Muscle Isolation vs. Functional Fitness


TRX Functional TrainingA lot of people workout with certain body parts on their minds – they want to target the triceps, focus on the inner thighs or work their biceps to exhaustion. Isolating muscles definitely has its purpose and place, but in today’s world, it’s all about functional fitness! Haven’t heard of the latest fitness buzzword? Let us explain.

What’s the big deal? The goal of functional fitness is to train movements, not just muscles. Sometimes called movement-based exercise, functional exercises work multiple muscle groups at a time in order to build a body capable of doing real-life activities. Why? Our bodies are meant to function both inside and outside of the gym. When you lift a suitcase into an overhead compartment, a lone bicep is not doing all the work. Muscles always team up to carry the load, and functional fitness will help your body do this better!

Bosu Functional FitnessHow am I benefitting? When you work multiple parts of your body simultaneously, you not only improve your overall strength but you burn more calories, more fat, and increase your flexibility. And since many movement-based exercises test your balance – think squats on a BOSU ball – you’ll gain greater coordination and stability.

Bodyweight SquatWhere do I start? If you’re new to functional fitness, focus on these key words when you work out: push, pull, squat, hinge, and lunge. Any exercise that involves one of these five motions is guaranteed to work more than one muscle at a time. For example, your quads will be challenged on a leg extension machine, but your quads plus your hamstrings, calves and glutes will be worked with a squat!

Functional Fitness AccessoriesAt HealthStyles Exercise Equipment we love the concept of moving all our muscles at once, and our showrooms reflect that shift in strength training over the past several years. Rather than the traditional home gym that works one muscle at a time on a single plane, our strength systems now include cable gyms and multi-purpose training systems for the home like the Life Fitness G7 Gym or the Torque Arsenal. We have wall mounted racks that can be installed in your garage and used with a suspension trainer such as the TRX Suspension Trainer or SPRI Gravity Trainer Pro. Dumbbells, kettlebells, Bosus, stability balls, gravity assist bands and dozens of other accessories can be used to enhance functional training which will help you train smarter and better prepare your body for everyday life.

Fit Tips are provided by Life Fitness, the leader in designing and manufacturing high-quality exercise equipment for fitness facilities and homes worldwide. For more information on Fit Tips and other fitness advice and expertise visit

HealthStyles Exercise Equipment Introduces Rage Fitness


Boulder CrossFit Products

Rage Fitness’ parent company, Gibson Athletics, began providing mats and other institutional gymnastics equipment to fitness enthusiasts over 40 years ago. Now they are at the forefront of innovation in the functional fitness category and are releasing new products daily for use in cross training workouts that are ideally suited to the CrossFit community. They work with Olympians from around the world to assist them in their athletic training.

HealthStyles Exercise Equipment is pleased to showcase a wide array of Rage accessories including plyo boxes, soft medicine balls, slam balls, bumper plates, speed jump ropes, conditioning ropes, and more!

We are committed to this functional fitness category and have recently created special Cross Conditioning areas in each of our retail locations to provide you with the equipment and accessories needed to complete your personal WOD (Workout of the Day) in your own home.

Click here to browse the Rage Fitness products online or visit a local retail store to try out the latest cross conditioning and functional fitness products.

Fort Collins CrossFit Products

The CrossFit corner at our Fort Collins store. Visit our Ft Collins store every Thursday evening from 5pm to 7pm for a free after hours workout.

Functional Trainers – the New Home Gyms


Functional Trainers are a specific style of weight stack home gym that have continued to increase in popularity over recent years. The more traditional home gym includes one or two weight stacks with fixed arms and hand grips. Functional trainers have weight stacks on their base as well, but the main difference is in the cable systems that come with different shaped handles.

These types of handles provide more options for working out, and because the cable does not have to follow a fixed plane more sports specific routines can be implemented. For instance, a golfer can hold the cable handle and simulate his or her swing. A baseball or softball player can grip the cable handle and mimic a throwing motion.

In older adults who are trying to stay active and continue to live independently, this type of functional training gym can help simulate activities of daily living such as lifting, bending over, pulling, etc. The multiple planes engage and strengthen the core muscles of the abdomen and thereby strengthen those muscles, which help keep the back and spine healthy and uninjured. There are, quite simply, hundreds of different movement possibilities for a functional trainer.

One drawback of a functional training gym is that it can be harder to use initially until the user is familiar with the variety of exercises that can be done  It is important that the shopper ask questions when contemplating buying a functional trainer, and have a fitness associate who is familiar with and can demonstrate how to use them. Once purchased, it is important that there will be continuing expertise available via the phone or in person to answer questions regarding exercises as well as proper form. A training session from a personal trainer may be time and money well spent to make the most of your versatile purchase. The exciting thing about a functional trainer is the incredible versatility that is has. How you use it and the exercises that you do can change as your needs and interests change throughout the years.

HealthStyles Exercise Equipment features a variety of functional training gyms in a variety of price points. The two most popular functional trainers with our customers are the Life Fitness G7 Functional Trainer and the Hoist V6 Functional Trainer.

Take a look at the attached videos to get an idea f how functional trainers are used and to view for yourself the differences between these home gyms.

Stop by your local HealthStyles Exercise Equipment store today to try out the variety of functional trainers or traditional home gyms that we have available!

Life Fitness G7 Functional Trainer Home Gym Video


Life Fitness is the manufacturer of the #1 brand of fitness equipment in health clubs worldwide. So you know you’re getting a high-quality product designed by the same engineers and biomechanics experts that produce our industry-leading commercial strength equipment.

It Feels Right
Some things just “feel” right. Shifting through the gears of a fine sports car. Hitting a 200-yard drive down the middle of the fairway. That’s the feeling you get with every rep on a Life Fitness G7 Home Gym. Smooth resistance, ergonomically-enhanced design, and the integrity of the components all add up to a strength workout that’s appealing, if not addictive. And because the transition between exercises is quick and easy, a Life Fitness G7 Home Gym is a real time-saver as well.

The Perfect Fit in any Space
When it comes to home gyms, space is a premium. So you look for quality equipment that offers the most exercise variety in the least amount of space. That’s exactly what you get with Life Fitness Home Gyms —a compact footprint with all the variety of a full circuit, total-body workout. Plus, with all the optional features available, you can even add more exercise variety without having to sacrifice space for additional equipment. You get it all in one multi-functional strength machine.

Hoist V6 Personal Pulley Gym Video


The unique and stylish HOIST V6 is a personal pulley gym that is engineered with the innovative excellence that the fitness industry has come to expect from HOIST. This gym provides a complete range of functional training exercises designed to obtain maximum results and achieve a strong and versatile body. The V6 is engineered to build multiple muscle groups through smooth, rhythmic, and continuous movements that support the body as it moves through life.

Life Fitness G7 Cable Motion Gym Review


Functional strength training means structuring your workouts around the type of movements used for sports specific, task specific and workout related activities. By exercising the muscles used during the activities of everyday living, you actually improve strength, coordination, range of motion, balance, and mobility.

When Life Fitness built the G7 Cable Motion Gym, it was an attempt to carry over the high quality feel of its commercial functional training gym, the Dual Adjustable Pulley Club Model featured in gyms around the world. They succeeded is making this home version so close in feel and quality, that we use it with most clients in our personal training studio, and recommend it often to those looking for a functional cable gym for their home. Here are some of the standout reasons why our clients and I like it over other Cable Motion Gyms.

  • The pulleys are commercial quality resulting in a superb motion thereby eliminating the stickiness in cable movement usually felt while working those small muscle groups like inner / outer leg work, rotator cuff exercises or rotational work.
  • The quick connect commercial cable attachments make for easy transitions between exercises.
  • The multi purpose bar uses swivels on the ends making the barbell style work in squats and presses more realistic in natural movement.
  • The multi-position pull up grips along with the weighted lift assist strap help make pull-ups more enjoyable and effective.
  • Unlimited range and angles achieved with the 20 position dual cable column and the handle to change adjustment heights works much better and smoother than all the other column gyms we’ve tried.
  • A very well done DVD and exercise book showing proper form and examples of exercises with all of the accessory attachments for those without the advantage of having a personal trainer with them.

This functional trainer is not exactly small and compact (68.5L x 70W x 83H), however the design allows it to fit easily into most corners. It’s also not the least expensive functional trainer on the market, but as the fact that it is the choice of many personal trainers would indicate, it is the right functional trainer for the more discriminating exerciser, familiar with the smooth feel and functionality of club-quality strength equipment.

So if you want a workout that is close to the one that you would find in top quality clubs all over the world for almost half the price, the Life Fitness G7 Functional Trainer hits the mark!

For more information:

Click here for a Video Demonstration of the Life Fitness G7 Home Gym

Click here to view all Life Fitness Exercise Equipment

Click here for the Life Fitness G7 Home Gym complete features and specifications.

Visit your local HealthStyles Exercise Equipment retail store to try the G7 Home Gym before you buy.

What’s Happening in the World of Fitness Equipment?


What’s Happening in the World of Fitness Equipment?

The 2010 Health and Fitness Business Trade Show was held in Las Vegas last month and the owners and regional managers of HealthStyles Exercise Equipment went to the show, eager to see what was new and innovative for the upcoming year.

Continue reading

Life Fitness G7 Home Gym Video Demonstration


Inspired by the popular Life Fitness health club model, the G7 dual adjustable pulley home gym offers you the ultimate in exercise options and customization. The G7 offers exclusive features that allow you to build your own training workouts, track your progress and follow-along with our own certified personal trainer while she guides you through 2 training routines. With these personalized features, it’s easy for any level of user to get started and stay motivated. Bring the health club experience home with the smartly designed G7.

What is functional strength training?


Functional strength training has become a popular buzzword in the fitness industry. Unfortunately, it is also subject to wide interpretation.

At the extreme, some individuals believe that by mimicking the explosive, ballistic activities of high-level competitive athletes, they are training in a functional manner. All too often, however, such training programs greatly exceed the physiological capabilities of the average exerciser, which ultimately increases the possibility that an injury might occur.

Most would agree that there is nothing functional about sustaining an injury due to improper training.

In many respects, functional strength training should be thought of in terms of a movement continuum. As humans, we perform a wide range of movement activities, such as walking, jogging, running, sprinting, jumping, lifting, pushing, pulling, bending, twisting, turning, standing, starting, stopping, climbing and lunging. All of these activities involve smooth, rhythmic motions in the three cardinal planes of movement-sagital, frontal and transverse.

Training to improve functional strength involves more than simply increasing the force-producing capability of a muscle or group of muscles. Rather, it requires training to enhance the coordinated working relationship between the nervous and muscular systems.

Continue reading

Hoist V6 Personal Pulley Gym Review


Finally a Pulley Style gym made with the user in mind!

As intimidating as a cable gym might be for some who prefer a machine defined press arm and the familiar stations of a gym, this Hoist V6 helps bridge the gap by accommodating almost every position possible with a smooth comfortable movement in any direction.

So what this means for the user is a fantastic opportunity to work the core along with many additional stabilizer muscle groups that would normally be anchored and not challenged in a traditional style gym.

With 32 pulley positions, and the ability to use almost any standing, sitting, or kneeling combination on a flat or balanced surface such as a fit ball or bosu ball, you have the best chance at a functional exercise that will help strengthen the same muscle groups you are using for sports such as skiing, hiking, tennis, golf, etc.

This gym is a favorite for those P-90X , Cross fit or Bootcamp style workouts where the benefit of a lift assist chin up bar can be used.

As a trainer I give this gym a thumbs up for the quality, versatility and low footprint needed.

Click here for a Video demonstration of the Hoist V6 Pulley Gym.

Stop in to demo the Hoist V6 Personal Pulley Gym at one of HealthStyles Exercise Equipment’s 10 Colorado retail stores. Or call us at 800-829-9705 for more information.

Scott Laurent
has a BA in sports psychology. He is a certified personal trainer and was a semi-pro athlete. His consulting business,, helps people who are contemplating, just starting, or having difficulty remaining in an exercise program.

Visit Scott at the Healthstyles Exercise Equipment Colorado Blvd or Park Meadows Retail Stores Or email: