Monday, June 16, 2014

From Less Functional To More Functional

During the years 1990-1993, I was national-level bodybuilder (also known as a 'muscle-head') on its B-team. In my first competition, I spent eight weeks to prepare and packed on 7kg of lean muscle. I won third placing in the Middleweight division, and that was the start of a frustrating and tumultuous relationship with barbells, dumb-bells and weight-satck machines. I experienced strength, fatigue, stretch-marks, stinky gym-clothes, hyper-nutrition (over-nutrition by pissing out expensive urine) and revelations.

Having won three 3rd placings, and one runner-up award I retired completely from the quaint sport with unnaturally-developed behemoths. I thought I was fit, but I was not. Even though I was flexible and strong, I lacked balance, core strength (I hated doing abdominal exercises) and functionality.

Muscular functionality is about how our skeletal-muscular (skeleton and muscles) system work effectively and efficiently. I could not apply myself fully in sports like racket-games and swimming. Even though I used to teach-exercise ('aerobic classes'), I lost a fair amount of muscular coordination. I was fit enough to pass my IPPT (annual physical fitness assessment) in my annual reserves military service, but I was not testing myself in enough ways.

Photo-credit & design: Richard Leong
Circa 2014, after a decade of training and racing in multi-sport endurance races I have redefined my muscle functionality. My core strength is much developed. I have better coordination of my body especially in then swim. I am a much stronger runner with far-developed endurance for the 10km, 21km and marathon. I can ride long, often in excess of 100km.

How are you developing your functionality? How comprehensive is your training process? How much do you factor in the testing and evaluation of your fitness?  
Take then time to measure these, and convert this into actual racing performance.

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