Over the last 5-7 years, my view of what fitnesstruly means has totally changed. And if I’m being honest, I think that’s because society’s view of fitness is beginning to change as well. When I opened Synergy three years ago, I knew immediately what kind of fitness I wanted to see there. And coincidentally, it was the exact same time I became a new father to my son Henry.
You see I’ve been in and around gyms for a long time. I started working out at the typical big-box gym when I was in high school – and from that day forward I can’t remember a time in my life where I was ever absent from working out for any significant amount of time. Eventually, I started working at that same gym, and quickly became immersed and educated on the definitions of health and fitness that arose out of the franchise-gym boom of the 1990’s.
Back then (what I now comically refer to as the “olden days”), as a young single male on a quest to get “jacked”, my fitness score was wrapped up nicely and handed to me in a short, simple question: “How much do you bench bro?”So there I went, bench pressing, DB flying, and pec-decking my way towards the healthiest me I could ever be. Chest and arm day was any day that ended in “y”, we threw in back or shoulders once or twice a week just so we didn’t end up looking weird, and we would hit some abs for a couple minutes before we walked out the door. Legs? Cardio? Well we played some pickup basketball here and there so that covered that…
In nutshell, that was the fitness paradigm I grew up in. I didn’t matter if men had a 40-inch waist so long as your jacket size was a 50. No one ever asked you about your blood pressure, cholesterol, or resting heart rate. CrossFit, HIIT, Bootcamps, and other forms of functional training weren’t really around yet. In all honesty, functional fitness was simply having bigger arms than your friends and looking good on the beach.
Nearly 15 years later, you know what’s funny? My now 3-year old son has never once asked me to lay on my back and see how big of an object I can lift off my chest. Nor has he ever rolled up the sleeves on my t-shirt to see how big my arms are. Instead, that tiny voice is begging me to chase him around the backyard, climb around on his playset, and throw him in the swimming pool.Fitness, for me, has quickly changed from a focus on how I look, and more on how I perform. Being strong is certainly still important – but equally as important is the ability to move well, to have energy, and to live long enough to see him perform the same activities with his kids.
Embracing the boom of the Functional Fitness scene has been one of the single best things to ever happen to me. Don’t get me wrong, I still love the bench pressing and bicep curls that have been ingrained in me from early on. And I would be lying if I said I didn’t care what I looked like on the beach (don’t we all?). But now, I get to exercise in a way that directly impacts my quality of life outside the gym. I get to work on truly being Functionally Fit. And it just so happens that people who are functionally fit also tend to look pretty good 😉