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What does it mean to be fit?

Updated: Jul 13, 2023

For many people, fitness seems like a constant battle. Whether you are an office worker trying to correct your posture, someone who is trying to lose weight or an ex-athlete trying to stay fit, why does it seem like we have to always be involved with fitness? Why do we have to force ourselves to work out? Why are we so stressed about being fit? What does it even mean to be fit?


Here are a few typical answers:

- to look good

- to feel good

- to be healthy

- to live without pain

- to live longer

- to perform better

- to reduce stress



How can you tell if someone is fit?


Besides the athlete who has to lift a certain amount of weight or perform certain exercises, what should the non-athlete be able to do? How do you determine if someone is fit or not?

We basically go by BMI, blood pressure, pulse, blood work, lung capacity…. So mainly internal values. Are there any external indicators that determine if we are fit? Maybe if you have a 6 pack or if you are able to do the human flag or a handstand pushup. Are these proper indicators?



Measuring physical fitness


I would break up being fit into 3 categories: internal, physical and mental. So we can already determine if someone is internally fit or healthy based on the indicators mentioned above. We can also determine if someone is mentally fit just by speaking to them ( I think this is probably the area that needs the most attention as we are all really struggling mentally right now ).


Most people would say someone is physically fit by the way they look or the types of crazy exercises they are able to perform. We currently do not have an indicator to determine if someone is physically fit, which is why fitness becomes so difficult, so hard to motivate oneself. We do not have a goal, so we create goals based on what we may see others doing online. Such as “I have to run a marathon” or “I want to do the splits” or “I need to get under 10% body fat”.


Redefine your idea of being physically fit


I personally think someone is physically fit if they are able to move freely without pain. Can you pick something up from the floor without back pain, go down the stairs without knee pain, sprint to the bus without passing out from your heart rate shooting up so high, carry a bag of groceries on one side without damaging your spine, not suffer from a forward slouch which will cause shoulder and neck pain…. Basically, simple things that make sure we are able to accomplish daily activities without pain and move freely.



We have to learn to stop putting so much pressure on ourselves and focus on what really matters. Over the years I have met people who are able to run a marathon (with knee pain I may add), however were unable to squat down to the floor. Or people who could plank for 5 mins (with an arc in their backs), however had a hard time squeezing and activate their glutes (the butt muscle). Focus on the basics.

Learn more about the 5 fundamentals needed to be physically fit (1. Upper spine mobility 2. Abdominal strength 3. Hip mobility 4. Quad strength 5. Ankle mobility) click here.

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