Functional Fitness and Body Composition

Functional Fitness workouts are my favorite.  After my functional workout, I feel invigorated, strong and flexible as my routine has a cardio (aerobic & anaerobic) & strength (overall & core) component through so many planes of motion.  Clients that train this way see a significant improvement in body composition, energy level and have the ability to do more in their life when they once thought they had to give up!  

Michelle Boulay, N2SHAPE Personal Trainer

Functional fitness focuses on improving one’s muscular strength and endurance, flexibility, balance and coordination, with the purpose of improving their overall capacity to perform everyday activities in a safe and independent manner, without experiencing fatigue. Although its main goal is not to change one’s body composition, functional fitness can have a strong impact on one’s physical appearance, just like any other form of exercise. This happens because this type of workout incorporates both strength and cardio routines, and focuses on the major muscle groups and basic movements that are used when performing everyday tasks.

Bending, lifting, climbing, walking, kneeling, pulling and pushing, rolling over, and standing up to reach objects aren’t perceived as “exercises” when done outside of the gym, in day-to-day activities. But, these exercises can improve your strength of your heart and muscles and improve your balance and reaction speed just like a gym workout. This is what functional fitness tries to do; it emphasizes the movements that are useful for regular activities, and makes the workouts fun and not as if you are doing a gym workout!

In case you are wondering if functional exercises are as effective as workouts on machines, unlike machine workouts, which isolate the muscles and work only one or two groups at a time, functional exercises engage multiple muscle groups at once. When more muscles are engaged, the amount of energy burned for performing the exercise increases, therefore it becomes easier to burn more calories.

A simple rule that applies to any form of physical activity says that burning more calories than you eat is the easiest way to lose weight, and functional fitness can contribute to weight loss as long as you don’t overeat. The best part though is that unlike conventional cardio workouts, which often lead not only to fat loss but also to muscle loss, functional fitness can help to prevent Bootmuscle loss while supporting the reduction of the body fat percentage. As long as you train your muscles with strength exercises and you add cardio exercises for favoring the destruction of the stored fats, you can change the composition of your body by decreasing the percentage of fat and increasing the amount of lean muscle mass.

A well-structured functional workout is based on exercises that are directed towards everyday activities and is personalized, tailored to one’s needs. It integrates exercises that increases flexibility, balance, muscular strength, speed and power, and focuses on multiple movement planes. Instead of isolating muscles, it trains them together through common movements, and emphasizes core strength and stability. The exercises chosen for the workout are modeled after daily living and are done using your own body weight, balls, kettlebells, bands, and more. The difficulty can increase based upon the number of sets, repetitions, or how fast, slow or high you perform the exercises. Some examples of exercises include the plank & row, pullup & pushup or lunge & bicep curls.

If you are interested in getting stronger, want to do more or continue doing what you are doing now and want to have fun in the process, functional fitness workouts are for you.  Leave the rest to your trainer to design an appropriate workout for you based upon your current fitness level & health status and what is your goal – to climb Mt. Kilimanjaro, just to live, or to reduce body composition?

Fitness is fun when it is functional fitness in my book!  N2SHAPE offers functional fitness workouts one-on-one and in groups at our studio in Tysons Corner or in your home.  We also offer them at corporations as part of your fitness program or just for team building events.  To try a workout or for more information, call (703)906-4413 or e-mail

Everyone walks away a Winner at N2SHAPE!

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