[mk_dropcaps style="fancy-style"]I[/mk_dropcaps]f you've been around the gym much in your life you've likely heard the term "functional fitness" before. If not, it is a description for workout programs that use common moments we do every day. Most body weight exercises are functional exercises. The benefit of this kind of training is that it has a direct correlation with how you perform day to day. I love this kind of training because you develop the kind of strength and endurance that equips you for most of the activities you'd find yourself in. If you love hiking with friends, want to play that pick up game of soccer, go running on the beach, or spend the weekend in the snow this kind of training will make it so you don't pay drastically for those activities the next day. Most importantly when your foundation of fitness is strong you are less likely to get injured. Typically this blog is reserved for addressing the fitness of our internal world, but because our physical health is closely connected to that I wanted to spend some time here. In fact what triggered this post cam from listening to a conversation at the gym today. At the bench next to where I was working out a young woman and young man spent a good 20 min chatting about the various "fitness" competitions out there. I learned a lot from listening to them. For example, I didn't realize there were so many kinds of competitions nor how they classified them (the range from bikini to body building with figure and physique in between). I'm fuzzy on the details, as most of their conversation was them comparing the definition of their lat muscles, however it got me thinking.
Fitness, which is a highly functional activity, is becoming more and more about the external representation. The conversation these two were having is a perfect example. It takes a lot of discipline to train for any of those events, and I'm not demeaning or discounting that. Instead, my purpose today is to ask the question. When it comes to how you care for your body and your workouts, is it more about the look than the function?
Perhaps I should clarify what "functional" means first.
[mk_blockquote style="line-style" font_family="none" text_size="16" align="center"]The clearest definition says: "capable for serving the purpose for which it was designed." Another definition says "designed to be practical and useful, rather than attractive."[/mk_blockquote]
Functional the way many twist it would sound to be negative, but how honorable is it to fulfill the purpose you were created for. Beauty and "attractiveness" is a subjective measure. Being able to fulfill the purpose you were designed for is quite the opposite.
As I'm sure you can tell I am biased on this subject. It's not that I don't care how I look, or what things look like, but the value I place on "attractiveness" is much further down the list of my priorities. I think that comes from the truth that we are created with a divine purpose. What God created is beautiful in all its variety. When we narrow our focus so much that our aim becomes solely on what is seen our lives become equally superficial.
Today all I want to encourage you in is to step back and look where this superficial lens may be inadequately filtering your life. Perhaps you are much further along in your "functionality" than you realized because your focus was fixed on the outward. As you evaluate your life in all its facets my guess is you'll see you are much more "functionally" fit than you thought. My friend you were built with a divine and eternal purpose planted within you. Your strengths and talents are all clues to what that is. Now it's time to do some functional training and switch your gaze to that which is fulfilling its purpose in your life. Cut the criticism and comparison and keep pressing on!