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Functional Fitness Questions and Answers

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Functional Fitness Questions and Answers

Last week we discussed the importance of setting goals and how coaches can provide support throughout the goal-setting process. One area that individuals gravitate toward when they begin setting goals surrounds their physical fitness routines. Having a personal trainer address functional fitness questions and answers is a great place to start.

Allison Crawford, Functional Fitness
Allison Crawford, Mama Pajama Fitness

We are fortunate that the internet has given us the opportunity to view workouts on YouTube and download apps with training programs to keep us motivated. However, even with all this information at our fingertips, fitness professionals still provide invaluable training and input. Everyone has different goals and personal capabilities, but there are some common fitness questions and answers trainers hear regularly. Allison Crawford, Mama Pajama Fitness, provides her perspective below to some of those questions.

Functional Fitness Q & A

Question: What functional training exercises provide the most benefit if you are limited on time?

Answer: “It really depends on what you are trying to achieve and what feels good in your body. My number one rule with any exercise is to listen to yourself. Exercises that maximize the number of muscle groups at one time will be the most efficient if a person is limited on time. Some examples would be squats or lunges with an upper-body movement added in, such as an overhead press or tricep extension. Push-ups and deadlifts combined with a bent-over row are among some of my favorites.”

Question: In a given work out how much time should be dedicated to cardiovascular exercises versus strength training?

Answer: “It is really most important to listen to your body when you are exercising or putting a workout together. Some people just gravitate more to cardiovascular activities, so if that is you, adding in a quick weighted circuit would be a nice compliment to your workout. If strength training is your thing, you could add a cardio warm-up or add it at the end. Either way, I would use one or the other to balance out whatever it is that you are doing. Even if it’s not every day, it is nice to switch things up to avoid burnout, over-training, or injuries due to overuse.”

Question: Is it better to work out in the morning versus the evening; does it even matter?

Answer: “Some people feel more energized in the mornings, so in that case, I would definitely encourage someone to work out in the mornings. However, if you are forcing yourself to wake up earlier and it is impeding on the amount of sleep you are getting or you are feeling drained, then I would try to change over to a later workout time. Trying a different time frame may provide you with more energy for your workout.”

What is ‘Functional Training’ anyway?

“Functional training” is newer terminology that simply means training your body for movements and situations in everyday life. “‘Functional movement’ refers to movements that are performed naturally and often in our everyday lives, so functional fitness is about incorporating these movements in a higher-intensity setting to strengthen the muscles used and help us move better in our daily activities,” explains Nathan Mago, athletics director of F45 Training. This article by Mind Body Green provides a great overview and lists the benefits of functional training if you would like more information.

Please follow @MamaPajamaFitness on Instagram. If you are in the Greater Birmingham area and would like to attend one of Allison’s fitness classes or obtain more information about personal training, please reach email

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