“The State of Being Fit…”
This is the definition you may find when you Google Fitness.
We know who you are.
You’re the stay at home mom with three kids who would more than anything love to be happy in your body and have the energy to keep up with your daily tasks and kid’s activities. You are the 9 to 5 career oriented person who wants to escape the stresses of your daily life and feel better. You are the former athlete who hasn’t been competitive in some time and would like to regain that competitive edge. You are the person who loves the outdoors or plays pick up basketball at the local church and feels like you are losing your ability to enjoy these activities. You are the person who wants to weigh the same as you did in high school.
There are many more people like the ones mentioned above. All have different goals, but all are hoping to achieve the exact same thing…An optimal level of fitness.
Each of these people may or may not have tried to achieve a high level of fitness in the past with varied success. All most likely have joined a gym and tried some new diet in order to regain what they once had when they were younger. Some have had success, some have had many failures. None understand why things work or don’t.
Let’s talk about what all of these people have in common and that is an optimal level fitness. Why is it that achieving an optimal level of fitness is so hard? The long answer is very nuanced. There are many reasons why it is hard, but a simple answer can be that most people don’t understand what it means to be fit. Most fitness disciplines don’t understand either. It is very challenging to apply a regimen for achieving optimal fitness if we cannot define what fitness is. This can lead to that constant wheel spinning in our pursuit.
So, how should we define fitness? The answer can every simple, but first let’s look at a few different types of athletes and let’s see how “fit” they appear to be.
Let’s first talk about the Marathon runner. This person runs 26.2 miles. That is quite a long way for a human to run. The average global time to complete a Marathon is 4 hours and 21 minutes. That is a long time to do any activity and we should view this person as fit, but what about their overall fitness. How well does this person perform when it comes to lifting weight? Do they struggle to move heavy objects in their daily lives? Do they struggle in pulling or pushing their own body weight? The answer is most likely yes. We should imagine that a fit person can do these things well yet we recognize a Marathon runner as struggling to perform these tasks. So are they fit?
This person performs three lifts over and over again. The Squat, Deadlift, and Bench Press. They train relentlessly to get as strong as they can in these three lifts so they can perform well in competition. However, I bet if you ask any Power Lifter to run a mile they would struggle. Actually, prolonged periods of cardiovascular training could even be detrimental to their success in the the three lifts they compete in. So are they fit?
Finally, let’s talk about the Tri-Athlete. They Bike, Swim, and Run. They have to be competent in all three of these. Each of these activities requires a high level of skill to achieve optimal results. These people can perform these tasks for a long period of time. Much of their training is designed to be the best they can be at each of these activities. They perform these tasks over and over and most likely have coaches or programs they follow to become more efficient. But do they work on their strength, power, flexibility, etc.? Are Tri-Athletes fit?
If you are paying attention you will see that these three athletes most likely have some kind of deficiency when it comes to their overall fitness. And there is good reason for that. These athletes are training for competition and they are trying to be the best at one or a few skills. In order to do this they have to ignore other skills that the human body possesses. This is likely due to a lack of time to train these other skills, most likely due to those other skills not benefiting them in their performance or even reducing their performance.
As a person who is not competing in a sport and just wants to be as fit as they can you must understand what fitness is so you can find a program that delivers on that. So let’s define it better. Fitness is the ability to increase your work capacity. In other words, how much work can you do? More specifically, how much work can you do across a variety of activities and time domains. As you increase the amount of work you can do you increase your fitness level.
This what CrossFit tries to do. Our adaptation is to increase your work capacity in every way possible and not try to specialize in anything. The moment we specialize we change from training for fitness to training for sport. There is nothing wrong with this if you are. High level athlete or competitor, but most of us are not and we just want to feel good and look good. We must be competent in Strength, Power, Speed, Endurance, Stamina, Flexibility, Balance, Accuracy, Coordination, and Agility. As CrossFitter we relentlessly pressure optimal levels in all of these without sacrificing any of them. To do this takes time. We are trying to take our fitness bank and make deposits to it every day in hopes that our account grows over time and we build that bank as high as it can go.
Building a high level of fitness will hopefully allow us to feel better, look better, and have more energy.