What is “Functional Training”, REALLY?

Mauldin, South Carolina

There have been so many terms in the fitness industry just pulled out of seemingly thin air. “Clean” eating, “AMRAP”, “HIIT”, just to name a few. Some of these new terms are just the inevitable evolution of fitness. They are simply a way to shorten more complex terms, like “HIIT” is just short for High Intensity Interval Training. High Intensity Interval Training has actually been around for a very long time as it’s origins date back to the mid to late 1930’s. “Clean” eating is a bit more nebulous as it does not have really well defined criteria, but it is used in an effort to describe whole foods, or foods that are in their most basic of forms.

One term that really got the old brain thinking was “functional training”. Functional training is being used as a way to describe training with free weights and is being touted as a way of training that is more “functional” than any other type of training. Honestly, the logic behind it is pretty sound. When you train with barbells, dumbbells, kettlebells, etc you are training with “free” weights. Simply meaning that they are free from any guided path. They can move in any direction and are only subject to the laws of gravity. This means that it requires you, the athlete, to have to stabilize, recruit more muscle for that stabilization, and give you a little more bang for your buck as you use more musculature to be able to wield them properly. So, then what’s the problem with this new term?

Well, it implies that it will serve you better than sitting in a machine and being on a guided path when you do a movement. It also comes with some level of saying that other styles of training are “bad” or “worse” for you as you won’t get a “complete” workout and, that you should always do this style of training. That leaves out a whole lot of variables that may factor in when developing a training regiment. What about injury, immobility, disability, and a whole host of other individual factors. A lot of beginners may simply be scared away by the idea of having to handle free weights.

On top of all this, it doesn’t really matter if you are using free weights or not. If you progressively overload your muscles and move more weight over time then it does not matter how you look at it; you are getting stronger! Is strength, no matter how it was obtained, not strength? You can guarantee that whether or not you got stronger by a barbell or a machine you are still stronger, able to do more.

That’s where the big struggle with “functional” training comes in. No, you do not “need” it but, yes it is directly applicable to moving in the free world. It prepares you better for day to day movement, but you’re not better or worse for having done or not having done it. The one through line that all these new terms have in common is that they have been around for decades! How long have we been training with free weights? Well, since the very first time someone ever picked up a weight to train with! So, it all comes back to the bottom line. Someone made up a term to try and sell you a “new” training method that in all actuality has been around forever. They are just trying to sell you something new. Yes, you should be incorporating some free weight training. Yes, you should be eating whole food sources that are nutrient dense. Of course you should be pacing yourself at proper intervals. These are ALL things that have been a part of training for years and years! But, strong is strong.

The only thing you truly have to remember is – stick with it. No matter what you are doing, the only way to see any real success is to stick with it. Fitness is a marathon, not a sprint. If you’re just starting out remember that and, if you have been doing the same thing for a long time, try incorporating a new method or piece of equipment to give the body some variation.

TriFit New Year Advice

Getting Your Ducks in Order

As a coach and gym owner I have been asked thousands of different questions pertaining to health, goals, and fitness. Every time I am asked anything about fitness I can’t help but be giddy with the opportunity to share my passion with another. I think all gym veterans are especially pleased when a newer athlete, just setting out on their fitness journey, asks for your opinion. Finally, you get to relay to them all the pertinent information that will truly help them and, guide them away from the countless mistakes you’ve made over the years.

I do find it funny and, maybe this is not just in the fitness industry but, I find countless times where I have been asked questions that only the top tier of professional athletes should be concerned. I think we have been marketed to and, inundated with, information that can really only pertain to those looking to eak out milliseconds on their dash, or the newest training method Dwayne Johnson is doing. What time of day is best to workout? Should I eat breakfast? Should I have carbs before or after working out? Which protein powder should I be taking? None of this matters, unless you have established a habit, a routine, built the discipline necessary to train.

I get it, I really do, why put in any effort if you are not going to do it correctly and, I mean if The Rock, is doing it, why shouldn’t I be doing it? Because we can not build a stronger, faster, leaner body if we do not have a stable foundation to stand upon. We are all on different paths to bettering ourselves but, if you struggle to make it to the gym consistently there should be only one concern on your mind – making it to the gym consistently! I know, too simple. But, this is what truly matters. The only way to any success is doing something consistently. Adherence to any fitness schedule is the only way you will see results. Bruce Lee said it best, “Long term consistency always trumps short term intensity”. There is no reason to waste time trying to hunt down what you think will be that one thing that drives results when all along that one thing is just doing something consistently for a long time. You want to know how you get truly strong – you slowly add weight to the bar over years and years of practice. Everyone you see in the magazines, articles, and on TV; you should not be looking at what they are doing currently but, look at what they did a decade ago. Look at what they did to build such discipline and habits. You need to become a regimented machine that no longer thinks about going to the gym, the mind can no longer interfere or “talk you out of” going, it needs to be second nature. You have to get your ducks in order. You can not concern yourself with anything else. The truth of the matter is that you will see 99% of your progress by just showing up. That other 1% will come all in due time.

The largest reason we coach for the individual is because if it’s not something you personally can sustain, then it’s not something you should be doing. We want to take away the hassle of having to think about all this useless information, and having you focus on the one thing that matters – showing up and, showing up over and over again. So, go get your ducks in order and, when you’ve conquered laying the foundation for success we can have duck confit (don’t worry, that’s still healthy).  

-Logan Krieger, Co-Owner

TriFit Celebrates 2 Year Anniversary

Thankful for Our TriFit Family

            There was a moment in time when thinking two years into the future was almost impossible. It took almost two years of plotting, planning, and organizing just to make TriFit Barbell a reality. Absolutely no one could have prepared us for the work and effort it was going to take to really make the dream come alive. That has to be the hardest thing about business ownership; the transition from being told what to do, to having no one else but yourselves to rely upon. Everyone, in the beginning, always thinks it will be so great to work for yourself and not have to answer to anyone but yourself. We forget just how simple it is when you get to follow directions as opposed to making the directions. It is rewarding to be at the helm, sailing the proverbial ship in the direction you see fit but, the weight of these decisions is more than just “working for yourself”. The amount you learn, try, and discover being your own boss is beyond what anyone can prepare you for. Absolutely no one can tell you about how prepared you need to be before starting a business, it is truly something you have to experience for yourself.

            The greatest part of all this, maybe more in the fitness industry than anywhere else, is the people you meet. One of the greatest achievements of opening TriFit was going from zero members to the now 100 plus people who call us home. It still is alway amazing to see absolute strangers come into the gym and see our vision. People stuck in fitness routines that do not ensure progress, or the same rut of try give up and try again. These now members trusted that TriFit could help them and wanted a new place to break up the monotony of regularly working out. They saw the benefits of training for their goals and not just working out. People who were once just strangers to us are now our family and friends. We have been through so much together and have figured out the structure and routine they need to reach fitness goals.

            That is the greatest accomplishment of our, so far, two year journey – the members. It is beyond cliche to say it, as all business is only as strong as its customers but, truly, none of this would be possible without every one of you! We set out with the focus of delivering the most comprehensive training systems, individualized, and personalized to the athlete. A gym should never have a one time customer. It is an ongoing conversation with a completely unique individual with varying goals, life balance, and needs. We just knew, at the end of the day, all we had to do was provide results. We were confident in our knowledge and coaching and, we knew that if we provided the best service and structure we would not have to focus on marketing and selling product, rather, we needed to focus on developing relationships, building rapport, and getting awesome results! At the end of the day, you the member have put in all the work we merely showed you the correct path to take.

            To all our members, thank you. Seriously, from the bottom of our hearts we can not thank you enough for coming along with us on this journey. We see you all working so very diligently and that is what keeps us inspired to work for you. We are so excited for the future and we know that with the #TriFitFam behind us, the future is bright!