The future of Functional Fitness and the fitness industry – PART II

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?

This Post Has 11 Comments

  1. Bare Lee

    You lost me here:

    “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.”

    No doubt this is in reaction to our exchange of a few days ago. I was responding to this statement, which I don’t think is true.

    “Either you are a bodybuilder, want to be a bodybuilder, or you should not be on the machines and benches.”

    I wasn’t being defensive, I was just trying to get you to see that the key ingredient of any fitness program is enjoyment, doing something that keeps you coming back for more. I wasn’t defending any particular program, and I brought up an example of a friend who plays tennis and bicycle commutes for his fitness needs as yet another approach. I asked you for feedback on my routine, you said you had nothing to offer. Fair enough, but I wasn’t trying to convert you or anything. I’m completely agnostic, which I guess is lost on the religious.

    I think a lot of functional fitness concepts are valid, but you seem to be committed to an all or nothing proposition. I’m out.

  2. Kemme Fitness

    Sorry, I had written this post before our exchange. I just published it without rereading it. I probably should’ve changed it in light of your great advice of being careful of not coming across too preachy. I try to do my best and not offend, but I didn’t do this in response to our conversations – I thought those went well. I understand why you might take this wrong, but don’t give up on me!!!!!!! Remember I did agree, that compliance is the key. Folks have to like what they do or they won’t keep at it. This Part II post is a touch of bad timing when it comes to our nice discussions.

    I do love Functional Fitness, but I am totally excited about folks who do their thing. I can’t remember my thoughts last week when I wrote this, but I believe I was making sure to avoid anybody from feeling I was against their program.

    Again, I am just a guy who is passionate about what I do and that is why I have this site to share. Folks who do things differently are good for the site to show other sides and to keep me in check, so I need you to stick around and keep me honest 🙂

  3. Bare Lee

    First of all, I love the passion you bring to your work.

    Second, it’s a great relief to hear that caveat wasn’t written in reaction to our email exchange, which I agree, went well and was quite civil, despite our differences of opinion. I don’t know you that well, but it seemed out of character.

    Finally, I definitely endorse the concepts of Functional Fitness, but as you note, I’m not your target audience. What I’d like to do is work elements of it into the routine I’ve already set up, to make it more well-rounded. I’ll start working on that and let you know what I come up with.

    All the best, BL

  4. Bare Lee

    Oh, and as far as “keeping you honest”, I think the only thing I would add is that, as I mentioned in our email exchange, attacking all components of fitness at once (endurance, strength, agility, timing, balance, coordination, power, & stamina), as you do, is a great way to get an total workout. However, there is a trade-off. When we break down the components of fitness and attack them individually, we will probably see greater specific gains in each component, but no one workout will provide all the fitness benefits, as yours do. Other than that, I agree, your workouts are perfect for people seeking general fitness with limited time.

  5. Kemme Fitness

    Thank you so much for understanding, I am very happy about that. You last point up there is one that I would like people to really focus on. Functional Fitness is an overall healthy well balanced program for people to live life with energy and avoid injury. However, as you noted, if you are trying to go past that with one component/facet of fitness, you will need to step it up and focus on it. If you want to be stronger, then you will have to increase your weights. If you want to do Parkour, you will have to spend more time just on agility and balance.

    Runners obviously are spending more time on endurance, but I would argue they need at least some type of cross training. People like you don’t necessarily need much from a program like mine, but yeah maybe you’ll like a piece or two to add to your program.

    Think of Kemme Fitness as the baseline. My vision for the future is we have more Functional Fitness resources available since I believe the majority of people are in that stage of fitness. Personally, I’m not sure if I’ll ever leave this stage. I get all I want/need from Functional Fitness for now.

    Hopefully Bare Lee and I now have worked out the explanations for everybody so it make sense. I should do a post on where Functional Fitness fits in, meaning it is more a baseline type program. That might be a good follow-up.

    Thanks again Bare Lee for helping to shape the discussion.

    1. Lawrence Boivin

      Uh Pete – if you take the benches away like you said you wanted how am I going to do my box jumps. And don’t answer with something that makes sense like a box. 🙂

      Plus, sometimes those benches come in handy, why just the other day I was pontificating life and it’s meaning (the number 4 kept popping into my head for some reason) & I was struck by such a stupendously, massive, earth shattering revelation about the world, that I had to sit down …. on a bench.

      Please don’t take our benches away. 🙂

      Oh, I I forgot what the revelation was, my 15 second rest period was up. 🙁

      1. Kemme Fitness

        Yeah and when I am trying to stand up after being curled up in the fetal position, the benches do assist me! Good point. And I do suppose we have uneven bench presses, so one bench would be allowed. I know, maybe you can get a box for Christmas this year and bring it in for us all to jump on!!

  6. Jim Wade

    I am a runner, however, I do see the need for functional training. I tried to follow the workouts on Crossfit Endurance but many of them were for people who were in better shape than me, which required modification, e.g , muscle ups became dips.. The thing I liked, which you don’t seem to agree with, is the timed workouts. I could go to the gym and do a great workout in 1/2 hour.

    I belong to the Y and they have most of things that are required to perform functional workout, e.g, Physioballs, Medicine Balls, Pull-up Bars, Kettlebells, and dumbbells. Rather that make my own I would rather take advantage of what they provide.

    I have been looking through your workouts and trying to define a set of workout I can do 3 days weeks in the morning to supplement my running and the biking I do for recovery.

    1. Kemme Fitness

      Jim, I usually want my workouts 35 to 45 minutes long, but a 1/2 hour is still pretty close. The main reason for this is the heart health benefits (recommendations from American Heart Association). I’d say with your running, you can get by with 1/2 hour workouts easily. To keep things simple, you could download K-Fit off the website(free). If the workout seems too long, then cut out the last circuit or reduce some reps.

      Not knowing what shape you are in, even though you are a runner, you might also take a look at K-Basic, which only requires a Physioball, and is more for those whose core needs some building up before doing harder exercises.

      Don’t worry, there are no muscle-ups (it took me 3 months of training to do one of those). I do have some tough exercises, but K-Basic and then K-Fit are meant for places to begin. If you prefer regularit over variety, you could find a few workouts you like and repeat over and over. Personally, I need the variety, but not everybody does

  7. Harvey

    The Y has been mentioned several times in your last 2 posts/comments. I’m excited that we now get to where costumes to our workouts. That indian headdress should make burpees more difficult.

  8. Kemme Fitness

    Oh don’t worry, Lawrence has something in store for you!!

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