Want an intense routine that includes muscle confusion, interval work, plyometrics, static and dynamic stretching, super sets, and functional fitness that you don’t need to belong to a gym to do, or otherwise pay for? Just follow a kid as they play on a playground. Up down climbing pulling pushing – and that’s just to claim a swing.

The joy here is what you don’t have to do—pay a trainer, belong to a gym, have your schedule governed by when a class occurs—in order to exercise and grow your ‘Footprint, but even better is the sheer FUN of moving like this. Hair flowing backward as you slid down the slide, underdog pushes on the swing, king-of-the-hill on the jungle-gym, precision balancing on the teeter-totter, jumping off the swing into the sand…

Pure unadulterated joy, no pun intended, spontaneous and timeless, and oh yeah, a great workout. So it’s no surprise that many gyms offer programming that replicates the combo-moves concept, but why use artificial sweetener when you can get cane sugar (mindful of your health of course)?

Artificial replicas allow for convenience—no needles to vacuum or need to water a plastic holiday tree—but the trade off can be an experience that is so, well, artificial. Plastic holiday trees mean no needles to vacuum but also no pine scent, unless you buy the pine-scent spray…

Just as zoos enable those of us with limited access to the African plains the chance to see wild animals (and enact conservation initiatives), functional fitness classes gateway movement specific to everyday life, but why practice AT functional fitness when you can actually DO it in its natural habitat – the playground!

I love watching kids tool around on a playground—you can learn everything you need to know about how to design a workout in but one observation—but, it’s also annoying. I suppose I’m just sensitive due to facing a balloon payment on my exercise degree student loan…