What is Functional Training and Can it Benefit You?

Published February 04, 2019
<article> <section> <p>Many people believe that the key to getting fit is to get a gym membership, hire a personal trainer, or spend several hours a week busting their butts in the gym. Sadly, most people that adopt this approach never reach their goals.</p> <p>The truth is, gym memberships can do a lot more harm than good. Long commute times, pricey memberships, and confusing machines make it difficult for fitness to be a habitual part of your routine, which should be the goal of any fitness program.</p> <p>On the other hand, there’s this thing called <i>functional training</i>. It’s easy to learn, takes thirty minutes or less, requires little to no equipment, and can be done in the comfort of your own home. And combined with HIIT, or <i>high-intensity interval training</i>, it can help you shed body fat and transform the way your body looks and feels.</p> <p>Is it really that simple? Can functional training at home help you reach your goals? We think the answer is <i>absolutely yes</i>. And we’re about to show you why.</p> </section> <hr class="divider-50 divider-medium mx-auto"> <section> <header>What is Functional Training?</header> <p>Here’s a simple way to think about it: functional training uses exercises that mimic what you already do during your daily life. Exercises like squats and push-ups<sup>1</sup> are great examples of functional training. In fact, you might mimic a squat-like movement every time you stand up from a chair, or a push-up when you are doing yard work or simply getting up off the floor.</p> <p>In the same way that an athlete prepares for a game, functional training prepares your body for the rigors of daily life through physical exercise. It uses compound movements, which means several muscle groups work together at the same time.</p> <p><i>The result?</i> Increased strength, flexibility, lean muscle, improved coordination and stability, a higher metabolism, and a better quality of life. That last one is worth pointing out. Because with functional exercise, you’re actually training <i>for</i> life!</p> </section> <hr class="divider-50 divider-medium mx-auto"> <section> <header>What is HIIT?</header> <p>HIIT, or high-intensity interval training, is a type of fitness training that uses short, but intense, time intervals to accelerate results <sup>2</sup>.</p> <p>HIIT has exploded in popularity in recent years. This is due in no small part to the fact that trainers and scientists both see HIIT as an amazing tool for shedding body fat, adding strength, and changing body composition<sup>3</sup>.</p> <p>In the next section, you’ll learn why HIIT is so good for burning fat. But we promise you’ll want to read the example below first. </p> <div class="sub-head">Example: Tabata Interval Training</div> <p>One of the most popular forms of HIIT is called the <i>Tabata Protocol</i>. Created for a scientific study in the 90s, Dr. Tabata and his team found that this four-minute interval workout yielded similar results to <i>one hour</i> of slow, sustained cardio on a stationary bike<sup>4</sup>.</p> <p>In case you’re sleeping and missed that: four minutes of high-intensity exercise was equal to sixty minutes on a bike!</p> <p>The Tabata protocol is simple: you do twenty seconds of ‘work’ (push-ups, squats, chair dips, etc.), followed by ten seconds of rest. Repeat that cycle eight times and you’re done. Start to finish, the workout takes three minutes and fifty seconds.</p> <picture class="lazy-load"> <source data-srcset="https://d1ghrtdbdq2gkr.cloudfront.net/blog-content/girl-stretching-on-dock-workout-0072.webp" type="image/webp"> <source data-srcset="https://d1ghrtdbdq2gkr.cloudfront.net/blog-content/girl-stretching-on-dock-workout-0072.jpf" type="image/jpf"> <source data-srcset="https://d1ghrtdbdq2gkr.cloudfront.net/blog-content/girl-stretching-on-dock-workout-0072.jpg"> <img src="https://d1ghrtdbdq2gkr.cloudfront.net/blog-content/girl-stretching-on-dock-workout-LR-0072.jpg" class="img-fluid" alt="girl-stretching-on-dock-workout-0072"> </picture> </section> <hr class="divider-50 divider-medium mx-auto"> <section> <header>HIIT: The Ultimate Fat-Burner</header> <p>Most of us have learned that when something sounds too good to be true, it probably is. If this is your first time hearing about HIIT, you might be thinking that it fits this description: it’s too good to be true. At the very least, you’re thinking, “Alright, what’s the catch?”</p> <p>If there <i>is</i> a catch, it’s that you have to learn how to push yourself hard to get results. Yes, your workout will be over faster with HIIT, but results come from good form and intensity.</p> <p>The truth is though, HIIT is as good as advertised. And here’s how.</p> <div class="sub-head">How HIIT Helps You Burn More Fat</div> <p>Pretend that you exercise on a stationary bike for one hour. During that hour, you burn four hundred calories. We ask you to rate on a scale of one to ten how hard you pushed yourself during the workout, and you give yourself a five: moderately hard, but not very hard. You could’ve easily held a conversation the whole time.</p> <p>Now, pretend you did a HIIT workout with squats and push-ups that lasted eight minutes. Your fancy heart rate monitor says you burned <i>114</i> calories in eight minutes. Woo! Pretty good bang for your buck, right? On the same scale, you’d rate your effort at a nine or ten: it was quite challenging, and you definitely couldn’t have had a conversation. </p> <p>Eight minutes for a quarter of the calories is still pretty good. But we said HIIT can help you burn more calories and fat, and we’re <i>still 286 calories short. So, what’s missing?</i></p> <div class="sub-head">Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR)</div> <p>What’s missing is the magic that happens in your body <i>after</i> an HIIT workout. Because you did a high-intensity workout and pushed yourself hard, your <i>basal metabolic rate</i> (BMR) will be elevated for the next eighteen to twenty-four hours. </p> <p>Don’t worry too much about the term ‘BMR’. What you need to know is this means you’ll burn more calories <i>doing nothing</i> (even sleeping) over the next eighteen to twenty-four hours simply from having pushed yourself during your workout. </p> <p>You’ll also burn more fat, lower your blood sugar, and increase your growth hormone, which can help add lean muscle, which permanently boosts your metabolism<sup>5</sup>.</p> </section> <hr class="divider-50 divider-medium mx-auto"> <section> <header>Functional Training and HIIT</header> <p>At <a target="_blank" href="https://www.warriormade.com/" rel="noreferrer">Warrior Made</a>, two fitness titans (functional training and HIIT) join forces to make up our at-home exercise programs. We believe that functional training prepares your body for life, and HIIT is the best bang for your buck, making your workouts incredibly simple and time efficient.</p> <p>Combined, these two tools work together to make an effective at-home fitness program. In fact, we believe that total body transformation is possible in as little as <i>twenty to thirty minutes per day</i>, and only three times per week.</p> <p>Check out our YouTube channel<sup>6</sup> and <a target="_blank" href="https://www.warriormade.com/content/exercise/" rel="noreferrer">exercise section</a> for a taste of what we offer.</p> <picture class="lazy-load"> <source data-srcset="https://d1ghrtdbdq2gkr.cloudfront.net/blog-content/bodybuilder-in-gym-black-and-white-0072.webp" type="image/webp"> <source data-srcset="https://d1ghrtdbdq2gkr.cloudfront.net/blog-content/bodybuilder-in-gym-black-and-white-0072.jpf" type="image/jpf"> <source data-srcset="https://d1ghrtdbdq2gkr.cloudfront.net/blog-content/bodybuilder-in-gym-black-and-white-0072.jpg"> <img src="https://d1ghrtdbdq2gkr.cloudfront.net/blog-content/bodybuilder-in-gym-black-and-white-LR-0072.jpg" class="img-fluid" alt="bodybuilder-in-gym-black-and-white-0072"> </picture> </section> <hr class="divider-50 divider-medium mx-auto"> <section> <header>Gym Workouts vs. Functional Exercises at Home</header> <p>If you’ve come to believe that the key to results is going to the gym, we may be about to burst your bubble.</p> <p>Gym workouts tend to be complicated and require prior knowledge of how machines and weight equipment work. What’s also important to know is that most gym equipment is designed for bodybuilders.</p> <p>They isolate muscle groups like the biceps (video example<sup>7</sup>), training one muscle group at a time in the hopes that that specific muscle will grow larger over time.</p> <p>Full body, functional exercises train your body in a much different way. Your body gets good at moving the way it was designed to, and your muscle groups work in unison to achieve a common objective. </p> <p>And the truth is, you burn way more calories working several muscle groups at one time!</p> </section> <hr class="divider-50 divider-medium mx-auto"> <section> <header>Risk of Gym Exercises</header> <p>We’ve talked a lot about functional exercises, so let’s reverse it for a moment. Here are a few of the risks associated with doing lots of gym equipment or bodybuilding-style exercises.</p> <div class="sub-head">Injuries</div> <p>Compound exercises like the squat or plank require your muscles to work together. If you don’t believe us, trying doing a plank without using your leg muscles (good luck). This type of training helps your muscles develop more evenly, decreasing the risk of injury.</p> <p>Isolation exercises done at the gym put a lot of stress on individual ligaments and tendons. Small muscles like the biceps, triceps, and calves aren’t actually meant to be worked in isolation. This can lead to tears, joint pain, and soreness.</p> <div class="sub-head">Might Not Fit Your Goals</div> <p>These smaller muscle group exercises are good for a certain type of person: someone that wants big muscles like a bodybuilder. If that’s your goal, that’s great—but if it isn’t, why do these types of exercises? Wouldn’t it be better to train for life and optimal health instead?</p> <p>You can just as easily add lean muscle with functional exercises and not get bulky. This is another reason we believe in functional over isolated movements.</p> </section> <hr class="divider-50 divider-medium mx-auto"> <section> <header>Four Problems with Gym Workouts</header> <p>Here are four reasons that gym workouts aren’t actually as great as they seem.</p> <div class="sub-head">1. Commute Time</div> <p><i>Okay</i>, you think. <i>Tomorrow I’ll do a forty-five minute workout at the gym.</i></p> <picture class="lazy-load"> <source data-srcset="https://d1ghrtdbdq2gkr.cloudfront.net/blog-content/bodybuilder-in-gym-0072.webp" type="image/webp"> <source data-srcset="https://d1ghrtdbdq2gkr.cloudfront.net/blog-content/bodybuilder-in-gym-0072.jpf" type="image/jpf"> <source data-srcset="https://d1ghrtdbdq2gkr.cloudfront.net/blog-content/bodybuilder-in-gym-0072.jpg"> <img src="https://d1ghrtdbdq2gkr.cloudfront.net/blog-content/bodybuilder-in-gym-LR-0072.jpg" class="img-fluid" alt="bodybuilder-in-gym-0072"> </picture> <p>Great! Have a good workout. But don’t kid yourself thinking it will only take forty-five minutes.</p> <p>You’ve got to pack a gym bag—that's five minutes. Commute to the gym—let’s call it twenty more. Park your car, scan your pass, lock your valuables up. Workout for forty-five minutes. And do it all again.</p> <p>A forty-five minute gym workout can take up to two hours when you factor in commute times, traffic, and other unforeseen circumstances. At home, you’re a few steps away from getting your workout started.</p> <p>In fact, our workouts take twenty to thirty minutes and can be done anytime, anywhere, with zero equipment and all you need is your smartphone, tablet, computer, or TV. </p> <div class="sub-head">2. Results at the Gym Aren’t Guaranteed</div> <p>Did you know nearly 61 million people<sup>3</sup> had a gym membership in the U.S. in 2017? It’s exciting to know that one in six people take fitness seriously enough to invest in it. </p> <p>But that doesn’t tell the whole story. Sadly, over 160 million people<sup>8</sup> in America are overweight or obese. That’s near 50 percent of our population. So while a lot of people have gym memberships, that number doesn’t exactly shout that everyone is getting results.</p> <p>In fact, one study found that 67 percent of gym memberships go unused<sup>9</sup>. For reasons like this, we don’t really feel bad about saying gym memberships are overrated. </p> <div class="sub-head">3. Not All Gyms Are Created Equal</div> <p>The best gyms advertise clearly who their ideal client is. They tell the public, <i>we’re for bodybuilders or we’re for women who want to feel comfortable in the gym</i>, then back it by delivering a great experience to their customers.</p> <p>Sadly, most gyms don’t do this. They advertise to everyone and anyone in hopes of making sales, which can lead to a poor gym experience for everyone that goes there.</p> <p>In fact, some chain gyms (we won’t name names) have an ideal ‘ghost membership’ percentage for their member base built into their business model. This means they shoot for a number (say 60 percent) of people that never use their membership—the gym makes money and no one is fighting to use the equipment.</p> <p>No two gyms are alike, and it may take you months or even years to find one that fits your needs. And if you move, change jobs, or adjust your schedule, you may find yourself joining the statistic of people not using their gym membership.</p> <p>Conversely, you won’t run into any of these problems if your gym is in your living room.</p> <div class="sub-head">4. Knowing What to Do</div> <p>If you’re new to gyms, you may be overwhelmed by the number of machines, weights, and exercises that people are doing. And if you can’t afford a trainer (which start at about $75/hour), you may find yourself wandering around the gym a lot. That’s probably not the type of physical exercise you were hoping for.</p> <p>With functional exercises and empty floor space at home, you can simplify your workouts without having to learn (or pay to learn) a full array of exercises.</p> </section> <hr class="divider-50 divider-medium mx-auto"> <section> <header>Three Myths of Home Workouts</header> <p>Now that we’ve popped the gym ‘bubble’, let’s bust up the myth that home workouts aren’t a perfectly viable solution for most people.</p> <picture class="lazy-load"> <source data-srcset="https://d1ghrtdbdq2gkr.cloudfront.net/blog-content/core-pushup-girl-0072.webp" type="image/webp"> <source data-srcset="https://d1ghrtdbdq2gkr.cloudfront.net/blog-content/core-pushup-girl-0072.jpf" type="image/jpf"> <source data-srcset="https://d1ghrtdbdq2gkr.cloudfront.net/blog-content/core-pushup-girl-0072.jpg"> <img src="https://d1ghrtdbdq2gkr.cloudfront.net/blog-content/core-pushup-girl-LR-0072.jpg" class="img-fluid" alt="core-pushup-girl-0072"> </picture> <div class="sub-head">1. Home Workouts Aren’t Effective</div> <p>Anyone that says home workouts aren’t effective has never tried a <a target="_blank" href="https://www.warriormade.com/content/exercise/" rel="noreferrer">Warrior Made workout</a>. We combine a few functional exercises like squats, push-ups, lunges, or table tops with a high-intensity interval style workout like Tabata.</p> <p>We are confident you’ll report back that you got a great workout in much less time than you expected.</p> <div class="sub-head">2. Home Workouts Aren’t Safe</div> <p>If you’re new to exercising, you may be worried about training by yourself or without the supervision of a trainer.</p> <p>You’re in luck! Our coaches break down all the movements in how-to videos, giving in-depth descriptions of what to do for each exercise. For example, we spend several minutes with you perfecting your form on things like squats and push-ups<sup>1</sup> to make sure you don’t injure yourself, teaching you what to do from the floor to your head.</p> <p>YouTube and an initiative to try new things can help your fitness go a long way. We’re confident you’ll be safe if you watch the videos and progress slowly.</p> <div class="sub-head">3. Home Workouts Aren’t Fun</div> <p>Some people like the energy that a group of people at a gym can bring and fear that the isolation of at-home workouts might be boring. To that we say, get creative and invite some friends over!</p> <p>There’s no reason you can’t get physical with your spouse, kids, or even your next-door neighbor. In fact, we encourage you to invite someone over to join you for some functional exercises and some high-intensity training. Having an accountability partner workout will only help you reach your goals faster. </p> </section> <hr class="divider-50 divider-medium mx-auto"> <section> <header>The Warrior Made Workout</header> <p>At Warrior Made, we believe that functional exercises combined with high-intensity interval training (HIIT) are the best way to reach your fitness goals. And the beauty of our program is that you can do it all from the comfort of a living room—no fancy gym membership required.</p> <p>If you made it all the way through, we give you props for taking in all this information about fitness and functional training. If you’re ready to take it to the next level, we encourage you to hop over to our fitness page and try one of our <a target="_blank" href="https://www.warriormade.com/content/exercise/" rel="noreferrer">latest workouts</a>. </p> <p>Your at-home body transformation is around the corner—and we can’t wait to help you get there.</p> <div class="sub-head">Resources</div> <ol> <li><a target="_blank" href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YUT0f9P7GpQ" rel="noreferrer">How to do perfect squats and pushups</a></li> <li><a target="_blank" href="https://www.webmd.com/fitness-exercise/a-z/high-intensity-interval-training-hiit" rel="noreferrer">HIIT (High-Intensity Interval Training)</a></li> <li><a target="_blank" href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2991639/" rel="noreferrer">High-Intensity Intermittent Exercise and Fat Loss</a></li> <li><a target="_blank" href="https://www.researchgate.net/publication/324162086_Tabata_protocol_A_review_of_its_application_variations_and_outcomes" rel="noreferrer">Tabata protocol: A review of its application, variations and outcomes</a></li> <li><a target="_blank" href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4657417/" rel="noreferrer">The Effects of High Intensity Interval Training vs Steady State Training</a></li> <li><a target="_blank" href="https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCZjFDJI4B4l16uujibduMFA/videos" rel="noreferrer">Warrior Made YouTube Chanel</a></li> <li><a target="_blank" href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rZM88p-VZe8" rel="noreferrer">Seated Bicep Curl Machine</a></li> <li><a target="_blank" href="http://www.healthdata.org/news-release/vast-majority-american-adults-are-overweight-or-obese-and-weight-growing-problem-among" rel="noreferrer">The vast majority of American adults are overweight or obese</a></li> <li><a target="_blank" href="https://eu.usatoday.com/story/money/personalfinance/2016/04/27/your-gym-membership-good-investment/82758866/" rel="noreferrer">Is your gym membership a good investment?</a></li> </ol> </section> </article>

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