Functional fitness is great. Learning how to move your body in a way that will translate to real life movements and keep you injury free is awesome. I mean who wouldn’t want to do that? Get all jacked and…..hold on a second….you guys don’t get jacked and tan and stuff? You mean I have to wear those monkey toe shoes? Wait…I can’t tear the sleeves off this perfectly good XXL boys t-shirt that I purchased from Walmart? Man this sounds wack. I’m going to do some bicep curls. See YOU walnuts later.
That is a typical example of how my interaction goes with someone who is also interested in functional fitness. Either that or once they hear ‘functional’ they tell me that they do Crossfit and I respond by saying ‘Rich Froning has a nice chest’ and then listen to them talk about donuts, high socks, double thunders, and how hot the girls boxes at their box are. Cool story.
All I’m saying is that the paradigm of functional fitness is being ruined by people who don’t even lift….bro.
You’ve seen them before. They usually wear vibram five finger shoes and they usually wear short shorts and they are usually attached to a squat rack by seven bands like a virgin being sacrificed in order to ensure the villages safety for another year, and they usually are either skinny, chubby, or a combination of the two. Shubby. They are shubby. They are named Kyle and they read a book once that said that you should be like a caveman and another one that said to squat low bar and deadlift things.
Well if you’re so primal then where’s your loincloth Kyle? Yeah didn’t think so…but nice beard bro…totally manly and it really makes up for the fact that you cried the last time you lost at monopoly.
Want to actually be functional? Want to actually be like an alpha caveman who noogies all the other cave men and woos all the other cave women by bringing them the choicest pieces of brontosaurus flesh?
Yeah same. I want to be that cave man.
Well here’s a few things you can keep in mind as you begin to instagram chronicle your journey from scrawny little ding-a-ling to brawny testo-jacked alpha dog caveman.
Let’s get something out of the way real quick. What does functional mean in relation to fitness? Well the internet says that the definition of functional is something that is “capable of serving the purpose for which it was designed”
Put First things First
Capable of serving the purpose for which is is designed. What were humans designed for? I can feel some of you atheist brothas and sistas out there gettin all mad right about now. Mark…humans were not designed for anything they are the product of unfathomably small odds combined with becoming a product of the environment from which they evolved. They crawled out of the primordial ooze and over eons they struggled against the harsh climes of this place that we call…Yeah I get it. Science.
But this is not a debate.
So for the sake of brevity let’s say that we’re all right, eat some orange slices, and then have a sleepover.
What were humans designed/evolved to do? What is our purpose? One could argue that humans are designed to be strong. In fact if we evolved then that is the only thing that matters in terms our survival. Being strong and resilient, mentally and physically, is the only way that we got to where we are right now.
So our purpose is to survive. And to do this we need to be strong. So to be functional which as we now know means “capable of serving the purpose for which [we were] designed we need to be strong and we need to be resilient.
If this is our purpose should we really be worried about how well our infraspintillium is activating? Well no because I totally made that muscle up. SIKE!
But should we be concerned about how well our rhomboid is activating. Yes and No. Yes in the sense that you should have a body that is balanced and moves in an efficient and safe manner. No in the sense that if that is what you are primarily concerned about you probably are taking a backwards approach to becoming functional.
You should be putting first things first when it comes to getting stronger and being more apt for survival. But what are first things?
This is where y’all drop the ball big time.
Supplements are cool I get it. They have shiny colours and big letters and they say things like “Get Rock Hard Fast!” and “Most Intense Formula EVER!”
Sounds good. Real good.
If you want to be functional don’t concern yourself with supplements beyond a good quality multi-vitamin, fish oil, and ZMA for recovery. You will get more bang for your buck from spending the money you would spend on test boosters, pre-workouts, intra-workouts, post-workouts, and powdered cat scrotum on whole foods. I am not against those types of supplements, but if you are not eating whole foods and you are not drinking lots of high quality H20 then you simply are not functional.
You are what you eat. You are what you eat. You are what you eat.
Repeat that to yourself until it becomes a part of you. If you are eating processed foods and then thinking that powders and pills are going to get you strong then you are a sheep who has been caught in a trap set by the ‘Evil Fitness Industry Marketing Trap Setting Squad’.
Don’t be dumb.
Think of whole foods as your childhood friends. They have always been there. Just growing in the ground next to you, nourishing you with their vitamins and minerals, and delighting you with their multitude of wonderful flavours and textures.
Think of supplements as new friends. They just want your money.
Think of Drake as Drake.
Drake wrote a song called “No New Friends” (or did he?)
Listen to that song and understand the lesson I have just taught you through the use of analogy and pop culture references.
Yeah. I’m that good.
When you want to sleep as bad as you want to breathe you’ll be successful.
We all need sleep. It is vital to our survival. The right amount balances our hormones, makes us more alert and allows us to retain information more easily.
If you want to get big and strong or if you want to function at a level higher then a potato with a face drawn on it or if you want to not drool all the time you should sleep more.
8-10 hours a night if you are ambitious.
WAKE YOUR PUNK ASS UP!
There’s a lot of talk out there about sleeping faster, and not sleeping at all because you grind so hard, and being so hardcore because you don’t sleep at all, and getting up before the butt crack of dawn because you’re grinding and hustling and going balls to the wall as a grind hustler.
I get it. You have so much to do and are so passionate about it that the universe bestows supernatural energy upon you so that you may bless the world with your grind lifestyle message.
Well cool your jets Arnold Schwarzenegger/Corey Gregory/ET the Hip Hop Preacher.
(I love all these guys by the way…please don’t hurt me Hip Hop Preacher)
We need our sleep. We needs it.
Especially if we want to be stronger.
Don’t force yourself to get up at an ungodly hour if it is not supporting your life and making you a stronger person. Don’t wake up at 4 if all you do is do 10 pushups and then play Xbox until 8AM at which time you go back to bed.
I just looked up ‘benefits of sleep’ on google and a study done at Harvard came up. Yes…THE Harvard where Elle Woods went in ‘Legally Blonde’.
It said this…
“In studies of humans and other animals, they have discovered that sleep plays a critical role in immune function, metabolism, memory, learning, and other vital functions…it is…important to get a good night’s sleep after learning something new in order to process and retain the information that has been learned.”
It also said this about chronic sleep deprivation…
“In the long term, chronic sleep deprivation may lead to a host of health problems including obesity, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and even early mortality.”
I have just uncovered evil plot that started with Arnold which is now being carried about by Corey Gregory and ET the Hip Hop Preacher! They want to sleep deprive everyone so that they can become the most swollen of all! I knew it!
Basically if you want to be functional you need to sleep. It will make a huge difference in your quality of life, and your overall strength. Harvard said that.
But what about training you ask? Mark teach us please!
Ok when it comes to your training do whatever the heck you want to do.
If you want to be a powerlifter, lift heavy and compete.
If you want to run, run a race.
If you want to carve logs into the shape of Beyonce and fight bears with them in the backwoods of Alaska, then take pictures of that and put them on instagram because I will definitely follow you.
Just don’t let anyone tell you that there is one way to do things.
Find out what works for you.
Lift heavy. Lift often. Don’t even lift. Run. Jump. Swim. Do Yoga. Crawl. Roll down a hill and then sprint back up 10 times.
There is no one size fits all approach when it comes to training.
Different methods will interest different people.
For example people who have tiny dicks are interested in bodybuilding.
There will be one thing that suits you the best.
It may be challenging and you may not have the perfect genetics for it, but pursue that one thing and go all out.
Dive in deep. Get lost in it.
It may not involve constantly being focused on fixing your posture, and your lumbar lordosis, and making sure that your chin is tucked, and being worried that your deep pelvic floor is not firing properly.
So be it.
I know that all those things are important.
And there is a time and a place for them. And I am a stickler for good form.
It pains me when I see people who are so scared about hurting themselves or not doing something correctly that they never really train or compete.
I hate seeing people who don’t push themselves in training. I hate it because I hate when I don’t push myself in my training. It makes me sick. It’s not fun. It doesn’t feel natural.
The people who are truly successful at what they do have, at some point or another, thrown caution to the wind and taken a big risk. They may get hurt. They may fall down, but they always keep going.
If you want to be functional in the truest sense of the word then you need to be: “capable of serving the purpose for which [you were] designed” Whether you believe that you were designed by nature or by God or by both just remember that…
You were designed to be strong.
You were designed to take a beating and keep on moving.
You were designed to find something that you love, get really good at it and share it with others.
Don’t let the fear of not being functional scare you out of finding out what you are capable of.
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