What even is ‘being fit’?

So, I hear this phrase a lot when I am talking to people interested in doing some training. People know I have a primary interest in strength and hypertrophy and seem to think this is too narrow a spectrum of ‘fitness’. The conversation goes something like this:

“So what are you wanting to achieve? What is your ideal vision of yourself?”

“I want to be fit”

“What is fit?”

“Well I want to get stronger…um…leaner…um….better cardio, I dunno, fit, you know?”

“Ok sure *insert explanation of Upfront’s services here*”

“Yeah but I want to be fit…you know…you mainly do like strength stuff…I want all round fitness”

And then I wince a little. Being ‘fit’ and having ‘all round fitness’ is all well and good except no one can properly explain to me what they mean by it. This is a symptom of a general push over the last few decades that doing SOMETHING active is better than doing NOTHING active. While this may be true, I will continue to rebut ‘not all somethings, are equal’.

What the beginner must understand is that adaptation is specific to the stress induced. Lets look at an Olympic athlete, say a swimmer, say a world record holder swimmer, now I ask you: is he/she fit? You would no doubt say ‘yes, duh’. Because the assumption is that lots of physical exercise = fit person. But lets think about this, is this hypothetical Olympic swimmer fit for Olympic weightlifting? Olympic Sprinting? Well the answer is, no. By contrast the Olympic world record weightlifter is not fit FOR swimming. My point here is that fitness is specific to the activity you wish to perform at. A person at 70+ is ‘fit’ if their medical screenings indicate a general state of positive health and they are able to shower, go up and down stairs etc without aids. So then fitness is relative.

People who want to be ‘fit’, typically mean they want a little bit of everything, also known as ‘general fitness’. And this is fine, but you don’t need a bit of every kind of training to get general fitness. A lot of my clients for example will do a few weekly bouts of low intensity steady state cardio plus their x3 resistance training sessions and see fantastic results that have huge transfers over to day to day life. Keep up with the kids better, less fatigue, better sleep, weight loss, improved body composition leading to improved aesthetics and the list goes on.

Take away: if you want to be fit, THATS GREAT! please make a start now. But ask yourself what is it you want to accomplish? You don’t need to be a marine to be fit for your context, 3 sessions of resistance training per week alone can have tremendous results on ones health. Get the basics right and reap the rewards. Beyond that, the options are as limitless as your imagination. Upfront’s passion is to help you get the ball rolling.

Best of luck getting fit.

Regards, Ryan J.