It always amazes me that FITNESS is a multi-billion dollar industry… Yet a solid, concise and universal definition of fitness is hard to nail down.
Just ask someone participating in a physical fitness program, or even someone in the fitness industry for that matter, to give you a clear definition of fitness.
You will most likely be met with the “deer caught in the headlights” stare accompanied by nonsensical stammering.
If you do get an answer, it will most likely be slanted toward the specific abilities of the person asked.
A marathon runner will define fitness in terms of muscular and cardiorespiratory endurance… A power-lifter will define fitness in terms of absolute strength… A bodybuilder will define fitness in terms of muscle size and definition… etc.
But the overwhelming majority of people participating in a physical fitness program are not professional athletes concerned with the improvement of only one physical ability.
Therefore, basing your definition of fitness on one specific physical skill does not lead to a universal definition of fitness.
The fact is, your physical fitness success will be determined by your definition of fitness… So take some time to make sure you have a clear fitness definition.
Once you see how much a clear definition of fitness can improve your physical training, you will wonder how you ever physically trained in the past without one.
So what would a universal definition of fitness be for someone who wanted to physically train to become a better, all-around human being?
I’m glad you asked… but let’s take it step by step.
Here is a GOOD Fitness Definition…
The degree of competence and skill to perform in ALL the physical abilities of cardiorespiratory endurance, strength, flexibility, power, speed, coordination, agility, balance, accuracy and toughness.
I can already hear the criticism from the athletic crowd… You cannot “maximize” the performance of all the physical abilities in this fitness definition at the same time.
And they are absolutely right!
Fitness is not about the “maximization” of one particular physical skill at one particular point in time, but rather the “optimization” of all physical skills at any given time.
Fitness is a compromise of all the different physical skills that make up human activity.
Look at it this way…
Let’s say all of the physical skills were tested separately.
Some specialized athletes would score very high on some physical skills… and very low on others.
But a person that personified true, universal fitness would score well on all of the physical skills… without necessarily being the best at any one skill.
Here is an EXCELLENT Fitness Definition…
The acceptable and deliberate compromise of competence and ability to perform in ALL the areas of cardiorespiratory endurance, strength, flexibility, power, speed, coordination, agility, balance, accuracy and toughness to produce optimum performance results under the greatest amount of circumstances.
Not only is universal fitness a compromise of all the physical abilities… but it is the over-all ability to integrate all of the physical abilities and flow from one ability to the next in a seamless fashion to successfully complete a task.
So, what would adopting this definition of fitness do for you?
Your physical fitness training program would be assessed according to how well it “optimized” all the physical skills and not just how well it “maximized” one particular skill at the expense of all others.
Basically, structuring your physical training to improve all the physical skills of this fitness definition would enable you to greatly improve over-all physical performance in a wider variety of activities.
Now isn’t that why most of us physically train?
Study this definition of fitness and use it to measure your current physical fitness training program.
How well does it measure up?
If your current workout program is lacking… it is definitely time for a change.
Your fitness success depends on it!
Coach Lomax is a strength, conditioning and fitness coach dedicated to building better humans for sport, work and life. Learn more at Optimum Physical Training
or take his FREE Tabata Calisthenics Workout Mini Course.
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