ryan tremblett gets to the core of functional strength training
posted: January 8, 2014
Functional strength training is kicking ass all over the continent. Why? Because it works—in more ways than you may have thought. Functional strength training coach Ryan Tremblett gives you the inside scoop.
Most important question first: will functional strength athletes ever get tired of “snatch” jokes?
“Simple answer, no! We will never get tired of snatch jokes. We are just sort of jerks like that! ”
What is functional strength training, if you had to define it? (Trend? Sport? Challenge? Workout?)
“It’s different things to different people. To the hardcore functional strength training athlete, it is a sport. It’s a way to test your fitness; platform to demonstrate your overall physical abilities and mental toughness to push your physical boundaries. Done as a sport, it gives you the opportunity to ‘prove your fitness.’ The percentage of people who fall into the category of it as a sport, though, is actually quite low. To the high majority of people functional strength training is simply an endlessly more fun, more challenging and more team- or community-based fitness program. It’s quick, it’s intense and it provides practical fitness that is transferable to the tasks and demands of everyday life.”
What’s the biggest misconception about this kind of training?
“The biggest misconception about it is that it’s dangerous! Bad and/or reckless coaches can lead to injury, just like bad and or reckless coaches can lead to injury in any sport, fitness program or physical activity. It’s rare that I go through a whole day of coaching classes where I am not telling someone to scale back their workout or weight loads in the name of good form and safe movement patterns. It’s my job as a coach to keep egos and ambitions in line in the name of keeping our clients safe, healthy and injury free. ”
Are you Paleo, Zone or otherwise neurotic about nutrition?
“I try to eat 100 per cent Paleo… 80 per cent of the time!”
What got you into functional strength training and why do you coach?
“In the spring of 2010 I went to UBC Thunderbird Arena to watch a good friend of mine, Jason Noel, compete in a functional strength training competition. By the time I left that competition I knew that it was for me. It just looked like fun. There was loud music, crazy cheering fans, fierce competition and yet a camaraderie that you just don’t see in your standard gym. That’s why I got into it. The reason that I coach it is really based on the same principals. I coach in functional strength training because I truly believe in it. I have seen and experienced with my own eyes time and time again that it lives up to its claims. It increases functional fitness, the type of fitness that allows grandmothers to carry their groceries, middle age men who are stuck behind their computers all day to keep up with their kids at the playground, and makes elite athletes even better at sports that they have played their whole lives. Not to mention all these different people from different walks of life all support one another and take this journey together. I consider myself very fortunate to be able to supply the vehicle.”
Most people think of this kind of training from a physical standpoint. Tell me about the mental aspects.
“The mental aspects are really where its magic lies. You really learn a lot about yourself when you do this kind of exercise. You learn about your drive, your determination, your competitiveness and your ability to use mental strength to overcome physical obstacles. Then you get to learn if you have the metal fortitude to come back the next day and do it again! Most people end up realizing the same thing, that they are stronger and more capable then they originally thought. It is this realization that leads to the most beautiful side effect of this program: confidence. ”
Most important thing you’ve learned as a coach?
“To make sure you celebrate your victories and the victories of those around you. Just because someone in the class before you did a 500lb deadlift doesn’t make your very first pull-up any less significant. I constantly try to instill that into the people that I coach; you need to celebrate and and give yourself credit for the progress that you make. The beautiful thing about functional strength training is that it’s so community driven that you get to not only celebrate your own progress but the progress of everyone else in your ‘box’ (aka your gym) that trains and sweats beside you.”
Ryan Tremblett lives in Vancouver, British Columbia, where he works full time as a firefighter and spend his days off working as trainer at CF West10, located in the Point Grey neighbourhood.