What Is Fit?
Everyone has their own general ideas of what being fit is. For some it may be the ability to complete a marathon. For others it may mean hitting a heavy clean and jerk or stepping on stage at 2% body fat. We are exposed to numerous ideas and opinions on what being fit should look like. Whether it be running, bodybuilding, strength training, racquet sports, or this proclaimed sport of fitness concept that has evolved. They all posses certain characteristics that can be classified as essential weapons in your fitness arsenal.
These are all valid characteristics of fitness. Depending on your methods, you may encounter some more than others and of course the more of these that you are able to harness, the greater the justice you serve when titling yourself as fit.
However, when pursuing fitness there are a number of dark horse characteristics that come with the experience. They may not present themselves in the way of a max lift, a fast run time, or a jaw dropping physique. They are characteristics based on good judgement and big picture thinking that will not only help you tackle the checklist above but keep you getting after it for a long time to come. I have the pleasure of working with and learning from people who have been working out for a long time and I consider most of them as people being very fit in their own right. With all of this time spent in the trenches fitness has become a way of life and their pursuit to fitness is a continuous graceful pursuit. They have learned their lessons along the way and will continue to learn them and while physically it is quite impressive it is the savvy that they have acquired that fuels the pursuit and keeps it running.
|Open Minded? Of Course. The Man Took Ballet Lessons!|
The ability to take some time and establish what exactly it is that YOU need out of your fitness programming. It is easy to follow a copy and pasted online workout or follow a workout of the day but I can assure you they didn't have you in mind when it was posted. Becoming fit requires you to identify your specific needs and wants and build around that. What are YOU looking to accomplish? Get strong? Get Lean? Get Fast? Improve Movement? Just as important is an understanding of what YOU are looking to eliminate. Is there pain or chronic injury that you would like to reduce or eliminate? Is there stress in your current state that you want out of your life? The ability to dig deep into yourself and truly understand what it is that you are looking to get out of your programming and build around your specific needs is vital. While following an internet training split may give you some short term gratification, I have seen it happen often enough now to know that it is not the way to approach your own bottom line for the long term.
Training intelligence in my mind is the ability to know what your body can handle on any given day and to work around that. This means identifying what you are working with before you get after your workout. If the stars are aligned and you are feeling great then you know it is time to get after it. However, if you are run down or dealing with some aches and pains on any given day it is the ability to make the necessary adjustments to your workout to get through it smoothly. Anyone that I consider fit usually has a story of their mind writing cheques that their body cannot cash. Myself included. If you can limit these experiences by training intelligently you will set yourself up well for a successful path to fitness.
Having a plan in place is one thing, but patterning the habit of training until it becomes a part of your behavior. Establishing training intelligence will allow you be physically consistent. It seems as if it is a lot of other external factors that effect consistency. Lack of time, lack of equipment, lack of
a facility often become barriers. While the scenario may not always be perfect, something is always better than nothing. Acquiring consistency can teach you a lot about working with what you have.
Time limitations? Better make it quick and dirty. Lack of a facility? Take a look at what you can do in the environment you have. Lack of equipment? Bodyweight exercise is a beautiful thing. Whatever obstacles may surface, keep in mind that while your workout may not be perfect, the ability to adapt and maintain consistency will go a long way in keeping you focused on your bottom line.
The most important in my eyes and arguably the most overlooked. Is your plan going to set you up for long term sustainable success. One of my biggest admirations as well as one of my biggest beefs with fitness is the level of dedication associated with numerous aspects of fitness. This type of marriage to any particular component of fitness definitely has its place. If you are competitive you do what you need to do. However if you are looking to be fit and stay fit is what you are currently doing setting you up for long term success? I see a lot of situations of runners being in chronic pain; who continue to run. Squash players armed with ankle braces, knee braces, and therapy tape before a match. Hardcore Yogis with low back pain. Chronic muscle building with massive movement limitations. Lets not forget the crew following the protocol of extremely technical lifts, extremely metabolic demanding workouts while trying to limit their time of completion. It all looks sexy on newsprint, television, and the internet and I cannot argue that it gets people motivated, it does have its place. However, lets not forget that sustainable fitness goes well beyond staying true to one path.
Everyone is entitled to their opinions on what fit is and it is safe to say that everyone to a certain extent is correct with them. It is all good. Whatever your definition of fitness may be, the idea of taking the initiative and incorporating activity into your life is one of the best decisions that you can possibly make. I can say that I have been one of those people who has veered off to one direction of fitness and be narrow minded toward others. One of the best things that I could have done for my own personal fitness is abandon that narrow mindedness and take what I can out of each aspect of fitness and make it my own for both myself and the people that I work with. Adopting that mindset has done a lot not only with the physical characteristics that define fitness but the mental savvy that keeps it going for years to come.