What better way to kick off this new blog by tackling a very simple yet complicated question. What IS fitness exactly?
We hear the word thrown around everywhere lately; often disguised as other words including fit, toned, firm, in-shape, conditioned… they all seem to be one in the same. What most people think of when they hear these words is the COSMETIC aspect of “fitness”, which frankly is irrelevant to what fitness actually is.
People often consider fitness and health to be one in the same. The truth is, that is not necessarily true. Marathon runners for instance are very fit but often suffer from chronic inflammation, connective tissue injuries and believe it or not, on average, more cardiac complications.
On the other side of the spectrum cosmetically, you have those who appear to be an average Joe aesthetically. But, just because they do not possess low levels of body fat or bulging muscles does not mean that are not healthy or fit. The “dream body” shown to us in magazines and television ads are not a direct precursor to overall health; the absence of disease or illness.
So what do we want to achieve during our journey towards “fitness”?
Many people want to develop what our society considers a fit body. The harsh truth is, not all people are capable of achieving a magazine cover-worthy physique simply due to his or her genetic make-up. Some people were not born with the genetics to hold singledigit body fat levels, bulging muscles or ripped abs; contrary to what the supplement companies and P90x commercials want you to believe. Your goal for fitness should be to improve your ability to carry on daily tasks and prevent common disease through improved strength, metabolism and cardiac health. This is my definition of fitness.
There are many modalities of achieving the desired result. Simply performing mechanical work with muscle will stimulate improvements to a certain extent. But when choosing a type of exercise or protocol, safety should be your primary concern. What use are strong muscles without in-tact joints and ligaments to allow them to perform? Injury is the most counterproductive thing that can happen during your fitness journey, so avoid it at all costs by refraining from doing high force and high impact exercise (such as Crossfit).
I will continue to get into popular topics such as genetics, nutrition, fat loss and bodybuilding in future posts. But as for now, get up and start moving!