Dragging tyres, being shouted at: this is made to torture gymgoers
Fitness tips: three key moves to try
“Functional training” is exercise that relates to how your body moves, rather than classic gym routines, which build up specific muscle groups. It typically involves non-gym equipment; stuff that you’d be more likely to find on a farm: giant tyres, random, heavy loads better suited to a dray horse. There are high-intensity bursts of effort, then shorter bursts to kid yourself that it’s getting easier. There is also a circuit element: the gym is broken up into stations, with a four-minute routine in each. Again, it’s a trick, breaking down time into frames that sound more than possible. Killer press-ups for 45 seconds? I could do that. There is an emphasis on using your bodyweight against yourself, which makes it the kind of workout you could do at home, although – trust me – you never would.
Most gyms offer this now, but I tried it at a new one (The Yard, in Canary Wharf, east London) designed specifically for torturing gymgoers. People in financial-services districts are so distinctive, I realised: so determined, so lacking in normal perspective, so peculiarly happy to get shouted at by an instructor. Maybe he didn’t shout at them; I was the only latecomer, flung immediately into 25 burpees and jumping jacks, a punishment for my lack of commitment.
After functional training, I ached for three days | Zoe Williams