Week 3 Air Insight: Functional Fitness

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ESSENTIAL ELEMENT:  Functional Fitness

Critical Concept:  Do What Moves You
Exercise is a supplement.  Our modern mechanized world has removed most of the obligate activities of our everyday.  This has left us largely movement-deficient.  Our cells expect and require relatively high levels of regular energy expenditure, including occasional bouts of real exertion.  For thousands of generations, we would walk an average of 10 to 20 miles per day – every day!

This lack of constant activity must be supplemented if we expect extraordinary health – which, by the way, is normal.  We should expect optimal cell function and health.  It is the natural consequence of living in alignment with your design.  Unfortunately, it is not the norm.

We are (literally) being crushed under the weight of the health issues created by a sedentary culture.  You were designed to move – and you sit.  The result of this is we are now faced with an over-weight, under-muscled population – the twin engines of chronic illness.

For most people, there are many excuses for not working out regularly:  no time, no energy, no money, or all of the above.  The Bonfire Program will address all of these.  The good news:  exercise is free.  The more energy you invest, the more you get in return.  And the research shows that short interval, higher intensity exercise gives you better results than long, drawn-out journeys on the treadmill or punishing runs on the pavement.

You are going to start playing again.

Functional Training is the most effective, efficient and flexible form of training ever known to man.  In fact, it has been the only type of exercise or activity any human had ever done prior to just 4 or 5 generations ago.  Believe it or not, cavemen did not do calf-raises.

We have designed the Workouts of the Day so you can work functional fitness into your daily rituals.  These workouts are designed just for you.  If you have questions about why we have created the workouts we prescribed, or questions about how to perform a specific workout, you can always reference the Glossary Of Bonfire Health Terms by clicking here.

To paraphrase the brilliant Coach Greg Glassman of Crossfit:  Functional Training is defined as universal motor recruitment patterns - compound, multi-joint movements that are effective and efficient locomotors of body and external objects.  In other words, we move ourselves and objects in natural ways over distance as quickly as possible.  There is an emphasis on training movements, not muscles.  Moving humans, not machines.

Functional Training is fully scalable.  It is not uncommon to see a young, fit teenager training alongside his or her grandmother.  The workouts are typically shorter than traditional gym workouts – and the intensity is progressive.

Well people move every day.  A best practice is to join a functional training center like Crossfit.  The coaching, community and expertise is unmatched.  Follow a program that promotes natural, functional movements.  Avoid relying on “specialized training” that develops one or two facets of fitness, but ignores the other critical elements that make up true fitness.  Join a team, get back to a sport that you loved, or learn a new one.  Play with your kids and grandkids – they functional train naturally.

The big idea is to simply do more than you did yesterday.  The ultimate fitness metric is increased work capacity.  All of the benefits of exercise are simply derivatives of this one factor.  Cardio-protective benefits, improved insulin sensitivity, body composition, blood lipids/cholesterol, abdominal measurements – all of the good stuff is found here.  The research is clear and compelling: the potentially enormous return of investing in exercise for the prevention of disease on the primary level cannot be overstated.

It’s time to face the facts:  exercise is optional.  Your choices are:  significantly increase your chances of having a long, healthy life, or ensure yourself a long and painful battle against chronic disease.

Ask your doctor if getting off of your butt is right for you.