I haven’t competed in a gymnastics event for more than a decade, and I haven’t competed in any form of athletic competition in nearly eight years. I do, however, still train like an athlete. I do dead lifts and squat thrusts, I do push-ups and pull-ups, I run sprints and distance, I eat healthy food, and I even play around on the rings every couple of days. Why? Well, I’m certainly not training for the 2012 Olympics, and I definitely don’t plan on applying for any gymnastics scholarships. I still train like an athlete because athletes train to fulfill a function, and functional training is the healthiest and most productive way to train.
Do I look better for working out? Sure. Do I feel healthier for working out? Definitely. Am I a stronger person mentally and physically for working out? Absolutely. Ultimately, training like an athlete is the best way to achieve any of the common workout goals of our fitness obsessed (albeit deficient) society: Strength, Aesthetics, and Health.
You don’t have to be training for an NFL team to benefit from an NFL lifting program. You don’t have to be a boxer to gain endurance and strength from a fighter workout routine. You don’t have to wear really tight shirts and chant about protecting this house (ADT does that for me) to benefit from training the way an athlete does. Functional training will take you to whatever fitness goal you might have in the healthiest and most expedient way. High intensity resistance training (body-weight and otherwise) is my workout of choice.Get Fit.