any fitness box worth its salt will employ coaches that help you learn form and technique before having you try advanced workouts.

Do Not Neglect Mobility and Flexibility

Many WODs include an active movement warm-up to improve mobility and flexibility. Attempting to perform WODs with tight or stiff muscles will yield poor results and can cause injuries. For example, an individual will not perform squats as well if their hip flexors are tight. They may attempt to compensate for this inflexibility, which can lead to compromised form. Neglecting proper squat technique can result in knee, hip, and back injuries. Focusing on mobility and flexibility before a WOD not only improves your workout performance, it helps you avoid injury as well.

How Can I Get Started?

After addressing the above, individuals should check out their local fitness box. At LoCoFit Leesburg, we offer a No Sweat Intro. This is a twenty-minute session to tour our facilities, observe a class, and discuss your goals. We can also discuss any concerns you may have related to your current fitness level, which classes would be the best fit for you, and more. We offer several programs to meet any individual’s needs. Contact us to schedule your No Sweat Intro today.

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