Functional Training and Fat Loss

challenge fat loss

A buzz word you may hear being tossed around is ‘functional training’. What is it?

Wikipedia defines functional training this way:

Functional training attempts to adapt or develop exercises that allow individuals to perform the activities of daily life more easily and without injuries.

Functional training, if performed correctly, will lead to better joint mobility and stability, as well as more efficient moment patterns. Improving these factors decreases the potential for an injury sustained during any athletic endeavor or performance in a sport. Functional training is:

  • Integrated – It should include a variety of exercises that work on flexibility, core, balance, strength and power, focusing on multiple movement planes.
  • Progressive – Progressive training steadily increases the difficulty of the task.
  • Periodized – mainly by training with distributed practice and varying the tasks.
  • Repeated frequently.

Are Challenge Fat Loss workouts a form of functional training? You bet!

Challenge Fat Loss utilizes functionally sound exercises. You’ll be using bodyweight and simple DB moves to strengthen tighten and tone your entire body. You’ll move better, you’ll get stronger and leaner while reducing your chance of injury. You’ll find a TON of variety to hit your body from every angle. You’ll work on your balance and lessen the strength asymmetry between dominant and non-dominant sides. My program is progressive and periodized so you’ll gradually increase your intensity. It’s intended to be used 3-5 times a week and I make it easy for you since the workouts are short and done at home with a minimal amount of space and equipment.

Here’s a great circuit using functional fitness principles and HIIT:

Do 30 seconds of work with a 5 second transition:

  • Box jump or step up (do squat jumps if you don’t have one)
  • Push up (incline, prone or decline)
  • Prisoner squat jumps
  • Get ups
  • Prisoner reverse lunge
  • Plank recovery

Repeat up to 5 times through.

If you want to be functionally fit, stay away from using ‘machines’  exclusively in your main resistance training program. Machines have their place, but typically, they don’t engage the core as effectively as bodyweight or DB exercises. Your balance isn’t challenged either. Machine work doesn’t really resemble ‘real life’ situations much and so they aren’t the best exercises to rely on to keep you fit and injury free.

If you’re looking on getting ‘functionally fit’, Challenge Fat Loss has you covered.

Now, if you find my Challenge Fat Loss  workouts a little to ‘challenging’, I have a great alternative to help you advance your fitness level safely. I get a boat load of emails asking for something that would lead up to the Challenge Workout series.

My good friends, Dr. Dan Ritchie and Dr. Cody Sipes created a program that’s just the ticket. It has four levels of progression with the purpose of increasing functional fitness, strength and stamina. You’ll find all follow along videos and you’ll also see ‘yours truly’ (me) in them 😉

Let me tell you, some of the workouts may not LOOK challenging, but they really had me sweating. I loved the gentle progressions.

Here’s a sample workout:

Level 2 Workout #1 (You’ll find follow along videos to guide you in the program.)

Equipment: Tubing anchored chest level, dumbbells

Time: 17 min

  • Split Squat–12 reps each leg
  • Sleeping Dog front and back–3 reps each leg
  • Two arm standing dumbbell lateral raises–12 reps


  • Standing alternating tubing rows–12 reps each arm
  • Sleeping Dog side to side–5 reps
  • Standing alternating chest press–12 reps each arm


  • Standing alternating lat pull down–12 reps each arm
  • Heel Toe Rocks–30 seconds
  • Side Step Ups–12 reps each leg


  • Bridge with arms together–3 reps (5 sec hold)
  • Bird Dog with limb movement to side–2 reps each limb


Having the video follow along workouts is very helpful to guide you through every rep and set, they help you keep on pace and remind you about ways to modify and intensify exercises.

If you’re at all intimidated by fitness, this  at-home fitness solution is one to consider, especially if you are:

  • new to fitness
  • recovering from an injury
  • 50+ and need a ‘gentle’ approach
  • looking for ‘follow along’ videos
  • need ‘coaching’ along the way

This is a fantastic program to get you moving safely. Often times I’ll present programs that are a little too aggressive. If you need a place to get started with your return to fitness, this is the one.

Check out Functional Fitness