For years, Jennifer Aniston felt that she had do high-intensity cardio to feel fit.
“It was like run, run, run, run, run, box, box, box, box,” the actor tells SELF. “I really just hit my body.”
Then he learned about functional fitness, a type of exercise that prepares your body to better handle the movements required in everyday life. While that term may sound like a mouthful, it’s actually quite simple: The backbone of this type of training involves foundational exercises you’re probably already familiar with, like planks, squats, curtsy lunges, and glute bridges, and what challenge to do them. in multiple planes of motion, not just back and forth or up and down like you would with weight machines at the gym.
The goal of this type of exercise is to help you move more efficiently—and perform tasks like picking up a box off the floor, carrying a load of groceries home, or turning quickly to the side to get on the sidewalk—without hurting yourself. . Basically, functional fitness helps you navigate your everyday life as easily and safely as possible.
Aniston was recovering from a back injury in 2021 when she tried functional conditioning for the first time: On the recommendation of a friend, she tried Pvolve, a company that uses functional conditioning as the foundation of its programming, and was hooked. Now an official partner of the brand, Aniston says the concept of functional fitness “completely changed my perspective” on what it means to exercise.
Aniston’s classes focused on tools used like resistance bands and sliders to increase the difficulty of bodyweight movements. The exercises incorporate all ranges of motion, including front to back (standing soccer kicks), side to side (alternating side lunges), and rotational (steps back with rotation), with the goal of developing full strength, stability and mobility. After a workout now, she says, the physical feeling she has left is “strength and not fatigue.”
Form and careful movement are key to these types of exercises, and the intense focus it requires helps Aniston feel energized, she says. She contrasts that with workouts like treadmill runs where you can mindlessly go through the motions without fully engaging your brain.
Before beginning a functional fitness routine, Aniston frequently battled injuries, she says. But now he “feels strong” and his body “doesn’t hurt like it used to.”
Although functional fitness is low-impact, it doesn’t mean you should do it every day. And that’s something Aniston has taken to heart, and probably something else that plays a part in making his body feel better than before. Working out five, six or seven days a week, he says, isn’t necessary. Currently, Aniston works out two to four times a week, also sprinkles in some more gentle Pilates sessions with her other workout, and regularly takes rest days. The oft-recited fitness mantra of “no pain, no gain,” he says, is “bullshit.”
Having a consistent functional exercise routine, and a regular time to rest, is just one part of Aniston’s wellness practice. She also prioritizes her health by staying hydrated, trying to get a good night’s sleep (something she admits she has trouble with, but is “really working on”), and being intentional about who she spends her time with. “All of that,” she says, “is important.”