Fitness, what is it? Who is fit? I am going to be perfectly honest I have no idea what fitness is. Why? Which definition would you like? Biology says fitness is “The extent to which an organism is adapted to or able to produce offspring in a particular environment.” According to this I have no fitness, if we look at fitness according to Webster’s “Good health or physical condition, especially as the result of exercise and proper nutrition.”, if we asked an average American they would say fitness is “being skinny”. Hmmm. Where is one to turn when looking for a fit person is it the man who has 19 kids, is it the marathon runner, is it the runway model. Hell no, fitness is a very simple concept, fitness is ability. Let me say that again FITNESS=ABILITY. What do I mean? Fitness is equal to an individual ability to apply strength and conditioning to everyday life task. What good is being able to run 26 miles when you can’t pick up a 40lb bag of dog food, what good is a 1000 pound squat if you lose your breath on a walk to the mail box. Some of the most unfit people I know are “skinny” I call them my sisters, genetics allow them to be “skinny” and consume almost anything they want, but they are very incapable lacking muscle tone and strength, I consider them unfit (I do still love you two though).
Fitness is also uniquely individual based on ones needs. Unfortunately people forget this and think that the same program and loads that suitable for a 25 year only male are suitable for a 70 year old female. This is not a one size fits all thing. Some of my most proud moments are when clients come in and tell me how they were able to work in the garden; moving dirt, dig holes, and racking leaves all without feeling fatigued or have to take countless break to “catch their wind”, or when people tell me they were able to complete a 14 mile hike. Fitness cannot be measured by work capacity because that is not what fitness is. To be frank I don’t care how fast you can run a mile, how much you bench or how good you look, if you cannot practically apply your strength to everyday life. Can you run with the grand kid? Can you carry a sandbag when called upon? Can you use your strength in a meaningful way that is useful to you? If yes, congratulations you are fit. You are able to meet life’s daily task, while at the same time preventing disease and injury.
Sure we can increase ones fitness but what really is the point, if that person has no desire to do extraordinary feats of athletic ability, so often we concern ourselves with the minority (athletes) when we should be focusing on the majority (everyday people). I truly appreciate the fact that everyone comes in and works to the best of their abilities and never has to judge themselves against an individual they have never met. So in 2013 lets all just do one thing let’s increase our ability to practically apply strength the outside world, and become more FIT.