Thursday, September 5, 2013

What is Fitness?

Fitness is probably one of the most controversial topics bandied about in social media, magazine articles, and by know-it-alls across the planet.  Just about every type of training under the broad heading of fitness has its own staunch supporters and sycophants, as well as its haters and rabid detractors. 
Nothing really has a place of neutrality inside the world of fitness.  Here’s a quick idea what I mean:

Crossfit – Either drink the kool aid and become of them, or hate it with a passion
Running – Either sprint or don’t do it
Mobility – Either the tonic of youth and health or just another time wasting fad
Power Lifting – Either those guys are super strong, or just super fat
Zumba – well, let’s just not even call it fitness…

The list of training modalities and their relevant pros and cons goes on and on.  Chances are, if you are serious about your own brand of fitness, you have a love/hate list yourself.
But, are any of the above truly right or wrong?  Well, maybe the one about Zumba… J
Seriously though.  How do we define fitness?  What the heck is it, really?
Here is my definition:  Fitness is having the requisite physical ability (strength, coordination, endurance, energy, power, balance, agility, etc.) to accomplish all your daily tasks, whether work or personal, and to be able to participate fully in any activity, sport, or recreation of your choice. 
In other words, fitness is specific to what you as an individual are trying to accomplish daily and to the goals you are working towards.  

The real question then is not, are you fit?  The real question is – what are you fit for?  Because the answer determines everything.
So, if all you do is sit on the couch and watch TV all day long and your body has adapted to that state by becoming soft, round, and couch shaped, than you are perfectly FIT for your activity!  Now this may fly in the face of your personal idea of fitness, but if you consider that fitness  is adapting to, and being able to adequately perform the activity of your choice, then you must accept both the marathon runner and the coach potato as being equally fit for their tasks.

By the way, can you be entirely fit and completely UN-healthy?  Yup.  Definitely.  So how do we hone our definition of fitness so that it includes not only looking good, but feeling good as well?
Simple.  Understand that the most important task which you must be fit for is that of being the strongest, healthiest, most productive individual you can be.  This not only insures that you live longer and better for yourself, but for your family and your contribution to society as well.  If this becomes your goal, how then will you change your current routine to make sure your training meets and achieves this objective?  Something to think about.  And, perhaps the topic of another article…

About the Author

Jon Haas is the owner and head trainer at Warrior Fitness Gym in Hainesport, NJ where he coaches men, women, and children in achieving high levels of fitness and mental toughness.  He is a certified Underground Strength Coach and founder of Warrior Fitness Training Systems.  Jon is also a certified coach in VX Sport and is the Worldwide Strength & Conditioning Coach for VX Global. 

He is a lifelong martial artist with over 30 years of experience and is currently ranked as a 9th dan black belt in Bujinkan Budo Taijutsu.  Jon is the author of the book, Warrior Fitness: Conditioning for Martial Arts, as well as several other fitness related e-books.  Jon maintains a very active blog on health, fitness, strength & conditioning, and martial arts over at

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