As per standard definition, fitness is defined as ‘the condition of being physically fit and healthy’. Now, that can mean a range of things; we could be aerobically fit, we could be fit to lift heavy weights or we could ‘look fit’ from an aesthetic point of view. There are many standards of fitness in the fitness world and at the end it boils down to what you as an individual define as ‘fit’; specificity being key here. To marathon runners, a powerlifter wouldn’t be classified as ‘fit’ and I’m sure to powerlifter’s the same rule applies here.
Breaking down fitness into different categories and applying the term to peoples specific goals is the easiest way to define how ‘fit’ someone is. There are many disciplines within the fitness world; bodybuilding, powerlifting, weightlifting, crossfit, individual sports and team sports and all have their own separate categories within themselves. This makes it easier when defining what ‘fitness’ means to a certain population or certain groups when asked the question ‘what is fitness?’.
At first glance, the first the people usually think of when they see the word ‘fitness’ is how lean someone is, or how high their aerobic capacity may be; these are two qualities we often see in star athletes (basketball players, football players etc) who excel in these attributes of fitness. That being said, low body fat percentage and high aerobic capacity are not the only things that make up the umbrella term ‘fitness’. Strength, power, speed, endurance, total muscle mass etc are attributes of fitness that should all be considered when it comes to classifying someone as ‘fit’.
General physical activity also plays a huge part in improving our quality of life. Being able to go outside for a walk without having to stop every few minutes, being able to play with the kids and generally improve the way that we look can all play a big part in a mental health as well.
Our physical fitness not only can improve our quality of life and mental health, but keeping regular exercise in our routines is generally a good help for decreasing high blood pressure. High blood pressure generally can lead to heart disease which we should aim to keep at bay through regular rigorous physical activity. Our daily activity levels often reflect how we treat our own health as well, as we can often forget about the downsides of generally not exercising.
On to the topic of body composition. While body composition can come under the umbrella of physical activity, it appears body composition changes can be a huge factor when it comes to people’s motivation behind participating in physical activity.
Making body composition changes generally comes from Increasing regular exercise and daily activity levels. We can do this through a plethora of options; hypertrophy training, strength training, CrossFit, team or individual sports, basic cardio regime’s and much more. The key with making body composition changes is finding a modality that fits your goals; I.e. what exactly do you want?
Applying specific training modalities to you want will greatly benefit you in the long run and take the guess work out of your physical activity ventures. For example, if you want to get bigger, just doing CrossFit may not be your best option; where as if you wanted to get fitter and shed bodyfat, CrossFit may be a great option for you. Making sure we are as specific as possible about our physical fitness will be imperative when it comes to ‘making gains’ in fitness; whether that be building muscle, getting faster, getting stronger or improving your endurance, training specifically for your goal is priority when it comes to fitness.
The umbrella of fitness when it comes to our physical health is also important when it comes to improving our life outside of the gym. Improving our ability to regulate our mood, increase our ability to store memory ad generally be sharper when it comes to day-to-day activities is what makes improving our physical fitness all the more worth it.
When it comes to overall cardiac health, our physical fitness and physical activity levels become even more imperative. Research has shown a structured regime of lifting weights and rigorous cardiovascular exercise strengthens the heart and helps reduce the risk of cardiac disease. Having someone coach or guide you through the process of exercise such as a personal trainer or exercise scientist will help speed up your progress. Things like monitoring sets, reps, intensity, cardio levels etc will help can specifically help with your goals and make things more objective and attainable, too. The world of fitness can be a confusing one, but it is important to surround ourselves with the most experienced and knowledgeable so we take the guess work out and simply hone in on our goals.
Under the umbrella of fitness, aesthetics play a huge role in the industry. While to some, fitness is something they do for leisure time or to destress, to a lot of people their primary aim is to improve their aesthetic appearance of their body. Especially in the modern age of social media, ‘aesthetic fitness’ has become, to most, the primary reason they get initially involved with the gym. It’s not uncommon to open up our IG or Facebook feeds and see a plethora of people posting their sessions at the gym, their physiques or pictures of the like. While there’s nothing wrong with this inherently on the surface level, often this can lead to people over-analysing themselves and comparing their own appearance to others. This can lead to an unrealistic perception of one’s self and often drives people to be ‘obsessed’ with training and trying to create a body that their genetics sometimes may not allow for. While hard and disciplined training is often the key ingredient to a strong and developed physique, it is important to note that balance in one’s lifestyle is what is going to truly help you develop a well rounded physique. While a lot of people want a quick fix now, or in 3-5 weeks, aesthetic physiques take a lot of time, patience and discipline to achieve but also require the individual to not burn out.
The key to fitness and visual aesthetics are a balanced lifestyle, and finding the training style you enjoy the most.
In conclusion when assessing how fit someone is, we at Body Revival believe fitness should be separated into two categories; aesthetics and performance. Generally, how lean and muscular someone is, while also being good at their discipline (powerlifting, weightlifting, sport etc) should be considered. Hopefully this clears up any confusion in the diluted world of fitness.