Functional Strength for FitnessWhat it Really Means to Be Fit

Article courtesy of: Robert Lillis (Certified Personal Trainer)

“Run more! Lift more! Go faster! Add more weight!”.

Sounds like a really intense workout and will probably help someone lose fat and build muscle, which is what we all strive for in the gym. The problem with running more, lifting more, going faster and adding more weight is the risk of injury and failure to achieve results for someone who isn’t ready for that level of intensity. Those ideals may work for a young and active athlete, but for most of us, our bodies are more accustomed to sedentary jobs and less than physical recreation.

Poor posture is the root to most of our health problems. Over time, poor posture can result in joint and muscle pain, especially the lower back and knees. When the lower back and knees hurt, people tend to avoid physical activities and replace them with leisure and unnecessary snacking out of boredom. When people avoid activity and overeat, they gain fat and lose muscle. Not only does this added fat and loss of muscle add more stress bones and joints which can lead to arthritis and osteoporosis, but now they’re dealing with the threat of high cholesterol, high blood pressure or diabetes.

To add insult to injury, people start to finally workout because now they have to lose weight in order to avoid developing those aforementioned issues. So, here we go! “Run more! Lift more! Go faster! Add more weight!”.

But you’re not young, active or an athlete so all you do is struggle for an hour, maybe two. You’re knees and back still hurt, so you avoid weight lifting, which is essential for building muscle. Cardio is the next option, but running on the treadmill hurts that back and those knees, so you stick with the bike. Now you’re stuck with this boring, monotonous routine that may raise your heart rate a bit and cause a slight drop in body weight, but your posture is still poor and you quickly hit a plateau.

Functional Strength: Stabilization

No need to worry because there is help. All of those problems can be resolved or avoided by implementing a very simple concept into your exercise routine: Stabilization. Nobody takes into consideration their ability to balance or coordinate. Think about the process an infant takes to go from completely immobile to standing and walking around during that first year of life. First they have to roll over, then they get on all fours, begin to crawl, pull themselves up to their feet and eventually take their first steps.The same goes for people who have been sedentary for a while. Not only do you lose muscle and gain fat, but you lose functionality, so we need to take baby steps and allow you to master the basics of balance and coordination.

Balance, Coordinate

Finding stability is where you can find function. Spending 4-6 weeks in a well developed stabilization exercise program will allow you to get the most out of the workouts. These techniques, that force you to balance and coordinate, begin to improve your posture and functionality. When your form improves, the exercises become much more effective and you begin to actually develop strength. You’re not going to be strong like professional athletes coming off of a program like this, but you will have developed the basic, fundamental strength needed to progress. With this new strength, your body functions the way its suppose to, with good posture and without compromising the health of your muscles, joints and bones.

About the author: Robert Lillos is a certified personal trainer experienced in helping people of all ages and fitness levels achieve functional fitness.

To contact Robert, please call (203) 915 – 2756, or email

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