Marietta Mehanni

Taking Functional Training seriously

Written by Marietta

March 21, 2014

It was certainly not a planned new year’s resolution, but it ended up being something that started on new year’s day and has continued since and here is the story of two girls and a garden.

Once upon a time…well actually it was 1st January 2014, Carla Bond (a very dear and close friend of mine) and I decided to start a new training concept, Fitness Bag.

What is that? It is basically a sand bag with handles. Not a new concept and often it is used for personal training or bootcamp, circuit workouts, but the format and the program that we are working on is very different.

So day one- we started on working through the format that I had been working on with the Gymstick team 18 months ago.
Day two- a little sore in the biceps and abdominals, but having had so much fun, we decided to do another hour.

Day three- we are really sore, and in ways that we have never felt before, but enjoy doing the exercise so much, that we had to do another workout.
Day four- my arms were moving and my abdominals and legs were really sore, but hey we were having too much fun that we were at it again.
Day five- and this is where it got interesting! So here we are in the gym swinging this fitness bag around (it is a combination of kettlebell, medicine ball and weight training rolled into one) and talking about how effective it was. Carla noticed that she was now lifting much heavier weights than she had before in the gym and I was making notes of the functionality of the training program that it struck me…

Functional training for…sports, everyday activities like gardening, and in fact, as be both come from farming communities, there were a lot of exercises similar to actions performed on the farm. Having completed the Vipr training in 2011 and a pre convention with Michol Dalcourt last year at WAFIC, I was aware that he used similar ideas for developing the Vipr concept. Farm kids are stronger than city kids because their activities on the farm are varied and incorporates full body actions.

So I had a giggle to myself. I don’t do any sports and certainly no work on a farm, let alone a garden, that an idea sparked. Why don’t we test this? start a garden, like really digging and stuff, and find out if the training actually works. If we were actually stronger and more able to perform these activities because of what we were doing at the gym.

Day six- (this is beginning to sound like the book of Genesis in the Bible), we struck dirt. A quick trip to Bunnings and Carla and I were off, hoeing like demons in my back yard. The initial plan was to start something modest 3m by 1m, and instead we dug a pit 5m by 4m. It was incredible and our energy levels were high and we were having a ball.
Day seven- was a rest day for both of us. I had to teach 5 classes and that meant no fitness bag or gardening. And I was not sore at all. In fact, I had thought that my lower back would be sore as ‘I wasn’t hoeing properly’ according to my beloved partner and ‘it was going to hurt my back’. No – nothing, nada, not one hint or twinge of muscle fatigue. Amazing!!! This functional training really works.

So 2014 started with a new training format that is really fun and enjoyable to do (watch this space for when we launch this year) and a backyard veggie patch big enough to plant everything that we desire.

Functional training is more than a way to keep body weight down and maintain muscle mass, it is about function and for me, this had to make more sense than something that I did in the gym and discussed in workshops. I had to see proof. I had to feel the difference. I had to know that there was a connection between the gym floor and the real world. And… I found it!

mm garden2014-01-24 11-56-55

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