If you guessed that your first functional fitness class would require some special preparation, you were right! Making sure you’ve got the proper attire, nutrition, gear, and attitude will ensure you have a fun and efficient workout. Here are a few helpful tips to get you started.
1. Dress Comfortably, With Functional Fitness in Mind
You already know you’ll want to be comfortable. Whether that means a loose-fitting top and compression pants or booty shorts and a sports bra is totally up to you. But remember: you’re going to be jumping, running, sprinting, flipping upside down, and working with barbells.
Knowing this, as an example, some athletes prefer to keep their legs covered by wearing pants or shin guards, since the barbell can sometimes scrape your legs.
Footwear also makes a big difference. While finding the right shoe for you might take some time (which is completely normal), for your first class, go with something sturdy that offers solid support.
It never hurts to keep backup clothes in your gym bag — you never know when you’ll need them.
2. Fuel Yourself
Train hard, eat hard. Such is the functional fitness way of life.
Before your sweat sesh, it wouldn’t hurt to fuel up with some healthy carbs to give you energy and, if possible, a kick of protein. Think something like Greek yogurt and fruit. A snack would probably be ideal. A huge meal followed by training doesn’t always end well.
After training, you’ll want to get some more carbs and protein in — the fast-acting kind that will start replenishing your muscles right away. Protein shakes are an excellent route, and a banana or white rice are the perfect quick carbs. The idea is to get some sugar back in your muscles, which were just put under extreme stress and need a little TLC. As far as protein goes, your body is craving it post-training.
3. Pick the Right Gear
Understanding what gear you need is something you’ll learn along the way, but we can definitely make a few suggestions. Firstly, you may want to consider things like gymnastic grips, for all the time you’ll spend on the pull-up bar. Practicing pull-ups and toes-to-bar take a real toll on your grip. Your skin will toughen up over time, but let’s try to prevent rips and tears.
Our second pick is a foam roller, to help you become a master of mobility and recovery. Rolling out helps improve your mobility (meaning you’ll be able to move your body and execute exercises more easily and safely), and it’s especially good for reducing muscle soreness, which you might be running into.
Want to see our full list of beginner gear? Check out this blog!
4. Show Up With the Right Attitude
It might sound corny, but your attitude is everything. It’s okay to be nervous. It’s okay to be intimidated (even though the people at your box will be some of the coolest you’ll ever meet!). The point is this: your best bet is to go in with a positive attitude and open mind. Don’t worry if movements feel awkward or uncomfortable or even impossible. Everybody goes through this, from the beginner to the seasoned pro. Functional fitness isn’t supposed to be easy. Talk to your coach about scaling your workout to be manageable but challenging for you.
Give it your all, introduce yourself to people, and keep showing up, and your functional fitness journey will be a fulfilling (and ridiculously fun) one. Enjoy your first class!