In the first of a two part post on Functional Fitness, Paul Murphy of Get Results Fitness explains the importance of functional training and why functional fitness equipment should be incorporated into every gym session.
What is Functional Training?
Functional Training includes all the primal movement patterns (squatting, lifting, pulling, pressing, rotating, gait and locomotion * lunging & carrying a load.), which members need to function in their day to day tasks, and in their chosen sports and hobbies. The majority of any clubs members will have desk jobs, so it is vital that we get them away from sitting on machines and up and moving in the gym.
Functional Training incorporates a wide range of equipment such as kettle bells, suspension straps, sand bags and many more. The workouts improve strength, stability, speed and power, while greatly reducing the likelihood of injury, increasing muscle tone, decreasing body fat levels and improving general wellbeing.
Why You Should Invest in a Functional Training Zone for your Gym or Fitness Suite?
Put simply, the majority of your members are joining your club for fat loss and it is now well known that functional training workouts are the most effective types of exercise for fat loss. It is key, therefore, that you provide the latest and most effective solution for their objectives and their reason for joining your club. There is also a new breed of members who are looking for the latest functional training equipment. Many of them will have seen athletes of various sports (MMA, rugby, football) training with suspension straps, kettle bells, battle ropes etc. and will be interested in following the same workouts. Functional Training has also been brought into our living rooms through popular TV shows such as The Biggest Loser.
The time has come to move away from the old, tired and dysfunctional fitness model where members join a club on a wave of enthusiasm only to become bored with the training regime on cardio machines in just a short while. This inevitably leads to these members cancelling their membership as they, quite rightly, cannot justify the costs for little or no results.
Retention Benefits of Functional Training
There are 3 barriers to why members do not stick with their exercise regime: lack of time, boredom and poor results. The current fitness models within the industry perpetuate these issues; to get significant results from cardio training, clients will have to commit 6-7 hours per week in the gym, which is unrealistic even for the most dedicated. Most will fail to commit to this and therefore fail to see the results they expect, at which point they will grow frustrated and leave the club.
In contrast, functional fitness involves large dynamic exercises that utilise many large muscle groups together. These type of movements have a high energy cost so users will burn large amounts of calories for the time spent in the gym. There is also a large post exercise energy burn for up to 48 hours which means that your members can commit to 2 or 3 of these types of sessions per week – much more attractive for the average member and eliminates barriers of time constraints and poor results.
As adults we become regimented and everything is about measurements and structure to the extent that we lose the ability to relax and have fun. Functional workouts can incorporate a lot of movements that represent play more than work. This is a refreshing change for members who genuinely appear to enjoy these workouts. Functional training workouts are varied and challenging, which removes the boredom barrier for members.