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Andrew Gwynne

What is Freestyle Functional Fitness?

By Blog

In my lifetime, the UK has seen a big growth in lifestyle diseases and mental health problems. It’s no coincidence that this has gone alongside a drop in physical activity. From the school playground to the modern workplace, we’ve become too sedentary. I wanted to do something about this, and was confident I could help. 

Joining the army reserves 25 years ago was the start of my self-guided fitness journey. The inspiration for my training was formed with 131 Commando, preparing for the Reserve Forces Commando Course. I followed this up by studying with experts in fitness, nutrition and physiology. 

This mix of study and technical skill blends well with my experience as an army physical instructor and personal trainer. It’s ensured I have stayed healthy, fit, injury-free and – even as I’ve aged – improved and adapted. It provides a robust and holistic system for safe and effective physical activity. I call it ‘freestyle functional fitness’.

A proven approach, tailored for you

Why do I use the words ‘freestyle’ and ‘functional’? ‘Freestyle’ means that I help my clients in a way that suits them best – it’s personal. The principles don’t change, but the approach does. It depends on your specific goals, taking into consideration your circumstances, your current health and previous physical activity. 

There’s no one size fits all. As a result, I’ve worked with a wide range of clients, across all ages and fitness levels. I’ve trained teenagers, including those with autism. I’ve trained whole families and elderly grandparents. I’ve also had the privilege of helping a group of visually-impaired adults improve their strength, flexibility and balance.

‘Freestyle’ also means that this isn’t just about physical fitness. It can’t be, because daily activity is simply one part of the mix. To fulfil your potential, you also need to become a healthy eater, manage stress and get a regular good night’s sleep. Each depends on the other. We look at all of them, and use goal-setting tools to make long-lasting, positive changes. 

Training for everyday life

I use the word ‘functional’ to describe something that’s practical and useful, not artificial or throwaway. I don’t believe in quick fixes, so I don’t offer them to my clients. Nor will I help you adopt the latest YouTube fitness craze. My advice and coaching is no-nonsense. But it’s tried-and-tested – and it works. 

‘Functional’ also describes the type of fitness programmes I put together. The exercises train your muscles as a team, preparing them for daily tasks. They simulate movements you might do at home, work or playing sports. By taking your joints through their full range of motion, we bring healthy movement back to your body. Using the muscles in the upper and lower body at the same time, we also give you a strong core. 

Why is this so important? Functional fitness helps you move more comfortably in day-to-day life. And bodies that move comfortably burn more calories. You’ll feel happier climbing the stairs, carrying the shopping or getting off the sofa. Your posture will improve. By mimicking everyday movements, your body will learn to take daily stresses in its stride. We’re just helping it do its job.

In the longer-term, your exercise programme will help you fight off hypokinetic diseases. Hypokinetic means low movement, so these are conditions that come from a lack of physical activity. A good example is obesity and its consequences, including back pain, high blood pressure and heart disease. It’s important that we bring functional exercises into our routine, especially as we age. They will help us stay mobile and perform everyday activities for as long as we can.

Functional training is highly versatile as it can be done with limited space and little or no equipment. Most of the exercises use your body weight for resistance, so sessions can take place outdoors, at your home or place of work. If we can’t meet in person, I develop online session plans and offer live training through Zoom video communication.

If I can help inspire the beginning of your fitness journey, or work with you on a specific goal, just click the link below.

Let’s go!