A couple of weeks ago Vic and I had the pleasure of trying out My Private Gym in Geneva, a gym that offers personal training, group training, functional training, boxing classes, while also having cardio and weight lifting equipment that members can use depending on the type of membership they have signed up for. One of the four owners, Paola, is actually an IIN graduate (where I’m currently studying to become a health coach), so it was awesome to meet her and connect over our common passion.
We arrived a bit earlier to have a chat with Paola and were then introduced to Morgan, our trainer for the day. His first comment was that he’s looked at our Instagram accounts and knows that we’re fit, so he created an especially hard workout for us. “Damn it, showing off on Insta just totally backfired!” Let’s just put it like this: we pretty much got our boo-tays handed to us on a silver platter.
The workout that Morgan created for us was based around functional fitness, one of my newest favourite ways of working out. Not sure what it is? Here’s the lowdown:
Crunches are so 2010 – Make way for functional training
Functional training or functional fitness is the newest buzzword in the fitness scene. But it’s nothing new, actually. Athletes and fitness fanatics have been lifting, twisting, bending and moving in all planes of movement for thousands of years. Our body is designed to push, pull, bend, squat, lunge and rotate and functional training allows us to find back to those “roots”.
Unlike typical weight lifting, it’s not just about seeing results — it’s about conditioning your body to function correctly during day-t0-day activities like lifting your kids out of their car seat or carrying a box of books up the stairs. All the workouts are developed in a way to enhance one’s range of motion, strength and flexibility.
It’s ultimately derived from the bodies natural movement patterns and the need to be able to perform a range of varying tasks each day; across the body’s planes (directions) of movement.
It’s basically a crossbreed of powerlifting and rehabilitation exercises and can include exercises like:
- Working with TRX & medicine balls
- Box jumps
- Battling rope drills
- Throwing around huge tires that are twice your size
Paola joined Vic and I for the workout, so we decided to do a three person circuit focusing on different body parts: leg, arms and abs.
I have to say I was super impressed with the type of exercises that Morgan had up his sleeve. He somehow managed to make simple sounding, simple looking exercises into the toughest thing I’ve ever done. Jump lunges are easy, right? (#BBG girls, we can basically do this one in our sleep!). But the whole thing suddenly becomes hell of a lot harder when you have a resistance band tied around your hips which is pulling you to one side so you constantly have to counteract that force while jumping up and down. And then Morgan casually walks by and gives you a nudge on the shoulder or pushes you down towards the ground while you are trying to jump up. If you watch the video (below) closely, you’ll see me nearly fall over in the background while Vic is nailing her weighted jump lunges.
Or take pushups: Instead of doing normal pushups on the floor, we again had a resistance band around our waist, but this time pulling us upwards. Which is a great thing in theory, because it makes you feel so much lighter and when you push off the ground you are basically catapulting yourself towards the ceiling. But since we had that extra bit of support from the rope, Morgan decided to challenge us with clapping push ups. Not the kind where you just lift your hands off the floor for a quick second, but the ones where you extend your arms all the way up and forward. During the exercise Morgan was kneeling in front of us and the goal was to tap him on his head every time we lifted off. I may or may not have accidentially tapped him a bit harder than intended, you know, for some pay back.
And then there was the whole tire pulling/ tire flipping debacle. I’ve always wanted to work out with tires, so I was super happy that Morgan integrated this into our circuit. Until I learnt that the person doing the tire exercise was a human “stop-watch”. How it worked was that the other two had to continue with their exercises until the person with the tire was done dragging it from one side of the room to the other. Now that’s a team building exercise. It was actually pretty hilarious/embarrassing to see Morgan show the exercises with such ease and then have us walk up all confident and stuff, barely being able to move the freaking thing without looking like we’re about to give birth.
Other fun games included trying to move battling ropes while in a side plank, burpees, weighted crunches and more. But basically there was a whole lotta movement, a whole lotta sweating and a whole lotta swearing (of course the swearing was all Vic).
Here’s what I discovered:
- I make an embarrassingly big amount of grunting noise when being pushed to my physical limit.
- Vic’s range of hilarious workout faces extends beyond what I could have ever imagined.
- I actually really really enjoy functional training. It makes me feel like a kid on the playground all over again.
This has probably been one of the most fun and diverse trainings that I have ever done. Morgan really pushed us to our limits and we tried a bunch of new exercises we’ve never done before. I especially liked the I-feel-like-such-a-badass-confidence-boost that you get when you actually manage to throw that massive tire from one side of the room to the other. Plus Paola is the sweetest soul possible and prepared fresh green juice shots and homemade granola for us after the workout.