Functional fitness competition winners standing on and around the 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place podiums with medals and flowers.

In the words of Veronique Paquette, president of the federation, “The Canadian Functional Fitness Federation is a non-profit corporation serving as Canada's national sport federation for competitive functional fitness.”

But what is functional fitness? What is a sport federation and what do they do? We’ll answer both of these questions and show you how you can get involved with the federation to incorporate functional fitness into your workout routine.

What is Functional Fitness

Functional fitness is pretty much what it sounds like, fitness movements and activities that have a functional application in your everyday life. When used as a part of your routine, functional fitness exercises can help you prevent injury, increase mobility, improve balance, and just generally make you more capable of performing day-to-day tasks like bending, crouching, twisting, and lifting to improve your quality of life.

“Functional Fitness tests athlete’s proficiency across a variety of movement patterns, activities, and energy systems,” Paquette states. “In everyday gyms, functional fitness is a type of training that prepares the body for real-life movements and activities, it is also known as functional training or functional movement. It trains your muscles to work together and prepare for daily tasks by simulating common movements you might do at home, at work, or in sports.”

The number of motions and activities used in functional fitness are vast and varied to build a well-rounded body. According to Paquette, these include “walking, jogging, running, sprinting, jumping, lifting, pushing, pulling, bending, twisting, turning, standing, starting, stopping, climbing, and lunging.”

When you see all of the movements that are so important to our everyday lives, it’s easy to understand how functional fitness can become an important aspect of anyone’s individual training routine. It’s also a great way to stay engaged. As Paquette notes, “We use a lot of variety of movement, to keep it challenging and to vary the stimulus.”

In addition to performing a variety of movements, functional fitness also takes advantage of a wide range of workout equipment and sport techniques. “We use machines like rowers, skiers, self-motored treadmills, and airbikes for metabolic conditioning,” Paquette shares. “We also use movements from powerlifting and weightlifting for strength training and gymnastics for skilled movement.”

What the Federation Does

The Canada Functional Fitness logo, a kettlebell symbol over a maple leaf in red on a white background.

While functional fitness can be done as a part of any fitness routine, the actual sport aspect of it exists with a great deal of thanks to the Canadian and International Functional Fitness Federations.

But why does a sport need a federation in the first place? Without a federation, there’s no one to organize events, competitions, rankings, or any of the things that really make a sport a sport.

For the CFFF, Paquette states, “We are a very small team of volunteers giving hours every week to support and develop the sport in Canada. But we have some partners in provincial sport organizations (currently we have Ontario, B.C. and Quebec) that have a sport federation, and we are working together to build a sustainable structure for the sport, like any other sport recognized by Sport Canada.”

The process of building a sport from small regional groups into a national or even international sport is a long one, but the goals are in place and the work is already being done to get there.

“The ultimate goal is the 2028 Olympics,” says Paquette. “Though this does not mean that our focus is solely on the elite. To build a sustainable sport structure in Canada we will need to focus on: functional fitness is a safe, rewarding, and easily accessed sport to many Canadians; sport officials need a development pathway the same way athletes do; responsible and trained coaches are critical to the success of any sport; and the sport of functional fitness exists in most Canadian regions. There remains huge potential for growth and recognition of what our athletes do.”

If functional fitness training sounds like something you’d like to try as a part of your fitness routine, you can start incorporating movements with a trainer or on your own, in fact, you might already be doing some of the things that athletes in the sport do, like pushups, squats, lunges, jumping jacks, and even simply jogging.

Want to see how you fair at a competition? First, let’s review what to expect at a functional fitness event. According to Paquette, “Functional fitness tests athlete’s proficiency across a variety of movement patterns, activities, and energy systems. We use 6 different tests in sanctioned IF3 (international functional fitness federation) events as well as in CFFF (Canadian functional fitness federation): Endurance, strength, skills, bodyweight, mixed modal, and power. We also have team competitions that challenge the athletes in all those areas, but adding the team communication challenge during the workout.”

You can check out the Canadian Functional Fitness Federation website to check out event details. There are even some big events coming up, as Paquette tells us, “We have a small championship coming in September, that will lead to selections for Team Canada at the worlds in Mexico next December. Our master athletes will compete in Aruba in November.”

If you want to get involved with the federation, you can always sign up to volunteer or participate in events by dropping a line to info@functionalfitnessfederation.ca

Fuel Your Body for Training and Competitions with Allo

Don’t forget to give your muscles the fuel they need to power through your functional fitness routine or to bring your “A” game to your next event with Allo protein powder for hot coffee.

Easily boost your daily intake by adding an extra 10 grams of vast absorbing, hydrolyzed whey protein to every 8 oz cup of hot coffee, hot tea, or your favorite hot beverage any time of day. No need to switch up your routine or push yourself to chug bulky and chalky protein shakes.

Allo is specially formulated to dissolve seamlessly into your favorite hot beverage without compromising the effectiveness of your protein. In fact, Allo is so temperature safe, you can even cook with it. Check out our recipe section of the blog for ideas and recipes for how to get even more protein in your day with Allo.

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