Tutorial Thursday #22 – Functional training like a trepeze act?

Is the circus in town?

This question regularly arises when it comes to functional training. Proponents of the classical training philosophy have nothing but a faint smile for people that work it on the gym’s newly installed freestyle zone. Admittedly, swinging around mooring ropes, throwing med balls towards the ceiling, and throwing an iron ball with a handle through the air can look rather comical to bystanders. Almost like in the circus or the carnival! Only without cotton candy (since it’s not paleo 😉 ) and with more sweat.

Tutorial Thursday Logo

The end justifies the means

In a previous post I have already described the different goals and methods of fitness training. But I will ask this again: What is your goal and how ambitious are you? Do you only train for your consciousness or do you want to improve in certain areas? How often and with how much passion do you go about it? Are your methods appropriate?

As previously claimed by me, functional training with your own bodyweight and small equipment is the means of choice for most people of our society. They often simply don’t know it yet… Once you have found your own perfect training method it is more than legitimate to stick with it and do it with passion and all advantageous exercises and/or equipment. This can look funny at times. Or like the high-wire act on the carnival.


It is very interesting, however, that there is currently a rising professionalization of this kind of fitness training. After bodybuilding, functional training is next.

Especially with the surge of the fitness phenomenon CrossFit in the international world of fitness, you more often speak of athletes rather than trainees. Fitness is now being done by athletes. Back in the days, this term was exclusively used in track and field or other individual sports. Today, this seems to have changed: self-proclaimed athletes compete with each other and don’t get paid for it. No, they actually pay for being able to compete! But they are athletes… Their training plans, their professionalism, their equipment, and their discipline emphasize this. And they are training functionally!

Some respect, please!

If you are regularly training to improve your performance, continuously working on achieving your goals with passion, when you are consciously pushing your body to the limits to move them every single time a little bit further, then you may call yourself an athlete! No matter which sport you do, how funny and awkward your exercises may look, whether it’s alone, in a group, indoor or outdoor.

When we do burpees in a tabata protocol like it is the most beautiful experience of the week (we all know it’s not), then we like to get some appreciation. Even though it looks like the mating rituals of the male baboon in the city zoo.

Functional Training Fail
You can overdo it. Why? See the answer here.

When you are an athlete…

…then you probably have to consider a few things. With your increased training workload and the increased intensity, your needs increase as well. Your need for regeneration, sleep, fluid intake, macro, and mirco nutrientes. Pay close attention that you consume sufficient complex carbohydrates, at least 2 g of protein per kg of bodyweight, and mostly unsaturated fatty acids. Your demand for vitamins, minerals, and trace elements is probably also increased. Take magnesium, for example: the common recommendations range around 310 to 400 mg for adults.For further information, read Tutorial Thursday 18.

Additionally, you are dependent on high-quality and reliable equipment. Only with good hardware you can work hard on yourself.

All or nothing

It doesn’t matter if people laugh or call it a trapeze act. Yes, new, unknown training methods and exercises may look funny at first. But they are also damn effective. Stay the course! And do it with passion because then it is only a matter of time when you will achieve your goals.

Get functional,
Your Fabien

Author: Fabien Mpouma

Fabien is bachelor of arts sportscience (DSHS) and since his studies he is working in the sector of health- and rehabilitation sports. He was course instructor for several institutions in the field of rehabilitation and mental and physical disease. He has a lot of experience in prevention with adults, youths, and children. He worked as regional manager for Outdoor Gym and now as a Personal Trainer and Foodcoach. Since 2014 he is Manager for Training & Education and Head Coach for aerobis. In 2016 he opened his own facility for Personal- and Grouptraining in his hometown Siegburg. Stay in contact with Fabien by sending him an email

Leave a Reply