PART II: The vision of the future for Functional Fitness and your local neighborhood gym
In Part I, we discussed the topic of your local fitness center. Our audience for this discussion is the vast majority of average folks, who want to exercise a few hours a week and get into decent shape so they can live long, healthy lives and are able to do daily activities without pulling out their backs. Our audience is not well versed fitness junkies who already have their programs designed the way they like them.
Part II is now going to talk about my vision of where the fitness industry could go. For starters, you are either drinking the Kool-aid of Functional Fitness, or you can take a few quick minutes and read the free ebook, Functional Fitness Defined, and get on board. There, now you understand that fitness can mean more than endurance or strength. It includes agility, timing, balance, coordination, power, and stamina among other things.
NOTE: Many people do have specific goals such as developing certain muscles. They may do this for many reasons. Functional Fitness programs are not better, they are different. My entire argument is that FF programs are more tailored to beginners to fitness who don’t have specific goals. So don’t get all defensive if you have another type of program and feel I’m saying Functional Fitness is better than your program. I’m simply not writing this for you.
If you want to exercise at home and achieve Functional Fitness, there are an ever-increasing amount of resources at your disposal. There are the P90X programs, Kemme Fitness of course, but also tons of bootcamps are springing up in cities across the country. Don’t forget TRX classes and/or home videos as well. Again, in this series of posts we are talking about the “brick and mortar” fitness centers in your neighborhood.
So what do we want for the masses? Well for the masses, I want to see 80 percent of local fitness facilities to morph into complete Functional Fitness gyms. I want the machines gone. I want the benches gone (not the barbells though). I want the walls stacked with Physioballs, Medicine Balls, Clubbells, Pull-up Bars, Kettlebells, and dumbbells. You want to get extreme, put up some rope ladders or have Undulation Ropes and TRX cables. Feel free to have a huge section of Slosh Tubes and Parallettes.
This way, when aveage Joe Blow goes to try out a gym in his neighborhood, he will be met by Functional Fitness and Core specialists who will get him started on a program that will not increase the likelihood of injury, but will develop his body in a functional way so he can be prepared for life’s activities.
That’s right, I want the exact opposite of what we have. Bodybuilding (a sport!!) will have specialty gyms for bodybuilders (athletes in that sport!!), but we’ll leave the large complexes for the masses. The masses are not going to be bodybuilders, so why do we keep building more and more gyms that way, and why are we still teaching Jane Doe to bench press and do tricep extensions?
NOTE: Again, many people do have specific goals such as developing certain muscles. They may do this for many reasons. Functional Fitness programs are not better, they are different. My entire argument is that FF programs are more tailored to beginners to fitness who don’t have specific goals. So don’t get all defensive if you have another type of program and feel I’m saying Functional Fitness is better than your program. I’m simply not writing this for you.
If later (or instead) Joe or Jane decide they want to get into a sport like bodybuilding or even elite Functional Fitness like Crossfit, or whatever goals they develop, then go right ahead Joe and Jane and find one of those speciality gyms. If Joe wants to be a bodybuilder or a MMA fighter, or if Jane wants to run 100 mile ultra marathons, then fine Joe, and okie dokie Jane, go ahead. Then fine, you have a specific goal now. Otherwise, I would strongly argue against that unless they know exactly what they are getting into and why. But if that is their drive, then fine. However, I would argue most people just want to be healthy and fit. They walk into the local gym and ask for direction. I want to see that direction and the options available to be designed for them. Designed for the masses. Designed for Functional Fitness.
This is my vision for the future. Please keep up the discussions about the benefits of Functional Fitness. Talk about your core. Talk about movements not muscles. Talk about High Intensity Interval Training. Talk about the agility, flexibility, power, endurance, timing, strength, stamina, and balance. I don’t know what it will take to force the “brick and mortar” facilities to change. Maybe if we all leave the gyms and do P90X or bootcamps at home they will get the point. Or maybe if we take up the gym space with our animal walks, Medicine Ball Slams, and Physioball exercises, they will see the demand.
What do you think it will take?