Is Your Fitness Functional? – Part 3 – “Which Training Is The Best?”

Which functional training is the best? Is it Crossfit? MovNat? RKC? Tacfit? A renegade gym such as Gym Jones? The answer my friend,  is not that simple. It varies with your goals? Ask yourself – “What am I trying to accomplish? Longevity or Performance? If it’s longevity then I reccomend following Mark Sisson’s advice as seen in the pyramid below.

You can accomplish the above in many ways. It’s simply a matter of preference. Go to crossfit a few times a week, walk, sprint and some yoga. Or hike and MovNat. It’s really up to you, so enjoy it!

Are your goals more performance oriented? What is it that you want to perform better at? Football? MMA? Endurance Sports? Crossfit? Olypic Lifting? Parkour? As I said before, there are lots of options out there…..even in the same programs. Crossfit is a good example. Crossfit has become a sport. That’s not a bad thing but it is something that you need to be aware of. Are you interested in competing in crossfit? Go to a box where they focus on that type of programing? More interested in being able to perform at a specific task or just being able to perform in general…go to a box where they have programs designed for your sport or have a program that really focuses on functional fitness (lifting awkward things like sand bags and slush pipes is a good indicator). Using crossfit as an example you can apply that to any of the other functional fitness programs such as MovNat or RKC.

Remember that if you want to be a good fighter then fight, a good sprinter, sprint!

Be sure to train in the things that you want to do. If your program does not include that then you need to allocate training days to participate in your sport.

My thoughts and personal experiment:

For me  functional fitness means being able to perform in life, in martial arts as well as longevity (I’m knocking on 40). I want to be strong but be able to sprint well. I want to be able to climb things. I want to have good mobility.  So for the next month I have cut my crossfit work outs down to 3 days per week. I’m getting back to walking 4 days a week and sprinting twice per week. I’m  heading to the park to do MovNat, sandbag and skill training. Of course all of this is in addition to my martial arts training. I’m making sure that I throw in some random stuff like heading to the climbing gym and getting in some play time… Tag rocks! When’s the last time you played tag? Dodgeball anyone? I’ll let you know what this does to my performance in 30 days. 

In the end it’s really up to you, personal preference and personal goals. All of these programs will get you fit. Some will prepare you better for certain things that others. Just remember, overtraining will ultimately catch up to you, so train wisely. You can’t be functional when you are so sore that you have trouble getting out of bed everyday. Train fun. Train Smart. Train functional!

Make A New Year’s Evolution – Part 2, Exercise

So if you’re back today then you’ve got your mindset right, now let’s take a look at your physical fitness. Let’s begin by looking at what not to do.

What Not To Do.

1) Stop the “Chronic Cardio” as Mark Sisson calls it. No more hour long treadmill, stairmaster or spin class workouts! They will only work against your goal. This is NOT the way to get your self in better shape NOR to lose weight! If your are a runner or triathlete and are doing distance everyday, stop and take a look at some of the top triathletes and how they train. Many in fact are not killing themselves with long distance everyday. In fact that is a small part of their training.

2) Stop killing yourself everyday! Many subscribe to a 3 on 1 off policy but I think that you should listen to your body. You know when you need a day off because you are too sore to do a work out effectively or if you have no energy. You don’t have to limit yourself but you really can get into good shape working out 3 days per week but you don’t have to limit yourself to this.

3) Stop static stretching! You’re aging your joints, tendons and ligaments!

What To Do.

1) Get out and walk! This puts you at the right heart rate to burn fat and will do wonders for loosening up your muscles and opening up your hips. You can use a heart rate monitor that will tell you if you are in a fitness or fat burning zone or you can simply walk fast. Do it outside and not on a treadmill. You’ll be surprised at how good this makes you feel.

2) Work on your elasticity. Look into flow yoga (check out prasarayoga.com) or for more advanced stuff, check out Ido Portal and some of his students.

3) Pick one or more of the following-

Crossfit

Combines Olympic lifting, gymnastics and functional feats in a varied and challenging environment. For example you might do this one day -   

3 Rounds for time of

500 meter row

12 body weight deadlifts

21 box jumps

and the next day

Squat Max

1-1-1-1-1 reps

Check out a crossfit box near you or if unavailable you can get the work outs on line for free. It’s designed to be done with minimal equipment. Tip: You can save a bunch of money by using a sandbag instead of weights. Just a note that if you have access to a crossfit box, I’d go there. They have certified trainers that will help you with your form and the environment there will push you!

MovNat

Erwan Le Corre’s method of natural functional movement can be done anywhere and you need no equipment. I mix this in to my training with MovNat inspired workouts. They work great for travel too! You can check out Erwan in this months issue of Outside Magazine or in this video below.

There are also MovNat inspired gyms like StrengthBox below -

Tac Fit

Scott Sonnon has built a system that focuses on core functional strength movements. If you do his yoga then you will already have many of the movements down to do this system. I implement both the his yoga and pieces of tac fit into my training as well as my students training.

Scott Sonnon in action!

You can’t go wrong with any of the above. Start with one and eventually you may find yourself crossing over into all of them like me.Follow this advice and you’ll see big changes this year and you’ll be more likely to stick with it because you’ll be having fun!

Stay tuned tomorrow for Part 3 , Diet and Nutrition!

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