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Functional fitness training: Is it right for you?

Chances are you don't live to exercise. For many people, exercise is a way to maintain or improve their quality of life. And that's the focus of functional fitness.

Functional fitness exercises are designed to train and develop your muscles to make it easier and safer to perform everyday activities, such as carrying groceries or playing a game of basketball with your kids.

What is functional fitness training?

Functional fitness exercises train your muscles to work together and prepare them for daily tasks by simulating common movements you might do at home, at work or in sports. While using various muscles in the upper and lower body at the same time, functional fitness exercises also emphasize core stability.

For example, a squat is a functional exercise because it trains the muscles used when you rise up and down from a chair or pick up low objects. By training your muscles to work the way they do in everyday tasks, you prepare your body to perform well in a variety of common situations.

Functional fitness exercises can be done at home or at the gym. Gyms may offer functional fitness classes or incorporate functional fitness into boot camps or other types of classes. Exercise tools, such as fitness balls, kettle bells and weights, are often used in functional fitness workouts.

What are the benefits of functional fitness training?

Functional exercises tend to use multiple joints and numerous muscles. Instead of only moving the elbows, for example, a functional exercise might involve the elbows, shoulders, spine, hips, knees and ankles. This type of training, properly applied, can make everyday activities easier, reduce your risk of injury and improve your quality of life.

Functional exercise training may be especially beneficial as part of a comprehensive program for older adults to improve balance, agility and muscle strength, and reduce the risk of falls.

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Pros for a.m. workouts

Working out in the morning can boost energy for the rest of the day. An a.m. workout jump-starts metabolism in the same vein that eating breakfast does. The thermal effect of exercise (or activity) lasts at least four hours after a workout. That increases the total calorie expenditure throughout the day.
 
In the 8-12 hours prior waking, your body was in sleep mode and, depending on the quality of sleep, in a process of regeneration. A workout causes microscopic tears in the muscle fibers. Oxidation also takes place on the cellular level and energy stored in the muscle fibers are utilized. Sleep is the time for the body to repair damage. Antioxidants repair cellular damage. Food is digested and converted to glucose. In the morning, you're using a fresh, repaired and, in some instances, new body. During REM sleep, dreams are also a chance for the body to rehearse or even learn new motor skills — that clean and snatch is smoother and easier than it was during your last workout because you essentially had time to practice during your sleep.

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Pros for a.m. workouts

Working out in the morning can boost energy for the rest of the day. An a.m. workout jump-starts metabolism in the same vein that eating breakfast does. The thermal effect of exercise (or activity) lasts at least four hours after a workout. That increases the total calorie expenditure throughout the day.
 
In the 8-12 hours prior waking, your body was in sleep mode and, depending on the quality of sleep, in a process of regeneration. A workout causes microscopic tears in the muscle fibers. Oxidation also takes place on the cellular level and energy stored in the muscle fibers are utilized. Sleep is the time for the body to repair damage. Antioxidants repair cellular damage. Food is digested and converted to glucose. In the morning, you're using a fresh, repaired and, in some instances, new body. During REM sleep, dreams are also a chance for the body to rehearse or even learn new motor skills — that clean and snatch is smoother and easier than it was during your last workout because you essentially had time to practice during your sleep.

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SPICED COOKIE DOUGH PUMPKIN ICE-NOCREAM

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SPICED COOKIE DOUGH PUMPKIN ICE-NOCREAM

While we are waiting for temperatures to cool down for the fall season, here's a way to satisfy that pumpkin craving and bare this Indian summer heat. 

PREP TIME

50 mins

TOTAL TIME

50 mins

Recipe Credit

Serves: 4

INGREDIENTS

  • 3 frozen bananas, peeled and very ripe/spotted
  • 1 can organic pumpkin puree
  • ⅔ cup raw cashews
  • ⅓ cup rolled oats, gluten free
  • 1 tablespoon maple syrup
  • 1 tablespoon raw almond butter
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
  • pinch of sea salt

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. COOKIE DOUGH //
  2. Combine all dry ingredients (except "wet", bananas, pumpkin, and maple syrup), in a high speed blender/Vitamix/ food processor until well combined. This texture will resemble a very fine flour.
  3. Add maple syrup and almond butter to this fine flour mixture and combine until a dough texture has been achieved.
  4. Freeze for about 20 minutes or until hardened.
  5. Roll about 1 teaspoon of the cookie dough in the palm of your hands creating bite sized balls.
  6. Lay these cookie dough balls on a baking sheet or flat surface and put back into the freezer to set (at least 20 minutes).
  7. PUMPKIN ICE NOCREAM //
  8. Combine the only two ingredients for the ice cream- pumpkin and frozen bananas- into the Vitamix/high speed blender until thick and creamy.
  9. Add the cookie dough balls you've made (that were in the freezer), into this pumpkin ice cream mix.
  10. Stir until the cookie dough balls have become spread out throughout the pumpkin ice cream.
  11. Serve immediately and enjoy!
  12. Top with additional pumpkin seeds and a dash of cinnamon.

NOTES

almond milk optional to thin out to your desired consistency.

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The Diet: Part Two - The Base

Food Schedule

In setting any successful dietary program, three things ring true; everybody needs protein, fat is extremely important for brain function, and there is not a single carbohydrate on the planet that is essential for human life. With that said, we are not advocating for a carbohydrate free diet, just putting things into perspective as to what you need and what you don't.  Carbs definitely make life convenient (and sometimes pretty fun.)  However, finding the right amount of carbohydrates for your particular goals will be helpful.  In determining this, the most important aspects to consider, are activity level and schedule for being able to eat.  If you are only able to have 2 full meals during the day, high carbs in those meals might be counter-productive.  Carbohydrates can leave you depleted and feeling hungry or in the long run which leads to further throwing the diet off with cheat meals.  Need help figuring the schedule out, come join us this Wednesday (April 29th) at 7PM, for a talk that will guide you though it.

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The Diet, in Three Parts.

Purpose:

Next Wednesday ThirdSpace Fitness will present a hands on seminar to discuss resetting our nutrition.  You can join us here.  Over the course of the next week we'll talk about the biggest component to health outside of the gym: the diet. Understanding what to do with the diet becomes a little easier when the understand what the purpose of a diet is.  Diet with a capital D is simply the intake of nutrients to sustain overall health. Most people's diets will vary depending on body type, exercise, activity level, predisposition to certain diseases and goal for body composition.  Having an understanding of this allows you to affectively choose what to eat and what supplements you might need.  So here is your homework, everyone needs to find out these three things:

-  How many calories are you taking in on a daily basis

-  What goals do you have in terms of diet and exercise

-  What diseases run in your family (diabetes, heart disease, etc.)

From here we will determine a starting point.  Better yet, bring the information to us at 7PM, Weds. the 29th. Sign up here

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2 Steps back is 1 step forward

So with Easter and the end of Q1 coming up it is fitting that we should be talking about renewal of our goals.  In particular, sometimes the quickest way to reach our goals is not a straight line.  When we get close, we make jumps, throw caution to the wind and possibly do some things that need correcting.  In the case of a diet, we might see our target weight only 3 pounds away so we skip a couple of meals.  We may hit our goal, but it is hardly in a sustainable way.  It’s times like this were a refocus, possibly even taking a step back or setting up your follow up with a fitness concierge and starting again can really help in the long term.  Whether the endeavor be weight loss, lifting a certain weight or some time on a 6 mile run, stepping back from the goal and making sure how you are getting there is good for the long run can ensure that you will maintain (or exceed) that goal for years to come.

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Goal (re)Setting

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Many of us have seen the frenzy of the Crossfitters doing the Open workouts downstairs on Fridays, and with the last one finished the question for most of them will be  'what now?'  This point comes along in all of our paths toward reaching our goals.  Either we hit the mark or fall a little short but to stay motivated we constantly need to reset our goals. Like steering a steering a car, minor corrections need to happen to arrive at the destination. So whether it's assessing weaknesses or tweaking your diet, using this as information to reset your goals will only help to ensure your success. 

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