Functional Athletics

Frequently Asked Questions


CrossFit is definitely more expensive than working out on your own on a cardio or weight machine at a typical multi-location franchise gym. Our CrossFit programs are planned daily and coach led. The reality is with the quality of instruction provided by our certified, professional coaches, our members receive small group training at a much lower cost than personal training. There is a lot of teaching in our CrossFit classes, and class size is kept small to ensure the ratio of coaches to students is high. This attention to detail ensures members receive the maximum return on investment from their CrossFit program; aka leaner, fitter, stronger, more flexible, and enjoying life!

CrossFit is as hard as you make it. We have members in their 60’s out-performing those in their 20’s in cardio workouts. This inspires the 20 year olds to work hard at improvement. Similarly we have young female members who have gone from not being able to do any strict push-ups to doing sets of 15. We encourage members to push to the limits of their own tolerances and to progressively improve technique, and build strength, cardio, and flexibility.

It is true you can get injured doing CrossFit. There are CrossFit injury stories all over the internet, but these same injuries and much worse are seen in other sport and recreation activities. All physical activity has risk, but so does non-activity. It is well established that increased fitness reduces one’s risk of death. The vast majority of Canadians need to work-out harder and more often.

Functional Athletics mitigates risk with safe workplace practises such as a clean, uncluttered gym space — reducing trips and falls. We control class sizes to allow for coach-led teaching and monitoring. We work with members through 3 stages. First- mechanics (correct technique); Second- consistency (repetition using the correct technique); Third- intensity (gradual scaling of speed and load). We always start with mechanics and progress in sequence.

An active and consistent Functional Athletics member is a surgeon at the Royal Columbian Hospital. From her medical training she is very aware of the concept of balancing risks and benefits—- going under any surgical knife has significant risk but the procedure regularly saves lives and reduces the burden of disease. She has chosen Functional Athletics for fitness improvement; she attends class regularly, she listens carefully to the coaches, she adheres to the mantra of “mechanics, consistency, intensity”, she pushes herself but not to the point of stupidity, she spends time on hydration, nutrition, sleep and mobility.

Members do not just row! FA Row classes are energetic, fast-paced, full body workouts with more time spent off the rower than on. While rowing is an important part of the workout, and it can burn over 800 calories per hour, workouts incorporate other efficient exercises and tools that have been around for years. Compound strength and cardio movements like squats, push-ups, pull-ups, skipping, medicine balls, kettlebells and more. Unlike CrossFit, the FA Row classes do not incorporate heavy weights and technical barbell lifts such as the snatch. For this reason we sometimes refer to our FA Row class as CrossFit Light. As with all programs at Functional Athletics, FA Row is meant to mimic, strengthen and improve the types of movements you use in other sports and in everyday life.

No, anyone can try an FA Row class. We provide hands-on guidance to newbies on proper rowing technique, but we also encourage you to watch this video created by Concept 2, the manufacturer of the rowers we use. It provides a nice overview on proper technique:

This is a common misconception. The most elite athlete can participate in our programs and find the workout challenging. You will never be fit enough. That’s why our coaches work with each member, scaling workouts, so they thrive and grow. Fitness is a lifelong journey. We encourage you to get started and we’ll guide you along the way.

Functional Athletics encourages prospective members to review old injuries and their fitness activity with their medical doctor. Our experience is that most physicians encourage physical activity; avoidance simply results in deconditioning, weakness, pain and susceptibility to future injury. The rewards of improved functional physical capacity are exactly what will allow us to endure and recover from injury. The soreness, pain and the emotional ups and downs experienced in getting fit are worthwhile in the context of injury recovery, improved movement and a long active life.

In order for people to get big bulky muscles there are two things that have to be done. One: pick up very heavy weight on a frequent basis. Two: eat an extremely high calorie diet while maintaining a consistent supply of protein. Strength training is an important element of the Functional Athletics programming, however the context is overall fitness and not body building. Even in our FA Olympic Lifting classes, the focus is on the execution of highly technical lifts. Our members use competition lifts to aid mobility, make themselves more powerful, increase their lean muscle mass, and tax their cardiovascular system.

As a result of their participation in Functional Athletics programs, our clients generally find they get leaner, stronger, more flexible, and enjoy much better endurance. This allows them to improve their performance in competitive sports and recreational activities: skiing, tennis, soccer, hockey, hiking, etc.

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