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A Beginner’s Guide To Functional Fitness

A Beginner’s Guide To Functional Fitness
Joni McMullen
Writer and expert1 year ago
View Joni McMullen's profile

Not sure where to start with functional fitness? No worries, NXTGEN ambassador Anya has got your back.  

Anya, a functional fitness pro, shares her beginner’s workout plus all the vegan supplements she uses to get the most out of her sessions. 


Get to Know Anya  

What’s one piece of advice you would give to a beginner in your sport? 

Don't do too much too quickly. Functional fitness is such a tiring sport. It takes longer for your body to recover than many other sports due to the intensity of the movement. Make sure you're eating enough to fuel the session but also taking time for recovery. 


What is your favourite song to work out to? 

It would have to be Feel This Moment by Pitbull & Christina Aguilera. I've had a lot of PBs to this song, so it will always have a special place in my heart. 


What's your most embarrassing moment in the gym? 

Absolutely stacking it over a box jump and landing headfirst over the other side. One of many embarrassing moments. 


What's your proudest fitness achievement? 

Getting a 70kg squat clean. This is something I never thought would ever happen. Being a tiny human at 5’3”, I find it quite hard to carry a lot of weight half the time. However, this is a goal I had set for the future, and to know that I already have achieved it fills me with enormous pride. 


Favourite Myprotein product? 

Easily the Vegan Protein Powder. It can be put into anything sweet and tastes amazing, no matter what. Cakes, pancakes, and oats have never tasted so good. 



Anya’s Supplement Routine  

Vegan Protein Blend 

Anya mixes Cocoa Orange Vegan Protein Blend into her oats every single morning.  

‘Not a chance I could live without it.’  

And with 22g of vegan protein, plus 5g of BCAAs, it's more than understandable.  


A-Z Multivitamin 

Anya takes A-Z Multivitamin every day. Each tablet contains a blend of 22 vitamins and minerals, but Anya takes them specifically for a boost of B12, which can be tricky for vegans to get into their diets.  


Vegan Baked Cookie 

Anya believes she’s fuelled mainly by the Vegan Baked Cookie. This delicious snack has 13g of protein, making them the easiest way to get protein on-the-go.  

Anya’s top tip: ‘They are the best thing to eat after a long functional workout or after dinner — especially when warmed up in the microwave for 30 seconds.’ 




Functional Fitness Beginner’s Workout  

[Reviewed by PT Simon Cushman]  

This workout is aimed at improving movement patterns building up maximum strength and should take you around 30 minutes to complete.  

The philosophy of this session moving the body in different planes to improve overall function and movement ability and pattern 



Complete these 3 movement drills to help loosen up your hips and shoulders for posture and decreasing neural inhibition:  

  • Bear crawl: In a box position on hands and knees, lift knees and take little steps forward using opposite hand and foot at the same time.  
  • Lizard walk: In a press-up position, take one foot forward, knee to elbow and the opposite hand forward, use these to take steps on the other side and repeat.  
  • Scorpions: Lie on your front with arms out to the side, take one heel behind you towards your opposite hand, return and repeat. 


Main Workout: 

1. Single arm dumbbell snatch

  • Place your feet shoulder-width apart, with your shoulders back, core engaged and back long. 
  • Push your hips back, bending the knees into squat position gripping the dumbbell with an overhand hold.  
  • Drive down into your heels whilst using the momentum of your legs to raise the dumbbell, before then creating a punching motion into the air.  

Complete 3 sets, with 10 reps each side.  


2. Kettlebell swing

  • Stand shoulder-width apart with kettlebell in both hands, keeping arms long and loose and making sure to engage core and squeeze shoulder blades.  
  • Soften at the knee, and let the kettlebell sink below the knee by pushing hips back, while keeping a straight back.  
  • Drive through the heels and dynamically snap hips forward creating an explosive movement, squeezing the glutes.  

Complete 3 sets, with 10 reps each side.  


3. Body row

  • Set up a bar around waist height, and then set yourself up below the bar. Your heels should be on the group and your body should be at 45-degree angle or lower.  
  • Holding the bar at shoulder-width, pivot on your heels on the floor (take them further away from the bar to make it harder) and pull your chest to the bar. 

Complete 3 sets, with 10 reps each side.  


4. Dumbbell deadlift

  • Stand with your knees slightly bent, and your feet placed shoulder-width apart.  
  • Bend at the hips and knees, lowering your torso until it’s almost parallel with the floor.  
  • Make sure you keep your back straight, shoulders back.  
  • Hold onto the dumbbell and stand up straight trying not to arch the back, keeping the pelvis tucked and shoulders tight.  

Complete 3 sets, with 10 reps each side.  


Take Home Message  

Get into functional fitness with Anya’s top tips for beginners — you’ll be a pro in no time.  

Want more? 


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Our articles should be used for informational and educational purposes only and are not intended to be taken as medical advice. If you're concerned, consult a health professional before taking dietary supplements or introducing any major changes to your diet.

Joni McMullen
Writer and expert
View Joni McMullen's profile
Born in Cumbria, Joni completed her English Literature degree at the University of Liverpool before going on to graduate with a Creative Writing MA from the University of Leeds. During her time at university, Joni was a part of two cheer and dance teams, competing in national competitions across the UK. Developing her writing at a student magazine in Leeds, Joni is excited that she is able to combine her love of creativity with her passion for fitness and health. When she’s not writing or in the gym, Joni loves to read, try new activities and spend time with friends.